Today I’m talking to Dietmar Arthur Wehr. Best known for The Synchronicity War series they recently released.
Hello Dietmar. Thanks for agreeing to this short interview. Firstly, congratulations on the release of The Synchronicity War Part 3.
Dietmar: Thank you. I’m thrilled to be interviewed. It’s the first time I’ve been interviewed as an author.
Tell us a little bit about The Synchronicity War series. To someone who doesn’t know your work, how would you best describe it?
Dietmar: It’s meant to be a gritty, no-holds-barred look at Mankind’s desperate attempt to avoid extinction at the hands of a dangerously paranoid alien race. Lots of action but also some character development including the introduction of fully sentient Artificially Intelligent entities who become Humanity’s loyal allies. The thing that makes this series different from other military SF is the fact that the main character is getting precognitive visions that help him in his fight with the aliens. He can’t control his visions and hasn’t told his Space Force superiors about them. They think he’s a tactical genius and are giving him more responsibility. His fear is that he’ll be in command of a key battle that will determine Humanity’s fate and won’t have a vision to guide him.
You’re best known for The Synchronicity War series. What’s on the horizon for you? A continuation of your recent work, or something new?
Dietmar: I’m not quite finished with the SW series yet. I’ll write Part 4 which will bring the Synchronicity War to a conclusion. While I don’t have any specific plans right now, I can see myself writing another series, at some point, that takes place in the same Synchronicity War universe.
If you were to talk to your readership in person, and you only had one shot at it, what would you say?
Dietmar: I would say that I write what I like to read and I like military SF with lots of action. My favourite author is David Weber and his Honor Harrington series. I’ve tried to use his first HH book, which was faster paced than his more recent books, as a model for my SW series. And like Weber, I’ve tried to make my space combat as realistic in terms of distances, momentum, acceleration, etc. as possible. My books are designed to appeal to sci fi action junkies. If that’s not your cup of tea, then don’t say I didn’t warn you.
There’s a lot of discussion, both online and in the press, about the ‘state of publishing,’ and the ‘rise of amateur writers.’ What do you think? Has the advent of independent publishing really just handed a loaded weapon into the hands of amateur hobbyists, or is it all about empowering authors more than ever? What are your thoughts?
Dietmar: I think that independent publishing is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it allows writers, who can’t find a literary agent or publisher, to get their books in front of the public. I’ve always wondered how many really good manuscripts never saw the light of day because the author couldn’t find an agent to represent them or perhaps not the right agent. I’ll use myself as an example. I managed to get the name and contact info for the agent who represents Jack Campbell who writes the Lost Fleet series. I sent that agent one of my earlier novels, that had lots of military SF action and got a reply back saying that my novel didn’t fit in with the kind of SF that the agent wanted to represent. What I couldn’t understand was that he was ALREADY representing exactly that kind of SF thru Campbell’s series.
So independent publishing gives writers like me a chance at actually having our work read by people who are looking for it. But the opposite side of that coin is that retailers like Amazon, aren’t making it easy to be successful. Having a good story is just the first step. With hundreds of new novels being added to the market for each genre weekly, a writer has to get his new book noticed within the first 30 days or it’ll get lost in the crowd. A lot of new writers fail to do that with their first book and they then give up on writing. I experienced a very steep learning curve the hard way. By the time my SW novels started appearing, I had already made the usual mistakes and learned from them with my earlier books. Retailers could make it easier to find the hidden gems that fall through the cracks.
Getting away from books for a moment, what else are you up to at the moment?
Dietmar: My ladyfriend and I are getting involved with the Steampunk movement. We’re working on our costumes and when they’re ready, we’ll be attending steampunk events. My steampunk persona will be a 19th Century German time traveller.
For the other writers reading this, what advice do you have to offer them? What works for you when it comes to setting pen to paper?
Dietmar: What seems to work for me are habits that I think a lot of other writers would disagree with. I don’t plot out the next book in detail in advance. I have a rough overview but sometimes I don’t even know how the book will end when I start writing it. I used to have trouble finishing a project. Writing short stories never really appealed to me. What got me over the hump of finishing a novel was joining NaNoWriMo, which is the National Novel Writing Month project on the net. The idea is to start writing a 50,000 word novel on November 1st and finish the first draft by November 30th. In order to do that, you should write an average of 1700 words a day and that’s a habit that’s useful to have later on. After finishing my 50,000 word novella, I later expanded it to 80,000 words and then I was able to write a complete novel. I don’t know if other writers experience this too but I find that the more you write, the easier it becomes. If I had to condense my advice down to one sentence, it would be this. Write everyday even if it’s only a few hundred words but also pace yourself. It’s easy to make the mistake of getting into a groove and writing 5,000 words in one day and then feel burned out the next day.
Lastly, I used to do something like this a few years ago in my interviews. I’ve adapted it for this latest batch.
I have five questions for you. Ready? Here we go. Give me your honest answers.
1. If there were to be a film of your life, who would play you in the lead role?
Dietmar: Definitely NOT Brad Pit. I’m not that good looking. People have told me that I look a little like Robert Mitchum when he was younger. If I had to pick someone my age now,
I’d say Kenneth Branagh.
2. Following the same line of thought, if there were to be a film made of any of your work, who would you cast in the roles of the main characters?
Dietmar: Matthew McConaughey as Victor Shiloh and Jamie Alexander as Amanda Kelly.
3. What are you reading at the moment?
Dietmar: Right now nothing because I’m in the middle of a writing project but I’ll probably buy David Weber’s next Honorverse novel when it comes out.
4. What are you listening to at the moment?
Dietmar: I’m a big Enya and Fleetwood Mac fan plus a little Celine Dion.
5. This is stolen directly from James Lipton, but what the heck. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Dietmar: In order to answer that honestly, I’d have to reveal more of myself to your readers than I’m comfortable with.
Lastly, where do you see yourself in twelve months time? What will you be doing? Where will you be in life? Where do
you hope to be?
Dietmar: I hope to have just published novel #10 with enough financial success to kick back and pursue some other interests. I’m not going to stop writing altogether because I like doing it but it would be nice not to have to write because of financial pressure.
Well, that’s the end of our little interview. Thanks for participating. I’m sure everyone will love The Synchronicity War series.
Dietmar: Thank you for interviewing me. It was fun.
Dietmar Arthur Wehr was born in Duisburg, Germany in 1954. He’s lived in Canada since 1957. After getting a Bachelor of Commerce with Honors degree from Queen’s University in Kingston, he climbed the lower rungs of the corporate ladder for two decades. At age 58, he embarked on a career as an SF author. He has one son who lives with him, no pets and has a ladyfriend who is the quintessential hippy flower child.