I used to be a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of guy. I would have an idea of the story and how I wanted it to end and would let the characters guide me there. I'm now much more careful to plot out, on a chapter by chapter basis, what needs to happen to drive the story forward. I find that in comparison to my earlier work, my stories are tighter and more focused as a result.
Where did you get the inspiration for A Family War?
I read a book on the Holocaust by Martin Gilbert. It was devastating and forced me to think through the circumstances around it. I wanted to explore how a society could approach such an event, what could lead to it happening again. The sci fi element comes from my background - I'm a theoretical physicist by training so have always found science fiction that uses a mcguffin to save everyone or explain the unexplainable as irritating to read and enjoy. I wanted to use a speculative setting to explore a sensitive subject (which explosions and running about) and so decided having a hard science fiction setting as the background was the obvious choice
Is this a series?
yes, it is the first of a three book series. The second, A Corporate War, is finished and being edited as we speak. Grandly, the series looks at the fall of a utopia and how that might not be a bad thing.
What is your daily page or word count record?Please tell us a little about your book.
I think I've managed to write about five thousand words in one day (that I kept!).
A Family War is about Helena Woolf, a diplomat from a powerful family. She's blessed with all the advantages technology can by - long life, resistance to illnesses and internal AIs that act as butler, physician and teacher. At the start of the story she witnesses the failure of negotiations attempting to stop a new holocaust. As a result she finds herself in the middle of the war, trying to understand the real motivations of the players and stop them if she can.
Who is your favorite author of all time?
Mikhail Bulgakov. He wrote some of the best books ever written while under Soviet oppression. My favourite story about him is that he wrote The Master and Margarita then had to burn the manuscript because the secret police were raiding his flat. After they were gone he rewrote it from scratch. Not only is that a great story, but the book itself is a real masterpiece.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on the edits to the sequel to A Family War, called A Corporate War. I am also working on an entirely unrelated novel about a man who can't be hurt who discovers a daughter he never knew he had only after she's kidnapped. It's about what he is prepared to do to find her and keep her safe.
Title: A Family War
Author: Stewart Hotston
Genre: Science Fiction
Helena is one of the Oligarchs, genetically-enhanced, centuries old families who rule the world. As a new world war begins, she is ordered to find a boy who could save the human race from genocide. Yet all is not as it seems; Helena’s finds enemies on all sides, intent on bringing about the war with all its horrific consequences. To make matters worse, Helena’s own integral AI, accidentally freed from its constraints, challenges both her motives and her identity, yet she has no choice but to accept its treacherous aid if she is to have any hope of surviving those who need her dead.
Stewart works in the city but was once a quantum physicist who always liked his science fiction to have actual science in it as well as the thrills and characters that make great stories. Oh, and he likes fighting with actual steel swords.