For this weeks Ask the Author I'm bringing you someone I am infinitely excited about seeing as his book was one of my absolute favorites last year (here's my review) and the movie based upon it is coming out very soon - of course I'm talking about Andy Weir. I had the chance to ask him a couple of Q's which he took the time and answered.
Here's his book and his A's for my Q's:
The Martian by Andy Weir
Published: February 11th 2014 by Crown
Number of Pages: 369 Pages (Hardcover)
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him? (goodreads.com)
Interview with Andy Weir
1 - Describe The Martian with a haiku.
Mark’s stranded on Mars
No one knows he’s still alive
He’s pretty much fucked.
2 - What sparked the idea for The Martian? Was it the simple idea of an astronaut doing something extraordinary or something else entirely?
I was imagining a manned Mars mission, putting it together in my mind. Naturally, you have to account for failure scenarios and have plans for what the crew could do. I realized those failure scenarios made for a pretty interesting story.
3 - As someone who wasn’t the strongest in science back in high school I wondered which you found harder: figuring out the science in The Martian or the story itself?
The science was easy and fun for me. I’m a dork with a lifelong interest. The hard part was the actual writing. That’s a lot of effort.
4 - In retrospective, is there anything that you’d change about the story or are you happy with the way it turned out in the end?
There are a few minor unintentional scientific errors here and there. They’re minor, but I’d fix them.
5 - What were the first thoughts and emotions you had when you first heard that The Martian would become a movie? How do you feel now, weeks from it finally hitting cinemas all over the world?
It’s amazing. It’s like a dream come true. You fantasize about this sort of thing happening when you write a story, but you never think it’ll actually happen.
6 - What’s next? Are you currently working on a new novel and, if so, could you tell us something about it?
I'm working on my next book now. It's a more traditional sci-fi novel with aliens, faster-than-light travel, etc. It’s tentatively titled “Zhek”.
7 - Your publishing story is quite an interesting one, a very different one then that from most of the authors who were previously featured on my blog or even my own story. Could you tell us something about it?
Originally the book was just a serial I posted a chapter at a time to my website. Once the book was done, people started requesting that I make an e-book version so they didn’t have to read it in a web browser. So I did and posted it to my site. Then other people emailed saying they want to read the e-book, but they aren’t technically savvy and don’t know how to download a file from the internet and put it on their e-reader. They requested I make a Kindle version they could just get through Amazon. So I did that as well. I set the price at Amazon’s minimum allowable price of $0.99. More people bought the book from Amazon than downloaded it for free from my website. Amazon has a truly amazing reach into the readership market.
The book sold very well and made its way up various top-seller lists on Amazon. That got the attention of Julian Pavia at Crown. He told his colleague David Fugate (a literary agent) about it. David ended up becoming my agent and Julian offered me a book deal. It was a whirlwind of activity because 20th Century Fox optioned the movie rights that same week.
8 - I’m sure your opinion might be at least a tiny bit bias since your novel has been turned into a movie and, looking at the trailer, looks like it does it justice, but what is your general opinion on book-to-movie adaptations?
They can be amazing or they can be a disaster or they can be anything in-between. I think the adaptation of “The Martian” is fantastic.
9 - What advice could you give aspiring authors?
1) You have to actually write. Daydreaming about the book you’re going to write someday isn’t writing. It’s daydreaming. Open your word processor and start writing.
2) Resist the urge to tell friends and family your story. I know it’s hard because you want to talk about it and they’re (sometimes) interested in hearing about it. But it satisfies your need for an audience, which diminishes your motivation to actually write it. Make a rule: The only way for anyone to ever hear about your stories is to read them.
3) This is the best time in history to self-publish. There’s no old-boy network between you and your readers. You can self-publish an ebook to major distributors (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.) without any financial risk on your part.