I met Steve at Supanova Sydney earlier this year and when I became his ‘fan’ on GR, he actually remembered me. I was never better pleased 🙂 This is a very exciting opportunity for a Q&A and he has also offered to giveaway a signed copy of his new release (lucky you!!). Without further ado, I present…. Steve Worland!!
What does the ultimate ‘bad guy’ look like to you? What defines this person as the ultimate ‘bad-guy’? [can be in fiction or reality]
For me the ultimate fictional bad guy must have a believable, personal motivation. You must feel some empathy with him or her, no matter how bad what they are doing may be — and it needs to be pretty bad. If the villain’s motivation is not believable, or doesn’t ring true to the character, the story won’t engage the reader. Also, the bad guy and the good guy are usually the characters who are closest to each other in personality type. When I write them I should believe that if things had been different for either of them they could be in the other’s shoes. The perfect example of this is Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.
In both Velocity and Combustion, weapons of mass destruction are being employed by highly motivated terrorists. If you were in a position where you are the one person to stop the world from being destroyed, what would you do? What would your first reaction be? Sometimes I think reading books like this should equip you for this type of impossible mission – after all, the author has done all the research, right? All you need to do is recall, apply, and execute. Would you feel equipped from the research & writing you’ve done so far?
The characters in my books tend to be making it up as they go along, trying their best but not always succeeding, and I think that’s how it would be for me. I would try to rise to the occasion, utilise what I remember, and whatever specific skill set I might have, and give it a go — without knowing if I will be successful or not. That’s why I write my characters the way I do. To me it’s much more interesting to write an ‘everyman’ who is unsure of what course of action to take but will give it a go rather than a ‘superhero’ who has all the answers and knows exactly what to do.
Have you ever experienced writers’ block? If so, what have you done to break through this frustrating period?
I do get it occasionally. The best way to overcome writers block is to: a) keep writing, even if it’s terrible. I often find if I am blocked on something I just write until something resonates and starts to flow. Then I keep going for as long as I can, then go back and rewrite the part that was terrible. Prose never comes out perfectly formed so, to me, good writing is rewriting. Also, b) it can help to read or watch something that you love, and think is good, to inspire you. After you’ve done that something interesting usually occurs which will pull you out of the slump.
I think your book covers are great – the explosion on Combustion definitely attracts the male species (my husband for example though he’s not a reader, I’m trying to get him there yet!) but I’m finding it hard to sell to my girlfriends. What would you say to appeal to the female readers who would normally walk pass the exploding cover at the shops?
I’m so glad you like the covers but I can not take any credit for them! Covers are absolutely the domain of the publisher and they have very specific ideas about what does and does not work for the readers they are targeting. I can throw in the occasional idea but that’s about it. All I can say to people is don’t judge a book by it’s cover, or back cover blurb for that matter. Open it up, read the prose and see if you are excited by the writing and engaged with the characters, then make a decision on whether the story is worth your time. Good writing can make any subject interesting.
Please share with us the man behind the Author Steve Worland (eg. What defines you as a person, what are you like at home / at your most comfortable zones, what do you do when you’re angry, etc)
Like so many White Anglo Saxon Protestants I’m defined by my work! My wife has been able to beat a bit of that out of me over the years, as has my daughter, but I’m definitely a guy who loves work. I have to really psych myself up for vacations and holidays, though I’m getting better at it. To relax my wife and daughter enjoy action adventure movies as much as I do so we try to see one a week if possible. I love to read but when you’re writing all the time you want to get away from it if you have a little time off. Having said that, I am reading, and enjoying, ‘Telegraph Road’ at the moment. The TV shows my wife and I watch tend to have great writing — ‘Mad Men’, ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘Dexter’, ‘Modern Family’, ‘Downton Abbey’, ‘True Blood’, ‘The Killing’ and a pair of fantastic new ones called ‘Ray Donovan’ and ‘Banshee’. I don’t actually get upset very often, more often with myself if I don’t do something as well as I think I can.
What are your 3 greatest fears?
Making sure my family is healthy and happy is the most important single thing in my life. After that, making sure I live up to my potential is something I do think about now and then. And finally, I do despair for the fate of the planet on occasion, so I try to do my bit to make it better whenever possible.
A quick fun one – can we get a picture of the view from your office where you write? Or a view of your office?
I do write in my office occasionally, but now, with the advent of mobile devices and the ‘cloud’, I can write anywhere and everywhere, and that often means while waiting to pick children up after activities. Having said that here’s a pic from my office window. You can just see the Harbour Bridge in the distance!
If you’d like to enter, please leave a comment confirming your AU residence and who your ultimate bad guy is and why.
Please note: Giveaway is limited to AU only (apologies INT peeps but postage is prohibitive). Please leave your email address in the form where it is required but not in the body of your comment. I will draw the winner next week (midday of Sat, 17 August 2013 – Sydney time).