Nick Lloyd - Stories Where Morals Aren't Clear-Cut
Nick Lloyd loves the blurry edges between fact and fiction - to create stories that make you think, where morals aren't always clear-cut. His debut novel, Emergence was a great success and Lloyd is now back with his next work, Disconnected. As our Author of the Day, Lloyd chats about this book, about how he would love to do a really good cartwheel and reveals who he would meet up with if he could pick anybody - living or dead.
Please give us a short introduction to what Disconnected is about.
The story is set in modern day London, and the crux of the story is that a political advisor, Asha Kharjal, is manipulating people telepathically to create a fairer, more humane, safer world. In a parallel thread, a hard-nosed industrialist, Polly Wolfson, is driving her company to create a cure for dementia. The threads come together as Asha tries to use Polly whilst she does the same. A confluence of external challenges threatens each of their progress and Asha is soon using his powers in a less and less empathic way…
What inspired you to write about rewiring the human mind?
I love the blurry edges between fact and fiction. I did a bunch of research into current ideas around the structure and function of the brain. The world I built is fiction, but it touches on a number of paradoxes that many people find intriguing. For instance: ‘love at first sight’, ‘mother’s intuition’, ‘teenage angst’… are just a few.
In which ways have your life changed since releasing Emergence, your debut novel?
I’m happier, and more grounded. Before I worked on my debut novel Emergence, I had a standard 9’to’5 job that paid the bills but did not really inspire me. Now I write part-time, I am much more balanced.
What was the greatest challenge you had to go through while writing Disconnected?
Self-doubt. Emergence sold very well for an indie debut novel. And all the time I was writing Disconnected I worried that it would not be as good.
Tell us more about Asha Kharjal. Who is he and what makes him so special?
Physically, he’s a middle-aged man with extreme mind powers. He has suffered in his past and that has made him resolute about building a better world. Emotionally, morally, I can only give you my perspective of his actions… you’ll have to make up your mind. I am sympathetic towards Asha. He does make bad decisions, but mostly when he is under extreme pressure. He is an adherent to the philosophy that benevolent dictatorship is the best form of government. I suspect that many fiction writers are the same…
You like to write stories where morals aren't exactly clear-cut and readers can pick sides. Why?
Difficult question… my instinctive reaction is to say that it frees the mind and makes the book more engaging/interactive. And, I suspect that another part of the reason is that I am, personally, more enticed by possibilities than by certainties. I prefer ‘the journey’ to ‘the arrival’. However, a counter argument is that I am a coward and simply don’t like to have the confrontation associated with telling people ‘exactly how it is’. I guess this doesn’t quite tally with my answer relating to benevolent dictatorship… but there we go… real life is complex…
If you could meet up with anybody, living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about?
Purely selfishly… I’d like to travel back to talk to myself aged 16yrs old… give myself a few pointers.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Nothing interesting… so I’m going to turn this around and tell you what secret skill I’d like to have… I love to be able to do a really good cartwheel (gymnastics style). I can’t even touch my toes.
Tell us about your writing habits. When, where and how do you write?
My writing is part-time. So, I tend to write 9pm to 12pm four nights per week… and then 2 full days which are broken up into 3 * 2hr sessions. I do all my notes/structuring in pencil in a notebook, and I have to be out of the house for that (coffee shops/libraries/museums, train station coffee shops are best). When I am doing the full manuscript then I am at my desk at home. The most important habit is that when I am writing Draft 1 or Draft 2 on a book then I force myself to write whatever rubbish comes into my head… for me, there will be 6 or 7 Drafts... and in the early stages of writing a novel you cannot afford to wait for inspiration.
Do you plan out the twists in your books before you start writing or do some of them just "happen"?
I would say that mostly I have a good feeling of the twists before I start my 1st Draft.
What type of books do you like to read for your own entertainment? Any favorite authors?
I love SciFi: Iain M Banks, Neal Stephenson, Dan Simmons
I love popular science: John Gribbin
What's an aspect of being a writer that you didn't know about going in?
Self-discipline is key… at school, and at work, you are pushed/pointed/cajoled … when it’s your novel, if you don’t write the words… then the words don’t get written
What are you working on right now?
3rd Book! Still very early days… so I can’t say anything (purely from a superstition perspective); I am researching augmented-reality…
Where can our readers discover more about your work or interact with you?
I am not very active on social media… but I have the basics
If anyone contacts me via my web-site then I am pretty good at interacting in a positive way… I am always glad to hear from people who have read my books and have constructive pointers (or praise!)
Final point… for independent authors… the Amazon and Goodreads review system is our lifeblood… so if you read either of my books, please please please leave a review