Today, we have Short Flights Bundle author Blaze Ward stopping by to answer my interview questions. Blaze makes his home in Washington, and writes science fiction, superhero tales, fantasy, and alternate history. He keeps a website at www.blazeward.com, and you can find him on Facebook, Goodreads, and other places around the Internet. So let’s dive in…
SDR: To start, tell us a little about the story you have in the Short Flights bundle.
BW: “The Librarian” is the first of the Alexandria Station universe stories I wrote. She’s turned into my narrator for over 10,000 years of human history.
SDR: Imagine you’ve been kidnapped or trapped by a natural disaster. Which of your own characters (from any work) would you want to rescue you? Why?
BW: Vo zu Arlo (Jessica Keller books). Man’s a total badass who will stop at nothing.
SDR: Describe your current writing workspace.
BW: The peninsula dividing my kitchen from the living room. Just the right height to stand and work.
SDR: What’s your current writing project? How do you feel about it right this minute?
BW: Seventh Jessica Keller novel: Lord of Winter. Just started Act 3 and can see the end. Really hyped. Also just wrote a short story in the Fairchild universe.
SDR: Do you remember what sparked the idea for your story in the Short Flights bundle? What was it?
BW: I needed to know more about the AI in Javier’s ship, for The Science Officer. Already knew she survived the galactic apocalypse, so put her in a place to be discovered by my favorite salvager: Doyle Iwakuma.
SDR: Do you remember what sparked the idea for any of your stories? Tell us about one.
BW: The Science Officer was something I wanted to write for years, before I discovered that I could just publish stuff myself and make money. Having a character who was a scientist, a botanist, rather than a Jim Kirk/James Bond action figure. I grow things, and wanted to put that into space.
SDR: Why do you write short fiction? Love, necessity, marketability, or something else?
BW: The ability to take the worlds of my novels and spin off little side things about various characters. Or to create new worlds where I can play.
SDR: Do you belong to any writer’s groups or communities? Do you think these types of social interactions are important for writers?
BW: Got a monthly lunch group in Seattle where we talk business more than craft. Won’t do a critique group. They always fail in rancor, or fall apart in indifference.
SDR: Which one of your characters is the most like you? The least?
BW: Vo zu Arlo, probably. He gets his relentlessness from me. His intensity. Javier’s snarkiness and chaos-surfing. Hard to nail one. Most of my characters are actually amalgamations of people I know, where I take bits and merge them.
SDR: Have you written any series characters? What’s their appeal for you?
BW: Bit stories. Jessica is 6 novels now, and will be nine. The Science Officer (Season One) is eight novellas. Season Two will be nine. Everything tends to be serial with me.
SDR: I understand that feeling…like even when the story’s over, the characters aren’t. Do you remember the first story you wrote? Tell us about it.
BW: Absolutely not. Drek, and the statute of limitations has not expired. :)
SDR: Oh, all right. I’ll give you a pass on that one. :) Have you had to deal with bad reviews? How do you manage them?
BW: I never read a review that’s less than 5 stars. Better that way.
SDR: Are there certain themes that keep coming up in your work? If so, is it intentional, or something that just happens?
BW: “Sticking it to the man.” That’s probably intentional, but no.
SDR: Are you a planner/outliner/architect or a pantser/gardener/discovery writer?
BW: Yes. And. Both. Neither. Have done extensive outlines. Have sat down and discovered the next sentence as I typed.
SDR: Do you think there were early influences as a reader that have guided the stories you create as a writer? What were they?
BW: Doc Smith. Isaac Asimov to a lesser degree. Robert Howard. David Drake. CS Friedman.
SDR: Do you think the place where you live (or somewhere you have lived) influences what you write? In what way?
BW: Lived in a LOT of places. August 1990 – October 2001, moved 17 times. Time zones, three. Zip codes, almost all of them.
SDR: What’s the most challenging thing about being a writer in 2018? What’s the best thing?
BW: I am in control of my own career. Someone else is in charge of me making enough money to survive.
SDR: Do you prefer music, silence, or some other noise in the background when you write? If music, what kind?
BW: I zone out noise around me when I work.
SDR: Many writers also put their creativity to use in ways other than writing. Do you consider yourself a “creative person?” What other creative outlets do you have?
BW: Role-playing games. Poetry. Sewing. Gardening. Zen. Archery.
SDR: Tell us about your other works, projects, publications, and what’s on the horizon next. This is the shameless self-promotion portion of the interview. :)
BW: Book six of the Jessica Keller novels, The Red Admiral, comes out May 10. Going to do a special on the first three books in April as a lead in.
SDR: What question do you wish you’d be asked in an interview, but it never seems to come up? Ask it, and tell us your answer.
BW: “Money or fame?” – Money. You can pursue Traditional Publishing and see your name in the bookstore, but most of the people I know doing that still have to have day jobs. And there are few people making a living in TradPub anymore. I retired from a good job as a database architect in February to become a full-time writer, and most people have never heard of me. Making good money, though. :)
SDR: Well, thanks for answering all my questions, Blaze! It’s great to have you in the bundle!
The Short Flights bundle from BundleRabbit is available now across many online platforms. Along with Blaze’s story, you’ll find nine more single stories and five full collections in the bundle, enough short fiction to keep you reading for a while! At just $4.99, it’s a real steal, so don’t miss it.
Come back next week for more interviews!