Nicholas Rossis was born in 1970 in Athens. Greece. In 1995 he moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, where he received his PhD in Digital Architecture from the University of Edinburgh and taught various publishing courses at Napier University. This is also the year he founded his web design company, Istomedia.
In 2000, he brought Istomedia to Greece. He has taught design and publishing at various Greek colleges and universities and has written a score of children’s books, numerous short stories and Pearseus, a Sci-Fi dystopian novel described as “Game of Thrones meets Dune”.
Nicholas lives in a forest outside Athens with Electra, his lovely wife of over twenty years, one beautiful dog and two remarkably silly cats.
What inspires you to write?
Most of my stories come to me in dreams. I’ve kept dream journals since my late teens, and they sizzle with brilliant ideas. In Pearseus’ case, probably half the book stems from various dreams I’ve had, from the Haunted Forest to David’s encounter in Malekshei (which is copied almost verbatim from the journal), to various characters’ dreams.
Having said that, the concept of Pearseus itself came to me after I had read Martin’s books, followed by Jim Lacey’s The First Clash and Herodotus’ Cyrus the Great and Rise of Persia, which describe the fatal battle on Marathon between Greece and Persia in the 5th century BC. Marathon is a 20’ drive from my home, and I’d often visited the tomb where the ancient Athenians buried their dead, so I thought at the time, “wouldn’t it be great if someone did what Martin did for medieval England, only with the story of Greece vs. Persia? And in space? How cool would that be?” Then it occurred to me: so, what’s stopping me from writing it?
Tell us about your writing process.
I don’t believe in writing x amount of pages every day, as some suggest, because my life and workload are too messy for that. I do, however, believe in working on my writing career on a daily basis. Whether it’s spending a whole day writing or five minutes sending an email to ask for a review, it doesn’t matter, since they both bring me closer to my goal of becoming a full-time author. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
When I started writing it, I happened across a little secret: authors don’t write books. Books write themselves.
I know this sounds crazy, but in my case it’s remarkably accurate. From what I’ve heard, other writers, too, have this feeling that the heroes follow their own path, and the author’s role is simply to jot it down, document it for the readers.
It got to the point where one of the heroes suddenly died on me, despite the fact that I had already sketched out their next moves! I’m trying not to give anything away, so I’ll only say that I was writing this scene, and found my fingers typing the description of that character’s death, although on the notes before me the outline of the following chapters included their continued exploits. I spent days changing my plotline to reflect the unexpected loss. 🙂
What advice would you give other writers?
The thing that’s shocked me most in my life, is the realization of just how free we really are. If you think about it, there’s very few limitations on us, but the ones we place on ourselves. Of course, one has to pay the consequences of their actions, but to me that’s only fair.
What stops us from doing all sorts of crazy things, is usually fear. Now, fear can be a great thing and a useful tool. However, it can also strangle us, stifle our creativity, steal away our life. So, if someone decides, even for a second, to ignore the fear of failure, ridicule and loss, they may realize that life is far richer and filled with beauty and potential than they could possibly imagine.
My advice to any aspiring writers, then, would be to go for it…
How did you decide how to publish your books?
A well-respected publisher had contacted me, not for Pearseus, but for my children’s books. As a first-time author, they offered me 10% and required me to surrender them the copyright. They also wanted a say in regards to the book’s illustrations, look, layout etc.
I was considering this, thinking that maybe that’s normal in the publishing world, so “when in Rome…” Then, I read “How Amazon saved my life” by Jessica Park ( http://indiereader.com/2012/06/how-amazon-saved-my-life/ ). That’s when I realized the kind of quiet revolution that had caught me unawares, but promised to change the way authors distributed their work. I dropped the publisher and focused on building my own brand.
It may take longer to make it, but at least it’ll be on my terms…
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
The times, they are a-changing. I see book publishing undergoing the same transformation that the music industry has already been through. Amazon and Createspace have broken down the walls that separated authors from public, and the old gate-keepers haven’t even noticed the crowds breaking through. What’s even more amazing to me is the relatively small news coverage and discussion on the subject (“How Amazon saved my life” by Jessica Park – http://indiereader.com/2012/06/how-amazon-saved-my-life/ – is one of the few articles I’ve seen on the subject).
I expect publishers to become more of media shops and less of distributors/print houses. Their job will increasingly be to promote authors; a trend that’s already well in place. For example, I’ve arranged for a publisher to distribute and promote my books in Greece. I will cover the printing expenses, which means that we both win: I get a much higher cut and keep the copyright, while he has little to lose if the book flops. Creative arrangements like this should become the norm, instead of the exception.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Science fiction, fantasy, children’s books, mystery
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print