Hi Drew, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Hey Jason, I’m a new science fiction author, and my first novel, Absolute Knowledge was published on January 2nd, 2017. I enjoy PC and board gaming, and cycling in addition to writing and reading. I’m currently finishing up my undergrad degree in business with a concentration in innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Texas at Dallas.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing in one form or another my whole life. I started writing seriously, with the hope of completing an actual novel in late 2013.
What inspired you to start writing?
I found myself drawn to the same set of books over and over again when I read. I thought, why am I drawn to the same books that I’ve read multiple times when I’ve got a backlog of new books to read? I tried to identify the elements in those books that always keeps me coming back, and incorporate those into my work. I wanted to create a book that others would enjoy as much as I enjoyed writing.
Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?
Absolute Knowledge is the first of a cyberpunk trilogy which takes place in a dark, futuristic New York City set in 2146. The country of New York is divided into three physical tiers and the faceless Government is working to establish Absolute Knowledge.
Working as Thinkers, the citizens of the Slums are paid for their thoughts and given vouchers needed to sustain their cost of living. Since the Government controls almost everything, most citizens are forced to either work as Thinkers or turn to a life of disconnect from society under the harshest of conditions.
Book two, Absolute Zero, was published in May of this year.
What genre do you prefer to write in, if any?
Science fiction, and science fantasy. My favorite genre to write in is a blend of hard science fiction (a focus on scientific accuracy and technical detail throughout the work) and cyberpunk which is a dark future with high tech and low life. I’ve also recently tried my hand at science fantasy, a blend of science fiction and fantasy elements that incorporate magic that wouldn’t be possible scientifically. It may seem like a big contradiction from hard science fiction, which I love, but it’s fun to write about magic that’s infused with technological innovations.
What authors influenced you?
I was heavily influenced by Stephen King, Patrick Rothfuss, Ernest Cline, and Andy Weir. I love reading science fiction, horror, and fantasy.
What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading Cyberstorm by Matthew Mather, Linear Shift by Paul B Kohler, and finishing up some beta reading/editing for a couple of other author friends.
Do you write every day? A few days per week?
I try to write every day. Whether it’s working on a short story, my novel, or a new blog post to entice readers on my blog. I always try to do something to advance my writing or connect with new authors or readers.
Do you listen to music when you write? Does it influence how you write?
Absolutely! I listen to a lot of metalcore and djent which is super heavy and energetic. I’ve listened to metal almost exclusively for ten years now, and it always helps me write.
How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?
I’ve definitely improved since I first started. My writing used to be clunky and my characters were inorganic. I’ve tightened my prose, world-building, and have worked to get rid of bad writing habits that held me back. Practice and a lot of coffee are great for the aspiring author.
How do you create the covers for your books?
I hired Steven McCorry to do the cover for my novel, Absolute Knowledge. Steven was also the vocalists of one of my favorite bands (Exotype) so it was a great experience to get to work with him on the design from start to finish. I’d highly recommend him for any design project. He also designed the cover for the second book of my trilogy, Absolute Zero. You can check his portfolio out at stevenmccorrydesign.com Tell him I sent you, and he’ll give you a discount.
Are there any non-literary influences for your writing?
I listen to a lot of metalcore and djent when I write. It’s heavy, energetic stuff. My main writing playlist has a dash of electronica in it as well (good for writing cyberpunk scifi after all). Of course, movies and TV shows that I’ve seen also have influence. I remember the magic of seeing Star Wars for the first time as a kid, and that magic has undoubtedly influenced my work in one way or another.
Here’s a link to my writing playlist \M/ : https://open.spotify.com/user/emperion6/playlist/5O7csf71kxwke8Y1UWofzH
Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?
My books Absolute Knowledge, Absolute Zero, and their prequel novella, Paragon.EXE, can be purchased on Amazon in print and digital format right here: https://www.amazon.com/Drew-Cordell/e/B01NBIQ7CG/
Where can we find you online?
You can connect with me on my blog, Facebook, and Twitter:
What is your favorite book and why?
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, with 11/22/63 by Stephen King as a close second. Both books are absolutely fantastic in different ways and I’ve read each of them four times already.
How do you market your books?
I’ve tried a variety of methods including both paid and free options. I’ve found the best way to sell books is to connect with others and forge lasting relationships and offer value to them through my blog post, advice, or help on their projects without expecting anything in return.
Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?
“I continued to fire at the man, whose armor continued to hold, but he kept his focus on Caeldra. He was swinging the axe with precision and agility despite his massive size. I watched with horror as the axe connected with Caeldra’s stomach and she was flung several feet back. There was no blood, no sickly sinking sound as the axe cut through her stomach, just the distinct sound of metal on metal and an explosion of blue sparks.
“I’m alright. Keep shooting, Jake!” she screamed through the earpiece as she struggled to gain her feet. The man continued toward her as I continued to shoot at his back and head. I was shocked at the amount of energy his armor had absorbed. After loading a new magazine, I started advancing.” – Excerpt from Absolute Knowledge.
If you’re an indie author, what made you choose that route?
Publishing as an Indie author was an easy choice. I didn’t have to wait around for agents, and had unlimited flexibility in every aspect of my publishing. In the end, the crowd still votes on the best-selling books with their hard-earned dollars, and no one is going to promote your work as hard as you do. Besides, if you self-publish, you still have the opportunity to be picked up by a publisher down the line if you choose to go that route.
Any parting words for writers?
Be persistent, and don’t give up! I’ve got several unfinished novels that I’ll probably never touch again, but when you have a great idea, don’t let anyone stop you, work hard, and you’ll have a great book when you’re done. Don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way, and be prepared to pay for editing and a great cover.