Frequently Asked Questions
(… though ‘questions asked at least once’ would be more accurate.)
- Where do you get your ideas?
From living, and being interested in stuff, and stringing it together randomly in my head until I find a pattern that seems to work. Try it.
- How can I get published?
First, write something. Then send it to a carefully-targeted publisher. Repeat, quite possibly for years (and years, and years), until one of them cracks.
- Can I send you stuff to read?
Sorry, no. Not only am I swamped with reading anyway but this guarantees I will never get a plaintive call in years to come saying, “you bastard, I sent you my idea back in 1997 and now you’ve nicked it, please find enclosed my writ for £2 billion damages …”
- Do you do talks and visits?
- What do you charge?
Let’s talk …
- Are The Ark and His Majesty’s Starship the same book?
Pretty well, yes. The American publishers decided The Ark was a title better suited for the American market. They live in a world where, if you want an exciting space opera with aliens and lots of battles, you look for a book named after a big wooden boat. In fairness, every other American editor I’ve spoken to is equally baffled at their decision and they gave it quite a groovy cover. [However, if you're comparing it with the original Scholastic edition, The Ark has about 16 extra pages worth of text, scattered throughout the narrative. HMSS was 16 pages too long for its intended price bracket so they had to be cut. These have been re-instated in the latest editions.]
- Are you working on anything at the moment?
- Will there be a sequel to The Xenocide Mission?
I very rarely say never, but it’s unlikely. This is a shame because I like the Rusties, but no plots are coming to mind for one. All the ones suggested to me by the ending of TXM are a bit hackneyed have already been done much better by much cleverer people than me. However, plots are stacking up in my head for all kinds of other books, so I feel I should go where my instincts are taking me …
- Why are the Vampire Plagues credited to Sebastian Rook and not Ben Jeapes?
Because the plot for the trilogy was devised by someone else; I simply wrote it. I gave an increasing amount of input as I went along, but it wasn’t an original Ben Jeapes work all of my own devising. Putting my own name on it would have misled readers who thought it was. The pseudonym also means the publisher can hire other writers to write as Sebastian Rook, and there is a trilogy of the further adventures of Ben, Jack and Emily – Outbreak, Epidemic and Extermination.
- Can I have some biographical information …
Yes, right here.
- Stuff about how you became an author?
Again, yes, right here.
- Will you be my Facebook friend?
If we’re not already at least real-life acquaintances, or (in Facebook terms) friends-of-friends, or we haven’t done significant business online together … then, sorry, no. See Guess who’s back on Facebook? for some of my thoughts on that medium.