Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
What led you into writing?
I just always wanted to be a writer. I was a software engineer for 25 years but then I finally managed to bungle into writing.
How does a typical day look?
I get up around 7am, walk the dog, eat, etc. Usually at my computer by 8:30. First thing I do is answer fan mail (I reply to all emails). Then I’ll usually have business stuff to deal with – conference calls, production meetings for films I’m part of, etc. After lunch is when I do the bulk of my writing.
In what ways do your characters test your abilities?
I’m not a deep character writer. I’m far more plot-oriented. So I guess my characters test my abilities by me having to come up with depth for them.
What’s your setup?
A nondescript desk from Ikea in my home office. Loud, clickity-clackity keyboard and a 23” monitor. Nothing remarkable.
What lasting effects have your favourite authors had on your writing and style?
I grew up reading my dad’s sci-fi collection. So my idols are Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein. I would say the main thing I got from them was a sense of optimism about the future. Sure, there’ll be problems, but the future will be a cool place to live.
What do you do for inspiration?
What repeating themes do you find yourself pulling into your stories?
Lone scientist facing difficult odds. Problem-solving. Clever, lateral thinking.
How do you wind down?
I like woodworking. I have the whole garage set up as my shop.
What sort of challenges do you regularly overcome while world-building?
The biggest challenge for me is making sure everything stays true to real-world physics.
What are you reading at the moment?
Nothing just this moment.
What’s the most useful advice you could give to an aspiring author?
1) You have to actually write. Daydreaming about the book you’re going to write someday isn’t writing. It’s daydreaming. Open your word processor and start writing.
2) Resist the urge to tell friends and family your story. I know it’s hard because you want to talk about it and they’re (sometimes) interested in hearing about it. But it satisfies your need for an audience, which diminishes your motivation to actually write it. Make a rule: The only way for anyone to ever hear about your stories is to read them.
3) This is the best time in history to self-publish. There’s no old-boy network between you and your readers. You can self-publish an ebook to major distributors (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.) without any financial risk on your part.
Tell us about the book you’re promoting.
“Project Hail Mary” comes out May 4, 2021. A scientist wakes up alone on a spaceship far from home with complete amnesia. He soon learns he is humanity’s last desperate home to save Earth.