As fans of science fiction, we're often introduced to a wide range of related books, dvds and audios, and every now and again, one comes along that blows us away! If you haven't heard of him already, Kev Heritage is an author whom we were introduced to about a year ago, and his books are engaging, gripping and of huge interest if you happen to be a Doctor Who fan (which, if you're reading this, we rather suspect you are) :)
Heritage's first book Blue Into The Rip, focuses on Blue - a teenager who is 'ripped' hundreds of years into the future. Blue is enlisted in the space corps where he gradually learns the truth about his past.
We caught up with Kev to discuss his books, his love for scifi and - perhaps more importantly - if he was a fan of Doctor Who!
What got you into writing and were there any authors who have influenced or inspired you?
The headline is… I think way too much. So much so that it can become a little crippling when trying to deal with the real world.
I have an over-active imagination, which means that given the time and the inclination (and without something to keep my mind occupied) I can convince myself of pretty much anything - and it all makes perfect sense! As you can imagine, overthinking in this way can be quite a serious flaw to a happy productive life.
Writing is a perfect heat-sink for all of that extra thought-time I seem to need. Instead of worrying about imagined illnesses, plane crashes, bills, social situations and the strange green mold growing under my bed, I use my thinking time to come up with the next cool idea, solving plot problems and trying to make sense out of the nonsense of my first draft.
Writing, was and is, always a way to escape from myself and to think about the other people—the characters in my books—who, thankfully, lead a far more interesting life.
I suppose, even now, I’m a little bit disappointed with real life as it never lives up to the fantasy world buzzing around inside my head. But the way I can get closest to making that real is by writing. No matter how annoying, frustrating or sometimes depressing, life can be, writing always delivers. I can escape into those worlds and live inside of them for a while. For me, it’s a magical experience.
Don’t misunderstand, my life is not mostly annoying, frustrating or depressing, but perhaps in the way people like to disappear inside a soap, a movie or a book, I like to enter worlds of my own making… whilst trying my best to not sound pretentious!
The authors who inspired me? I’m sort of inspired by everything I manage to read till the last page (I do give up on a lot of stuff half-way through). But at age ten to twelve I discovered Robert E. Howard, Philip K. Dick, Heinlein, Vonnegut, Asimov, Clarke, Tolkien, Frank Herbert—the list goes on. I was astounded by the imagination behind these novels. They contained worlds undreamed of.
When it comes to writing though, inspiration and creativity are a small part of the process. The hard part is slogging through to the end.
Just reading the opening blurb from the first in your ‘Into The Rip’ series, our interest was genuinely piqued! It’s one of those descriptions that you simply can’t let slide without wanting to delve in and find out more. We have a number of our visitors who love to write and I’m sure they’d love to know how you pulled all the elements of the story together? Did the time travel element come first, or did you have a clear idea of the main character before adding in the variables?
The novel is certainly a thrill ride. Blue is a misfit with a ‘gob on him’—as we say in Derby where I’m from. He’s arrogant, cocky—a typical mixed up teen. Except that it’s not just his emotions that are mixed up, but also his genetics. He is an artificially created human living in the past with mysterious hippy parents. And nothing is as it seems. He gets ripped forward in time and well… you need to read the story to find out what happens to him. And A LOT happens to Blue and his new friends. So go buy the book!
But I digress…. Blue into the Rip came about after I was flipping through a notebook (years old) to see if I’d had any good ideas (I hadn’t), but scribbled at the top of one page were the peculiar words: Blue Into The Rip. I have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote that phrase, yet it stuck in my mind. I started to wonder what it could mean. Blue became a character name and The Rip some kind of tear in the fabric of time and space. The story sort of jumped out from there.
At the outset, all I knew was that Blue would be transported to the future, meet some cadets, visit a flooded London, live under the remains of the Amazon Rainforest and visit a spacestation with the story ending with him floating over the Rings of Saturn (although I had no idea why, I just thought it’d be cool) and that was it.
That…and a terrific twist!
And as soon as I discovered Blue was the result of genetic experimentation, the back story leapt fully formed into my mind and I knew it would take more than one novel to tell that story, so the series was born.
But as I’m not a fan of cliffhangers, each story is a standalone mystery.
I’m very proud of Blue Into The Rip– but the finished novel bears very little resemblance to the absolute mess of the first draft.
Writers are either pantsters (writing by the seat of their pants) or plotters. I’m a pantster all the way. I have no firm ideas about plot or characters. I put pen to paper (or fingertips to plastic) and we’re off! I let the characters guide me. I write down whatever they want to do, or act like, or say. No constraints. I have no idea who the ‘goodies’ or the ‘baddies’ are until they reveal themselves to me. When I’m about two thirds in, I restructure, work out an ending and fill in the gaps. This gets me to my first draft.
The Ying Yang of my process: first absolute chaos, then enforced order.
I cannot write any other way. Believe me, I’ve tried, but any kind of planning kills my writing. I wish it were not like this because I can spend weeks stuck in plot cul-de-sacs with no idea how to continue. But I wake up one day and blam!—there’s the answer…Mostly.
The next drafts are pure hard work. Subbing. Refining. Plotting. Adding better concepts and ideas. Pruning. I keep going until my gut feeling that ‘the novel needs more work’ goes away. I often ‘finish’ but become consumed with niggling doubts. My subconscious doing its job. I push on again until it sort of becomes something I almost, conceivably, maybe think is sort of perhaps okay. Possibly.
Learn more about the first book in the series, Blue Into The Rip: http://www.kevheritage.com/blue-into-the-rip/
What Science Fiction books, movies or TV shows are essential to you and what would your favourite be from each of those categories?
Red Dwarf has helped me through many a crisis. There was a time around 2003/4 where the series were released every month or so as DVDs with documentaries and cast commentaries. It didn’t save my life, but it got me through a very difficult time. I have a lot of love for that show and still watch occasional episodes and force them on friends. I hold it with the same level of affection I have for Doctor Who.
As for favourites... that’s not my thing at all. It’s impossible to decide. Out of all the formats though, books are the best. Sure, I love a good sci-fi movie, particularly Aliens, but books always win out. Imagination is a great tool and reading exercises my imagination like nothing else.
What is your earliest memory of Doctor Who and do you have a particular favourite episode?
For me it was the original music. Outer-worldly and terrifying. I’m not sure that’s appreciated today, but the intro to Doctor Who was ground-breaking in many ways. It’s an astonishing composition. To my kiddie ears, it was like nothing I’d ever heard before and symbolised terror and excitement. That and the sound of the TARDIS materialising (with its brakes on as we now know!).
I can’t remember any particular scene. I know the Daleks scared the living sh*t out of me and I used to watch from behind the sofa. Literally. And then there were the Cybermen. There was one incarnation where they wore black balaclavas with a sort of sown-in metallic mouth. They’d open and close their mouths, but their words didn’t sync up with their mouth movements. For some reason, I remember that very clearly. It was utterly horrifying.
There are too many moments from the original shows but here’s a few of my favourite stories…
The Ark in Space (This scared me silly. Watched it recently… wasn’t as scared this time around. But it’s a cracking story.)
The Robots of Death
Caves of Androzani
The Time Warrior
Terror of the Autons
From the New:
A Christmas Carol (I love, love, love this).
The Girl in the Fireplace (This is so excellently paced and the ending has real pathos)
The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances
If you could take a round trip in the TARDIS, anywhere in time and space, where would you go and why?
I’d like to go back and find the person who created the very first bacon, egg and brown sauce sandwich and shake him or her by the hand.
After that... it would have to be go and meet the most extraordinary person who ever lived. Isaac Newton. He came up with the concept of gravity. That has to be just about the most amazing idea any human has ever had (after bacon sandwiches and tea of course). The guy was a genius and quite bonkers. If you don’t know much about him, you need to go find out.
+ Coming Soon... we catch up with Kev regarding his latest book VATIC!
+ Blue Into The Rip is available as a paperback for £8.99 or eBook for £1.99.
+ ORDER 'Blue Into The Rip' from Amazon.co.uk!
+ Website: http://kevheritage.com
+ Twitter: @KevHeritage: http://www.twitter.com/KevHeritage
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