R. J. EASTWOOD 2017 Novel of Excellence Winner - Science Fiction

"The Autopsy of Planet Earth roundly encapsulates everything that is beautiful and smart and entertaining in science fiction writing." - PLEASE PASS THE BOOKS

What inspired you to become an author? And/or what inspired you to write your award-winning novel?

Before turning to novels, my career was producing, writing & directing feature films and TV documentaries. When I retired from action production, I finally had the time to pursue a life long ambition, and that was to write novels.


Can you tell us about your publishing journey? Why did you choose to traditionally or self-publish? Did you try and/or succeed in finding an agent? Etc…


Having been published five time via traditional publishers (4 non-fiction, 1 novel), I was seeking total control over my work. The decision to self-publish was an easy one since I was dissatisfied with my previous publishers.


What was the inspiration for your characters? Were they based on people you know or acquaintances?

I have always been fascinated with the idea that there has to be life beyond our planet. With “The Autopsy of Planet Earth”, I explored what a first contact could be. It was an opportunity to not only to bring humans face-to-face with an alien race, but also to explore the human consciousness in a way that examines what we have done to ourselves and our planet.


What is your day-to-day routine like as a writer?

I usually write from 9 in the morning to 2-3 in the afternoon. After that, I’m brain dead.


How do you stay motivated and inspired to write?


I’m compelled to write, it’s in my DNA, from my first screenplay years ago, to the many documentary scripts I wrote, and now to novels. I must write, I must tell stories.


Is there a “how to” writing book you recommend?

I don’t have a specific book in mind. If someone was looking for a “How To”, I would suggest a book on structure and character creation. Beyond that, I believe each person has to find their own voice as a writer. Practice, practice, write, write, rewrite, rewrite, edit, edit.


What were the top three learning experiences or surprises you encountered throughout the publishing/writing process?

Well, if you’re asking about self-publishing, reality sets in when you realize as a self-published author you are also required to self-promote which can be very time consuming and take away from writing. Not many self-published authors are in a position to hire others to do it for them. All I can add to that is to be consistent for the long haul and keep promoting.


What types of authors have influenced your work?

I won’t name names, but I tend to like authors who go off the grid so to speak, authors willing to take a chance outside the norm. When I pick up a book I know within the first couple of chapters whether I will finish it or not. Surprise me in the beginning and you have me to the last page.


What advice would you give to young writers?

Write something each and every day. Never, ever give up.