My guest today is author Simon Rose, writer of sci fi and fantasy novels for kids and young adults. Simon is active in the Canadian writing community and shares his skills as presenter, editor, teacher, and writing coach. I first met Simon at Chapters Indigo in Calgary, Alberta, where he was connecting with readers. He was kind enough to take a little time out of his busy schedule for my interview questions.
Simon, can you tell us about yourself and your most recent writing project?
I’m originally from the UK but have lived in Calgary since 1990. I first became interested in writing novels for children and young adults when I became a parent and the first novel, The Alchemist’s Portrait, was published in 2003. Other novels in the science fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction genres followed on a regular basis and the most recent book, Future Imperfect, was published this spring. Future Imperfect is an exciting adventure featuring technology, teenage geniuses, corporate espionage, and mysterious messages. Most kids these days are very familiar with laptops, tablets, and video games, and don’t go anywhere without their cell phones, so the technology and gadgets that feature in the story make the novel very appealing for young readers. My paranormal novel, Flashback, was published in 2015 and two sequels are coming out next year.
We’ve all heard the advice that writers should write the books that they themselves would like to read. Do you write for yourself, or is there a specific person or type of person you have in mind when you write?
I don’t think there’s a type of person I write for. As you say, we tend to gravitate toward what interests us or what we’d like to read. That’s what ‘writing what you know’ really means. When I first began creating novels I was influenced by the Harry Potter series, among other books, but didn’t want to write about the same subject matter. I liked the style and the age level that the first few books were targeted to but my story ideas were about things that interested me or that I would like to have read about when I was a young adult. These included science fiction, fantasy, the paranormal, superheroes, ancient civilizations, and so on.
You recently participated in TD Canadian Children’s Book Week, where you visited schools in Quebec. Are your books translated into French or intended for Anglo readers only? Did you experience language barriers? If so, did you have any strategies to overcome these?
Yes, I visited schools on Quebec City and Montreal in early May. It was a hectic week but a lot of fun too. My books aren’t available in French and the tour was at English language locations only. Consequently there were no language barriers to overcome but naturally I practiced my French whenever I could and was surprised how much I remembered. I spoke to audiences of around 100 children in most places, usually grades 3/ 4 or 5/6 but there were audiences containing some older grades at a couple of the schools. I also spent a day with adult students at The Learning Exchange in Laval.
Your schedule of writing, teaching, speaking and bookstore signings seems hectic, to say the least. How do you make time for yourself? What do you like to do to relax?
It does seem hectic but this is a full time role for me unlike other authors who perhaps have a regular career that keeps them busy. I don’t take a lot of time off since I do enjoy what I do, whether it’s crafting new plots and outlines, writing books, or doing all the marketing. Since it doesn’t really feel like work there’s isn’t as much motivation to get away from it, I guess. I do have two children that have kept me busy throughout the time that I’ve been writing and publishing books. My dog also insists on going out for walks on a daily basis, which pulls me away from the computer. Nevertheless I always seem to be thinking about stories while we’re out, but I guess a lot of writers appreciate those times when they can let their mind wander while appreciating the great outdoors. I also watch movies, keep up to date with current events, read a lot, and enjoy the company of friends whenever I can.
What’s next for you? Can you give us a sneak peek at your new book? Where is it set and what is it about this project that gets you excited?
As I mentioned, the sequels to Flashback will be published next year so I’m sure I’ll be tinkering with those stories in the coming months. I also hope to start work on two sequels to Future Imperfect. The novel has proved quite popular so far so I want to explore the possibilities of further adventures for Alex, Stephanie, and the other characters that appear in the novel. I’m also currently working on a science fiction trilogy about a parallel universe that I hope to have completed by the end of the year. I’ve had the concept for quite a while, but it’s one of those stories that continually improves, in my opinion, and as it’s being written I get ideas all the time to expand it further.
Social Media links