Jo Zebedee


Latest Book Title: Inish Carraig



Genre: Sci-Fi and Thriller


What was your incentive to start writing?

I’d had a story in my head for a long time and thought, as I was due to turn 40 quite soon, it was time to try to capture it. I’d tried many years previously and hadn’t managed it – this time I persevered and that story became Abendau’s Heir, my first novel, and ended up as a trilogy! I guess I’ve always loved reading, and it just was an itch to scratch.

What, and who, influences what you to write?

I read a lot of sci fi and fantasy, so of course they are influences. Some from the Golden Age, like Heinlein, or Bradbury. Dune, for sure. But also some of the TV shows – Blake’s Seven was a huge influence, with Star Wars and the ilk a lesser one. But I also read a ton of stuff outside the genre, and I love great characters, so any story that can draw me in and provoke a reaction from me works.

Also, the fact I’m writing sf often – although not always! – set in Northern Ireland is important to me. I believe a writer brings something of themselves to every book and that’s very true of me when I write about here.

What reactions do you get from family and friends about your writing?

Generally, it’s all very positive. Lots of them have read Space Opera when they’d  never been into the genre at all! And I’ve had those days where I’ve done events and no one has been there but my family, and that support is just so important in the early days (these days more than just my family turn up!) Mostly, they’re very polite and say nice things.

What challenges do you experience when you write?

I hate first drafts. With a passion. Also, I have a busy, chaotic life, so carving out the time to write is hard and has got harder the busier I get as a writer! I also struggle with possessive apostrophes. We have history.

What is your genre preference and why?

Science fiction. I love the escapism. It’s my happy place.

Self-publish or traditional – which do you prefer and why?

I like – and do – both. I like the fact someone else pays out for the book with trad publishing! I like that they have to do a lot of the fiddly jobs. I like that it takes away some of the prejudice that I might not be a very good writer, since I’m self published – even though my most popular book is self published!

But I like the control of self publishing. I like the freedom to write what moves me, not what an agent might want.

For me, hybrid – both self and trad published – is where I want to be. Freedom, but some of the work is taken from me.

What advice on writing would you offer to other authors?

Sit down, and write. Or don’t write. Don’t make it more than it is. But, if you can, enjoy it.

Future plans on writing.

So many! I have a new book just started, which the Arts Council of NI have given me funding to support me by taking some time from work to write. I’ve also booked a writing retreat to get some words down! Then I have a sequel to Inish Carraig about a third of the way done, and I’d like to get that out. I have a previously funded book by ACNI out with a couple of publishers and agents to see where it’s home might be. I have a prequel to the Abendau world semi-planned, that I’d like to get to. (Abendau is my sand-box; I love writing it). I have work to do with the NI SFF writers group I’m part of. I have a busy summer of conventions ahead – Worldcon and Eurocon, and Edgelit in England.

I did mention life was chaos, didn’t I? 🙂



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