Today I’m taking a break from talking/writing #pitchcomps and letting you know about a fellow Aussie, Mebournian and author Steve Vincent and his new novel The Foundation published with Momentum Books.
I asked Steve to tell us a few things you may not find in your typical bio and some of his answers made me chuckle. Here is what Steve wrote in his own words:
- I wrote my first book over a two year period as part of a class
- My first book got picked up by the first publisher I sent it to
- I have two goldfish: Bear Gills II and Hootie the Goldfish
- I met my wife at uni. I skipped a lot of my final year classes to spend time with her.
- Some of the research for the book was done on a solo ‘man trip’ to the US in 2012.
Is it just me or does ‘Man-Trip’ sound like the start of a real life ‘The Hangover’! However, Steve also provided me with his ‘bio’ – mind you his unique & quirky voice is evident even there.
Steve P. Vincent lives with his wife in a pokey apartment in Melbourne, Australia, where he’s forced to write on the couch in front of an obnoxiously large television.
When he’s not writing, Steve keeps food and flat whites on the table working for the man. He enjoys beer, whisky, sports and dreaming up ever more elaborate conspiracy theories to write about.
He has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Political Science and History. His honours thesis was on the topic of global terrorism. He has travelled extensively through Europe, the United States and Asia.
Now to the fun part – Me and my weird and wonderful Q&A’s
NIK: Steve, tell us a little about where you live and where you grew up.
STEVE: I live in a small apartment in inner-Melbourne with my wife. It’s the complete opposite to where I grew up, the way, way outer suburbs. I like it.
STEVE: Dogs all the way. I’ve had three at various points in my life, but currently without one. My wife and I are actually looking at getting a greyhound. Lazy and great apartment dogs!
NIK: Early riser or night owl?
NIK: What were your three favourite subjects at school?
STEVE: Tough one. Though I did okay I actually didn’t love school. English, history and chemistry if I had to choose! I enjoyed German, too, though I’ve lapsed.
NIK: What was the first book you remember reading (of free will rather than school assignment) and how old were you?
NIK: Aside from reading, how do you relax/escape from the world?
STEVE: Writing, no surprises. Playing god in a world with events of your choosing and snuggling up next to (or blowing up) characters you’ve created is very therapeutic. Aside from that: sports, running, beer, whiskey, occasional gaming and socialising.
NIK: What is your favourite quote?
STEVE: “The buck stops here” – Harry S Truman (though technically not a quote, the sign he kept on his desk was close enough).
NIK: Do you set aside a special time to write?
STEVE: When I can. I work full time, but I try for at least an hour a night and a bit on the weekend. I also do ‘10k days’ from time to time – 10,000 words in one day. Requires planning, but it is possible and a good strategy for the time poor.
NIK: Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
STEVE: Not really. I tap out 500-1,000 words in an average session without too much trouble. I think the time is more important than the words, scheduling a certain amount of time then sticking to it even if it’s tough going.
NIK: Inspiration is always an interesting question and perhaps one of the hardest to answer, but alas, readers want to know – so I’ll try to ask it in a different way. The idea for your novel, how much was inspiration, how much perspiration and how much irritation?
STEVE: A small dose of inspiration, but mostly perspiration. I think writing is 10% talent and 90% hard work. The irritation came with one particular plot tangle I couldn’t figure out… until I did, anyway. Took a year or so.
NIK: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
STEVE: For The Foundation it was a rough plan and a lot of freewheeling, mainly because I didn’t know how to write a book. I found it exhilarating at times, and horrible at others. Doing it this way can get you into some almighty tangles, and also leads to a lot of wasted words. My book is 88,000 words. I tossed out another 40,000.
For book two, which I’m currently writing, and others, it’ll be more on the plotting side. Not completely, because I still like to freelance a bit, but I’m now working to a rough plot outline.
NIK: What’s harder for you, the first paragraph of a new WIP or the last?
STEVE: I struggle with endings. Part of it is finding how to express the vision in your head, the rest of it is fear that a reader who has been invested for 300 pages might hate it. There’s less pressure on the beginning.
It’s funny, I think I re-wrote the last chapter of this book ten times but neither the prologue or the first scene changed very much from when I put the words down. Either way, you get there eventually. A good editor helps too.
NIK: Tell us a little about The Foundation
STEVE: It’s about a guy trying to fight against some unelected bad guys trying to take over the world. It looks at what happens when too much power rests in the hands of the unelected – big business, think tanks, the media.
Intrigued? then here’s a little more:
When a corrupt think tank, The Foundation for a New America, enlists a Taiwanese terrorist to bomb a World Trade Organization conference, the US and China are put on the path to war.
Star journalist Jack Emery is pulled into a story far more dangerous than he could have imagined. Because the Foundation’s deputy director, the ruthless Michelle Dominique, recognizes that whoever controls the message controls the world. And she will take control, no matter the price.
Enter Jack’s boss, Ernest McDowell, owner and chairman of the largest media empire on the planet. In the midst of political upheaval, EMCorp is about to become the final play in the Foundation’s plan. When Dominique traps the EMCorp owner in her web, Jack’s the only one left to expose the conspiracy before it’s too late.
As the world powers smash each other against the anvil of Taiwan, Jack will risk everything to battle the Foundation and prevent them from taking control amid the devastation of a global war.
STEVE: I was chatting over beers with a friend. We were discussing what might happen if someone subverted a large media organisation. It grew from there.
NIK: How did the title come about?
STEVE: My publisher suggested it, actually. They loved the book but hated the working title I’d pitched. I’m much happier with the final title.
NIK: Without giving the plot away, tell us one thing about your main character that would surprise readers.
STEVE: Those who’ve read the book so far like that all of the characters have ups and downs, redeeming features, things to hate… no cookie cutters!
NIK: Tell us about the cover and how it came about.
STEVE: The fine people at XOU Creative designed it. I didn’t have much input, because I know nothing about art. I really love it though. They did a great job.
NIK: What do you hope people will take away with them after reading your novel?
STEVE: Well, I hope they’ll have enjoyed a fun and fast paced book, which has them on the edge of their seats. If it gets them thinking about the power structures in the countries we live in, so much the better.
NIK: Now to finish on an interesting note, what would you like to see engraved on your tombstone?
STEVE: Steve: Lived long, partied hard, loved lots, hated little.
Author Blog/Website: http://www.stevepvincent.com
Momentum Books Website: http://www.momentumbooks.com.au
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L4X8LCG
Other retailers: http://momentumbooks.com.au/books/the-foundation/