Blog Interview – Callum Colback

Callum Colback 
is a Scottish-born writer based in Bedfordshire, U.K. He writes across all genres, although Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror are closest to his heart. When not writing he can be found sketching, playing guitar, and chipping away at the ever-growing to-be-read pile of books stacked around the house. Follow him on twitter.

His story “Departure” appears in Exoplanet Issue One.

What do you want to share most with your readers?

I want to share the feeling I experience when I see a certain moment in my head for the first time; the twist, a betrayal, the finding of redemption.
When you dream up a story there are always a couple of these moments that pull at your heart and give you *feelings*—could be a punch to the gut, a creeping sense of dread, or full body encompassing elation (comparable to eating a sharing sundae designed for four all by yourself).

That’s what I take away from a book I have read; an experience, a sense of something, something tangible to hold onto. A story can be amazingly written, or a plot beautifully laid out, but if it doesn’t make you feel something then it can leave you inexplicably unsatisfied.

Really, we’re in it for the feels.
I only hope I can occasionally translate the scene in my head to paper well enough to allow the readers to feel what I felt the first time I experienced it.

You’ve certainly done that with “Departure.” The plot is wonderfully executed and there are lots of feels to be had. Where did you get your inspiration? Who are some of your favourite writers?

There’s a long list…but amongst them are:

George R R Martin (For Wild Cards as much as Game of Thrones), Robin Hobb, Jen Williams (The Copper Cat Trilogy is sublime), Patrick Rothfuss, Ursula K Le Guin, Dan Simmons, Stephen King (Not so much his horror, but The Dark Tower is my all-time favourite series—to the point my right forearm homes a tattoo devoted to it. The Stand is a firm favourite too), Phillip K Dick…

. . . and the list goes on, but the enjoyment of reading a list of authors’ names does not, so I’ll stop there!

That’s a great list. What was the last book that got you in the feels?

The Wise Man’s Fear, by the above-mentioned Pat Rothfuss. If you haven’t read the Kingkiller Chronicles, I highly recommend them—I haven’t been that invested in a character in a long time. And they are beautifully written too. My inability to put them down, sometimes at the expense of basic human functions like eating or drinking, is what really blew my mind. Not many books get me *that* bad.

If you could offer one piece of advice to your past self, what would it be?

Finish your S#@%!!! Seriously, finish it. All of it. Like, now.
I spent a number of years, more than I care to note here, starting things. Starting, but never finishing. Too easily was I distracted by the shiny new idea, the freshly dreamed up character, or doing just a little more worldbuilding (despite already having fifty pages of an alien language that would never feature in the story itself). When I learned the self-discipline of finishing what I started, suddenly the pieces began to fall into place. It was a lesson a long time in the coming, but the most valuable one to date.

What are you working on finishing now?

I am currently working on a full-length novel, of the cyberpunk variety. It’s a story that has been with me for many years, slowly germinating, but always scaring me just a little too much to begin work on it. That’s changed now, and I’m enjoying seeing it become a physical reality.
I’m also working as an editor on the upcoming TLDR Press Horror Quarterly (meaning I get to read loads of awesome stories that proceed to keep me up at night), and aside from that I write a constant stream of short stories, so they are an ever present and (hopefully) never ending project.


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