A: Tell us a little about yourself and your background!
LW: I’m a writer and a nursery-hand. Once upon a time, I was a musician and a cook. I’m a country boy living in the city, a working class intellectual, a cynical optimist, a Doctor of Literature who avoids academia, an outdoorsy bookworm, a highly-motivated daydreamer, a lover not a fighter, a hippy who eschews dreadlocks, tribal-chic, drum circles and earnestness.
A: When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
LW: I’ve loved books and stories ever since I was a little kid, but I didn’t start writing until late high school: poems and short fiction, the usual teenage stuff. I kept writing during my early twenties, submitting the odd piece of work but never taking it seriously. And then one day I just stopped.
Nearly a decade later, I returned to university to finish a Bachelor’s Degree that life had gotten in the way of. As I kept on through my degree, I took some writing classes, and rediscovered my passion for writing. I practised and practised, writing my way through a lot of crap before I got to the beginnings of the good stuff. The opportunity arose to do a PhD, which would encompass writing a novel and a piece of literary criticism. I seized it, knowing that here was the perfect environment to bring The Rain Never Came to life, and to turn myself into a writer.
A: Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
LW: I normally avoid outlining any kind of message that I would like readers to take away from my work – to me, the joy and beauty of literature is that the reader is the one that matters, not the writer. I might want people to read The Rain Never Came in a certain way, but I can’t force them to do so. Reading is an incredibly individual act, and the messages that we take away from what we read apply to no one but ourselves, dependent as they are on our own points of view and personal philosophies.
A: What are you working on at the moment?
LW: I don’t think writers can ever have too many projects on the go – the difficulty is in knowing which to focus on, something I’m not very good at yet. And so right now I have a completed draft of a serious book-length story cycle that looks at giant monsters of the Godzilla/King Kong kind, and I’ve also made a start on two other books: a post-apocalyptic western, and a piece of metafictional science fiction. One day, one day, they’ll all be done…
A: Any last thoughts for our readers?
LW: All I can say is that, as science fiction fans, we need to explore beyond the boundaries of the countries that produce the majority of it: Europe, the UK, the US and Japan. From Africa to South America, from the Indian Subcontinent to Eastern Europe, and from South-East Asia to the Antipodes, science fiction allows everyone to express their hopes for and fears of the future, regardless of their race or creed. All we need to do is look a little further and dig a little deeper.
(Originally published on Arvenig.it, 16/8/2017)