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Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
I’m Andy Weir, and I’m a science-fiction writer.
What first inspired you to start writing?
I’ve loved sci-fi since I was a kid. My dad had an entire bookshelf full of classic paperbacks from when he was a kid. Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov, the works. Reading those made me want to write my own stories.
Where did the idea for The Martian come from?
I was imagining a manned Mars mission, putting it together in my mind. Naturally, you have to account for failure scenarios and have plans for what the crew could do. I realized those failure scenarios made for a pretty interesting story.
If you could spend a day with anyone from history who would it be and why?
If I can affect history with the meeting, I’d pick Hitler so I could kill him. But to answer the spirit of your question: Richard Feynman. We could talk nerdy stuff then go have a beer. It would just be awesome to hang with him.
The Martian has an authentic feel due to the extensive research you did. What was the most interesting fact you learned from that process?
I learned that doing the math can create plot. The whole plotline where he has to make water came up because I did the math on what’s needed in soil for plant growth. Turns out he didn’t have enough water on-hand to make that happen, so I had to come up with a way for him to acquire some. And that let to one of the more popular subplots in the book.
What do you consider is the most successful aspect of the book?
I think people really liked the character of Mark Watney. He’s not deep, he doesn’t change throughout the story, and he’s certainly no literary masterpiece. But he’s an “everyman” that people identified with and rooted for. Getting people to like your main character is probably the most important part of writing a story.
How have you found the transition from self published to being signed up with a publisher?
It’s a dream come true. It’s what I’ve wanted my whole life. It’s certainly been a lot of work, going from my self-published version to the print version. Lots of editing and whatnot. But it was all a thrill because everything was new and exciting.
What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
Write. I know that sounds silly, but that’s a major stumbling block for a lot of people. You can have an awesome five-book series in your mind, but if you never write it down it’s not a story. And, although it’s really difficult, don’t tell your friends about your story ideas. Telling your friends satisfies your need for an audience and saps your motivation to actually write the story.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on my next book, tentatively titled “Zhek”.
Tell us about The Martian and how we can find out more.
The Martian is about an astronaut who gets stranded on Mars and has to use his wits to survive long enough for rescue.
Click here to buy The Martian from Amazon (and it's a fantastic read)