Interviewed by Amazon and Fictionwise best-selling author Lizzy Stevens.
Please tell us about your latest book.
“The Mouth” is a sci fi adventure story about a teenager whose town is burned down and family killed. His only chance of survival is to travel through a dangerous device called “The Mouth” that opens doors into other worlds.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m currently writing an urban fantasy about a police officer who uncovers some secrets in a strange town. I’m hoping it might turn into a series.
How do we find out about you and your books?
A good place to start would be my website at https://henryandersonbooks.com. I’m on Twitter at https://twitter.com/handersonbooks and my Facebook is: https://www.facebook.com/henry.anderson.books. My Amazon author page is: http://author.to/henryanderson
Why did you decide to write Science Fiction?
I feel like science fiction/fantasy chose me – in the sense that it interests me. I think speculative fiction can make you look at familiar things differently.
How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
Quite a lot. I try and smuggle experiences in so it’s not too obvious it’s autobiographical. Life events like recently surviving cancer change you as a person and consequently as a writer.
When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first ms?
They made a “Planet of the Apes” TV show when I was a kid and I was captivated by it. I wrote a story set in that world – I was about eight. I’ve written things on-and-off since then – I had some plays performed. A recent health scare spurred me into action. My first novel submission was to Solstice Publishing a few months ago.
Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?
I go with the flow. I take my trusty laptop with me wherever I go. I spend an unhealthy amount of time in coffee shops. I have a very low minimum word count. Some days it comes easier than others.
What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?
I took up archery a couple of years ago which makes a change from writing. I read a lot. Also I listen to audiobooks a lot.
What truly motivates you in general? In your writing?
Anger and fear. And love.
Where do your ideas come from?
I wish I knew. Somewhere in a primitive part of my brain.
Do you feel humour is important in science fiction and why?
Humour is definitely an important part of storytelling. I tend to write darkly humorous situations if not out-and-out comedy.
What kind of research do you do?
I have always enjoyed going into libraries, so I still do that a bit. The Internet is a massive resource. But, being honest, I do as little research as I can get away with.
Tell us about yourself
I’m an English graduate and former journalist. I live in a village in Kent. I like painting in oils and writing.
Do you have a favorite author? Favorite book?
The author I most enjoy reading is P.G. Wodehouse. His prose brightens up any day. Evelyn Waugh said: “The gardens of Blandings Castle are that original garden from which we are all exiled.”
My favourite book is probably “Kidnapped” by Robert Louis Stevenson. I like adventure stories and it’s a masterpiece.
How many books have you written, how many have been published?
I’ve written a few short stories and plays. This is the first novel. I’m very excited Solstice is publishing it.
After you’ve written your book and it’s been published, do you ever buy it or read it?
I think Leonardo da Vinci said : “”Art is never finished, only abandoned.” Eventually you have to abandon it somewhere and drive off. Kind of like literary fly-tipping.
Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?
I usually think of a setting first – to test the characters.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
The thought that someone might actually read your stuff is pretty amazing.
Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
On bad days any writer feels despair that what they are doing might be worthless. Ignore those feelings and keep writing. Write. Write as if your life depended on it!
Lizzy Stevens links:
While you’re here, why not check out my interview with author Penny Estelle:
“The Mouth” is out now. To celebrate, here are some songs that vaguely inspired it.
This playlist is available on Spotify
1. “Slow boat to China” performed by Freddy Martin. It didn’t survive the final draft but this was playing on the gramaphone in the collaborator’s living room.
2. “I Fought the Law” by the Bobby Fuller Four. The Clash covered this song in the 70s. The Bobby Fuller Four’s earlier version is more upbeat and has the same defiant tone.
3. “Hold On” by John Lennon. Sometimes all you can do is hold on.
4. “God Save the Queen” by the Sex Pistols. Johnny Rotten claimed: “You don’t write ‘God Save The Queen’ because you hate the English race. You write a song like that because you love them, and you’re fed up with them being mistreated.”
5. “Lord Grenville” by Al Stewart. A wistful folk-rock song told from the viewpoint of a disillusioned sailor. Grenville was a British sea captain who sailed his crew towards a hostile Spanish fleet of 53 vessels.
6. “Hurricane” by Bob Dylan. Smetimes, as in the case of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, it is worth keeping the faith.
7. “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic” performed by Henry Hall and his Orchestra. It’s probably just me but I’ve always found this a tiny bit sinister.
8. “War on Freedom” by Killing Joke.
9. “Everybody’s Fool” by Evanescence. There are people around who keep everybody fooled.
10. “I’m Leaving You Because I Don’t Love You” by Jens Lekman. The kind of love song people might sing to each other in a dystopian future.