Monday, June 13, 2011

David F. Porteous Interview

What age group is your work geared toward?

I’ve never given the age of my readers any thought.

Into which genre would you say your work falls and why?

Singular is near-future science fiction, with some elements of thriller and comedy thrown in. I think genre is pretty poor shorthand for any book’s subject; a hundred years ago someone going into space would be science fiction, but now it’s biography. Much of what is possible in Singular may be achievable in our lifetimes.

Tell us a little about your book.

Thirty-five years from now the Singularity Network offers immortality to those who can afford it. Abandon the physical form and transfer yourself into a virtual universe, move from world-to-world and become different people, experiencing thousands of different lives.

The British government plans to move all of its elderly from expensive care homes into a cut-down version of this virtual universe. But in the depths of the immortality machine a random glitch has created an entirely new form of life; one that now struggles to be free of the virtual and reach the real world.

Singular is the story of four unalike characters and their struggles for freedom, power, revenge and survival.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

I love all my children equally, but Patrick most of all. But it’s only because Patrick gets a unique fate – he’s able to both triumph spectacularly and be betrayed and defeated at the same time. It’s an interesting ending for him, because it could just as easily be the beginning of another story.

What other writers would you say have influenced your work and why? What are some of your favorite books in the genre?

It’s hard to say in terms of influence. I don’t consciously emulate anyone. When I was a child I read Roald Dahl (the Fantastic Mr Fox), as a teenager Terry Pratchett (Small Gods) and Iain Banks (Walking on Glass, The Bridge), as an adult I’ve tended to read older books rather than new ones. I do like the weirdness of H P Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith, but neither of those are writers with a style I’d want to emulate. I’m also a fan of Robert Louis Stevenson – I think he was the best writer Scotland has ever produced.

What is your writing process like? Do you do a lot of background research? Do you plot every detail or do you prefer the characters to move the story in new directions, or a combination of both? Do you belong to a critique group and do you find this helpful?

I start with a thing. To use Singular as an example, “the thing” was immortality in a virtual world. I then start to construct a story around that. What would a society with virtual immortality in it look like? What might happen to, or because of, virtual immortality? Who might be most affected by this? What do each of these people want, in general and from the immortality machine?

Everything that happens in Singular can be traced to decisions made by characters in the book, though sometimes we don’t learn about these decisions until much later.

My plotting and my use of themes are intricate. I pride myself on that and I like to reward observant readers with little “ooh”s and “ahh”s.

Do you have any advice for young or beginning writers?

Give it up and become an engineer. Writing is a terrible idea – like taking drugs and having anonymous sex – all sensible, stable, happy people avoid it.

Where are your books available? Are there e-books and hard copies available?

Singular is available from Amazon in ebook and print. Right now the ebook is only 99c.

What is your website and/or blog where readers can learn more? Can they friend you on Facebook or other sites?

You can visit my website for links to my twitter and Singular’s Facebook page. At the end of the virtual tour one person who “likes” Singular on Facebook will win the US Print Edition ‘Proof Copy’ of Singular, signed and with a personal message. It’s a unique prize of which there can never be another and is worth almost $9 – more if you count the free postage and packing.

Are there any upcoming signings or appearances you'd like to mention?

The book tour continues until the end of June. You can follow @dfpiii on twitter for more links as they come up.

Thanks for joining me today, David!

Thanks very much for having me.


Denise Verrico said...

Thanks for joining me today, David. As you can guess, immortality is a subject that intrigues me.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the guest post! I really enjoyed it :)

David Tocher said...

That was an interesting interview. I definitely agree that sane, stable people avoid the craft of writing. ;)