Captain Bartholomew Quasar

One of the joys of social media (arguably the joy) is the ability to drop in on other people's lives and share their magic moments. I recently scrolled through my list and there was Milo James Fowler, smiling away with a book in his hand. How could I resist finding out more about his story, and the story behind his story?

Take it away, Milo James...

1 What was your journey to publication?

Back in 2009, I'd written a couple novels and queried them with agents, but there were no takers. I figured it might be a good idea to accumulate a few publication credits and maybe qualify for SFWA membership before I sent out any more queries. Then back in 2011, I started the Write1Sub1 challenge to write and submit 52 short stories in 52 weeks. A year later, after a few of my Captain Bartholomew Quasar stories had been published, I was approached by Every Day Publishing regarding the possibility of a serialized Captain Quasar novel.

Fast-forward to 2015: more than 100 of my short stories have been published, appearing in AE Science Fiction, Cosmos, Nature, Shimmer, and the Wastelands 2 anthology. It's been an arduous journey at times with many stories surviving more than a dozen rejections prior to publication, but it's been well worth the effort. Seeing my first novel—Captain Bartholomew Quasar and the Space-Time Displacement Conundrum—greet the masses this month has been incredibly rewarding.

2 What appeals to you about sci-fi as a genre?

I like being taken to worlds I've never been, but I also enjoy cautionary tales about where our world may be headed.

3 Do you feel sci-fi is marginalised?

Not in my corner of the universe; it's all I read and mostly all I watch. But I usually realize I'm the exception whenever I find myself in conversations with friends and coworkers. Apparently, no one reads anymore unless it's a book on the airport bestseller rack, and all they watch is reality TV.

4 Which authors have inspired you?

Ray Bradbury, first and foremost. His poetic prose is unmatched, and he inspired my Write1Sub1 challenge. I also enjoy Alastair Reynolds' body of work, as well as China Mieville's and Margaret Atwood's. I'm slowly making my way through everything they've written.

5 What is your writing process?

I used to be more of a pantser, making everything up as I went along and often writing myself into dark, frustrating corners. But now in my old age (pushing 40), I've become more of a plotter. I'll sketch out an outline of major plot points ahead of time so I know where the story's going; then it's just a matter of connecting the dots during the drafting phase. That first draft is my sloppy copy; I vomit out the words and clean them up later. After half a dozen revisions, I present my work to my wife/partner-in-crime who lets me know how I can tighten it up. After another round of edits, it's off on the submission circuit where it will remain until it's accepted for publication. Or until the world ends. Whichever happens first.

6 Where can we find out more about your work?

7 What's next on your writing to-do list?

Snag an agent. Sell a few thousand copies of my novel. Sign a movie deal. Nothing major. Oh, and keep writing, of course. I'm enjoying myself too much to do anything else.

Find out more about Milo's new novel: Captain Bartholomew Quasar

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