Interview with Drew Wagar
- Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was lucky enough to grow up in a quiet little village in the east of Kent which is little changed even today, buried in the heart of the Kent countryside. It’s a beautiful part of the world. I work in the city of London by day for ‘Lloyd’s of London’ – the insurance market. The commute gives me a chance to write, I exclusively use the train journey to put my stories together. I’m married, with two teenage sons, a dog and a cat. My favourite colour is dark green!
- Who are your favorite authors?
Anne McCaffrey is probably top of the list, with Arthur C. Clarke a close second. I adore Dickens, but my favourite book is actually ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier. Tolkien is in there of course, along with some lovely books from my childhood written by Diana Wynne Jones.
- Tell us a bit about your books.
I primarily write character stories. I’m not big on description, preferring to let readers’ imaginations do all the heavy lifting. What I do like is creating interesting but flawed people and putting them into extraordinary situations. I’m not a genre writer, I’ll give anything a go, but I tend to always have my characters taking part in big events, which are often beyond their control. I love the conflict, the angst and the adventure this can give.
I’ve done SF and contemporary drama and both work well for me. It would be straightforward for me to move my stories into any epoch or setting; ancient, modern or futuristic. It’s all about the people. That said I do tend to clash different world views together in my stories to act as scene setters. Religion against science is a common theme for me.
I’m also very keen on avoiding gender bias in my stories. I feature a lot of female leads, because I find they’re under represented, particularly in SF. These women aren’t defined by the men around them, they lead and drive their own adventures.
- If you could travel back in time to any place and period in the past where and when would you go?
Assuming I could be who I wanted to be I think I would travel back to Edwardian or perhaps late Victorian England. I’d love to be the Lord of a Manor somewhere, several hundred acres of manicured gardens to tour about, with staff at my beck and call for tea and cakes whenever I might feel the need. I’d still want my laptop and a wifi connection though!
- What attracts you to writing in your genre?
Well, I try not to be defined by genre, but most of my output has been in SF to date. I’m a big fan of SF regardless and I adore the whole ‘going where no one has gone before’ vibe. I’m also an amateur astronomer, so space has a certain allure. SF often gives you a chance to poke at certain biases and moirés in society without it being immediately obvious that is what you are doing, so you can make quite serious statements under the radar and get people to think.
- Tell us a little about your books. I see you like to delve into many different genres.
The first book I had published, Torn, was something of a response to the religion vs science debate that was raging in the middle 2000 years. I found that both sides of the debate weren’t really being fair to each other and it had descended into rancor and flame-baiting in most places I reviewed online. The story took a proponent of each side; a young Christian woman newly ‘born again’ and a rather jaded scientist who had recently lost his wife to a car accident. In short, they meet, the sparks fly and they try to work out where they’re both coming from.
In the world of SF, I was fortunate enough to be in the right place and time to pick up an official licence to write for the famous computer game ‘Elite’. It’s a major UK franchise, with the first installment being launched back in 1984, and the latest incarnation ‘Elite: Dangerous’ coming out in 2014.
My story, ‘Elite: Reclamation’ is set in the year 3300, with big empires, space battles and overarching politics of the ‘Dune’ and ‘Foundation’ flavour. My book fleshed out the ‘Imperial’ faction, with a young spoilt brat of a woman in the upper echelons of that society being brought low by intrigue. Through many perils she not only sees the strange and wonderful ‘Elite’ universe, but she also learns humility and the value of friendship through her adventures.
My latest book ‘Emanation’, is a SF adventure much in style to Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon series, (minus the dragons I might add). Here we have a people lost on a strange planet, lacking the understanding of the technology that brought them there, and unaware that a huge calamity is about to descend upon them…
- Are you planning to participate in any anthologies? Any hints about your story?
I’ve done a couple already actually. I had a short story published in the anthology ‘Fusion’ a few years ago, and I’ve got another coming out later this year.
As for my current story, it’s kind of a mix of post-apocalyptic SF, mixed with some fantasy elements in a rather strange, but scientifically plausible world in orbit around a very strange star. It should appeal to the scientists, the adventurers and those who love seeing characters grow, change, overcome difficulties and in one particular case, suffer a drastic psychosis.
It also features a strict matriarchy, which gives me a chance to explore a society where men are not the dominant decision makers. The women of this caste have a unique ability which sets them apart.
- What do you like to do to relax?
I’m fortunate enough to own a small woodland not too far from my house. A walk there with my dog gets me away from the crowds and the technology. It’s a great place to escape from modern life. It’s very much off the beaten track, so lovely and quiet.
In other times I have an old convertible car which, when it’s working and it’s not raining, provides a pleasant way to tootle about Kent’s beautiful countryside.
- What are you currently working on?
I’m working on the sequel to the book I’m just about to launch – 24th of October to be precise! I plan on it being a 5 part saga. The first book is ready to go and I’m working on book two right now. The whole thing should take me until 2019 to finish… and then there could be prequels. We’ll see how it goes!
- How can readers connect with you?
I have my main website and blog at www.drewwagar.com, an FB page at facebook.com/drewwagarwriter and you can tweet me at @drewwagar . My website has a mailing list from which I punch out a newsletter every couple of months when ‘big’ news happens.