Today I’m chatting with Adam Burt, author of the superhero sci-fi book ‘Read Me!’ – published as though written by the main character, Nolan Roland.
Thanks, Book Squirrel!
Why don’t you start by telling us what inspired you to write?
I think I’ve always been a somewhat creative person, and at various stages of my life I’ve found that manifesting in various ways. In the last few years, that started to happen as like… constant daydreaming, especially late at night or in the shower. I started putting pen to paper, just doing short stories at first, some of which I published, and then I decided to try to… I guess graduate, into doing a full novel, which I always saw as a challenge I wanted to complete one day. That’s how “Read Me” was born.
What’s your favourite thing that you have written?
I do have a lot of fondness for my short stories, because there’s something quite raw about them, they’re punchy. But taken as a whole I would have to say Read Me! is the work I’m most proud of. I think, even though it started just as a personal challenge for me, it’s become a bit of a passion project because I’ve seen how it can resonate with readers. Even though it’s got superheroes in it and it’s science fiction, I think it speaks to people, and the fact that it has that affect on people is something I’m immensely proud of.
What are you working on writing now?
Well, the big news is that I’m hard at work on a sequel to Read Me! Imaginatively titled “Read Me Too”, my plan is to release it in 2019.
Who designs your book covers?
At the minute I actually design my own. With “Read Me”, there’s quite a deliberate aesthetic, because part of the core conceit is that it’s presented as an autobiography. Presented as a book that the main character, Nolan Roland, had to publish any way he could. And if that meant that he had to slap a cover on it he made himself, to get it done, well, that’s what he would have done.
What’s your favourite kind of music?
I’m one of those annoying people who says they have an eclectic taste. Like, “I like everything!”. And that’s almost true. I do tend to favour electronic and rock. Actually, I like to make playlists when I’m writing, and the one for Read Me is a mix of things like Yeasayer, Idlewild and Biffy Clyro. So I was definitely into rock during this writing process!
What is your pet hate? Have you ever built it into a character or used it in your writing?
This is an interesting question because I think it gets to the core of why Read Me speaks to people. Fundamentally, each of the characters is a reflection or example of some kind of mental health issue, the sorts of things we all come into contact with during our lives. And some of that is overt, some of it’s more subtle, but there’s grief, loneliness, depression, the weight of expectation, and more. In some ways, all the characters are based on things I hate (or have hated) about myself at various points in my life.
What’s your favourite TV show?
I’m still angry that Firefly got cancelled. In terms of what’s currently airing, I think Game of Thrones is such a towering achievement, such a cultural touchstone while still having these fantasy elements. I think we’ll all be talking about it for years to come, and that’s definitely my favourite thing still in circulation.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An astronaut! Little space themes and motifs make their way into all of my books, in one way or another.
What’s your favourite season? Why?
In terms of writing, I like a cold Spring, or the Autumn (Fall). I enjoy Summer a lot, but I find it really hard to write when it’s too sunny outside.
What’s your favourite quote, ever?
“In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.” – Douglas Adams.
For me, that just says it all, and Adams was the master of making science fiction that walked the line between ridiculous but still really relatable.
Where can readers find your book?