Distant Shore Publishing spent a little time getting to know B. W. Cole, author of our latest science fiction release, Biosphere: Hazard.
Hi B. W! Tell us a little about your back story
I grew up in the middle of nowhere. I worked in a bookshop for a long while. I’m very fidgety.
How did you get into writing?
I started off writing fan fiction when I was about eleven. (Okay, hands up, it was Harry Potter.) I began inserting my own characters that developed their own stories and outgrew the magical wizarding world. As a teenager I had a very writing-orientated schedule that surrounded school. I was always elsewhere.
How did you come up with the idea for Biosphere: Hazard? Where did your inspiration begin?
I knew I wanted to write a science fiction novella and I always like stuff that leans on the dark side. The thing that always irritated me about science fiction was that it often got in the way of itself. The wording would be too hefty and make the read slow. I just simply wanted a good story that would capture you at first page and spit you out at the end. I love Alien and Bladerunner, very gritty cyberpunk and simple stories done well, so they had a hand in crafting Biosphere.
Was there any particular themes you were keen to include?
Science fiction can sometimes seem soulless. It’s just about the world-building and all these futuristic mechanisms we don’t understand. I wanted to bring some humanity back into it, touching on loss, grief, responsibility and self-determinism. When things seem out of your hands, how much control do you really have? And would you rather someone else take the reins so you don’t have to?
How was the process of writing Biosphere: Hazard?
It was hard! There were certainly more segments that were easier to write than others. I wanted it to be fast-paced, and although I knew I could easily grow it into a full book, I wanted to concentrate it further and further. It turned out pretty jam-packed with details, and lots of room for the next one.
Yeah, I already have a sequel in the works, Biosphere: Heist. That one will go deeper into Heron, the MMOVRRPG, and introduce some new characters, whilst catching up with the old ones too. It takes a lot to world build and keep everything clear. I’m not the kind of author who can smash out novel after novel in quick succession. Props to those who can!
What do you love most about the science fiction genre?
I like that you can do anything and go anywhere, create whole worlds and travel between them. Just like fantasy, you can have different races, cultures, species. The options are endless!
Who was your favourite character to write?
I have a massive soft spot for Jay. He goes through a lot and although we only see him a handful of times, I’m really pleased with his character arc and how he develops throughout the story.
What kind of a world did you want to create for your characters?
Sadly, not a very nice one! There’s a lot of tough situations I wouldn’t wish on anyone but seeing them navigate all their dilemmas was quite interesting to work through. I don’t think things will get any easier in the next book.
Who are your favourite authors/books?
I do really like a broad range of writers and I generally read everything and anything. When in doubt, I always go for classics like Frankenstein, Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Dracula. Short stories and novellas like ‘Who Goes There?’ by John W. Campbell Jr. and ‘We can Remember it For You Wholesale’ by Philip K. Dick have been wonderful at shaping me too.
What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
It’s the same advice everywhere and from every writer, but just write every day if you can. Start a habit. Be humble. Always learn. Read lots. Stop trying to be clever. All a reader wants is a good story.