Chris Botragyi is one of many authors currently being promoted on revolutionary publishers 'Britain's Next Bestseller' and trying to scute a publishing deal. Chris took some time of of his busy campaign to have a chat with this humble author...enjoy!!
Hi Chris! Thank you for joining me. Half way through your promotional and pre order campaign for ‘Blurred Vision’ on BNBS. How’s it going so far?
Hi David. Well it's hard going at the moment, as being a new author it's difficult to get your work and your name out there. Though there's some wonderful fellow authors at BNBS who have helped me greatly, to which I'm very grateful.
Had you already tried other publishers before finding Britain’s Next Bestseller?
Oh yes, LOTS of publishers! Gained a lot of interest with some, but most found the story a little too uncomfortable, hence wanting me to tone the content down. Fortunately though, BNBS like my work as it is, thus letting my creativity stay.
So, without further ado… Tell us a little about it?
In a nutshell 'Blurred Vision' is the story of six men who wake aboard an alien spacecraft amidst an invasion. It's a test on the human psyche, as each man begins to lose focus and hope with each other. What follows is each chapter telling the back stories to how the men each ended up on the ship. This is a mix of a General at Area 51 interviewing an alien on a global threat. Then a Professor, who, after unveiling his gift of time travel to the past, gets a nasty shock at the crucifixion of Christ. Following these is a young man writing a farewell letter as the invasion closes in around him. A young couple watching the invasion on TV from the comfort of their London apartment - which then moves a little too close. Next is a suicidal man discussing life's mysteries with the archangel Michael, before a horrifying twist changes things. Finally, an ordinary man experimented on and forced into a horrific fate.
What was the inspiration?
I've always loved the science fiction genre - especially in the movies. But every time it always ended with the humans beating some superior species by a modern miracle of man. I decided to mix it up for a change; I wanted to see how people would react to the fact that "what if humanity DID actually become extinct, and the real threat that goes with it?" Humanity often seems vain in relation to our species being so superior, so I thought it an interesting premise to flip this on its head!
Writing a science fiction novel puts you in the mixwith some of the greats. How did you go about crafting a story that would stand out from the rest?
Again, it was just purely the fact of changing the game and the genre. I liked the idea of us showing our real vulnerability and frailties; the fact that six men - relatively strongminded men - could crumble so easily against something they don't understand yet fear.
Was there anything you felt you wanted the reader to particularly feel when reading it or did you simply just want them to be given a good fright, a few chillsand a healthy dose of science fiction?
Absolutely, a bit of both to be honest. I love the idea of the reader turning the lights out at night, and pondering the text that will tap into their fears. After all, we all have our particular frights; whether that be monsters, ghosts or serial killers, we all have an affinity with fear in some form or another.
How do you create your characters?
Characters for me tend to be a mixture of people I know mentally, or physically someone I've seen somewhere. There's always a presence that is presented by someone when you meet them; facial expressions, the way they use words or how they conduct themselves. I can always glean good characteristics from the public!
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing ‘Blurred Vision’ to life?
The science fiction elements were a mixture of finding the key ingredients online, and then contacting those responsible for the work. The psychological elements is pure human nature - we've all had our ups and downs through the trials of life. The main challenges I found though was stitching the tale together. I had to knit and weave each piece of the puzzle together seamlessly. But I got there in the end.
Are there plans for more? Is it a series?
Currently it's a one-off novel. But the beauty of stories like this is that they always remain open; there's so much more that can be explored and utilised within the genre. So I would never rule out a follow up.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I try to write when I can. But being an amateur writer comes with your everyday life. I'm currently fitting it all in around an English Language and Literature (BA) degree, plus retaking some GCSE courses. Around all this I volunteer as an assistant English tutor for GCSE English at a local Adult Community Learning Centre (ACL). So no, not really structured, but very chaotic!
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I tend to just get the basic ideas down and expand as I go. Sometimes a complete chapter will disappear as I won't like the way it works or fits the rest of the story. After the basic lines are down, it's then a case of expanding again, then redrafting and redrafting.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
Oh I've always been very creative and open to all possibilities that are presented in life. I was always taught that nothing is impossible, and I believe that. I have found that I've evolved greatly, as doing the research on certain aspects of the genres always helps gain new variations/interests that branch out to several new subjects.
Which part (if any) was the hardest part to write?
I think the hardest parts to write was those that were the ensemble pieces within the chapters. As each character has his own back story, it was a case of throwing these six unassociated characters together in the mix and dealing with each personality.
And the easiest?
Definitely the alien parts. My love of this genre within books and movies made those parts very rewarding for me.
Who are your favorite authors/books?
Hmm, I like Anne Rice; her rich vampire novels were groundbreaking at the time, and her detail is incredible within the text. Aldous Huxley is an interesting writer with some amazing creative ideas, especially 'Brave New World'. I'm also a big fan of Homer, and 'The Iliad' and 'Odyssey'. Again, there are some amazing translations out there. Generally though I just enjoy a good read these days.
If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Good question, there are so many! I think the late, great Jim Morrison, former lead singer of The Doors, would be an amazing choice. He had a wonderful mind and way with words; lyrics to the groups songs only enhanced this. He had an incredible way about him. Not only was he this great singer/writer, but was a supremely intelligent man.
If you could meet any of your own characters, who would it be?
I think it would have to be James. Being a young man and having to deal with this situation, knowing that your family is probably dead, he would need guidance, advice and a sympathetic ear.
And do you have a favourite character in ’Blurred Vision’?
Not particularly. Though I think the Professor would be more akin to the type of person I would get on well with as he appears more rounded and grounded.
If you were going to go out of your comfort zone, what genre would you like to try?
Interesting question again. Maybe something along the lines of gang culture within organised crime? I sort of wrote something a long time ago on the subject. Though I've always wanted to have a crack at rewriting a modern day J.B. Priestly's 'An Inspector Calls' as that is a fascinating piece of work.
Do you have any advice for other writers who may be starting out?
It's part and parcel of the industry to get knock back after knock back. All I can really say is to keep pushing and plugging away - that way you will always be improving your writing techniques. There are many famous authors today that have been dismissed time after time, only to have got their break eventually. Don't give up!
Do you have any special message you would like to say to your readers?
I would like to thank them all for their interest in my novel, and their support along the way - it's much appreciated!
And to finish off…
1. Favourite movie?
Too many to count!
2. Favourite colour?
3. Favourite song?
Anything by Nirvana or GNR!
4. Favourite food?
5. Favourite Superhero?
6. Favourite Doctor (as in Doctor Who though you can go all House if you wish!)?
Lager or tea
7. Favourite TV show?
Game of Thrones
8. Favourite place?
9. Favourite word (swear or otherwise!)?
A huge thank you to Chris for taking the time out to speak to me. Chris's debut novel is available for pre-order now at Britain's Next Bestseller.
BNBS - You know the quality, you know the name, so if you're in the mood for some original and thrilling sci-fi please help support Chris in pursuit of his dream to become a published author.