Friday, 20 July 2012

Author Spotlight

Mark Roman

I want to re-post this interview with author Mark Roman. His hilarious sci-fi comedy The Ultimate Inferior Beings is free for two days! 

Mark Roman is a scientist working in bioinformatics. He has degrees in
Physics and Astrophysics and a PhD in Computational Biology. He's
worked in the National Audit Office and in a small sofware development
company. He is married with two children, aged 9 and 10.

His book, The Ultimate Inferior Beings was recently published by Cogwheel Press

The book

Landscape architect jixX is way out of his depth when mistakenly
appointed captain of a dangerous space mission. He’s never flown a
spaceship before, but at least he’s not alone; none of his crewmembers
have, either. To make matters worse, the ship’s computer thinks it’s a
So the last thing jixX needs is an encounter with aliens, particularly
a nutty bunch of religious fanatics. They believe in the existence of
The Ultimate Inferior Beings, a species so totally inept at everything
that, according to an ancient prophecy, their incompetence will bring
about the end of the Universe. One alien becomes convinced that humans
are this bungling species and that the only way of saving the Universe
is by destroying them.
So it comes down to jixX to save Humankind.

Mark Roman

Okay, now that we know a bit about him, let's find out some more. Welcome to my blog, Mark.

  1. Your book, The Ultimate Inferior Beings (TUIB) was recently published by Cogwheel Press. Can you describe how you felt when you woke up the morning it came out?

Confused, sleepy, late for work – just like any other morning. And then it hit me: TUIB was out there, on its own, released into the wild to fend for itself. I immediately ordered a copy from Amazon so I could keep one at home, safe and sound. I just hope all the other copies are lucky to get good homes too.

  1. Have you written any other books or is Inferior Beings your first? And do you plan a sequel or even a series?

TUIB was the first. I did write another book, but it was terrible. However, I’m rather fond of it in a warped sort of way. If people don’t like TUIB I might release “The Mystery of the Carpox Burbler” into the world by way of revenge. Alternatively, a sequel to TUIB is a possibility. Or something completely different.

  1. Having read your book, and really enjoyed it, Douglas Adams immediately sprung to mind. Do you get that comparison often? If so does it please you or annoy you?

Well, for me, Mr Adams’s Hitchhiker series are still the best in the genre. So any Sci-fi book with a trace of humour is bound to be compared to it; most people haven’t read too many other books like it (although there are quite a few). It only worries me that readers might expect TUIB to be like the Guide and be disappointed when it isn’t. My book has a very different voice and, I hope, is enjoyable in its own humble way.

  1. Who are your own favourite authors and what genre do you mostly read?

As far as I’m concerned, Charles Dickens is the guv’nor. I can happily spend hours immersed in his world and his characters. I’ve nearly read the lot and am ready to go round again. At the moment I’m enjoying Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. In terms of genres, I like light, easy reads with lashings of witty and clever writing.

  1. How long have you been writing and how long did it take you to write Inferior Beings?

From the first word, knocked out on an old manual typewriter, to the last (on a laptop) it’s taken me 35 years to write TUIB. Not full time, obviously; I had to eat and sleep. And there were lean periods of around 10-15 years when I would leave it alone at the bottom of a drawer and get on with my life. The first draft took under a year to finish, but I would periodically return to rewrite it and improve it. I’m hoping to have the sequel completed around 2047.

  1. What inspired you to write the book?

Rubbishy science fiction. There’s so much of it and I thought the genre needed another contribution.

  1. How often do you write and do you find it difficult finding the time?

At the moment my work eats up too much time, and there’s a wife and 2 children at home who occasionally need a little attention. One of them is sitting on my lap right now, but won’t allow me to tell you which one it is.

  1. Do you want to be Mark Roman full time writer?

Not at the moment, there’s no money in it. When I retire and start getting very bored I am sure I will while away the hours by writing more nonsense.

  1. How difficult is it for a first time writer with a new press to get noticed and do you have a grand marketing plan?

It is very difficult. I’ve already spammed all my friends and relatives. They tend to run when they see me coming now. I’m trying various other avenues like Goodreads, book review and trailer sites, other people’s blogs, and so on, but it all takes a lot of time and effort.

  1.  Did you ever consider the self publishing route?

I did, I did. I was a whisker away from doing so when the fairy queen who runs Cogwheel Press pulled me back and gave me a contract.

  1.  Finally, when do you think we will see a new title by Mark Roman?

As I’ve said, at current rate of progress, 2047. But beware. I still have “The Mystery of the Carpox Burbler” sitting in one of my drawers.

Okay then, thank you, Mark. It has been a real pleasure.

You can buy Mark's book here:

Print version US

Kindle UK    

Kindle US    

Author's website