1. How did you pick the genre you write in?
1. How did you pick the genre you write in?
I write in a dozen different genres, but they are all related to science. It’s what I know. The world needs a little more understanding of science, so I'm informing and educating readers, as well as entertaining them. Besides, real science is more interesting than fantasy, at least to me!
2. Did you encounter any obstacles in researching it?
There is a chase scene toward the end of Far-called, involving relativistic velocities. I wanted the time onboard ship to be about 4 years, and I wanted the physics to be accurate. Setting up the time delay and the acceleration for pursuer and evader was trickier than I thought it would be. It took me a couple of days to get that all worked out.
3. What was the worst writing advice someone gave you?
A lot of people have certain “rules of good writing,” which seem to be violated by a lot of good writers. One of these rules is to avoid the “information dump.” Readers, I’m told, don’t want a lot of description. They get bored reading more than a page or two without any action. “Show it, don’t tell it,” they say. When I read fiction, I actually want a detailed description of the characters and the physical environment. The great thing about fiction is that it can describe what it’s like to live in another time and place. I’ve written more about this in my blog; maybe I should just point to that.
4. Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book?
I’ve heard a lot of bad things about the way the publishing industry treats new authors, and in my brief exposure, this negative impression was only amplified. They do 10% of the work and get 90% of the profit. So I decided to self-publish. That’s becoming a viable option, especially for me. I spend almost all my time writing, and very little time promoting and pandering. Soon I will have a respectable body of work, and we’ll see. I’m not in any hurry. It’s not about the money, for me.
5. Describe your book.
I put a lot of science in my fiction. More than any other writer I know. Most of my writing is nonfiction, but the first book I have actually finished is Far-called, a work of hard science fiction. It’s as much a description of what it’s like to live in the 35th Century as it is an adventure story about a guy and his girlfriend. Although there is a lot of action and adventure.
6. What do you consider your weakness and what strategies do you use to overcome it?
My greatest character flaws are that I have a short attention span, and too many interests. I have started many writing projects, and have at least five projects active at any time. Nothing ever gets done. It took a concentrated effort to finally finish Far-called.
7. What authors do you admire?
I grew up reading Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut, but I’ve never tried to emulate them. I love Shakespeare, Dylan Thomas, Melville, Kipling and William Blake. Stephen Hawking and Edward O. Wilson are great writers of popular science books. In science fiction, I read Iain Banks, Frederik Pohl, Robert Forward, Niven & Pournelle, and Kim Stanley Robinson.
8. What other time period besides your own would you like to experience?
I would like to visit classical Greece. Most of my vivid daydreams involve the School of Athens (as depicted fictitiously in that painting by Raphael), the Acropolis, Plato’s Academy, and so on.
9. What is your favorite writing reference book and why?
I use Wikipedia frequently. The internet and word processors have changed the craft of writing immeasurably, and for the better, I think. At least, it is easier to write well. Makes you wonder why nobody can match the brilliance of the old masters.
10. What other writing projects are you working on?
I’m writing an astronomy text called Solar System Calculations, and another text on rotational dynamics. One that I’m really passionate about lately is called Special Relativity for Space Travelers. I also have a book on religion, and a handful of mathematical research projects. Most of my time is spent on genealogy. My next science fiction book is called Tetrahedron. The Tetrahedron consists of four main star systems, arranged in a roughly tetrahedral configuration. The distance between any two is about eight light years. The four star systems are each dominated by a single star: Zeus, Ra, Surya and Kinich Ahau.
I’m a mathematician (PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1992), and former math professor. I also worked for ten years in the missile defense industry, on ballistic missile trajectories, and radar discrimination algorithms, to detect and classify ballistic missile threats. My hobbies are genealogy, astronomy, coin collecting and hiking.
It had been a war of attrition. Starting with superior forces, Tzin and his navy could have lost every battle and still won the war. In the comfort of his office, Matej adjusted his dwindling resources, and waited for the computer to generate the new theater of war configuration, in 100x real time. His command ship, the Sudeten, was disabled, in a helpless Keplerian trajectory. All available energy was diverted to life support and defensive countermeasures. Decoys and chaff were deployed, probably to no avail.
My blog: http://haloupek.posterous.com/ My page on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/haloupek My book on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/117109 My book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Far-called-ebook/dp/B007OKLFK8/
Thanks for the blog spot! Bill Haloupek