About Wayne Smallman

When you're young, you think you know everything and life is indistinguishable from a game. It's only when you get older — when you begin to doubt the authenticity of the event and question the rules — that experience begins to count for something. And to quote the inimitable Forbes Bingley, a recurring character of several novels: "Life makes you stronger, at a price." In a sense, life has been preparation — practice, perhaps — for this wild stab at being an author. After all, how hard can it be, putting one word after another? Of course, like anything else in life, you only get out what you put in. At times, writing is both cathartic and semi autobiographical, where I catch myself looking backwards whimsically, lustily, with regret, a wry smile, a despondent glower or growing doubt. But writing is also a journey, one with no intentional destination, just waypoints I may navigate towards from time to time, at leisure. Though I must admit, it's a journey I would prefer not to make alone.

A fascination with everything

“What Fascinates You?” A simple enough question I found in a forum on Goodreads. But context is everything, isn’t it? In the context of being a writer, what fascinates me is no different to what fascinates me as a human.

“Almost everything has the capacity to fascinate me .. even politics. I’m a writer of hard science fiction, so I need to know as much about science and technology as possible, and they are my two most beloved topics, above all else.

However, the heart of any topic — that intangible thing that makes it fascinating — is the human story; the motivations, the trials, the tribulations, the expectations, the adversities, and perhaps defeat and death.”

I have a distraction…

Aside from Octane, my own business, to keep me occupied, I have several personal projects, such as writing and aspiring to be an author of some renown. But I also have a dream, and it’s proving to be a distraction.

However, the ironic thing is, this dream — which is a rather large personal project — I’m working on is proving to be a distraction from the paying work, when the project itself is designed to make me more efficient at doing.

Under Cloud

I have a dream, and it’s name is Under Cloud, which some think is a negative, but I like it. It’s aim is to make “serendipity reproducible, day after day.”

As you can imagine, as a programmer, designer, and writer, I do a lot of research. Saving bookmarks in a web browser doesn’t cut it. Saving scraps of ideas in Evernote is only a partial fix. So I’ve written something (and by that I mean I’ve written code) that just about solves that particular problem.

So, if — by sheer chance — anyone other than my girlfriend was wondering why I had gone silent, the Under Cloud is the reason why.

Also, if you’re curious as to how the Under Cloud might help you, send me a message and we can discuss it further.

A continuum of ideas

One of my earliest memories of writing was wondering how to spell the name of a planet I’d just made up. So, as any child would do, I asked my dad.

“You can spell it how you want.”

And there, at that moment, was a sense of unbounded creative license, let loose. I realised that the normal rules applicable to factual writing really didn’t apply. Or at least some of them didn’t.

About three years ago, after a near twenty year hiatus, I took up pen and paper once more and began plotting Ascending Angels, remembering that formative moment from my childhood and what it meant.

As an adult, I’d found that my ideas could finally stand on their own, with their feet planted firmly on the foundations only an adult could build; hard earned experience, observational knowledge, the lessons of failure, and those fleeting moments of success, pleasure, and joy that punctuate our lives.

Shortly after writing Earth Day, I found myself feeling like that child once more, wondering if more rules could be bent, broken, or discarded entirely.

A series of serials. Seriously?

It became apparent to me that Earth Day had potential beyond itself and its own novella confines. A kind of potential I’d stumbled upon not quite by chance but by “idle” imagining, though few thoughts that appear in the mind of the creative are truly idle.

I’d written Earth Day while awaiting feedback from friends for an advanced draft of Ascending Angels. And it’s more than likely that the context of that novel was the seed for the idea I had.

Much of what takes place in Earth Day has a correlation with Ascending Angels, and by extension the events of two other novels I had planned as part of a series; Perdition’s End, and Gods of War. However, the idea of extending this series in such a way made little sense to me; Earth Day, which is a novella, would need to surrounded by those other novels. Bookended, no less. I found the idea weird.

But then I began thinking about those other novels and novellas I had in the works, and it became apparent that they too, in their own way, fit within this “universe” I was building.

“What, like the Marvel Universe?”

Soon, the idea of a series of novels was less appealing to me than the prospect of creating a constellation of novels and novellas, each connected to another in some way — be it a technology, a character, a company, an event, place, or alien race. I had found something that truly appealed to my sense of grand design.

Imagine, every single story connected to another in some way, weaving a thread through space and time, with each story revealing something else, something perhaps trivial, or maybe deep and provocative, but each incrementally building upon the one before.

“What, like the Marvel Universe?” Christy said, without a hint of sarcasm.

Yes, I suppose so! But if I were to abandon an idea just because someone else had gotten there first — having created their own universe, of all things — then there’s not much hope for anyone else.

2 for the price of 1

But why stop with one universe when I could have two? Again, not entirely by design, but I have ended up with two universes (sadly, no spoilers), which forces upon me at least one restriction, in that rather than fumble over the plural form of universes, which just sounds clumsy, I have elected for continuum, which — while perhaps a little pretentious — it makes infinitely more sense, both literally and figuratively.

Remembrance

Years before the events of Earth Day, Remembrance is a dark journey of discovery. And, as the Irish proverb says, may you never forget what is worth remembering, or remember what is best forgotten.

Fear the forgotten

“After many years, two former school friends meet by chance. Or do they? Deborah — a high-flying corporate lawyer, now living in New York — remembers a sequence of events one way, while Ben — a travel writer and campaigning journalist — remembers them another. But why?

Unable to shake loose the feeling that something’s wrong, Deborah and Ben return to the rural idyll of their home village in England, to make sense of what really happened during that apparently lost week in their young lives.

What they uncover is more disturbing than anything they could have ever imagined, striking at the very heart of their adolescence, affecting not just their own lives, but the lives, the careers and the reputations of people past and present: an event so unbelievable, only the unimaginable could bring it to an end.”

Remembrance is available NOW on Amazon Kindle