Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
Because science fiction is a delight I’ve enjoyed since childhood. I could read before I went to school, you see, and the likes of Asimov, Anderson, Clarke, Bradbury and Heinlein stimulated my mind and imagination in a way nothing else did. Of course, there’s also the added bonus that as a category, science fiction is extremely flexible. When I’m writing, I can literally weave every other genre in and through my stories, so it adds a depth you won’t find elsewhere.
What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre that isn’t so?
That it’s easy to write. It isn’t. Readers who follow my blog often hear me promoting the phrase: Keep it real. If you don’t strike that fine balance between science fact and science fiction, then you’ll lose your audience. You have to root your stories in fact, so that as you add the ingredients of fantasy, fiction, and the reader’s own imagination, they can grasp your concept and build their own imaginary world for your story to inhabit.
Are you a full-time or part-time writer and how does that affect your writing?
At the moment, I still write in my spare time, so I’ve had to adopt a really strict schedule to ensure I stay productive. That’s difficult. I often come home exhausted, and yet, I have to remain focused enough to not only put words on paper but maintain an acceptable standard.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
As time has passed, I’ve grown enough to have the courage to experiment. I’m not afraid of mixing things up. For example, one of the serials I created (A Hell series involving the adventures of Daemon Grim, Satan’s Reaper) contains mixed POV. The hero is written in first-person. I did that to create a sense of involvement for the reader. I did this. I saw that, felt that, and experienced that. It puts you in Daemon’s shoes so you can live the adventure with him. However, the storylines are rather involved and complex, with other main characters engaged in major plot points and thread developments. Of course, you need to hear what goes on there too, so they are written in third POV. It took a great deal of research and planning, but it worked rather well, and educators and some of the leading lights of speculative fiction have taken to Grim’s adventures with delight.
What have you written so far?
I cut my teeth at a small independent press with two trilogies. A science fiction saga – The Guardian Series – detailing the adventures of a group of superhuman benefactors who watch over the citizens of Earth… (Think of “Thunderbirds” mixed with Jedi-style X-Men and you won’t go far wrong), and a fantasy series, The Cambion Journals, that follow the trials and tribulations of Augustus Thorne, a demon hunter with a secret.
Having applied myself to learning my craft, I drew the attention of the esteemed Janet Morris at Perseid Press a few years ago and haven’t looked back since.
Both series are international #1 bestsellers, and that’s one trend I hope to keep going.
The IX Series (Pronounced, the Ninth) (The IX – Exordium of Tears – Prelude to Sorrow) is a military science fiction epic based on the premise of what could have happened to the real-life, legendary “lost” Ninth Legion Hispania. It’s been great fun to write, and I’m currently rounding off the last book in that trilogy.
I also contribute to Janet Morris’ “Heroes in Hell” shared universe. I first wrote a short story for “Doctors in Hell,” in which the character of Daemon Grim was introduced to the world. Janet liked what she saw and asked me to write a series detailing Grim’s own escapades, set within the same universe. (Hell Bound – and the forthcoming Hell Hounds and Hell Gate). It’s been a blast, as it’s allowed me to add a depth to Grim that would otherwise have been lacking. I overlap his adventures with the anthologies to blend everything together. So far, it’s coming along rather well.
Do you work to an outline or plot sketch, or do you prefer to let a general idea guide your writing?
I’ve found a combination of both works for me. I tend to research and plan meticulously before I begin to write. (For example, I’m already world building on a future work that I won’t even get around to for about 12 months). I think world building is incredibly important, as it allows you to base your story on a solid foundation. However, I’ve often found each story develops a character all of its own, so I’ve learned to allow that distinctive current to take where it will. Doing so has allowed for one or two surprises I’d have missed.
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
My most recent book, Exordium of Tears, is the sequel to the internationally bestselling historical science fiction epic, The IX.
So I don’t give the game away, I’ll share the blurb, as it aptly describes what takes place:
Fight or Die.
That simple yet brutal philosophy is the tenet by which the refugees from Earth – including the fabled lost 9th Legion of Rome; the 5th Company, 2nd Mounted Cavalry Unit; and the Special Forces Anti-Terrorist Team – have been forced to live while the Horde menace existed. Believing that the threat is over, the survivors now yearn to settle down, start families, and reclaim the lives stolen from them.
But such aspirations might remain beyond their reach, for a shadow looms on the rose-tinted horizon of new beginnings.
The release of the re-genesis matrix has done much to foster a restoration of exuberance across Arden. Along with resurgence in floral and faunal diversity, comes the results of splicing the Ardenese and human genomes: transmutation; a metamorphosis of stunning magnitude that not only affects the living, but those still is stasis as well.
Recognizing the emergence of a new hybrid species, the Architect – the arcane AI construct tasked with the preservation of the Ardenese race – responds by unlocking previously hidden and inaccessible areas of the city. It also releases an archive of sealed state records.
Those secrets are pounced on and eagerly perused, whereupon a shocking discovery is made.
Prior to the fall, it was common knowledge amongst the Senatum – the highest levels of Arden’s government – that not all the Horde had joined in the rabid exodus toward the home world, and the belief persisted that their enemy survived amongst the outer colonies.
Realizing the peril might still exist, the newly reformed administration elects to respond. Accessible resources are utilized, suitable candidates are chosen, and a flotilla of ships is sent out to secure, quarantine, and reclaim the outer colonies. A mammoth and hazardous undertaking. And nowhere more so than at the planet from where the outbreak was known to have originated – Exordium – for there, the ancient Horde are not only supremely evolved and highly organized, but are capable of a level of lethal sophistication, the likes of which has never been witnessed before.
It is into this kiln of incendiary potential that the cream of Arden’s fighting force is deployed.
Worlds are torn asunder, suns destroyed, and star systems obliterated. Yes, tragedy is forged anew, in a universe-spanning conflict which proves once again that…
Death is only the beginning of the adventure.
As I mentioned, the entire series is based on a factual historical event: whatever happened to the legendary lost 9th Legion Hispania? They marched beyond Hadrian’s Wall, circa AD 100 – 120, and were never seen again. I mean, how can more than five thousand men and all that equipment simply vanish? Well, now you know…
It was quite a challenge, dealing with a theme woven around an age-old adage:
“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
As the Ninth go on to discover, you either put your old prejudices behind, and unite against a common foe, or die.
Thankfully, they make the right decision, and as readers go on to see, Death is only the beginning of the adventure.
So what actually happens? Ah, you’ll have to see.
What is your next project?
I’ll be on to the final book of the other trilogy I mentioned, (Hell Gate) involving Satan’s chief bounty hunter and go-to guy in times of trouble, Daemon Grim. As well as being despicably dark and dangerous, it’s full of fast and furious fun.
I’ve loved being involved in the Heroes in Hell shared universe, and look on it as a great honor, as you can only contribute by invitation and the writing stable includes Hugo Award winners and Nebula nominees.
What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?
Apply yourself in developing and letting your own unique light shine.
About the Author:
Andrew P. Weston is Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.
An astronomy and law graduate, he is the creator of the international number one bestsellers, The IX, and Hell Bound, (A novel forming part of Janet Morris’ critically acclaimed Heroes in Hell shared universe). Andrew also has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.
When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with two of their remote research projects and writes educational articles for Astronaut.com and Amazing Stories.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
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The IX | Exordium of Tears | Hell Bound