Q1) In one or two sentences, how would you describe your novel ‘Consensus Breaking’ to someone who hasn’t read any of your previous work?
Think an urban fantasy of the Matrix! It’s the sequel in the Auran Chronicles, and follows a young protagonist — Seb — who’s pulled into a secret world within our own where sheol (terrifying daemons that can possess humans) battle the warriors and mages of the Brotherhood and Magistry. In Consensus Breaking the fallout from the events of book one continue, with Seb and his alllies facing a new foe that not only serves as an entirely new level of adventure and threat, but also serves to delve deeper into the underlying mythology and scale of the Auran Chronicles universe.
Q2) How long did it take for you to finish and publish ‘Consensus Breaking’?
It took about 6 months, which included first draft, multiple edits, a professional edit, and then final rewrite.
Q3) Have you always wanted to write and when did you first discover that you wanted to write?
I’ve always enjoyed telling stories. Around 2004 I started writing “properly” and published a few short stories with online e-zines. Then kids came along and I took a long break. I started again in 2014 after seeing how the indie author revolution was taking off, and thought, why not?
Q4) Many writers, particularly young writers, have difficulty convincing their family and friends of their career choice. Have you found this, or society’s expectations, a problem?
Not really, not at this stage. Whilst I’ve told everyone that I’m publishing, I’ve been realistic in managing expectations. I have a day job that pays the bills, but ultimately I’d love to be able to write full time. I imagine for a young writer choosing this as a career choice you would face some challenges from family. The money isn’t great for the majority, but on the flip side it is is possible to make a living as an author if you’re willing to invest the time, effort and money (depending on your path) into making it happen.
Basically though, I’d say as long as you have a realistic understanding of what you can achieve, if you love writing, just go for it. You can always supplement with a day job until such point that your earnings from writing mean you don’t need to do it anymore.
Q5) How do you spend your average writing day?
My “writing day” is actually limited. Daylight hours are spent with family, work etc. I write from about 8pm to 10pm daily and try to get at least 1000 words down. The aim for me is always to get something down EVERYDAY, otherwise my natural lazy self kicks in and I start skipping days.
Q6) Is there a specific message, theme or idea that you wanted to get across to your readers with your novel ‘Consensus Breaking’?
Hmm, I think the underlying questions/ideas are – “what is the true nature of reality?” I think this question on its own spawns so many other questions but specifically it serves as the underpinning of the entire series — the Weave, the magi, the Aware/Unaware, the sheol, the Shards etc.
Q7) What do you feel is the best piece of writing advice that you have learnt to date?
I’ve heard/read a lot, but I think the best advice is just to read lots. When you read something with an author’s eye, you begin to pick out the particular nuances about how other authors do things – description, voice, narration, etc. There are tons of self-help writing books out there, which serve to teach the foundations, but you learn much more by simply reading lots.
Q8) What inspires you?
The unknowns in science. We know so much as a race, especially in physics, but the more we learn, the more we realise what we don’t know. The very questions posed by quantum physics (the role of the observer, what is reality) are some of the most fundamental of our time, and I drew on these questions heavily when designing the Auran Chronicles universe.
Q9) In this modern age of self-publicity, which social media platforms do you use and find the most useful?
Facebook and Twitter are my main ones. I also have a blog which syncs to twitter, facebook and goodreads, so try to keep it all in one place.
Q10) What novel have you read that you wish you had written?
Oh, good one. None, specifically, although I’ve read many where I’ve thought “wow – brilliant idea”. I suppose if I had to pick anyone novel, it would be The Stand by Stephen King. I love all of King’s work, but that one in particular was so epic in scope, story and questions that I was just mesmerised by the whole thing from beginning to end.
Q11) If you could be a character in any novel you’ve read, who would it be?
Harry Potter. What a great life he leads – aside from all the death of course 😉
Q12) Have you ever fallen in love with a character of your own creation?
I once created a character called “Legion”, who ran a greasy spoon cafe in my short story Cafe Diable. He was actually some kind of devil in disguise (I never fully explained what he was), but he was brilliantly creepy and scary.
In modern works – I like all my characters in different ways. Seb is the “everyman”, who views things from our normal view of the world. Cade is the traditional hero, willing to sacrifice everything for the greater good, and Sylph (who seems to be everyone’s favourite) has been through the hardest life of all but has come through with a mental toughness and resilience that belies her young years.
Q13) Do you have any favourite novels or authors?
Stephen King. Anything by him.
Some less serious and extra questions…
Q14) If you could travel to anywhere in the world where would it be?
Canada – Lake Banff specifically. Never been to Canada but would love to go.
Q15) Do you have any pets?
Yes – two cats – Crackers & Marmite.
Q16) What is your favourite food/beverage?
Anything spicy 🙂
Q17) If you could have dinner with anyone alive today (famous or not) who would it be and why?
Stephen King. I’d love to chat more about his worth ethic, how he gets the words so often and with such quality. I’d ask if he fancied doing a collaboration 😉
Q18) If you had a single trip in a time machine where would you go?
I’d go into the future. Perhaps a thousand years. I’d want to see if the human race had made it to the stars or had succeeded in wiping ourselves from the universe entirely!
Q19) And lastly, can you tell us a random fact about yourself?
I failed Chemistry in my first attempt at university (I was too lazy!) two years later got a degree in Physics and IT from the Open University.
A huge thank you to M. S. Dobing for being the first author and for taking the time to answer all the questions above. I hope you enjoyed this blog interview. If you would like to find out more about M. S. Dobing and his works, you can check out his social media links below!