It’s been quite a while now since the last time I interviewed another author but when one of my amazing ARC readers told me about Seth I thought it would be a great opportunity to start the series up again.
Seth Rain is the author of the Humanity Series, a dystopian sci-fi series.
Seth has been a fan of science-fiction, dystopian stories for a long time and loves exploring dark dystopian futures.
He lives in the Black Country in the UK with his two teenage children. He’s been a secondary school English teacher for fifteen years, and has been writing fiction seriously for over five years. He has a degree in English and Philosophy and an MA in English Literature.
GJ: You’re an English teacher, so do any of your students know you write books?
SR: No – I was very definite when I started out that I didn’t want students to know I write novels. Which is why I use a pen name. It’s kind of sad, but it only takes one or two unkind children to find some way of exploiting it.
GJ: Why do you think dark dystopian appeals to you so much?
SR: Yeah – why does it?! I’ve always been drawn to what some people might see as pessimistic books. But it’s the kind of literature that excites me. In a weird way, I find this kind of literature uplifting and positive. It acts as a sort of warning to us living in the present, which comes from a positive place. I don’t think you can write a novel from a negative place – writing a novel is difficult and has to come from a positive, creative place. The best dark dystopias offer a way out, or a shard of hope, even if it’s a small one. This contrast between darkness and hope is where the excitement resides.
GJ: Do you write in any other genres?
SR: I have another pen name: Adam Lock. With this pen name, I write flash fiction. I have a novella-in-flash called ‘Dinosaur’, published by a wonderful independent online publication called Ellipsis Zine. (ellipsiszine.com). I haven’t written much flash fiction for a while, but I have won some competitions and have over fifty pieces of flash published. The flash fiction I write is more literary than sci-fi.
GJ: Like yourself, I have a full time job not writing fiction. How do you find time to write when teaching no doubt takes up so much of your time each day?
SR: I’ve trained myself to wake earlier. It took a while, but now I wake at 5am on weekdays and write for around two hours. I try to fit in an hour on the night when I can, too. It’s tough, but writing each day really makes the words add up over time.
GJ: Tell us about your books.
SR: I now have a completed series of five books, called the Humanity Series. The first book is set in the near future, in a time when AI can predict deaths. The books explore the idea of a man called Scott Beck who knows the date and month he will die, but not the year: 22nd April. I thought it would be interesting to have someone wait for the date to come each year, not knowing if this is the year they will die. As the series progresses, everyone on the planet discovers their date. The antagonist, Mathew, is intent on making sure all the dates are adhered to, and humanity is returned to heaven. I’ve always been drawn to the idea of religious fanaticism and how when someone truly believes, they can do extraordinary, misguided things. The series follows Scott’s desire to keep himself, his family, and humanity alive.
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GJ: How has lockdown and COVID effected you and your writing?
SR: I am lucky that my children are older: 15 and 18 – they don’t need me a whole lot these days. So, it meant I could be a full-time writer for around half of 2020. I took advantage of the time I was off work and managed to release the five books in the series far more quickly than I would have if the lockdown hadn’t happened. Although I took advantage of the time I had on my hands, it’s been a horrible year for everyone, and I hope it all ends soon.
GJ: What is your favourite part of the writing process, and your least favourite part?
SR: Great question. My favourite part is the last couple of reads of the book. I like the final few tweaks when I change the odd word or piece of punctuation. I love adding the last few bits that will hopefully make it shine. My least favourite part is when I get the book back from the editor. There are so many things I have to change and sort, that sometimes it can feel overwhelming. It’s always at this point, too, when I feel the book is hopeless. But I work through the edits and slowly learn that the process has made the book so much better. It’s just tough going for a week or so.
GJ: Do you feel any added pressure being an English teacher?
SR: Ha! Not really. It helps that no one knows, I guess. 🙂
GJ: One for fellow writers, most new writers soon find out that it’s one thing to write a book and another to then market it and make it sell successfully. What have you found to be the most effective marketing strategy so far?
SR: For me, the most effective strategy is to give your book away for nothing. It’s a horrible thought when you first start out, but you soon realise that the reader doesn’t owe you anything. You have to earn readers – and the best way to do this is to give them something for nothing and hope they like it so much that they will buy something in the future. My advice would be to wait until you have a couple of books written and published, then to use promo sites like Freebooksy, Fussy Librarian etc. and get readers to download your book. It takes time, but slowly, you will find your readers.
GJ: What can your fans look forward to from you in the coming year?
SR: I am about to release the first book in a cyberpunk series called ‘The Cyberpunk Uploads’. The first book is called Spectrum Worlds. I have three books planned and drafted and will see how these three go before writing more in the series. The main character is an android called the Postman. He delivers in a futuristic London (called Lundun) and learns that he can see parallel universes. His visions, coloured like the spectrum of light, allows him to view the most advantageous near-future, meaning he can get himself into and out of all kinds of trouble. I’m really enjoying writing it.
GJ: Thank you Seth for taking the time to speak with me today. You can check out Seth’s books on his website www.sethrain.com and get a free copy of the dystopian thriller, THE ROGUE WATCHER.
If you’re a fan of dystopian thrillers then why not check out the first in my fast-paced post-apocalyptic zombie thriller.