Behind the Screens: Tuesday Author Interview

Every Tuesday, get to know a bit about the stories behind the books you love, and discover your next favourite novel.

Into the unknown cover

Sabitha: Today we’re talking with one of the Night Beats crew, the multi-talented Rohan O’Duill! He’s here to tell us about the anthology he contributed to and co-edited, Into the Unknown. Rohan, so good to have you. Let’s start like we always do—tell us about the book!

Rohan: Into the Unknown is a science fiction anthology published by Lower Decks Press, a not-for-profit press set up by my writing group. An anomaly in space attracts the curious and the obsessive. An artificial intelligence expresses very real needs. A civilization lives out its last days on a doomed generation ship. From the recesses of a closet to the dark side of the Moon, from mysterious islands to alien worlds and the furthest reaches of unexplored space, join eleven authors as they explore the mysteries that lie within our technology, our universe, and ourselves. Embark on a science fiction expedition … Into the Unknown.

Sabitha: I fully intend to embark! So how did this book come to be? And what inspired your story, Alinda?

Rohan: Within our writing group, we had suggestions on an anthology theme and voted on those ideas. Exploring the unknown won the vote and I started thinking up ideas for a story. I started working on a very speculative and mind-bending story, but very soon I got bored of it and the writing dried up. I realised that it just wasn’t my style. I write stories for fun, with action and cool characters—I needed to go back to my roots.

Soon the story Alinda was born. It’s set in the Cold Verse that my other works are all written in. Josh and his rag-tag bunch of mercenaries head out on an aging frigate to the asteroid Alinda. Their mission to retrieve a mysterious artefact that had crash landed there hundreds of years earlier, but they soon realise the artefact has other plans. I had recently watched Alien with my son, and I really wanted to recreate that slowly building tension and the impending sense of doom that the movie does so well.

Also, we hope to make a healthy donation for the World Literary Foundation which is our chosen charity for this book.

Sabitha: We have a lot of writers in our community—including you! What’s your writing process?

Rohan: Umh, it might be a bit much to call it a process, lol. I get an idea and then I speed write out the story, almost like I was speaking it. Then I do a couple of run throughs where I tidy it up a bit before I hit up my critique partner for a read through. I always get great feedback from her and I do my big edits after that. Then I send it out to another 3 or 4 betas and I really try and hone down the story with that feedback.

Sabitha: What do you most want your readers to take away from reading your book?

Rohan: I would love readers to feel like they had a bit of fun. I write to give enjoyment, just like when I tell a story in the pub, I want a big ‘OOOOOHH’ or a belly laugh. That is what keeps me writing.

Sabitha: To give away a secret to our community—Rachel A Rosen already has her advance review copy and she’s really enjoying it! Where can everyone else get their copy? And where can they find you?

Rohan: Pre-order the book here. It comes out Sept 1, 2022, and all the proceeds go to charity to support literacy. You can find me on Twitter or check out my First Page Reads on Tiktok.

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