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Featured Author: Ross Harrison

August 10, 2014


I mostly (so far, entirely) write science fiction. Science fantasy particularly, although I have also written a steampunk short story and a semi-noir thriller. Of course I’m also constantly resisting the urge to start something new! After all, one of the hardest things about being a writer is not submitting to the allure of the scene of shiny a new book that just popped into your head.



cover artActs of Violence

My name’s Jack Mason. I made a mistake. Took home the wrong girl. Now she’s dead. Cut up. And they’re telling me I did it.

It’s the same cop that tried to take me down ten years ago. Now he’s coming at me hard. And he’s not the only one. Cole Webster, the city’s crime lord, thinks I stole from him. Broke me out of custody just to ask me about it. Then I killed his son. Now he really wants me.

Add to this equation a government agent, and I’m a real popular guy right now. Pretty much everyone I meet wants me dead, lawfully or otherwise. There’s nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. I’ve got till morning to uncover Webster’s trafficking operation and take the heat off me. And all I’ve got to go on is a pissed off homeless girl with a thirst for revenge.

Guess it could be worse. Can’t quite figure how.

Find it on Amazon!


Why did you choose to self-publish?

Laziness, initially. I’d been over and over my first book – Shadow of the Wraith – so many times that I could barely stand to look at it any more. My problem seemed to be that because it was my first novel, the reality of publishing it hadn’t quite set in, and so I was, unfortunately, saying ‘that will do’ a lot. Naturally, I got several rejections from the agents I submitted to.

Meanwhile, I’d been reading more and more about self-publishing and the new-fangled Kindle thing, and how self-publishing wasn’t the same thing as vanity publishing. It wasn’t the avenue for failed writers that it always used to be considered. It had more flexibility, no giving away of rights, and higher royalties. The more I read, the more ideal it seemed to be.

It was halfway through what was supposed to be one last edit before self-publishing that I was hit by the idea that actual, real people would read this book. The reality finally set in, just in time. Suddenly ‘that will do’ wasn’t nearly good enough. So I proceeded to go through a very thorough and ruthless edit – more of a rewrite in fact – hacking and cleaving things out, and rewriting motives and all sorts of things to make it more believable as well as readable. The finished product was drastically different to what I’d been trying to push onto agents.

But that was three novels and a short story ago.

Which authors or books influenced your writing the most?

I don’t tend to actively take inspiration from anyone, but I’ve read more Terry Pratchett than I have anyone else, so he’s bound to have had some influence. Particularly on the humorous aspects of the books. Douglas Adams, too.

In terms of sci-fi – which my main series is – I’ve read mostly Peter F. Hamilton and Iain M. Banks. I don’t write anything like either of them, in style or content, but I can probably credit them with helping to strengthen my interest in sci-fi, and better my understanding of how writing is and isn’t done.

Most relevant to Acts of Violence, though, is probably Lee Child. Although at this point I’ve only read one and half of his Jack Reacher books, his writing style heavily influenced my own thriller. More to the point, it made it clear that the way I was writing the book was perfectly acceptable, demonstrably so.

I think Raymond Chandler should also get a special mention. Although I didn’t actually read anything by him until I was in the editing stage of Acts of Violence, when I picked up The Big Sleep to see just how a proper noir was done. I know I’ll get flak for not doing that long before I wrote the first word of AoV, but I like to write MY version of sci-fi, or noir, or whatever it happens to be, not someone else’s. But when I did read it, and subsequently The Long Goodbye, I was quite content with what I’d written.

What are your current projects / What are you working on next?

I’m currently finishing the editing stage of a second steampunk short – the second part to Kira. After that, I’ll finally be able to get back to writing the third book in my main series, NEXUS. That poor book has been knocked about a lot. I started to write it after I finished my second novel, then stopped to write Kira, then went back to it, then stopped to write Acts of Violence, then went back to it, then stopped to write Kira Part 2! This time, I’ll finish it.

Anything else you would like to mention?

Twitter: @AuthoRoss



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