Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce you to sci-fi author Ed Charlton. Ed runs website Scribbulations and is the monarch of The 1/6 Scale Acting Company. This is along with writing articles and sci-fi books. Ed has kindly taken the time to speak with Joyful Antidotes about the Able Serial, his love of sci-fi and his golden nugget of advice to aspiring authors.
Tell us about the Able Serial.
Ed: First thing to know is that each episode is part of an ongoing serial, not a discreet story. There will be story arcs with a beginning and an end, but the serial will roll on as long as the ideas keep coming.
The main character is Jim Able from Earth, who is a cross between a bureaucrat and a spy; he’s not a superhero. He’s flawed, drinks a little too much, but gets by. He’s very human.
The first four episodes deal with his mission to pay the First Contact Reward fee (big money!) to someone introducing a new race to Earth. The mission gets complicated and Jim almost wrecks an alien world. Along the way, he works with Madhar Nect, a savvy, Turcanian female scientist and Tella, a Neffaran chameleon, to investigate Sopha, the mysterious Regndenir.
Of all the genres out there, what made you chose sci-fi?
Ed: I was very young when Doctor Who first aired in the UK, where I grew up (I now live and spell in America.) The show made a huge impact on me so I’ve always been into sci-fi. It’s my natural milieu.
Where do you get your ideas from? Was it easier to build an entirely new world than place a story in one that already exists?
Ed: I think all sci-fi is our world in disguise. The advantage in creating new worlds, new civilizations, is to throw a different light on ourselves. The ideas keep coming. If I don’t let them out they bug me until I do.
Would you say it was more fun to write the Able Serial than The Problem
with Uncle Teddy’s Memoir: A Speculative Fiction Romantic Adventure Mystery?
Ed: Good question. They are very different works. Uncle Teddy is both a sci-fi mystery and an essay in book layout. (That’s part of what I do with Scribbulations, my publishing company.) The story is told through letters; memos; emails; and, of course, the manuscript pages of Uncle Teddy’s memoir. Uncle Teddy is officially an epistolary novel. Traditional publishers would never do Uncle Teddy the way it needs to be done—they are averse to white space. I wanted sufficient realism to make readers comfortable with the format to suspend their disbelief at the unfolding epic content.
The Able Serial, built for Kindle/reflowable text, has no layout. That said, I couldn’t resist laying out some oversized bonus pages (that you can only download from scribbulations.com.) The bonus material is back story to Jim Able’s mission, and I built-in some neat visually humorous elements.
What kind of work did you do before and how did you know it was time to
quit and pursue a writing career instead?
Ed: I’ve spent the last twelve years helping indie authors produce high-quality books—hence my love of layout and cover design, etc. Although I’ve written stories for years, my writing has, until recently, taken a back seat. I felt it was time to put my experience to work for me.
What advice would you give to any aspiring writers out there?
Ed: Finish it. Whatever it is, finish it! No one can buy a book you didn’t complete. Your readers are welcome to contact me about what “finishing” a book actually means. I can talk for hours about the books I’ve seen, and their authors, launched into the publishing process way too soon.
Finally, give readers one good reason why they should read your books.
Ed: Intelligent, fun science fiction, professionally edited and produced, all with my British sense of humo(u)r. Sorry, is that five reasons?
Decided that is Able Serial is your thing? Check out the books here.