When I was a farm kid, I built barns and granaries, drove tractors, herded cattle (afoot, we couldn’t afford a horse), shoveled grain, and repaired farm machinery, all alongside my dad, of course. Then I was a college student, trim carpenter, cabinet maker, surgical tech at a Naval hospital, college student, writer, college student, county Red Cross director, college student, middle school science teacher (27 years), writer, and now blogger – pretty much in that order, with some overlap.
I am ridiculously over-educated, and I loved every minute of getting that way.
Over forty years, I have written nine novels and innumerable parts of novels, many of them unfinished rather than abandoned. My first publication was a novella in Galaxy, followed by novels from Ballantine and Pocket Books, one of which was published in German translation. My latest novel Cyan, is out now from EDGE, and available on Amazon.
What type of stories hold the most fascination for you?
The answer here is not a genre. Anything I plan to spend a large chunk of my life on has to have adventure, action, and people doing interesting things that matter to humanity. It also has to have characters with an interesting backstory, and motivations that are beyond personal gain or pleasure.
Most mainstream novels seem to focus on overcoming personal trials. Fine, but that’s too small scale for me. In many science fiction novels, the hero saves the universe, and who cares. I need both halves of that equation.
What inspired you to write fiction and what continues to inspire you?
Like most writers, I always wrote, but I had no thought of becoming a writer. When I had an unexpected hiatus in my career plans, I decided to sit down and see if I could actually write the multi-thousand words that a novel requires. It was like the first shot of heroin; I got hooked.
If you are an engineer, getting a job with NASA instead of the local steel fabricating plant is a crap shoot. If you are a researcher, finding that life affirming breakthrough is a crap shoot. As a writer, I could build my own worlds and manage my own outcomes.
I thought it would give me control over my own life. Boy, was I wrong. But by the time I knew that, it was too late.
Continued inspiration? More like continued addiction, and no end of fun.
On your BLOG, ‘A Writing Life’ you speak of the demands of time on a writer and the many hats authors are expected to wear today. What is your number one tip for managing your time?
Time management is too personal for me to advise anyone. Would I be speaking to a single living in a cheap hotel with no life but writing, or to someone living in suburban America with a spouse and four kids? I do have one tip, though. Get a day job you love nearly as much as you love writing. You may be doing that day job for thirty years.
Things have changed immeasurably since I began writing 40-some years ago. Writing a blog, talking to podcast producers, or living on Facebook — none of that existed when I began writing. The upside is that now an author can do something to promote his work. The downside is that he has to.
You have a second strand on your website where you post serial fiction. What do you like about this form of writing?
All the material on Serial was written before I began the blog. That is an offshoot of being a long time writer. I did try writing new material for Serial, but writing on demand doesn’t match my skill set.
The interesting thing about Serial is how many people come back day after day to see what happens next. Serial was a pure gamble on my part; I had no idea that anyone would enjoy reading a story in dribbles over months. I’m not sure I could read a story like that, but one interesting thing about life is the different personalities you meet along the way.
Will mankind ever colonize the stars?
Yes. Period. Whether humanity is fit to do so, is another question.
My original answer to this question was, “Yes, if we don’t blow ourselves up first.” But even with our massive nuclear stockpiles, and with Trump and Putin acting like children, a nuclear war would only set us back a few thousand years. Horror, yes. But only a blip on our multi-million year evolution.
What is your favorite (read) book and why?
I could name many, but if you want only one, it would have to be “A Wizard of Earthsea” by Ursula LeGuin. She has successfully married a hyper-competent character (shades of every science fiction story ever told) with a land where normal, non-technological humanity still raises crops and babies, and deals with the vicissitudes of an untamed environment. Even her dragons are more human than most of the heroes of S & S.
What is the book you dream of writing and haven’t yet?
I have three historical novels planned, following three generations of one family, set in 1789, the 1840s, and 1956. Unfortunately, my MA in History raises the bar on required accuracy. In the time it would take to research and write one of these novels, I could world-build and write three fantasy or SF novels. Additionally, historical research means travel, which is expensive. Fantasy and SF world building just requires head scratching, and writing down the results. Life is short and the bills have to be paid, so for now . . .
Find about more about Syd Logsdon
His blog, A Writing Life: https://sydlogsdon.com/
More about the author and his book CYAN at: Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy Publishing