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Hi there everyone,

It looks as if many of us will have plenty of time on our hands to curl up with a good book! You might get some ideas for your next read from our guest today, Paul Arvidson who writes SSF and Thrillers.

Hi there Paul, how long have you been writing?

Hi, Trish. I’ve been writing for ten years now. When I started, my paid work wasn’t very creative and I felt I was going crackers. In the long dark hours between feeds and changes of our first born, I got all kinds of strange ideas. Eventually I had to write them down and I made my creative stuff start happening on paper. I’ve still so many ideas that I need to get written down, this keeps me going!

Over the years I feel my style of writing has got better. I can keep more in my head now, which helps, but I’m also more organised (I keep a dramatis of characters as I go along and occasionally sketch a map if I need to).

At the moment I write mainly SFF and Thrillers. Whether I branch out any further depends, again, on how much I can keep in my head.

Where do you get the ideas for your stories?

The ideas for my novels just come to me. The premise for my SFF series “Could a species survive and thrive in a world that was completely dark?” just came to me in the night and it ballooned from there. Likewise, the opening for my thriller series (a teenaged girl, tipped over underneath a powered wheelchair, with someone with a gun closing in to kill her) came to me when I was trying to think of ideas for Book 3 of the SFF series!

Is there much of you in your main characters?

I guess there always is for every author though the main characters of The SFF books are mutated guinea-pigs so I don’t have much in common with them, but the main characters in my thriller are all from a special school. Having a daughter with pretty profound special needs means I’ve seen a lot of what my protagonists see, but over her shoulder. It’s been a great opportunity to extract revenge!

In the Dark Series, I guess I’ve got more in common with the protagonist ‘Dun’ than I’d care to admit. He’s a very reluctant hero and spends his life being bewildered. In the thriller, I guess Cady is a reflection of how ‘no messing’ I wish I was. I certainly swear as much as she does.

Are the settings places you are familiar with?

The Dark Series, is imagined. It’s the remains of an abandoned colony on a planet in space. I kind of knew about the setting before I knew about the characters and knew I wanted it to be totally lightless, but to still be full of noise and smell and excitement.

The thriller is set in a fictionalised version of Taunton in Somerset. All of the characters are made up.

I save all the crazy imagined setting stuff for the SFF so it gives me a break when I’m writing the thrillers!

Do you want your novels to get people thinking or are they for pure enjoyment?

For me, both of these make one question, if that makes sense. I want people to think, but I don’t want to torture them while that’s happening. I’ve borrowed someone’s brain for the duration and I’ve got a duty to entertain as well as stir. So, I guess my books are roller-coaster rides that leave people thinking? I hope.

When do you write? Do you have a special place?

 Because of our youngest having profound special needs and her sister only being a year older than her and super bright it makes home pretty busy. So I write wherever I can and whenever I can. I’ve learned to do ‘micro bursts’ of writing, where I can sit down and rattle off 50-100 words at a time. I can write in long bursts if I get time, it just doesn’t happen all that often.

What is the hardest part of being a writer?

It depends on whether I’m currently editing or marketing as to which I hate most.

Do you think a writer must also be a reader?

No, I don’t think a writer needs to be anything, except themselves.

Having said that, I am a keen reader myself. I usually read Sci-Fi or Fantasy and lots of #indie writers Beta reads (when I might branch out and read anything!) but I’ll have a go at anything as long as it’s well written or quirky. I’ve got to have a book on the go for sanity’s sake. I read about one book a week, usually. I find new books to read by offering to beta-read for #indie mates. And if I’m stuck, I ask my wife, who reads at ten times the speed I do and has a very good taste in #SFF. I certainly go on recommendations from people I trust and I tend to read *everything* by an author I like. These days, when I read so much on the PC or the e-reader, the length of the book doesn’t seem to matter so much. I like a good series!

I don’t think too much about age range, I’ll read anything that’s SF, F or SFF from Y/A all the way up to dusty classics. But odd crossover #SFF is what I enjoy most and there’s not a great deal of that out there. I’d like to see more weird books that make me think - like Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor.

What book would you recommend others to read? Have you an all-time favourite? 

My book fascination is Utopias. I always think it’s harder to write one of those because it’s always easier to imagine disaster. Do other readers have a favourite Utopia?

My favourite book definitely changes, but I have books I come back to. I tend to recommend Golden Age SF books to people. This week, how about ‘Fire Upon the Deep’ by Vernor Vinge. Cracking world and really interesting take on aliens. (The ‘Tines’ are my favourite alien ever, I think.) George Orwell’s 1984 is the only book that’s ever made me jump.

The things that put me off a book are:  Racism. Flat out stupidity. Really bad writing. (Nobodies cheeks were roses. Ever. Ok? Good.)

Thank you for talking to us today, Paul.

Thanks so much, Trish.

You can find out more about Paul Arvidson and his work at:

Dark Books2Read link:

Wheels of Cady Grey :

@realarvo on twitter, insta and pinterest. 

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