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Monday, June 18, 2012

Author Interview - Selso Xisto

Selso Xisto graduated from King's College London longer ago than seems possible, and went on to work in kid's TV for over 10 years making promos for Disney and Cartoon Network. Perhaps as an antidote he writes gritty, epic science fiction; forever his first love.

Surviving his ongoing obsession with fast motorbikes and flirtation with the underrated virtual worlds of videogames, he somehow found time to put to paper his long-gestating scifi epic. Influenced by the great space opera of Peter F Hamilton and Yokinobu Hoshino, as well as a lifetime of digesting the classics of Greg Bear and Arthur C Clarke, he lives and breathes SciFi in all its forms.

He lives in London with his wife and cat. Though the cat would phrase that quite differently.

How can we find you?


I'm on twitter: @selsox
And my site is here: http://selsoxisto.wordpress.com

Tell us about your writing - What genre do you prefer to write? What books, stories, other publications that you've written are your personal favorites? Anything new coming up?

Science fiction is the only genre for me! I dabble in a few genres with my own reading, but I get bored quickly when I try to write anything else. I love all the thought and multilayered world-building that goes into writing good scifi. I try to make mine as plausible as possible; in Particle Horizon, I gave a lot of thought to the background history of the world the story is set in and making it feel real to me. I wanted to create a deep and entertaining scifi story that would sate the tastes of a hardened SF fan but be accessible enough for anyone to 'get'. Particle Horizon is my first novel and it's been my labour of love for over seven years! I'd describe my writing as fairly gritty and fast-paced, character-focused.

What about you as a person? What do you do to relax? Favorite movies or tv shows? Hobbies?

If only there were 48 hours in a day, I could do more of all of them! I'm an avid film fan - Ghostbusters is the greatest movie of all time, fact. In fact on a recent visit to New York, I made a geek's pilgrimage to all the locations from the movie! I put a small gallery on my site if you're interested. I also love video games. I often argue vehemently with people about them being next great art form: I think in 10-15 years, once they've lost a little of the childish stigma and narrative immaturity they're plagued by today, people will speak of great games like Bioshock and Half Life 2 in the same breath as Citizen Kane and Moby Dick. I also have a weakness for fast bikes… Nothing beats the loud roar and stomach-churning acceleration of a super bike!

What gets your creative juices going? Do you write to a music, and do you want to share your playlist?

You may have gathered from my hobbies that good stories, fantastical ideas and a bit of adrenaline are central components of my life! All of my hobbies and interests feed into my writing in various ways. Nothing thrills me more and gets my juices flowing more than the moment when a writer blows me away with a concept or twist I've never seen before and it inspires me to try harder! I certainly do listen to music as I write. I have a pretty broad taste in music and I find different genres work for me depending on what the tone of the passage I'm writing is; Queens of the Stone Age for fast-paced action scenes, Radiohead for complicated description and world-building… ambient for when I'm stuck and don't want words in my ears confusing me further!

"All writers must have cats, especially if they write fantasy or speculative fiction." Do you have a stand on this one? Any cute pictures of your kitty or other pet?

I'd love to know who that quote came from! My stand on this question is firmly behind the cat; scratching his belly and stroking him! I love my cat Charlie, he's awesome. Every day I get home from work in my bike leathers he rolls on his back to get a belly rub as I come through the door. Stress evaporates through my fingertips :D I'm not sure what the connection between creativity and cats is but I read somewhere that there is a real statistical correlation between the two! I think it's because they are so inscrutable: they provoke our writer's curiosity! Also, they are infinitely cuter than dogs and not as needy, leaving us more time to work on that manuscript!

What writers inspired you to become an author?

I was hugely influenced by Peter F Hamiltion, who writes epic, galaxy-spanning scifi told from the perspective of many characters - an approach I've emulated in Particle Horizon. I'm influenced by all the great scifi I've read. Arthur C Clarke invented most of the scifi concepts we take for granted, Greg Bear, Yokinobu Hoshino… there are so many!

If you could travel to any time in history, when would you visit?

Would it be cheating to say the future? I guess that's the obvious answer for a scifi author but I'd give anything to see if we do ever manage to establish a foothold on space and beat the problem of interstellar travel. It may be that we are forever stuck within our solar system and that would suck! If I had to go into the past, I'd go deep into humanity's past and explore early greek and babylonian societies… I have a feeling they weren't as technologically behind as we assume! Imagine how much information  has been lost to war over the centuries!

Thanks so much for stopping by, Selso! I'll keep an eye out for your books. They sound like my kind of stories.