Interview With Ben Ireland
Why don't you begin by sharing a little about yourself.
Hi, thanks for having me, AF. I’m a 33 year old systems administrator (IT guy) living in Houston with my beautiful wife and three amazing children. In my free time I sleep.
Your debut novel, Kingdom City ~ Resurrection is about to be released. Would you care to reveal a bit about the book?
Kingdom City ~ Resurrection is the first in the Kingdom City trilogy. It’s a science fantasy novel set in the near future in the peaceful —totally normal— metropolis, Kingdom City. Six months prior to the opening of the novel a terrorist attack rocked the city by killing a quarter of its police force. Things start to fall apart when they don't stay dead.
Did anything surprise you about the process of writing your novel?
The details. Kingdom City is the first novel I've ever seriously attempted to write. It’s been in the process for about 10 years now. What I realized is that you can't throw in details just because they sound cool. A character’s limp isn't just an interesting quirk, it has a story behind it. At first I found this overwhelming, but as I continued, I realized what a great opportunity the details give you for giving the story color and depth. If done right, the details will enhance a story without distracting from it. I just hope I've done my details right.
You've also had some short stories published, can you tell us about them? In addition, do you find writing short fiction easier, or more difficult than writing a novel?
Kissed a Snake appeared in the Xchyler thriller short story anthology, A Dash of Madness, in 2013. It’s about a young man looking for answers about why his father abandoned him—and to kill him if he doesn't like what he finds.
Fairykin appeared in the Xchyler fantasy short story anthology in January, Moments in Millenia. It’s about a tribe of fairies struggling to survive on a planet where nature has been eradicated.
I find both styles to present their own challenges. Short stories give you a great opportunity to tell a worthwhile story. The challenge there is to tell the whole story in a limited amount of words.
Novels allow you to explore more sweeping tales, but that’s when the volume of details can become a problem if not managed properly. I’m certainly drawn towards bigger stories, the more sweeping, the better.
Your primary writing focus is in fantasy fiction or science fiction. What draws you to those genres? What is the hardest part of writing in the sci-fi/fantasy genres?
There are a few answers to ‘why fantasy.’ The best answer I have is because it’s the coolest genre. I also love being presented with a completely unique idea, and then watching the author explore that idea in unexpected ways.
The hardest part about science-fiction/fantasy is the details. If you’re going to make a new world for your reader to explore, it has to be consistent. I've found myself putting down books when the author breaks their own rules for the sake of convenience. As an author, I've found myself tempted to break the rules because it would be the easiest way to reach the conclusion of the story. But every time that happens, the story falls apart. I can’t believe in my own world if I can't stick to my own rules.
Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?
My writing process is, as soon as a story hits me, I write down all the ideas accompanying that idea. Then I’ll line up the ideas in a logical order until I have the story ordered from beginning to end. Then I'll expand on those details, writing conversations and scenes that are on the tip of my mind. Then I'll go back and flesh everything out.
My ideas come from everywhere. Conversations I overhear, sometimes someone says something to me and I think they said something else, one time I walked into my kitchen and the character just popped into my head and told me who he was.
Routine. Ha! I wish. I write in between doing what I have to do to keep my kids fed.
What is your greatest challenge as a writer?
Time and money. I have a good day job as a systems administrator, but it’s not where my heart lies. I’m sure many know that feeling.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I've always enjoyed creating stories, but the idea of making a career out of writing always seemed too luxurious and impractical. The idea didn't seem to click as an actual possibility until I won a place in my first short story contest. So here I am, giving it a shot.
What’s next for you?
More writing and less sleeping. I’m working on an urban fantasy series currently (The protagonist of which was the one that introduced himself in my kitchen.) I hope to shop that around some time this year. Kingdom City ~ Retaliation (working title) will be pounded into life this year, and released, hopefully, sometime in 2015.
Kingdom City ~ Resurrection by Ben Ireland
With the death of Kingdom City's chief of police in a terrorist attack, Autumn Stevens lost the only man who could save her from herself. Still paralyzed by grief after six months, the last thing she expected was his return--along with three thousand of his fallen comrades. As confusion turns to violence throughout the city, Autumn discovers the lengths she will go to protect her family, and right the wrongs carried out in the name of security and prosperity--especially those committed by her own hand.