Chris Ward is from Cornwall, UK, but currently lives and works in Nagano, Japan, the host city of the 1998 Winter Olympics. He is married and has a cat. He is the author of The Tube Riders Trilogy, The Man Who Built the World, and the forthcoming Head of Words.
What inspires you to write?
At times nothing, at times bloody-minded willpower. I have always had stories to tell, from when I was a little kid growing beside a forest. Since roughly twelve years old I have wanted to be the next Stephen King. I used to write when the inspiration came, roughly one novel a year, but since I decided to try self-publishing in 2012 I have gone searching for it. I write as hard as I can, as often as I can.
Tell us about your writing process.
I write with a laptop, wherever I can find peace and quiet. During my teenage years I wrote using my dad’s old typewriter. I have a wonderful memory of that time, when I could only type with two fingers and they got so blistered that I made “writing thimbles” for them out of cotton wool and sellotape. I literally bled for my art.
Sometimes I just write what I feel, and other times I outline. In my Tube Riders books, I have generally outlined about five chapters in advance. My forthcoming novel, Head of Words (which I actually wrote in 2004) was entirely outlined. My other published novel, The Man Who Built the World, was written completely off the cuff. About halfway through, I almost lost it. I actually have a couple of unfinished manuscripts that are even longer than that novel which died because I ran out of puff.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
They listen to me. I spent all of my energy trying to make their lives as difficult as possible to see how they handle it. Not all of them survive…
What advice would you give other writers?
Learn to touch-type. I can type at roughly 70 words a minute (although for fiction I write at about 40), so I can write as I hear the words in my head. I’ve been praised for my rhythm and pacing on several occasions and I attribute this entirely to being able to touch-type.
Don’t give up. If you’re a new writer on your first or second novel, then I’m sorry to say it but you probably suck. But don’t despair – view the first couple as practice. My first three novels are rubbish. My first is so bad I barely dare to look at it now, but it was an important part of the learning process.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I had got to the point where I could sell short stories to small press magazines at will, and after having a couple of stories professionally published (most notably in Weird Tales) I knew I had the chops to be a pro writer. But the novels just refused to sell, although Tube Riders got a few agent requests. It took me a long time to come around to self-publishing, because of the vanity stigma. However, it is so wonderful to be completely in control, and while I read a lot of appalling self-published books, there are also some very good authors out there.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think ebooks will slowly expand their percentage of the market, but there will always be a place for paper books, just because a lot of people will always have an attachment for something physical.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Science Fiction, Horror, Dark Fantasy, Drama, Comedy,
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print