Wayne Gerard Trotman is a British writer, filmmaker, artist, photographer, composer and producer of electronic music. Born in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Trotman immigrated to England in 1984, where he lives with his wife and two young sons.
A martial arts enthusiast, he wrote and directed ‘Ashes to Ashes’, Britain’s first martial arts feature-film. He has a cosmopolitan and multi-cultural approach to all his artistic work, which has received recognition internationally. His epic science-fiction novel, ‘Veterans of the Psychic Wars’, is the first of a proposed ‘Psychic Wars’ series.
Tell us about ‘Veterans of the Psychic Wars’.
‘Veterans of the Psychic Wars’ is an epic science fiction story that takes the reader from London, England, to a distant galaxy known as the Cosmic Sea. There, Baron Seti Aljyk has instigated a Second Psychic War by seizing Najura, the last of the ancient swords of power, and usurping the imperial throne from Sakara Rey, the True Emperor.
Protagonist Roman Doyle emigrated from Trinidad to England. He is a happily married, twenty-five-year-old schoolteacher, anticipating becoming a father. What Roman does not know, is that he is really Armon Sakara, heir apparent of the True Emperor. That is, until he encounters Chi-Ro Jin, a Veteran of the Psychic Wars.
Chi-Ro’s mission is to return Roman to the True Emperor, but Roman believes that Chi-Ro is crazy. When Roman’s wife, Soraya, is abducted by the Baron’s assassins, Roman is forced to make the epic journey to the Cosmic Sea. However he does not go alone. He is joined by his shamira Chi-Ro, Nuri Nemsys a beautiful secret agent, Anah Sadaka the mysterious captain of the Starglider Sanura and Roman’s friend, Zachary Silverman, a quantum physicist.
With his dormant psychic and astral abilities awakened by an alien drug and pursued by the Baron’s assassins, Roman, his friend, and the Veterans of the Psychic Wars face evil and danger in uncharted space and on alien worlds. Roman must overcome his fears, master the martial art of Hatari Ikou, and learn the secrets of astral projection, in order to rescue his wife, retrieve the sword of power, and bring the Psychic Wars to an end.
How did you come to write this particular book?
The inspiration for this book came from a conversation I had with my mother when I was quite young. I was nine or ten years old when I complained that I felt that I didn’t belong.
I said, “I think I’m an alien.”
My mother replied, “Yes, you’re an alien.”
We both laughed and the conversation moved to other things, but I always thought about what she said. I didn’t actually believe I was alien (at least I would never admit to that publicly) but I started thinking: what if a young man grew up believing he was a normal human being, only to find out one day that he was actually an alien from another galaxy? Wouldn’t that explain his feelings of alienation? Wouldn’t that make an interesting story?
If you have a favourite character in your novel, why that particular one?
I love all the characters. It was a joy watching them all develop over the years (yes years). But my favourite character is Chi-Ro Jin, the Veteran of the Psychic Wars. Chi-Ro is the mentor who delivers Roman’s call to adventure. The trait I admire most in him is his unshakeable loyalty. His no-nonsense logic is also a source of amusement.
Where and when is your novel set and why did you make these specific choices?
Veterans of the Psychic Wars begins in present-day England – the ordinary world. After a call to adventure, the main characters travel to a distant galaxy – a special world of advanced technology, psychics and hidden dangers. My aim was to use contemporary UFO sightings and conspiracy theories as a means of preparing the reader for the fantastic occurrences later on in the story. Many people find it difficult to relate to science fiction because it is set in an imagined future. I think people could relate to the struggle some of the characters have accepting shape-shifters, psychics, clones and androids.
How can people buy your book?
‘Veterans of the Psychic Wars’ is currently available on Amazon’s Kindle both in the US and the UK. Other eBook formats are available from Smashwords. The paperback edition is due for a January 2011 release and will be available from most outlets.
What qualities make a successful writer?
I believe that passion, determination, dedication, attention to detail, intelligence, flair and talent are all required for success.
Beginning writers make many mistakes; what do you think is the most harmful?
A lack of research; it is one of the easiest ways to identify a novice. Poor research can rob written work of any credibility.
To what extent are grammar and spelling important to a writer?
Perfection is elusive; nevertheless I believe that a writer who deliberately ignores spelling and grammar is being disrespectful to readers. I generally cringe when I find grammar and spelling mistakes. I have a nagging insecurity about writing poor grammar and therefore I am constantly trying to improve.
How much revision of your MS do you do before you send it off?
In the case of ‘Veterans of the Psychic Wars’ - as much as humanly possible. It’s an on-going process up until the manuscript is finally sent off. I am never completely satisfied. There is always an opportunity for improvement. I feel it is worthwhile to put a book down, without reading it, for at least a couple months before doing a final revision. It’s amazing what you might discover if you do.
To what extent do you think genre is useful in the publishing world?
To a certain extent it is quite useful. We live in a world of impatience. Unless we are happy to write as a hobby, a novel is a product, which we hope to sell to customers. Customers usually have a very clear idea of what they want. Genres are meant to match a book, or any other artistic expression, with the expectations of customers. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than trying to define artistic work without any reference to genre.
How do you know where to begin any given story?
My stories tend to start just before the mundane becomes the extraordinary. In the case of ‘Veterans of the Psychic Wars’, Roman is on his way to withdraw cash from a cashpoint/ATM machine when something unexpected occurs.
What sort of displacement activities keep you from actually writing?
Sleep. I can only go two days without any sleep. I have two young boys, so I tend to do most of my writing between 10:00 PM and 7:00 AM, when it’s quiet. Family commitments, networking, marketing, other creative activities and life in general all bite into writing time. Nobody ever said it would be easy.
Is presentation of the MS as important as most agents and publishers suggest?
Yes. Agents and publishers tend to look for ways of separating professional writers from novices. Presentation is one of these ways.
How long does it normally take you to write a piece?
It varies depending on how much research is required. I did a lot of research for ‘Veterans of the Psychic Wars’ and, as a result, it took me over three years to write.
Who or what inspires you?
Everyone and everything can inspire me. Photographers and painters tend to be very observant. I generally notice everything. I get a lot of great ideas for dialogue just listening to shoppers in the supermarket.
Do you think writing is a natural gift or an acquired skill?
Some people seem more predisposed to storytelling than others; but even these gifted people tend to hone their skills through practice, dedication and education.
What single piece of advice would you give to writers still hoping to be published?
Do not give up.
What are you writing now?
Another science fiction novel; this time it is set in Trinidad and Tobago and aimed at a young adult audience.
Do you have a website or a blog that readers can visit?
My Official Website.
My Facebook page.
My Smashwords page.
Follow me on Twitter.
Where do you write?
In my study/studio.
Thank you Stuart, for granting me the opportunity to share my thoughts.