The Geoff Nelder Interview by Anita
You are definitely not a new author and have quite a diverse repertoire of published works. What makes you want to write at all?
I don’t want to write, I get RSI, but if I don’t relieve my head of these ideas it will burst. I’d rather dictate to this curvaceous Swedish au pair sitting on my lap. She’s here, honest. Would I lie to you?
How did you feel about your work in education?
I enjoy the wind in my hair and rocks under my feet so I chose to teach geography. Took the kids on field trips so often the head and parents could never find us. Brill. One rare day we were in a classroom. Half way through the lesson the kids walked out. Strange, they didn’t usually do that then the last one said, “You coming, sir, the fire alarm’s going?” So the school said, “On yer bike, Nelder, and here’s a full retirement pension 5 years early.” You could hear me laughing for a month. I couldn’t because I’d lost 85% of my hearing but I could tell I was laughing.
You are also a scientist. Have you noticed that this part of your life has had a positive or negative impact on your writing? Does it ever hinder creativity or does it enrich it?
Science gives me oodles of useful facts eg your saliva contains opiorphin, which is six times more powerful a painkiller than morphine. It’s why women swoon when I kiss them. As for my writing, I wrote a story about anti-gravity and can’t put it down. I used a fair bit of science (Quantum Mechanics) in my scifi Exit, Pursued by a Bee but I’ve had positive feedback from non-science readers. In general I don’t artificially inseminate my stories with science although I know if a plotline is feasible without needing to check it too much.
Science fiction was sort of an obvious genre for you. How do you feel about writing romance, comedy or horror?
There’s always some romance in my stories – it’s what makes the world go round, any world. My Escaping Reality is a humorous thriller and most of my published short stories are horror but gently so, not gore… much.
When you first started writing, was it a conscious decision or did it just happen along the way?
Dad was good at making up jokes so I wrote them down for the school paper. To my astonishment I could originate jokes too and became an editor of Sheffield University student rag mag over 30 years ago. I still see those jokes of mine online and in Christmas crackers.
What’s the most difficult thing about the writing process for you, including pre-writing, writing and post-writing activities?
Sometimes a wizard idea grabs me but the denouement doesn’t come making it frustrating to shelve. Help me out. A planet has two suns but one produces shadows but the other doesn’t. How can that story develop? The most tricky thing happening during the writing is that I’m too easily distracted. I can pretend not to notice when she’d taking off her clothes but you’d see my typing has gone all Bulgarian. After writing the problem is in finding a publisher. I’ve not tried self-publishing my novels so 6 of them are in the capable hands of small press but there’s an urban fantasy, Xaghra’s Revenge that is seeking a mainstream publisher. Not sure how long I can hang on. For novels the biggest post-publication issue is coping with the fame – yeah right. Or, is it the damned promo?
Your awarded SF trilogy Aria has a whole life of its own now. What or who do you personally most like about that story? (Pretend it wasn’t you who wrote it, if that helps;)
ARIA is character-led even though it has an original concept of infectious amnesia. Manuel is a bit like me in the story. Bit of a buffoon, chubbier than he should be, uses humour to cope with adversity (his amnesia) but a difference is that he wakes up with a new woman every morning. Or is it just his amnesia… and hers? I like that in book 1 a non-SF reader can enjoy it as a medical mystery – no aliens, no fights in space yet naughty romance and shades of hey!
Do you ever have those author glitches when you just want to give it all up and think to yourself: ‘Who would ever want to read this?’ How do you cope?
You know those form reject slips? “Thank you for sending us the fruit of your marvellous imagination and wonderful writing style but it isn’t right for us at this time.” But WHY? So we thank them and ask for a reason but nothing comes back. That’s disheartening and I might stop writing… for a day. Then an acceptance comes in, or I sell one of my books, or an email comes in saying how they related to the mysterious white cat in the ARIA Trilogy or the fugitive in Escaping Reality and I’m off writing again.
Have you ever tried writing poetry? Would or are you any good at it? Do you think poetry is still alive or have people simply evolved in a different direction as readers?
My poetry is like Spike Milligan’s. Like this for my infant grandkids:
A triceratops comes knocking at the door,
No, we’re having tea you see?
We might make some more.
Hey watch your horns you nearly got me!
Catch this cherry cake
Sticky with syrup from France
Just right to make a
Dinosaur lift her skirts and dance.
Has writing made you more tolerant of people’s flaws or not? Has it changed you at all?
I was tolerant before I started writing. Now push off while I write a love scene.
Would you like to add anything about your current work or send a message to the readers?
I’m writing a short horror story. Jackie the Ripper – how she fooled everyone.
https://anitashaven.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/and-what-have-you-got-to-say-g-nelder/ for Anita's full interview with Geoff.