reader Q&A with Steve Cole
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I always enjoyed playing with words, but started off as an editor of books and magazines and wrote in my spare time. Gradually the writing started to take over more and more. I never imagined I would end up a full-time writer, but that’s what I’ve been for the last 20 years.
How do you turn your idea into a book? Do you brainstorm your ideas and characters and write sections or do you have a different way?
I think when a good idea comes into your head its gravity will pull other good ideas to it – characters and possible plots. The idea has to sit there at the back of my brain, growing quietly without me thinking about it for too long. Eventually it’s ready to be written out, and that’s when most of the ideas appear.
What is the advice could you give to someone who would like to write their own book?
With any writing, never settle for the first thing you write. Be ready to edit. Try to get used to thinking of different ways of saying things. Above all, enjoy writing. Then, even if you don’t get published, you’ll still have had lots of fun!
Do you think Aliens exist?
Definitely. The universe is way too big for us to our planet to be the only one with life in the universe. But I’m not sure if we’ll ever meet aliens for the same reason – all the other worlds that may have life are just too far away. It would take hundreds or thousands of years to reach them.
What was your favourite subject in school?
English. No question!
How did you get to work with Tim?
Tim and I both have agents at the same company (an agent is someone who helps writers deal with publishers). When Tim had the idea for Swarm Rising he wanted to collaborate with a children’s author and my agent thought we would get along. She arranged a meeting for us, and we have been having the best fun working together on Swarm Rising and its sequel. Tim has such brilliant ideas, it’s a pleasure to bounce them about between us.
Have you always enjoyed writing?
Yep. I still have lots of Doctor Who stories and other homemade books from when I was aged 8, 9, 10 and onwards into my teens…
How long did it take you to write Swarm Rising?
Tim and I did a lot of thinking and talking about it over Zoom during the first lockdown, and slowly it took shape! In terms of the actual writing, it was a few months, swapping things between us.
Will there be another book with the same characters?
There will, out in August. It’s called Swarm Enemy!
Was it difficult to write a book with someone else?
It can be, but I have to say working with Tim was such a treat because he has a natural talent for storytelling and is very attuned to how to get over the plot. He can take a scientific idea and treat it with imagination and filter his own imaginative ideas into solid science. That’s when the best kind of science fiction is born!