Welcome to the five hundred and eighty-ninth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with science-fiction author R Peter Ubtrent. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Peter. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Peter: I’m R. Peter Ubtrent and I live in Edgewood, New Mexico. That’s close to Albuquerque. I have several degrees, including astrophysics and a Masters in Military History. I repair clocks and watches when I’m not writing and I started writing in high school because I loved the way fiction books could take you to another place and time and I always had ideas like that floating around in my head.
Morgen: I read a lot of fiction in my teens but it never occurred to me until eight years ago (when I went on a college evening course) that I could write it myself so I felt I’d missed out on all those years but I have that more experience to write about. What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Peter: I write Science Fiction. I’ve considered writing fantasy and historical novels.
Morgen: What have you had published to-date?
Peter: I have nine books in print so far. There is a stand-alone time-travel thriller called Eternity’s Handmaiden, a six-book space opera called the Dark Pilgrim Series, and a two-book set called The Sslithax Heresy.
Morgen: You’re self-published, what lead to you going your own way?
Peter: I tried to go the traditional way but kept getting rejection letters, and nasty ones at that. I had had friends and acquaintances read my manuscripts and they all said they were good so I didn’t understand what the publishers wanted. Then I started to read some of the things that were getting published and realized that I couldn’t write that badly or that predictably and that was obviously what the publishers wanted so I figured the only way I could get my books out there was to self-publish.
Morgen: Ah yes, the right thing for the wrong person, I’ve been there. Are your books available as eBooks? How involved were you in that process? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Peter: They are available in eBooks as well as print. I had to do most of the work to get them ready for eBooks. Don’t see the need to pay someone when I can do it myself. I only read paper books. Have a library of over 1200 of them.
Morgen: I probably have getting on for the same number, dotted around the house, but read both formats. For me, I love having the option, especially when something is eBook only. Do you have a favourite of your books or characters? If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?
Peter: I really like the Dark Pilgrim series. I think it’s my best work to date. Out of that series, I guess I’d have to say that Dark Throne is the one I like the most, though it’s a close call. Ailanthus and Christl are two of my favourite characters. They developed far different than I at first envisioned. I think that Chris Pine would make a great Ailanthus and Hayden Panettierra (Heroes star) would make a great Christl.
Morgen: The cheerleader… a great series. Did you choose the titles / covers of your books? How important do you think they are?
Peter: I did yes, and I think they can make or break a book. Doesn’t matter how good the writing is inside, if it doesn’t catch people’s eyes, then they won’t read it.
Morgen: They do have to draw them in, especially given the number of new books out there. What are you working on at the moment / next?