Featured Friday! Scott Baughman
Born in the midlands of South Carolina, Scott spent his early years reading great science fiction novels, mysteries, fantasy books and the Choose-your-own-adventure series of the 1980s. Baughman knew he wanted to be a writer by the third grade, where as an elementary school student on career day he eschewed the fireman, soldier or policeman costumes to dress up as a fedora-wearing, camera-snapping member of the press. Today, several newspaper jobs and journalism writing awards behind him, he has published the first book of his Balance of Power science fiction series – Rule of Thumb! He is the father of two sons and lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife Meda and their dog, Mayer.
What’s your favourite part of the lifestyle of an Author?
I enjoy the freedom to create, without necessarily having to satisfy the edicts of someone who is my boss. As a self-published author I have almost total control over the outcome of the creative process. There is no publisher or marketing director who is looking at the “profitability” of my writing or story topics. It’s just me – and the empty page.
What made you start writing?
As children we all make up stories. Imagination is a fundamental building block of what makes us unique individuals. I have always had these stories inside me, inspired by the sci-fi and fantasy yarns of the 1980s. I chose writing as my means of expression because I thought it was the best and most effective way of sharing my visions with others.
Is there an Author that you consider your inspiration?
Like many sci-fi writers, I look to H.G. Wells, Isaac Asimov and William Gibson as inspirations. But the biggest impact on my writing has come from Spider Robinson for his ribald sense of humor and the immortal Edgar Rice Burroughs for his mastery of the rip-snorting adventure tale.
What’s your number one tip for an aspiring Author?
When you get to a problem in your manuscript – and you will – just write it out. I always start books with an outline and although not all authors use them I feel that going without one is like working without a net on a trapeze. But when you hit that spot where the story doesn’t quite flow or the characters seem to want to do their own thing, let them do it. At least, let them do it for a few pages and see where it goes. Then, write that whole section differently. Just keep pounding away at the words and eventually the way the story “should” happen will unfold before you. Don’t be so caught upon deadlines or schedules that you deny yourself and your characters this kind of diversion into what could be a great part of your story.
What type of book do you like to read and does this differ from the genre that you prefer to write?
I enjoy science fiction the most. As part of generation Star Wars, and a child in the 1980s when the American space program was such a huge part of our daily lives, outer space has and likely always will fascinate me.
Mr. John Smith – the hard-boiled detective from Rule of Thumb. He has so much to teach people about how technology isn’t always the answer but also about how to best meld man and machine. And he’s got a lot of surprises left to show readers when I finish writing the third book in the Balance of Power series – Heart of Stone.
Which book do you consider a must-read?
Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn is one of the best novels I’ve ever read. Although the new canon of Star Wars since the acquisition by Disney has rendered this story an “alternate universe” it is still a great novel filled with wonderful new characters in that universe.
What’s been the hardest edit that you’ve had to make? Why did you want to keep the material in?
While writing Empire of Fire I wanted to keep in some more romantic subplots between Jason Bonadventure and Lisa Swartz. I wanted to give their relationship more meat, more substance but I found that I delved too deeply into both their emotions and the physical description of Lisa. It gave the book an entirely different kind of atmosphere so I had to cut it.
If you could live in a book, which one would it be?
I think it would be fascinating to live in the Foundation series by Asimov. Alone among mainstream sci-fi works, Asimov’s series truly shows a galaxy-spanning empire and society. And the technological works described are on a scale almost too great to contemplate for those of us living in the 21st century.
If you could pick an Author to write your biography, who would it be?
Spider Robinson would likely have a great time writing about my life, and it would be a very entertaining read.
We all know the phrase “the book is always better than the film.” Which film would you like to see remade as a book?
So many of today’s films start out as books – and comic books – that going the opposite way is becoming a rarity. Time was, you had almost every summer blockbuster also come out with a novelization of the film. Now, that is almost unheard of. But if I could reverse engineer one of tinsel town’s stories into dead-tree format it would be Jupiter Ascendant. I enjoyed the film much more than almost anybody else and feel there’s a real opportunity for a great story in that universe.
Can you sum up your life story in ten words or less?
Country boy finds meaning far beyond the stars.
What’s exciting you about your next project?
Heart of Stone will be the third and final book in the Balance of Power series – answering a lot of reader questions about how the story will end and how it all began. Will Jason and the humans find a way to exist without their preferred power source? Can life on Earth – to say nothing of humanity’s colonies – even continue without Shalenite providing almost limitless power? And what will happen when the rest of the humans find out the true nature of Shalenite and what they’ve been doing all these years to power human civilization?
And finally, you have one quote to be remembered by, what is it?
It’s not original, but it’s a good one:
Choosing between two evils is still choosing evil.
Have a look at Scott Baughman’s first two books in the Balance of Power series:
And you can follow his future exploits and releases at his website: