Thursday, 9 July 2015

Fluence - Ten Thousand Minutes and Counting by Stephen Oram

Release Date: 26th June 2015
Publisher: Silverwood Books
Genres: Dystopian

Brook Cottages is thrilled to welcome Stephen Oram to the blog with a fab author interview.

Do you write under your real name or is this a pen   name you use?

I write under my real name. I find it hard enough remembering all the characters I’ve created without adding one more, so I’m impressed by anyone who can also manage a pen name. 

Where are you from?

I’ve lived in London for 30 years so I reckon it’s okay to call myself a Londoner, that’s certainly where I consider home. I’ve lived in a few other places and I was born in a small market town called Kettering. 

Did you write as a child?

No, in fact I didn’t really start to write properly until about four years ago. When I was younger, I wrote some teenage angst poetry while discovering some of the chemical enhancements available to the young inquisitive mind. I used a phrase from one of them in Fluence, but as poetry they’re not fit for publication. 

 What was the first thing you ever had published?

It was my debut novel, Quantum Confessions, in August last year. The experience of being published was exhilarating and I’ve been reflecting on the experience this time around. I think it’s like falling in love; you can never repeat the thrill of the first, but with experience you get better at it. 

Do you have a writing routine?

I have specific times set aside and a strict schedule for completing draft chapters. Then I’ll take a more relaxed approach in the margins of the day to edit the chapter and think about what the characters will do next. 

Do you have any writing rituals? 

I do. Without a dedicated space to write it’s important to have something symbolic. I make sure that whatever space I’m using is tidy and I have two objects that signify I’m writing. One of these is an old watch mechanism cut into small pieces and set in resin. It’s as if the watch was captured as it exploded, which symbolises my writing. The other is a tiny mechanical music box that plays What a Wonderful World, which is a great way to welcome in a little sunshine and optimism. 

Do you have a current work in progress? 

I have three pieces of work at different stages: the thoughts and reflections of the Envoy of the Ultimate Observer, which is a compilation of flash fiction called Living in your Dystopia; I’ve started work on a sequel to Fluence; and I have a utopian/dystopian story brewing about a family living in a society that is seriously attempting to eliminate the inequalities of money, brains and body. I’m currently deciding which of them to focus on first. 

Where did the idea for your book come from?

It was a collision of a few things. I was standing at a self-service checkout in a supermarket when I started to think about a dehumanised society where corporations decide what’s important. I’d also spent time listening to friends’ experience of annual performance reviews at work and as I became more active on social media I noticed the obsession and subsequent desperation that went with tweeting and posting. The origin of the characters will remain my secret! 

Who was the first person you gave the book to to read? 

The boring truth is that the first person to ever read it was a structural editor. However, more interesting are those who read it next - the beta readers who I trust to read a manuscript pre copy-edit and tell me honestly what they think. I have a few of these and they all operate differently. One of them phones me almost every day to tell me what they like, what’s confusing them and where they think the story’s heading. For another I read the whole book in one sitting and get immediate feedback which is great, especially when they chuckle or gasp. Another reads the book, makes notes and then we meet and chat. All are invaluable. 

Do you have any advice for budding authors? 

Get on with it, share it and show it and take as much advice as you can, so long as it’s from people you trust. And most importantly – enjoy!

Author links –

Buy Links –

Book Blurb –

Amber is young and ambitious. Martin is burnt out by years of struggling. She cheats to get what she wants while he barely clings on to what he has.

It’s the week before the annual Pay Day when strata positions are decided by the controlling corporations. The social media feed is frenetic with people trying to boost their influence rating while those above the strata and those who’ve opted out pursue their own manipulative goals.

Set in a dystopian London, Fluence is a story of aspiration and desperation and of power seen and unseen. It’s a story of control and consequence. It’s the story of the extremes to which Amber and Martin are prepared to go in these last ten thousand minutes before Pay Day.

Author bio 

Stephen Oram takes a sideways look at our world, thinks "what if" and then writes about it through speculative, usually dystopian, fiction. He often sets his stories in a recognisable near-future so he can have some fun with technology and politics and keep it believable.

He lives in Fitzrovia, London. As a teenager he was heavily influenced by the ethos of punk. In his early twenties he embraced the squatter scene and was part of a religious cult, briefly. He did some computer stuff in what became London's silicon roundabout and is now a civil servant with a gentle attraction to anarchism.

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