Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Eden, Dawn

Last night I finished reading a science fiction book by an Australian writer—Eden, Dawn by Archer Swift.

I'm pretty sure it's self-published. I read it because I'm trying to support independent authors, and I'm especially interested in reading Australian authors.

One selfish nice thing about supporting independent authors is their books are often very cheap—usually less than three dollars. And some (like Eden,Dawn) are actually free.

Cheap books. But are they good? Yes! Some of them are. There are some I don't like, but I can say the same thing for books I get at the library—the ones published by the big publishing companies.

I thought this book was very well-written. Sometimes I'll like a book, but I'll see problems with it. Other times I'll dislike a book though I can't pinpoint any exact problems. But with this book, I liked it and I didn't see any problems.

The story? Although it's written by an Aussie, there's really no Australian in it. I think maybe the word kangaroo is used, but just in the phrase kangaroo-court.  The book's about earthlings who escape a destroyed earth and come to a new planet. There are thousands of survivors. At first. But then bad things happen, because the planet has scary fauna. The earthling numbers start dwindling.

Sometimes the book reminded me of Lost and How to Train Your Dragon, which was nice for me because I like both those stories.

Actually! Now I remember a complaint I had about the book. I can't believe I forgot this.

When I first started reading, I wasn't really into it—the current storyline. But when the narrator talked about the past, I was much more interested. I wanted to shout at the author, why didn't you make the novel about what happened in the past? This is when things were exciting!

That only lasted a few chapters, though, and then the present action became very exciting.

And it's not like the beginning of the book is torture to read. It's fine. I mean it wasn't bad enough that I had a desire to quit reading.


I wanted to read a little about the author.

Here's the Archer Swift website. I wonder if that's his real name. It kind of sounds more like a fake name than a real one. But you never know....

His book is available on Kindle, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, etc. He's done better than me. I've only done Kindle so far.

For those who don't like reading e-books, the paperback version is available. Though it's not free. You have to pay $10.

That's the thing about supporting self-published writers. It's much easier to do it if you're willing to read e-books. Otherwise, it is quite costly. It's not like you can easily find these books at your local library. A lot of the writers, though, have giveaways. So you can try to win a free book.

For example, Archer Swift had a contest on Facebook.

Here's Swift's about-the-author page. He has a drawing of himself rather than a photograph. That's kind of mysterious.

Oh! He says he's the author of many books under various nom de plumes. That's why he's trying to hide himself! He's JK Rowling!

Well, no...probably not. But maybe he is a famous writer. Not all self-published writers are struggling losers like me. Some of them have been published by the traditional publishing companies and were successful, but then they realized they wanted their independence.

I forgot. He's Australian. Or he's pretending to be Australian. Maybe he's a famous Melbourne writer in disguise.

Or he could be a struggling writer like me who just likes having various writer identities. I've met some of those.

Archer Swift has a nice quote on his biography page.

Character is often defined as who we are when nobody is watching. This is only half the story. Character, or the lack thereof, is revealed in the variance between who we are when nobody is looking and who we are when everybody watches on. It is from within this volatile tension of good and not-so-good motivations that Swift draws out his plot and drama.

I think there's truth to that.

I fart much more when people aren't watching. And I probably hold in my stomach more.

When Jack was much younger, I struggled with being a decent parent and I think sometimes I was better at parenting in public than private. I mean it's not like I was a horribly cruel mother in private and a wonderful loving mother in public. But I sometimes put more effort into behaving when I knew people were watching. The thing is, though, this this kind of thinking works in private as well a lot of times. Because then I start thinking, what if people were watching? What would they think? What would I think? And no. I don't want to be this kind of mother.

And now I'm wondering if the above paragraph is even true, because Jack and I had some pretty dramatic scenes in public. My worse parenting moment did happen in private. But it's because we were at home. Jack drew on the wall with crayons. I didn't become physically abusive, but I was a real bitch about the whole thing. I'm not sure I would have been less bitchy if other people were around.

Yeah. Really. I don't know if I'm a nicer person when people are watching. What IS different? I fart less. I wear a bra (sometimes), and I exercise less. When I'm alone, or just with Tim and Jack, I try to burn off all the excessive chocolate I eat by doing various exercises at random moments. It's a little embarrassing, so sometimes I hide that aspect of myself from people. Oh...and I probably also eat less chocolate when people are watching.

Enough of my rambling. Let me get back to Archer Swift.

Here's an interview with him on the Smashwords website.

Swift says he was a public speaker. I wonder what he spoke about.

He didn't grow up in Australia. He grew up in South Africa, during the Apartheid days. Yikes.

Swift got a degree in business, but then decided to do relief-work instead. Maybe that's what his speeches were about.

As for self-publishing. He started self-publishing his books. Then he got himself a publisher. He ended up not liking the publisher thing, so he quit that.

When he's not writing, he likes watching the sunset, going to the beach, drinking coffee, and watching football.  It sounds like something someone would say on a dating website.

All in all, he kind of sounds like someone on a dating website. The charity work...watching sunsets.

I wonder if he's leaving out more interesting parts of himself. Like maybe he secretly loves cleaning out the lint from his bellybutton.

He's a fan of Lord of the Rings. That makes him seem a little more interesting to me.

Now he says something I really don't like. He's asked who his favorite authors are and he says he doesn't have time to read. I'm not a big fan of writers who work hard promoting their own work, but don't take the time to read other people's.

Shit. I'm being a hypocrite. I write this blog, but I don't spend much time reading other people's blogs. I really only read blogs of people who read my blog. Or if I see people coming from another blog.—meaning the blogger has a link to my blog. I'll go and check out their blog.  I might then save it to my bookmarks and take peeks at it for a few weeks. But all in all, I'm not a big blog reader.

So I guess it's fair for Archer Swift to be a book writer and not a book reader.

And to be fair, he does read some books. He says during the summer holiday, he'll read about 5-7 books. I should give the guy a break. He's probably very busy. It's not fair for me to judge him. I have a lot of free time (that I don't use for reading blogs).

I will judge him for this though. When asked about what his fans mean to him, he says, I’m not sure I see them as fans, actually. Fellow travellers sharing this journey through life is more like it. We all have a story to tell, and I just feel privileged that I can share little snippets of mine through fiction. Getting feedback and reviews from fellow pilgrims is something I treasure.

I think that sounds corny and pretentious.

We all are fellow travelers. Yes. I agree. But within traveling groups, there are all types of relationships—Romance, friends, relatives, enemies, fans, etc.

I have a feeling Archer Swift is a much more interesting person in private than he is in public. I think he's trying to appear as a certain type of person, and it doesn't feel real or interesting to me. His fiction feels much more real to me, so maybe he takes off his mask more when writing his novels.

Then again...I'm thinking of his novel. The main character might have been overly heroic. I'm trying to remember if he had any relatable weaknesses. He was VERY good. Though I might have been daydreaming when his weak parts were revealed. I do that sometimes when reading. Unfortunately.