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Q & A with Author Paul A Bussard

After years of being an avid fan of Science Fiction, author Paul A. Bussard decided to write his own stories. I am pleased to have him stop by and chat about his work and being an author.

When did you know you wanted to become an author?

I started writing in ’93, but quickly discovered that I didn't have the skills needed to write publishable fiction. The first story I wrote was full of every kind of error made by amateur writers. It took another ten years for me to acquire the skills and polish them to the point I felt I could write good fiction. By then, I had a story in my head that wanted to be told, and I wanted to tell it. Voila, Stinger Stars.
 
Now that you have published your first novel, was it everything you had hoped?

Absolutely. It was fun to write—a lot of work, but fun. I liked the story so much, I was determined to get it published so I could share it. Okay, that sounds conceited, but I’ll leave it up to readers whether I’m justly proud or not. BTW—the cover is way beyond what I hoped for.
 
What inspired you to write science fiction? 

I started reading science fiction 50+ years ago with Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and got hooked. Once hooked, I read everything I could, particularly by Heinlein, Asimov, Pohl, and other primarily hard science fiction writers. Reading those wonderful stories planted a lot of ideas in my mind, making me ask: what if? That question is the basis of almost every science fiction story written.
 
How did you come up with the title? 

Stinger Star is the common name for the critter I invented, Pyramis nana (dwarf pyramid). The star has a pyramid-shaped body and looks somewhat like a four-armed starfish, only more three-dimensional. The similarity ends there, though. The appendages are not arms—they’re hollow with a digestive system inside, and there are three eyes and a beak at the tip of each one. Yes, that means they have four heads, each one looking like the one on the cover of my book. The “stinger” part comes from the way they defend themselves. They don’t actually sting—they bite and then inject the contents of their stomachs into the wound. Yikes!
 
What was the hardest part of writing your book? 

The ending was difficult—not only the writing part, but the thought of not writing (about Stinger Stars) any more. I had become very fond of my characters, and in particular, my critters. They had only just begun to show their stuff. I want very much to write a sequel, but only if it does justice to Stinger Stars. There are way too many sequels out there that are second in quality as well as sequence.
 
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? 

I’ve heard other writers say it, and I have to agree—characters can take over a story and move it in directions you never thought of. That’s not necessarily bad, but it plays havoc with a story outline, if you were working from one. My characters, especially the stars, made me change the story line several times.
 
What books have most influenced your life?

Heinlein’s The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress had a huge influence on me. I even took a post-grad course in Artificial Intelligence, because the idea of computers becoming self-aware fascinated me. I suspect that I may live to see the day it actually happens (provided I and the world behave ourselves).
 
Who is your favorite author and what is it about their work that resonates with you?

I have to tap Robert A. Heinlein again. He was a principled man and taught—even preached—his philosophy in his writing. Stinger Stars contains a lot of subtle and not-so-subtle messages that reflect my philosophy. Man is not immortal, but memes will endure as long as there are minds to ponder them. Leave your mark. Write!
 
Have you ever hated something you wrote? 

Hate, no. Dislike, yes. That happens all the time. The “somethings” just never make it into a final draft. Some of my early writing was dreadful. It still happens, but it’s easy to get rid of the evidence, nowadays. Click!
 
Do you have any advice for other writers? 

Persevere! That advice applies to a lot of endeavors, but the process of writing, getting published, and sold is loaded with roadblocks that discourage many a potential writer. If you've got a story in you, get it out, and don’t stop until you have!


For more information on Paul, you connect with him:
http://www.pabwriter.com/
https://www.facebook.com/paul.bussard.9

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