Please welcome talented author and blogger, Nicholas C. Rossis, to my blog today.
Hi, Janice! Wow, that’s quite the warm welcome! I feel like I’ve stepped on the Tonight show or something. 🙂
It is a pleasure to have you here, Nicholas.
It’s a pleasure to be here. Any place with people telling me how talented I am, is a great one in my books.
- Please tell us a little about what you most cherish in your life.
Ooh, starting off with a toughie. Does it have to be just the one? I cherish life itself. I’m talking about everything, from the little things to the big ones. From the breeze outside (it’s almost 90F over here without it) to waking up to the prettiest woman in the world every day. From living in a democratic society and the freedom to exercise my faith – not a small thing, if you consider all the madness in the Middle East – to doing the thing I love the most: writing. I’m grateful for all of them, and try to cherish and treasure them all. After all, life is rather fleeting. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain from appreciating it as fully as possible!
- When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer, author?
It wasn’t an easy decision to make. I have a career as web developer, and have been running my own company since 1995. I’d have to sell tens of thousands of books to make half of what I make through that. Still, there comes a time when you realize your heart is now somewhere else. This happened to me a couple of years ago, and it meant it was time for a change.
Electra, my wife, jokes it’s just midlife crisis (I’m forty-five), and there is an element of truth in that. As you grow older, you start thinking less of exciting opportunities, and more of wasted ones. You ask yourself, “What would I rather be doing right now?” For me, the answer invariably was, “writing.” It’s the only thing that doesn’t include a little voice in the back of my head going, “this is not the droid career you’re looking for.”
- Can you please share the titles of your books and a synopsis of each?
With pleasure! Pearseus is my magnus opus, at least so far. It’s an epic fantasy series, but with few of the genre’s elements. I guess it’s closer to the intrigue and politics of Game of Thrones, in a sense. In fact, “Game of Thrones meets Dune” is how a reviewer called it, and the phrase stuck.
The premise is simple enough. A bunch of people are stranded in a remote planet. They start making a life for themselves, but this Garden of Eden has a snake, in the form of malicious entities that influence people’s behavior and turn them against each other. What these entities are and why they hate humanity is a big part of the tale that spans over 300 years.
You can read the first book, Pearseus: Schism, for free on Goodreads. Both Schism and Rise of the Prince, the second book, have reached #1 on Amazon. Mad Water, the third book in the series, released in July, has reached #16. By the way, you can buy all three books as a bundle for only 99c until August 27th on Amazon.
I’m currently penning the fourth book in the series and hope to have it ready by Christmas.
My other book, The Power of Six, is a collection of short stories. They’re described as science fiction, although in truth all of them have fantastical elements – I’m a big fan of magical realism. I had great fun writing them, and one of them, A Fresh Start, won an award over here.
- Where do you prefer to write? Do you like quiet or do you enjoy listening to music, TV, etc.?
In my day job as web developer, I spend most of my day in front of my PC. I use the same PC for my writing. We have converted an entire floor to a rather spacious office, so Electra and I work together there. Prior to the financial crisis, we had a bunch of people work here, but now it’s just the two of us; everyone else works on a per project basis, from their own premises.
I need my peace and quiet, in order to better listen to the voices in my head. Or watch the scenes play out, before putting down on paper. If I have any music on, it has to be soft, background music. I’m particularly fond of the Dutch Classic FM station on the Internet.
- You have a fascinating blog. Please share what you like to blog about.
Thank you, that’s so kind of you! I’m glad you enjoy it. I started the blog back in March, because everyone said it would be good for my book sales. I didn’t want to start one at first, because I suspected it would eat up all my writing time.
However, once I did, I found that I loved it. Also, I believe that my writing has improved because of it! And I got to meet so many wonderful people, like yourself! So, now I blog just because it’s so much fun to do so. I particularly enjoy interacting with my visitors, and I think that it shows, as my posts tend to have a lot of comments.
I generally write about things related to writing, publishing and book promotions. In short, all the things that are currently on my mind, and have been since self-publishing my first Pearseus book!
- You are from Greece, which I would love to visit one day. Please share some of your favorite things and places about your home.
I’m lucky enough to live outside of Athens, which is a lovely city, but one with the usual big-city problems: large crowds, noise, and traffic. We, on the other hand, live in a forest on the mountain overlooking Marathon; the place of the historical 5th century BC battle that became the inspiration for Pearseus.
In the summer, Marathon Bay is a great place to go for a swim, with a pine forest reaching all the way into an endless sandy beach.
In the winter, we go for long walks with our dog, Meli, on Tatoi; a natural reserve further up the mountain, where Greece’s former King had his summer palace. It’s now open to the public, and a wonderful place to visit. But you don’t have to take my word for it; the pictures speak for themselves!
If you’re ever around, I’d happy to show them to you in person. 🙂
- Your background is in digital architecture. Can you explain what that is to those of us who have no clue?
This is the first time someone has asked me that! You’ve really done your homework, haven’t you? 🙂
The University of Edinburgh was home to EdCAAD – Edinburgh Computer Aided Architectural Design. This was a centre for the study of CAAD software and hardware. I’m not sure if it’s still going, but I hope so; it was an excellent place of learning that had conducted a lot of valuable research since the 70s. I still have the fondest memories of wonderful academics like Aart Bijl and John Lee.
My thesis, called Design in the Digital Age: In Search of a Collaborative Paradigm, examined how design has changed due to the introduction of computers to the architectural practice. In other words, do designers design the same way with and without a computer? For example, does the ability to easily copy/paste design elements from one project to the next limit creativity?
This led me to explore the various types of people using the MBTI – a psychometric test that categorizes people according to their skills. Some find it easy to imagine things, whereas others will need to see the something to understand it.
This allowed me to make suggestions as to how the interaction between client and architect might further benefit from technology. I came up with the idea of a tablet PC, years before the iPad was ever released. In my thesis, this would be used with Virtual Reality (VR) goggles, to allow the client to visualize the building before it was ever built. This way, changes could be made by the client and architect working together, instead of the usual back and forth that inevitably takes place with design.
The best compliment about my thesis was paid to me by the external examiner. At the end of my viva, he said it was the first thesis he had read with great interest! Incidentally, a couple of weeks ago, Facebook bought a company making VR goggles. It takes a while, but I’m sure one day someone will realize my vision…
- Did your background help you with your books?
Sure, although in an indirect way. First of all, my years working towards a PhD taught me how to sit down in front of a computer and write. How to research a topic. And, most importantly, how to think critically.
Also, in my first month at the University, my supervisor asked me to develop a website for the department. I did, and found out that I enjoyed it. So, I founded Istomedia. Web development led to social media – remember, this was back in 1995, when Zuckerberg was still in diapers. Social media led to web promotions, which has been particularly useful to teaching me ways to promote my book!
- When you are not writing, what is your next favorite pastime?
I love cooking! I’ve been cooking since I was but a child, and find it very relaxing and creative. The only problem is that Electra is such a wonderful cook, that I get lazy, preferring to let her do that so that I can write some more.
- If you had to live over again what would you change in your life?
I would have started writing sooner. My first short story was written when I was eighteen, but I was discouraged from pursuing it as a career. I wish I had focused more on that. Failing that, I wish I had self-published sooner, rather than waste so much time sending out manuscripts to agents and publishers; an exercise in futility, if there ever was one. From what I understand, unless you already have a foot in the industry, you might as well be leaving manuscripts on benches in the hope that someone discovers you.
Finally, I would worry less and enjoy the moment more. Things work out in the end; if they don’t, it’s not the end.
- Where in the world would you live if you could travel anywhere?
I’d love to live on an island, somewhere warm all year round – just not too hot. Our dream is some day to retire to one of those. Maybe something in the French Polynesia, or the Seychelles? Both Electra and I are very fond of Mexico, too; especially Yukatan. I can easily imagine us living there some day.
I’d also love to spend some time in Asia, especially Japan and China.
- What new projects are you working on? Can you share with us?
I’ve already mentioned working on the fourth Pearseus book, but I’m also preparing my first children’s book for publication. Called Runaway Smile, it is currently at the final stages of illustration. In fact, my illustrator friend, Dimitris Fousekis, sent me yesterday the final proofs, so it’s now off to be set up by the graphics designer.
An interesting twist is that a Greek, hard copy of the book will be traditionally published over here, in addition to the self-published Amazon e-book version. I’m convinced that all authors will gradually follow a hybrid model, as self-publishing works become more professional and well-established.
- Please give links where to purchase your books and any other links to sites where my readers can connect with you.
I’m all around the Internet, largely thanks to my day job, but the best place to start would be my blog, http://nicholasrossis.me/ .
If they are interested in my books, they can check them out on Amazon:
Thank you, Nicholas, for sharing so much of yourself and your books with me and my readers. You did a wonderful job with the questions! You are certainly one very fascinating person. I wish you well with your future endeavors. Please feel free to come back again and share new projects with me and my readers.
Thank you so much for having me, and congratulations on your 6,500 views! Anytime you feel like sharing, I’d love to have you over at my blog for a visit. 🙂
I would love to take you up on your offer to be on your blog. Thank you, Nicholas. If I ever get a chance to visit your beautiful home, Greece, I will let you know.
Thank you readers for stopping by to read about this fascinating author. Please check out Nicholas’ blog and wonderful books.
REMEMBER: READING GIVES YOU WINGS TO FLY!