It’s a pleasure, always happy to help another indie author.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Well, I currently live on the Kitsap Peninsula across the Puget Sound from Seattle. I took a new job with the FAA up here back in November and moved the whole family out of Southern California. While there, I worked for nine years at Edwards AFB as a flight test engineer, it was a very rewarding and at the same time frustrating time in my life. Prior to that, I worked for the Navy at Port Hueneme for 3 years as an In Service Engineering Agent; a fancy term for a guy who fixed and certified missile launchers. I am an alum of the University of Arizona, graduating in 2002 with a degree in Aerospace Engineering.
Personally, I am originally from Montclair, CA. But we moved from there in 1987 to Tucson, AZ, which I consider my hometown. I’m married and am the father of 5 boys, ages 4-13. My family is my life and I love to do things with them, from hiking and biking around the neighborhood, to camping, and even just playing, reading, and watching movies with them. My fourth son has a severe neurological disability, Lissencephaly, which means he is wheelchair bound and operates at the level of 3-4 month old. That can be frustrating, but also very rewarding as we include him in as many family activities as we can, and seeing his little face light up at those events fills us with joy.
I also used to be a regular contributor the Slice Of Sci-Fi and Dragonpage podcasts. For the former, I sent in my weekly News from Flight Test Land segments as Sean From Edwards, then SF Edwards. Unfortunately both podcasts podfaded right before I released Spiral War: On Dagger’s Wings.
That is actually something I get a lot, even at work, everyone assumes I was prior military, but I am not. I actually grew my beard while working for the navy so I didn’t get confused for shipboard personnel.
I have however been raised around the military, both my father and my grandfather were Civil Service overseeing military acquisitions. I grew up hearing about every weapon system, airplane and ship out there, reading about them voraciously. I was even AFROTC in college before some prior medical conditions made me ineligible. But most of my best friends are military.
My new job with the FAA is the first time in my professional career where I’m not working with and for our armed forces. Even in college, after I left ROTC, I worked at the Aviation Challenge program in Huntsville, AL, where most folks knew me best as either Link or Knight-26. It was the aviation/military offshoot of the Space Camp program. There I worked with even more folks in the military, most of which I still count as some of my best friends. A couple are even fellow writers.
Who are you’re biggest influences in the genre?
That’s a hard one to nail down. I’ve read and watched sci-fi since I was kid. I was all but raised on Star Wars in the theatres, and used to watch Star Trek and Doctor Who with my Parents and Grandparents. And of course, as any child of the 80s, I watched all the genre cartoons, GI-Joe (though I preferred the comics), Transformers, and of course Super Dimensional Fortress Macross and its sequels. Yes, I am a lying Macross purist, though I acknowledge that the compilation series Robotech introduced me to it.
Writing wise, I draw inspiration from many sources. From the classics like: HP Lovecraft, Heinlein, Asimov, EE “Doc” Smith, and Bradbury. Contemporaries that I hope to be counted amongst include: Timothy Zahn (who I had the pleasure to meet at Rustycon 32 here in Seattle), Michael Stackpole, Larry Niven, and Ben Bova.
Outside of sci-fi, I love a well-crafted horror story. In fact my favorite modern horror writer is still Dean Koontz, though I do enjoy Stephen King’s short fiction. I also enjoy a good mystery, having read all of the original Hardy Boys books before I hit fourth grade before I moved on to Sherlock Holmes. BTW Benedict Cumberbatch is the best modern Holmes, period.
I don’t read mysteries much anymore though, as I find most of them too predictable, but then I have that problem with most movies too and love it when something hits me with a genuine surprise.
Military fiction is also a lot of fun, but five kids, a wife and full time job, I have a hard enough time finding time to write, thank god for Audiobooks and a long commute where I am now, so I am catching up.
Until recently I was a straight-up pantser, what’s your style?
It really depends on the story. For short fiction I put together a general idea of what I want to write about and then just jump right in. For longer fiction, I feel that I have to plot and outline it out in order to avoid repetition and continuity errors. When I first started writing, I was definitely a pantser though, but as things got longer and once the story evolved into a series I really had to plot things out.
Spiral War seems like its going to be a series sweeping several years, do you have an idea where you want the series to go, or are you just taking it one book at a time.
I originally planned Spiral War out as a 6 book series. Then things happened and the first book split into two then after the last rewrite the new first book split into two again. But I have plotted out the whole ten book series now. In fact I have old drafts all the way up to what is now Book 5, but those are getting complete rewrites. I have the first six books completely plotted and outlined out with at least a one line description of the chapter contents. As I get ready to write an individual chapter I then outline it, making sure to indicate how it fits into the overall plot of the book and series. For the rest, I have the general plot points written out in order to keep things consistent, and so I can properly foreshadow things to come.
Right now I am in the editing process for Spiral War Book 2: In Death’s Shadow. I have a recent draft of Book 3 written, but I’m letting it “ferment” as I edit Book 2, and then I just started the first chapter of Book 4.
Along with that, I have started on some Kindle Worlds GI Joe stories. I am going to read some of Hugh Howey’s work and may even add some stories to his Kindle Worlds as well. My current KW-GI Joe story follows one of my favorite Joes, and an underused one at that, Low Light. I am crossing my fingers that I will have it ready for release in February; maybe I can take advantage of all the American Sniper coverage.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished the last book of Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein books. I just started reading Hugh Long’s Tribes of Yggdrasil Trilogy. Given that I “Read” most of my books while I’m driving I have to find audio versions, wherever possible. But I am just using the FB-Reader audio plugin to shortcut that. I have to laugh sometimes at how the computer voice mangles the Nordic terms, but I am quite enjoying the first book so far. Favorite book of 2014?
Unfortunately I did not read a whole lot of adult books in 2014. My job was quite busy as was my family life, unless you want to count Kid’s books. I am trying to catch up now, and did buy Tim Zahn’s latest book from him at Rustycon, so that is on my list.
The two previous authors I featured in the Spotlight are members of the Space Opera: Writing group on Facebook. As a member, is there anything particular you’ve learned from the group’s members that has improved your writing?
I have learned a lot of great things from the group and made some good contacts with other writer there. I would recommend joining a writing group online, or in person to any would be writer out there. I am currently a member of two different online writing groups: http://sff.onlinewritingworkshop.com/ and www.wewritersworkshop.com/ I have made very helpful industry contacts in those groups and have found that their help has improved and grown my writing to a degree I never could on my own.
Such contacts are essential as an independent writer. I would also recommend attending conventions for that same reason, especially if they feature any focus on writing or workshopping. There is a lot more to being an independent writer than just the writing; amongst them, the editing, marketing, and distribution.
My Kindle Worlds GI Joe story, B.R.A.S.S. should be released this February, and then I have another I am working on for March. (*update: B.R.A.S.S. is out now on Amazon, you can find it here: G.I. Joe: B.R.A.S.S)
I plan to release Spiral War Book 2: In Death’s Shadow around June or July, depends on how editing goes. I hope to step up the releases after that, but it all depends on the editing time, no GRRM times between books here.
Where can people go to find more information on you and your work?
I have a couple places, which I am now making time to update on a more regular, preferably, weekly basis.
The Spiral War Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/SpiralWar
The Nobel Storm Books Blog: http://noblestorm.blogspot.com/ This is my own imprint.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sfedwards26 I just started work on twitter and am still getting the hang of it.
I then post quite often on my own facebook page and to the Space Opera: Writers FB group, and a few others more sporadically.
Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us! Hope you had a good time and wish you the best of luck with Spiral War and all of your future projects.
Not a problem, this was fun. It makes me wish that Slice of Sci-Fi and the Dragonpage hadn’t podfaded. I always wanted to be interviewed by those crews.
I reached out to Mr. Edwards a few months back and to his credit he responded eagerly and promptly excited for the interview...and I dropped the ball. I'm pretty sure I got this back in January or so and it's been sitting in my email inbox, patiently waiting for post-production.
For those of you who have ever house hunted, found the perfect one, purchased it and then moved in in under two months...well, you know my struggles.
My apologies for not keeping up with the Spotlight!