Well, you obviously have excellent taste, Kath! Yes, I’ve been writing books since before I learned to read. I also learned to tell big fat lies around the same time.
The truth is I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing something or other. The reason my homework was late, my exams were failed and I didn’t go to university was because I was too busy working on my own stories. [shakes fist] Damn you, writing bug, you’ve ruined my life!
You look well on it!
Your book Auto started out as a number of separate short stories, sharing a theme. They are science-fiction set in the very near future and alarmingly accurate so far. Where did the idea come from to draw them together and not just publish as a collection but make a real novel out of them?
It was while writing Friend Request, the third short story, that I started thinking about collecting them into one book. For plot reasons, I had to think up some background and work out what was ‘normal’ in the year 2022. That’s when I realised how much scope there was, not just to connect the stories in a consistent way but build on them to tell a bigger novel-sized tale. By that point I also realised that autos themselves were ‘story generators’, as I was continually coming up with plotlines involving them. That’s still happening… I’d have to write a dozen books to use them all.
Auto 2 – the new book. The ideas you postulate have a real feeling of possibility – or is it the way you tell ‘em? Are you really a geek? Any further science-fiction ideas you want to explore?
I’ve tried to keep the Auto Series grounded in the modern world, albeit even more reliant on technology and the internet than we are now. Most adults nowadays have lived through a period of incredible technological advancement, and things which would have been science fiction when we were kids are now commonplace. I think that may be why the Auto stories feel possible. We’ve already experienced so much change, it’s not hard to imagine that self-driving cars, clothes with medical sensors, digital eyewear and autos themselves are all going to be ‘the new normal’ in a decade or so.
I am absolutely not a geek, and the next carbon-based life form to call me that gets blasted out of the space/time continuum by my superlaser!
Right now, I find that the Auto Series is satisfactorily scratching my itch to write science fiction, so I don’t plan to explore any other SF ideas. There’s still plenty for me to get my head around with these stories.
I think we’re catching up on 2022 so fast that you might have a very short shelf-life for an Auto 3! What’s next for you?
By the time Auto 3 comes out, it’ll be in the historicals category!
I’m keen to have a break from this series, which has dominated my life since 2012, and write something different. So my very next project is… another Auto story! But this is just a one-off for a speculative fiction anthology being produced by Lucas Bale. After that I’ll be working on a short novel which will be out next year. I have a few options so can’t confirm any details about it yet.
But you heard it first here, people! A year or so ago you began a new career as an editor. Now that indie publishing is so well established, are you finding it a successful career move?
I really enjoy being a self-employed editor. The secret of happiness is to get paid doing something you’d have done for free anyway! Over the years, I’ve unofficially helped a lot of people write everything from CVs to novels, so it feels like I was always going to end up here.
There were risks, though. I knew that it wouldn’t be as secure as a traditional job, and would involve a drop in income. But there are so many upsides, not least of which is working with lots of fantastic, inventive, funny and bonkers indie authors. They’re my people! If not for places like the Kindle Users Forum where I made so many friends, I doubt it would have been as painless a transition as it was.
Auto 2 was published as an Amazon eBook on Monday 23rd November. Auto, the first book in the series, will be FREE to download from Amazon between 23rd and 27th November.
You can find David's books on his Amazon Author page here. And thank you, Mr Auto, for coming to chat.