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This Interview has been provided by Orbit, and is printed with their permission.
This month sees the release of the much-anticipated final volume in the extraordinary View From The Mirror quartet. We first interviewed Ian back when the opening volume was published just a year ago. Now, due to massive demand, he's back, and answering your fan-questions…
Has writing The View From The Mirror changed your life?
Yes it has; very much. Before I started writing (back in 1987) I was feeling increasingly frustrated and unfulfilled with my work as an environmental scientist. Unjustifiably so, most of my friends used to think, since I had challenging and different work that had taken me all over the eastern hemisphere. But it wasn't enough. It didn't satisfy the creative urges that I guess had been ignored since I was at school.
I'd always devoured books, as a teenager reading as many as half a dozen novels in a day, and at school I'd been better at English than I was at science, so perhaps it was odd that I became a scientist at all. But that was what I wanted to do and it was only after I'd spent a decade doing it that I began to realise how unsatisfied I was.
So I began writing, having no idea what I was doing and, after years of trying, having discovered that it was impossible for me to plan my book, because every plan I did felt wrong - it all felt as though it was MADE UP! Finally, I just began on the first page with the hero, Karan, in desperate trouble, and tried to write her out of it. (She was always the true hero of the book, and in the first fifteen drafts of A SHADOW ON THE GLASS the story began with her, not Llian.) As I wrote that draft, I never had any idea what was going to happen in the next chapter (often not even the next page). It just flowed out. Well, parts flowed; other parts had to be jackhammered out of me. When I got to the end, I discovered that it wasn't the end of the story at all. I read the draft through and thought, hey some of this isn't too bad, and at that point I knew that I was going to become a writer and I would NEVER give up until I got there.
Over the next month or so I came to realise that there were going to be four books, what would happen in them and what their titles were going to be. That was early 1988, a long time ago now. I started sending A SHADOW ON THE GLASS to publishers a year later, while redrafting it over and over, and working on the other volumes as well. It was another four or five years before I finished the first draft of the final book, and even then I was only half way into the work I wanted to do on the quartet.
The View From The Mirror was accepted by Penguin Australia in 1996, they began publishing it in 1998 and I've been writing full time since 1999 (though I still do quite a bit of part-time consulting as well, and I'm enjoying that a lot more now).
Writing The View From The Mirror has transformed my life. I write nearly every day of my life, and have ever since I began writing 14 years ago, I love every minute of it and there aren't enough hours in the day to do all that I want to do.
Copyright© 2002 Orbit
. All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. The interview has been provided by Orbit
and is printed with their permission.