An Interview with John Aridi

Conducted by Steven Ayala
November, 2002

John Aridi made an impressive mark with the release of his short story collection entitled “Tears of the Stars.” It had all the elements science fiction fans crave, along with his own unique flair which set it apart from the genre’s other offerings. He opened his futuristic world of creation to us. A creation we know is just beginning, and will only get better.

Aside from “Tears of the Stars,” John has a wonderful collection of poetry published as well called “Everyone an Angel.” We were able to speak with John about his writing career, his book, and what he has in store for the future.

FF: Tell us how your writing career began? Was it always something you wanted to do?

John: My writing career really began in middle school; the only lessons I really enjoyed were English classes, and a lot of the time we got to write poetry and fictional pieces. I really enjoyed it, so much so that I decided to take it up in my spare time, as a method of putting my imagination to good use.

FF: Out of all the genres out there, what was it that attracted you to science fiction?

John: To be honest, it was the only thing I enjoyed reading aside from High Fantasy. Movies like Star Wars and at a later date Alien and Blade Runner, as well as the various Manga I enjoy reading to this day, all gave me such inspiration, where most contemporary work simply didn’t; something about creating an entire background and universe appealed to me. Especially the technology.

FF: You mentioned you gained a great deal of inspiration through the books you read, who would you consider to be your favorite authors?

John: William Gibson, hands down; followed by Iain M. Banks and Alastair Reynolds. I’m also currently reading some Richard Morgan, too, so you can expect to see him added to this list soon!

FF: Many aspiring writers will tell you that getting your first book published is the hardest part of the process, was it difficult for you to find a publisher?

John: Well, not difficult at all, in fact. I submitted to and they accepted without a problem. The hardest part of getting published, though, is having the work at a publishable quality; once the creativity is down on paper, juggling it so that Joe Public will accept it as a proper book is somewhat laborious, but ultimately rewarding.

FF: In your opinion, what was the hardest part of writing “Tears of the Stars?”

John: The hardest part was tying up all the loose ends. The way I write is pretty eclectic, and I tend to write down whatever I can think of, then tie all the pieces up; that was the hardest part. Although it was easier than the first novel will be, because of the separate nature of the stories.

FF: And the most enjoyable part?

John: The most fun part? Now this is a little difficult; if anything, I would say coming up with ideas and technologies to use in the collection. Creating the character interactions was interesting, too, especially with the focus shift from story to story.

FF: You also have a collection of poetry published called “Everyone an Angel.” Can you tell us a little bit about it?

John: While I studied at Bradford College, I often found my train of thinking in Law lectures interrupted by poetic word; I used it to help out with the feeling of not being at home. The Law course failed; I kept the poetry to remind me of it, and one day, it came to me to maybe try selling something. See how the book market worked, you know? I had the perfect material. It’s just a collection of words and feelings; mind you, that is what I like in poetry. Words and feelings.

FF: “Tears of the Stars” brought some strikingly dynamic characters to life, where do you find your inspiration?

John: I tend to take my inspiration from a great deal of places; in most of my characters, you will see part of people I know, or part of other characters used by other authors. I try to avoid stereotype, but I also like all my characters to be defined; it is a hard balance, and I hope that the readers will agree when I say that I am at least partially succeeding.

FF: The plots in “Tears of the Stars” are amazingly layered. How do you go about formulating such complex plots?

John: I do it a lot like many other authors; I start small, with one thing I would like to see happen. Then I place it into the world that is already present, see where in the timeline it would fit, see what area of society I would like to see it in. From there it is a matter of putting it all together; tying it in with the rest of the ongoing plot is usually one of the last things to happen, although arguably one of the more satisfying, to see a story or element take it’s place in the plot.

FF: Can we expect more tales like “Tears of the Stars,” with fantastic worlds and complex plots in the future?

John: At present I am finalizing the second collection of short stories, that should compliment the first; expect the action of the first, but with more depth, a greater spread of the background and plot. Expect that to be available online by Christmas.

FF: With two books tucked under your belt and another on the way, how would you describe your writing schedule?

John: It’s kinda chaotic; after this second collection of short stories, I get to work on the full-scale novella, a series of at least five that I have planned before the Revolution, at least three after. Probably more, when all is said and done. At least I won’t be out of writing to do!

FF: What advice would you give for new writers of science fiction trying to get noticed?

John: Never give up! Send your work to friends, family, reviewer sites, Crit Groups, get your name seen and heard, and get your work read. All the work you put in will come back tenfold in your first positive review; this I promise you!

Fans of science fiction who like breathtaking action and engaging plots will want to keep an eye on the promising career of John Aridi. For those of you who have already experienced “Tears of the Stars,” mark your calendars for December when the next installment is due to be released. If you want to find out more about John please visit his website at . Thank you John for the opportunity to get to know you better, we greatly appreciate it.

Copyright © 2002 by Steven Ayala

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