About Sean Austin:
Sean Austin (aka Hart Getzen) is a father of avid gamers as well as a writer and producer of simulation, television, location based entertainment and gaming entertainment for companies such as IMAX, 20th Century Fox, Hitachi and Universal Studios. Using ECHO’s Revenge as a springboard, Getzen guest lectures on writing and STEM career development at middle-grade and high schools. The author also lectures on design and production of Location Based Entertainment at universities such as the Rhode Island School of Design.
“The ECHO’s Revenge series provokes gamers to consider the ethics of Artificial Intelligence and its impact on both designing and playing games – what happens when a group of people work together to create a game, and imbue it not only with its own intelligence, but with their own spirit? What are the political and interpersonal dynamics of that team enterprise, and what challenges may game designers face when their AI evolves in an unanticipated direction?”
What inspires you to write?
I produced simulations (like the Transformers ride at Universal Studios Parks) and other high-tech entertainment for many years and saw how things could go wrong with technology-for example, we found that we could not only excite and entertain people in motion simulators, but could make them really sad, happy, wildly hysterical (laughing totally out of control ) or even cause them to hiccup for 24 hours. These were emotions and responses that we discovered, but did not use in the shows, for various reasons. We accidentally found them through human error. I also had a boss who often said “Technology will give us the answers,” and “The technology will show us the way,” which I found was a huge mistake. Technology is a tool. Our intelligence and ethics must guide us and our new technologies. Our ethics and understanding of artificial intelligence must grow and evolve continuously to enable us to manage the new technologies we invent. There are many other reasons I wrote the book, among them wanting to show how codes can help us get through hard times, like what Claire talks about in the focus group. I also wanted to show how brothers (or sisters) can help each other get through tough times with difficult parents.
Tell us about your writing process.
I am definitely an outliner to to cover all the points in the novel I need to address. From there I write a very very rough draft that I re read and pass on to friends and family to get their criticism. Then keep going by writing different sections that need work and off to my copy editor and editor.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
It’s actually interesting because I, Sean Austin, am actually a character in the ECHO;’s Revenge series. I also continue the investigation for ECHO-7 on my website to include a external source for readers. So when writing with Sean in mind, I have to make sure I capture his character traits and emotions even if that someones involve speaking out loud.
What advice would you give other writers?
Keep on writing. Don’t get discouraged after releasing one novel and it not skyrocketing to the top of the best sellers list. You have to gradually and continually build your base and keep writing novels. Spread the royalties between numerous novels instead of hitting the jackpot with a single novel. Also, know who you are writing for!
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I went with the independent publisher route because not only did I want to create realism within the AAA Reality Games company, but I also wanted to explore outside alternatives to a traditional publisher. I just don’t believe traditional publishers have the motivation and enthusiasm for an author’s work outside of dollar signs in their eyes.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I don’t think it will be going anywhere soon, electronic and print copies will always be fighting to see which is better. I run into people more and more who prefer a print copy to an e-device. On top of that I write for young adults and teens. That market is not into the idea of e-devices yet. Holding my breath…
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Thrillers, Acion Adventure, Video Game
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print