Step into the fascinating world of Nick Wilford, a speculative fiction wizard who weaves tales that challenge reality and delve into the unseen. From making the impossible a reality to navigating the complexities of AI, social media, and the ever-evolving world, Nick’s creative prowess knows no bounds. But that’s not all—when he’s not conjuring up worlds with his words, he’s a multitasking editor, stay-at-home dad, and the proud owner of six dogs with personalities as diverse as his literary creations.
Join us for an engaging conversation as we dive into Nick’s creative process, the evolution of his craft, and the delicate balance between storytelling and meeting deadlines. Discover the inspiration behind his debut novel, “The Becalmer,” and get a glimpse into the mind of a writer who thrives on exploring the unknown.
So, grab your favorite cup of tea (Nick’s beverage of choice!) and embark on a journey through the realms of speculative fiction with the imaginative mind of Nick Wilford.
TW: Do you prefer tea or coffee?
NW: Tea all the way. I drink too many cups a day, and I love that it both warms you up in the winter and hydrates you in the summer.
TW: What is your favorite season?
NW: Definitely this one right now. I love the colours during autumn, the changing of the light, it’s a season of renewal for me.
TW: What is your favorite genre to read?
NW: I read pretty widely, but I love anything that makes me look at things in a different way, gives me a perspective that’s new to me. Often, that will come under the speculative banner – dystopian, sci-fi, fantasy.
TW: What inspired your craft, and how did you get started?
NW: I would say it is the same as what inspires me today, just trying to deal with the randomness and insanity of the world and process it in a way that makes some sense to me, and hopefully to others. My earliest piece of writing was a play that was basically sending up my family – in an affectionate way, but looking back it was definitely my way of getting out any frustrations I perceived at that time, and that’s carried on since.
TW: How do you approach the creative process, from idea generation to finished product?
NW: An idea usually comes from a combination of an issue that’s been on my mind, and a character showing up who’s got a story to tell. I’m definitely interested in exploring big issues, but without a sympathetic character to explore them with, it’s not going to go anywhere. So I begin by spending time with this character, finding out what their problem is and how they’re going to deal with it. I will write a very vague outline, but I don’t go too far with it, and it’s rare that I know the ending of the book before I’ve started. The ideal scenario is that I’m on that journey in real time with the reader, just keeping going to find out what’s next. With a finished draft, I’ll do a few more passes before sending it to critique partners, who usually suggest things I never thought of and will make it much stronger. Then it’s a case of tightening up, homing in on the most important threads until I’m as happy with it as I can be.
TW: How do you balance the need for creative expression with the need to meet deadlines and produce work on a regular basis?
NW: I would say – and this is a good tip for those just starting out as well – I don’t really think too much about creative expression, I just try to get down a certain number of words per day because with my various other responsibilities, my time is certainly limited! I just concentrate on telling the story, and any underlying themes or messages will hopefully become apparent afterward, or maybe they won’t, or maybe something will come out of it that I never thought about. So yeah, my biggest tip is to just see yourself as a writer, not a creator as such. Concentrate on the story first and everything else should sort itself out.
TW: How has your craft evolved over time, and what factors have influenced this evolution?
NW: Just like any other writer, my evolution has been influenced by what’s around me – global events, what I’m reading, what I absorb, because nobody writes in a vacuum. We’re all just a product of everything around us. When I started writing my first book, I was reading a lot of thrillers, police procedurals, so that was the story I wanted to write, but if you enjoy reading something it doesn’t necessarily mean you can write it. I don’t really have that analytical, deductive mindset you need for thrillers. When I started my blog, things changed. Blogging was a lot bigger then, and I got to know a lot of sci-fi and fantasy authors and got inspired by them, and I started reading more of those types of books – which I had when I was younger, it just dropped off a bit. My journey’s been about trying different things, and finding out what works and what doesn’t.
TW: What do you see as the biggest challenge facing those in your craft today, and how do you think it can be addressed?
NW: Nowadays I think writers have more challenges than ever before, really. There’s the need to stand out among countless other books, of course. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have so much competition because everyone should be encouraged to use their voice, but with the ability now to take shortcuts and use certain tools as assistance to tell your story, the market will become even more flooded at an exponential pace, and the quality of work will become diluted. AI only regurgitates what’s gone before it – of course, we all do that, as I’ve mentioned, but the difference is a human author will offer a fresh and unique perspective. As far as addressing it, I think authors need to be transparent about the degree to which AI has been used in their work, if any, so readers can make that choice. I like to think readers will continue to prefer stories crafted by the human hand. And we just need to keep telling the best stories we can in the best way we know how.
TW: How do you stay motivated?
NW: In terms of finishing a story, it’s all about the characters for me – seeing their journey through from beginning to end. I don’t want to just leave them hanging! They take on a life of their own, and the motivation is just following on to see where they go next.
TW: What is your favorite piece of work and why?
NW: I would say The Becalmer, my recent traditionally published debut, because it’s got the strongest character development. The protagonist, Harica, starts off with having total self-doubt and feeling like the gift she has is a burden rather than a blessing. Then, as she learns more about what she can do with it, she begins to see that it doesn’t define her, but it has made her much more rounded and self-confident. I’d written a dystopian trilogy before that, and although I was proud of what the main characters achieved, it had some very weighty themes that perhaps overshadowed them a little bit. The Becalmer was the first time I felt I got the balance right.
TW: What does the future hold for you?
NW: I hope to just keep being able to publish more books, reach more readers and get better at what I do.
TW: Anything else you would like to say?
NW: Thanks for this, it was a lot of fun!