RYK BROWN: FRONTIERS SAGA WAS AN IDEA FOR A COMPUTER GAME
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Frontiers Saga is one of the most popular Sci Fi series on the market. On April 1 the creator of the space world Ryk Brown published Episode 13 A Show of Force. Our next guest was born in 1960. He is living in Northern California with his wife, daughter, and cat.
Ryk Brown is another example of how self-publishing industry benefits the gifted writers.
– Ryk, what the readers will find in Ep. #13 of The Frontiers Sage A Show of Force?
– That there is more to the Jung than expected, and that they still have some tricks up their sleeves.
– How did you decide to write The Frontiers Saga?
– It was originally the back story for an idea for a computer game that had been rolling around in my head for about a decade. The problem was how to have aliens without having ‘aliens’. Most aliens in sci fi seem to be silly versions of humans. I had always envisioned a story universe that was just the civilizations and cultures of Earth, but spread out across the galaxy. There is already so much diversity between cultures and races right here on this little world (don’t get me started about creatures under the sea) that many of us seem as ‘alien’ to one another as if we had come from distant stars. So I needed a way to spread the inhabitants of Earth across the near galaxy, yet separate them by both space and time, so as to further accentuate those differences. When I decided to try my hand at self publishing, I was going to edit and publish a book I had written 20 years earlier but had never done anything with. But I couldn’t get the Saga out of my head. Also, I knew that I needed to be writing a series, and not releasing a stand-alone book. Hence, the saga it was.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– Figuring out how to write. I don’t have any formal training. (High school English only.) Unfortunately, the internet wasn’t much help as every writer had their own opinion. Finally, on my wife’s suggestion, I just decided to write it the way that felt best to me. That way, if people liked it, it would be easier to do again and again.
– Tell us something more about your main characters? Are they 100% fiction or it’s close to someone from your real life?
– There are bits and pieces of real people in each character. Almost all of them are at least 50% based on a real person I have known. My previous career as a paramedic exposed me to a lot of different personalities, both under pressure and relaxed. I try to use that to my advantage. In fact, the character Jessica is based on one of my early partners on the ambulance.
– How much time you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– When life doesn’t get in the way, it takes me about 3 months to outline, write, and edit an episode. I wish I could take longer, but the market will not allow. In today’s digital marketplace, the longer you go between releases, the more your sales drop.
– Who are you?
– I’m an arrogant, opinionated, bastard, who thinks he is always right. However, I know that I am not and I’m the first to apologize when I screw up, so it kind of balances things out. I’m also fiercely loyal, and want to take care of everyone. (I get that from my father, rest his soul).
– What are your writing habits?
– I try with all my might to write a few thousand words every weekday. However, more often than not, I end up procrastinating and having to write furiously for a few weeks to make my own self-imposed deadlines. I will not give up, however. Someday, I will get into a decent work pattern. Seriously, though, I usually muck about all morning, checking sales, answering emails, talking on forums, etc… Then, after my wife goes to work, I start actually working. I work for an hour at a time, then take 15-30 minute breaks while I do something else and think about the story. I try not to work after dinner, but that doesn’t always work. Sometimes, you just have to write when the juices are flowing.
– Did you expect that you will sell 250 000 copies from The Frontiers saga and what were your realistic expectations when you first started?
– Yes, but not so quickly. (I did say that I was arrogant.) My original goal was to get a few episodes up quickly in the hopes of making enough to at least pay the rent. I honestly thought that I could at least make that goal by the end of the first year. I got lucky. 3.5 years in now and we’ve sold over 500,000 books.
– When we will see Ep. 14 and would you unveil something around the plot?
– Both episode 14 and 15 will be out this year. I swear this on my only child! (Don’t worry, Honey, Daddy’s only kidding!) However, there will be a 1 year break in publishing the regular books between the end of part one and the beginning of part two. I need time to outline part 2 and write the first three episodes, so that I can not only get all three versions (ebook, paperback, and audio) out at the same time, but also to give myself a ‘buffer’ so that I can be sure to publish on schedule. As far as the plot, you’ll just have to wait and see.
– What are you doing to promote by the best possible way your book?
– I don’t promote. Releasing the next book, and the sales generated by the members on my mailing list are the best promotion available. We’ll probably have to start doing some promotions in the future, however. I have finally incorporated and hired staff to start managing the business side of things, as it was taking too much time away from writing. My goal is to someday be able to release a full 100k/word novel every month.
– The next Star Wars movie is coming up later this year. What are your expectations of Ep. 7?
– None. Don’t get me wrong, I was a big fan of episodes 4, 5, & 6. But 1-3 put that fire out. However, I think JJ Abrams did a fine job resurrecting the original Star Trek franchise. I just hope Disney doesn’t muck it up. I have a hard time seeing Disney and SciFi working well together. Seems an unlikely marriage. I hope I’m wrong, though. I really do. There hasn’t been a lot of good SciFi on the big screen as of late.
– Your personal opinion, when we will be ready to start colonize the galaxy?
– A few hundred years, at least. Profit is the only motive that will get us there. That, or desperation.
– A kindle gift from your mother to your daughter inspired you to find self-publishing business. Would you tell us more about the story?
– My sister decided to upgrade my Mom’s kindle, so my Mom gave me her old Kindle to give to my daughter, who was a voracious reader. Of course, my daughter said, “I don’t want that, it’s not a real book!” So rather than let it go to waste, I decided to give it a whirl. (I love gadgets.) I started with authors I knew, then when their work ran out, (as did my cash) I started trying indie books. I got hooked on the series ‘Spinward Fringe’ by Randolph Lalonde. His story inspired me. That inspiration, combined with my desperate financial state, is what got me writing.
– Ask yourself a question (And don’t forget to answer!)
– What the hell is wrong with you? I don’t know. I was born this way.