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Biography of Simon Kewin

Dark Expanse: Surviving The Collapse

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 interviews author Simon Kewin

Simon Kewin

Hellfire Unleashed

10-28-2014: interviews Simon Kewin, contributor to the anthology Dark Expanse: Surviving The Collapse, author of the short story Hellfire Unleashed.

MilSciFi: Welcome. Please tell us a little something about your story.

Kewin: Hellfire Unleashed was the third story I wrote for the Dark Expanse universe. I'd previously written another Chitter tale but I wanted to return to the insectoid species as I think they might be my favourite. The story plays with notions of appearance and prejudice, but if that sounds dull don't worry. There's a space battle with explosions too…

MilSciFi: Since this was a shared universe project, just how much freedom did you have in your story concept and/or character development?

Kewin: A lot. I've never written in a shared universe setting before, but I felt I had a lot of freedom to work on the themes and plots I was drawn to, obviously with a guiding editorial hand to make sure everything stayed consistent. It was a fun process.

MilSciFi: What inspired you to write this story?

Kewin: The story arose from hearing the phrase "One man's heaven is another man's hell". It seemed like there was a lot of scope to play with the notion within the Dark Expanse universe, given its wide variety of alien species.

MilSciFi: Does science and technology play an important role in this story (or in your work in general), or is it secondary to the story telling and characterization?

Kewin: Secondary, I'd say. I have spaceships and stardrives and beam weaponry and so forth – because they're all obviously fun to play with – but I think characters are what really make a story.

MilSciFi: Most authors we encounter write novellas/novels, do you write short stories, and if so do you find it a challenge?

Kewin: I write short stories, novellas and novels. They each have their challenges and joys. But the immediacy of the short story form is hard to beat. To be able to go from idea to done in a day or two is very appealing. It can be a welcome respite from a 100,000 word novel…

MilSciFi: Since time is of the essence for getting a read up to speed in a short story, do you have a strategy, or preferred method for doing this?

Kewin: I think, just the usual things. Jump straight into the action and dripfeed in any required backstory so subtly that the reader never notices (I hope). I like an nice, intriguing opening sentence, too.

MilSciFi: What advice would you give the aspiring military science fiction writer?

Kewin: They say you should write what you know. But given that it's currently quite tricky to gain direct experience of space combat, I'd recommend reading widely in the genre instead…

MilSciFi: Do you think there is any advantage to having your work in an anthology?

Kewin: Absolutely. I got to share a book with some great writers.

MilSciFi: Who is your single-most influential author in science fiction, and what impact did that have on our own work?

Kewin: This is tough. Can I say I don't know? I grew up reading a lot of Asimov and Clarke and Le Guin and many, many others. I mean, where do you start?

MilSciFi: What is the one thing you find the most difficult about writing military science fiction?

Kewin:I don't actually know much about how guns and spaceships work. But extensive research watching Star Trek as a boy has helped enormously.

MilSciFi: Is military science fiction the only thing you write, or is there something else out there we should be looking for?

Kewin: I write in lots of different genres. To be honest, I don't even think about "genre" much. I write fantasy stories, ghost stories, realist stories, science fiction stories (obviously) – and anything else that takes my fancy.

MilSciFi: Do you have any other projects in the works?

Kewin: Always! I'm currently working on my fourth and fifth novels as well as some short stories here and there, just to make things interesting…

MilSciFi: Thank you, for your time.

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