Ian J. Malone Interview
IBB: Tell us a little about yourself and your work.
IJM: Well, for starters I’m a 38 year old Tallahassee native and graduate of Florida State, now living in the heart of ACC country in Durham, NC. So suffice it to say, the Malone house is a pretty interesting place to be during basketball season — particularly since I married a die-hard NC State fan. LOL
Literarily speaking, I’m a huge fan of anything with good characters. Regardless of genre, I’m a firm believer that any story — no matter how crazy or far-fetched — can be told, and told well provided that we as readers care about those affected by its outcome. So whether it’s a love story about long-lost souls finding their way back to each other, or an epic SF geek-a-thon with zombie armadas and pulse rifles, I’m all about giving it a go as long as I connect to the people.
Beyond books, I’m an avid fan of music, movies, sports, cooking, and anything involving a beach.
IBB: Where do you like to write?
IJM: In my office at home. I’ve tried to get out and about with my writing, but I always find myself too distracted by what’s happening around me. At home, I’ve got my chair at my desk, with my computer and my music library, not to mention a piping hot cup of coffee that didn’t set me back eight bucks. Tough to beat that formula, ya know?
IBB: Is there anything you must have in order to write? For example, silence, whiskey, and a close shave.
IJM: Music is probably the biggest thing. It’s just great creative juice for me. Pretty sure my readers pick up on that, too, what with all the rock references in my books.
IBB: What books have influenced you most, both as a person and as an author?
IJM: Wow, huge question. As an author, there are a lot of them. When it comes to hard sci-fi, it’s tough to beat Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. Say what you will of the man’s politics, his literary work in the genre speaks for itself. I’m also a huge fan of Jonathan Mayberry (fabulous action writer) and Stephen King (The Dead Zone is among my all-time favs).
In terms of books that have influenced me as a person, I’d probably have to go with Timothy Keller’s The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Scepticism. Talk about an amazing read, and one that’ll challenge everything you think you know about spirituality.
IBB: What is the one thing that has helped you develop most as an author?
IJM: Reading, reading, and reading, plus writing, writing, and… wait for it… writing. Take all the classes and continuing education you like, but when all is said and done, practice really is the only way to hone one’s skills in this craft. That, and lots and lots AND LOTS of reading to see how others do it.
IBB: What do you want to achieve most from your writing?
IJM: This may sound selfish, but at the end of the day, I just want to enjoy what I do. I man a forty-hour day job just like everyone else, so the last thing I want to do when I get home is work that doesn’t speak to me. If I’m enjoying the writing then it’s time well spent, and I’d like to believe that comes across in the writing itself. Like I said before, if I don’t care about it, then why should you?
IBB: Is there something specific you do to improve your writing?
IJM: Again, read, read, read, and write, write, write. Perhaps the only thing I’d add to that would be to surround yourself with people who’ll be brutally honest with you about your work. That means taking some strong criticism at times, and not letting it hurt your feelings. It’s always nice to hear how awesome you are, but if no one ever points out the shortcomings in your game, how can you ever fix them?
IBB: What is the ideal relationship between editor and author?
IJM: An honest one, but one with definite “give and take.” I like an editor who pulls no punches with me, but also has sound logic behind all major changes. I don’t mind hearing “cut this” or “this doesn’t work,” but if I’m really close to the content I won’t budge unless I get a solid explanation as to why I should follow the advice. Likewise, though, if I tell my editor “no” on a change, I’d better be prepared to give a darn good reason why, and “because I’m the author and it’s my story” doesn’t qualify.
IBB: If you had a direct line to someone who loves your writing, what would you say?
IJM: Keep on rockin’ in the free world, man. Really, if you’re enjoying reading this stuff half as much as I’m enjoying writing it, then I am genuinely thrilled — and privileged — to share it with you.
IBB: If you had a direct line to someone who hates your writing, what would you say?
IJM: Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, so that’s fair. Just keep buying it to see if it gets better. 😉
IBB: If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
IJM: Write what speaks to you, no matter the genre, and don’t try to put too much of a label on it. Readers will do that for you.
IBB: What does your writing future hold for you?
IJM: Hopefully, in the years to come, it’ll include writing fiction full-time. I’m pretty sure that’ll always involve some sort of science fiction — I’ve loved it since I was a kid — but I’ll leave the door open for other genres. Maybe I’ll write a crime thriller, or an urban fantasy? Who knows?
IBB: How have you set about the task of creating enticing cover art?
IJM: I typically have a decent idea of what I want out of a cover concept, and I relay that to my designer. After that, though, I think it’s important to step away and let the artist work. Once he or she comes back to me with a spec (initial draft of the cover), we toss a few emails around to polish things up then it’s off to formatting.
Cover design is actually one of the more exciting parts of post-production, IMHO, as is working with a producer to build the audiobook.
IBB: How often do you read? What genre?
IJM: I read anywhere from one to three books per month, depending on the length of the piece and what I’ve got going on. As for genre, I try to read it all. I live for scifi, obviously, but I also enjoy crime thrillers, westerns, urban fantasies, biographies, theology books, and historical texts, among others. It really just depends on my mood that day.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Best of luck in the future, Ian.
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