About Scott Coon:
Scott Coon is an award-winning short story writer and former U.S. Army Intelligence Analyst. He served for six years, including a tour in Kuwait where he received the Joint Service Achievement Award. Now a software developer for a major bank, Scott brings his computer and military experience into his work, along with a sense of spectacle. See his website for links to his published shorts and his papers on the art and business of writing, as well as his debut novel, LOST HELIX.
What inspires you to write?
My ideas often come from asking the question, "Yeah, but what next?" Terraforming is a recurring concept in science fiction, like in James S. A. Corey's Leviathan Wakes, but what happens when the planet is done? How does humanity go about populating it? The world of Lost Helix is my answer to that question. Another source of inspiration was the video game Sid Meier's Civilization. Every time I built the domed spaceship bound for Alpha Centauri, I wondered what would become of it after the colonists stripped it for parts and left its remains in orbit. In Lost Helix, I give my science victory colony ships a second life as a farm, feeding the miners of Stone River.
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
I am a Kurt Vonnegut fan. My favorite is Hocus Pocus but Cat's Cradle and Galapagos have always stuck with me. I am also an Ann Rice fan and Stephen King is an amazing author, especially when he writes something like The Long Walk.
Tell us about your writing process.
I have a sixty-game arcade console with all Midway classics like Galaga and Ms. Pac Man. To take a break from writing and recharge, I'll stop and play a couple games. Then back to writing. I'm not getting much better at the games, but I'm getting a lot of writing done.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I mostly tell them what to do.
I started with a story to tell and built the characters to fit the story. At the same time, I made sure that the world shaped the characters as well. In the localized dystopia of Stone River, your life choices are extremely limited—escape or submit to a life working for the corporation you were born into. Each character has their own skills and goals born of their own backstory.
However, sometime a character gets away from you and does something unexpected. In LOST HELIX, that would be Katie. She's a little girl who pops in and out of the later part of the story. She appears shy at first but, as she opens up, she becomes a delightful character with some wonderful lines. Characters sometimes surprise the people who are writing them, doing things in the moment that hadn't been planned. In Lost Helix, Katie surprised me a couple of times. I think she'll surprise the readers as well.
What advice would you give other writers?
Learn. Learn the art. Learn the business. Then assume that everything changed while you weren't looking and learn it all again. Modern readers are different from just twenty years ago. Learn what publishers and readers want now, both in content and presentation. But not in trends.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I wanted the validation of someone else telling me that my book was worth the investment. I was prepared to do it all myself if I had to because I believed in LOST HELIX and knew readers would enjoy it. Fortunately, I did find someone willing to invest in my work, Dancing Lemur Press. Not only did they invest in me, they helped me make LOST HELIX a better book. For that, I am very grateful.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think, in one form or another, books will always be with us because readers have the most influence over this form of entertainment. When you read, you have to fill in parts of the world in your mind. When you watch a movie, a lot of that is taken away.
What genres do you write?: Science Fiction, Fantasy
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
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All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.
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