Todays interview is with author Arthur Slade who has been writing since he was sixteen, finished his first novel at seventeen but wasn’t published until he was thirty. His first six books remain unpublished. They were all “practice!” He is lucky enough that he has been making his living as a writer for nearly fifteen years now.
Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?
Arthur Slade: In grade 8 I wrote a story about a boy who gets zapped into a video game.
Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?
Arthur Slade: Ray Bradbury’s writing. Stephen King’s writing. Arthur C. Clarke’s writing. And my parents, at least in the sense that they were always supportive. Oh, and my 11th grade teacher who gave me 100% on a short story.
Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?
Arthur Slade: The joy of creating something that didn’t exist before. In many ways the characters and the world become as real as…well…the real world. Or at least they have the same weight and tangibility while you are creating the book (and I hope while you’re reading it, too).
Books & Writing: What attracts you in adventure?
Arthur Slade: I always want to know what happens next. There is almost an addiction to the Indian Jones’-like action. First this happens, then that happens, then there’s a cliff hanger. You almost want to shout at the page: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Books & Writing: Can you tell us something about your book “Empire of Ruins: The Hunchback Assignments 3” and the main character Modo?
Arthur Slade: The novel is set in Australia in Victorian times. Modo is a hunchback with a special “evolutionary” ability: he can shift his shape and look like other people. But he always has to go back to being himself. So he has been raised by a British lord to be a secret agent for the British Empire. In this book he and his companions are searching for a secret Egyptian device called the God Face that will bring madness to your enemies. It is apparently hidden in an abandoned Egyptian temple in the Australian rainforest. As we all know the Egyptians tried to colonize Australia. Or did I just make that up?
Books & Writing: Can you also tell us a bit about the other books you’ve written.
Arthur Slade: I have fifteen other novels. There are two more in The Hunchback Assignments series. The remainder range from an exploration of high school’s grad week (TRIBES) to a supernatural story set in the 1930′s (DUST) and a novel inspired by my grandfather’s experiences in Palestine in World War One (Megiddo’s Shadow). And the rest fall somewhere around those three novels.
Books & Writing: How does it feel to have a book published that you worked so hard on.
Arthur Slade: It’s always a wonderful feeling. Finally the work has all become something real: a book. Of course in the back of my head I’m always wondering…did I forget something? Did I make an obvious mistake?
Books & Writing: Are you working on something new?
Arthur Slade: Yes, a novel called Flickers that is set in Hollywood in the 1920′s. It’s a supernatural story. Very creepy.
Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Arthur Slade: Writing is a marathon. You wouldn’t just jump up one day and run a marathon. So run a little bit every day and eventually you’ll find yourself near the end of the race…or more importantly near the end of finishing a book.
Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?
Arthur Slade: It changes every day. Whoever has come up with something new and exciting. Though Ray Bradbury was a big influence as far as inspiring me to become a writer.
Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?
Arthur Slade: It is available in bookstores in a variety of countries and as ebooks online.
Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?
Arthur Slade: Http://www.arthurslade.com
Books & Writing: Is there anything else you want to share with the readers?
Arthur Slade: Keep on reading! It’s what makes the world go round.
Below is an excerpt from his book Empire of Ruins: The Hunchback Assignments 3! And don’t forget to leave a reply below that!
Prologue: A Savage Pursuit
In a Queensland rain forest, over ten thousand miles from London, Modo leaned his humped back against a strangler fig tree. He bound his handkerchief tightly around the stump of the little finger on his left hand. The sabre cut had been clean and he was surprised there hadn’t been much blood. The pain threatened to cloud his every thought. But he’d been trained to ignore pain and so, with several deep breaths, he cleared his mind. He had other tasks to perform.
The first was to test for broken bones. There were scratches and bruises, of course—one would expect that after falling from such a great height—but after systematically checking he found his bones intact. The goggles had prevented his misshapen eyes from being poked out and his thin wooden African mask had saved the rest of his face from any deep gouges. His hands had been burned to blisters from lifting the boiler, but they would heal.
He did find a large thorn in his shoulder and grimaced as he pulled it out and tossed it aside. He’d been convinced as he plummeted earthward that death was waiting for him on the rain-forest floor. But Fate had been kind. He couldn’t even attribute his survival to his acrobatic skills, because he had been screaming and flapping his arms all the way down like a frightened gosling.
The sky, the sun, and the airship battle above were blocked by the canopy of branches, vines and leaves. Even the rumbling of steam-powered engines had disappeared. He panicked a little when he thought of his companions. Was his fellow agent Octavia still alive? His master Mr. Socrates? Were they even now dodging the gunfire of the enemy? He pictured Octavia wounded, and nearly burst out with a sob of fear.
Snap to! he told himself. Keep the mind steady. Be in the present. These were the words Tharpa, his weapons master, had drilled into him. Think about what needs to be done, not what you cannot change. Those words belonged to Mr. Socrates.