Interview by David McDonald.
By day, Pete Aldin delivers a program for people with disabilities; by night, he sits at a laptop and writes. His short fiction has appeared in publications including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show,Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, and Niteblade. His non-fiction has appeared in parenting and business magazines. He is a big fan of alcoholic ciders, the FIFA franchise on xBox and Vegemite. He is a member of the Australian Horror Writers Association and the Chelsea Dark Fiction Writers Circle. He don’t like pina coladas nor taking walks in the rain.
You’ve just had your first story made into an audio version – congratulations! What was it like hearing your story?
It was like being 8 years old on Christmas morning, opening the present you wanted and realising it was even better than you hoped! Was it what you expected? Better. A couple of glitches with it, particularly in the opening, but you give away control once you hand you story to other people. However, the producers of the podcast truly brought it to life with exceptional voice acting, beautiful foley (sound effects) and an ambient soundtrack. They worked hard to maintain Inhuman’s tension and emerging horror I had hoped for. The voice acting took my breath away. Literally. I was actually short of breath during the first listen through. (Yes, I have somewhat narcissistically listened to it three times now!)What do you think makes a story suitable for that format? That’s been an interesting learning moment for me. Because I hammered some decent dialogue into shape and the story relies on that interaction between characters; the action happens through dialogue. When I was about ten, my mates and I used to write these radio plays and record them on cassette player (including our adaptations of Tintin novels!!) … perhaps that helped me write this to become what is essentially a radio play.
Recently, you released a collaboration with Kevin Ikenberry, “Illegal”, which is doing really well – hitting number one on two Amazon bestseller lists, I believe? What was the inspiration for the project, and what was the process from beginning to sitting on Amazon?
Yes, Illegal hit #1 on the Amazon Best Seller on 45 Minute Science Fiction short read list and the top Hot New Release list. Plus it moved to number 4 in 45-minute lit list. We’re both pretty darn happy with that.
The project started with me writing a page of first draft, getting stuck and emailing it to Kevin with a “wanna take a stab at what happens next?” message. Kevin wrote a couple of pages, emailed it back. I wrote a few more, sent it back. He wrapped it up. Each of us did a polishing run on it, which helped smooth out the “voice” so it didn’t sound like two people writing the same character’s point of view. (I’m currently working on a longer project with a Canadian author in which we take one character each and only write their POV scenes). We first sold it to Australia’s Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, which was a proud moment for both of us (it’s a beautiful publication). A few years later, Digital Science Fiction (an Amazon imprint) sent out an invitation for reprints and we sold to them. The story is sitting on Amazon for Kindle-users as a stand-alone for around $1. One of the cool trivia snippets around this story is that we set it on a binary asteroid “cluster” — two linked asteroids written about by two authors.
Word on the street is that you are currently working on a novel. Can you tell us a bit about it? What else is coming up for Pete Aldin?
I am in serious conversation with an Aussie publisher about a scifi crime novel—fingers crossed. I have a werewolf novel I may well self-publish soon; if I do go down that path, I will hire a professional editor to clean and polish it first because anything we write needs someone else’s keen eye on it before it sees the light of day. Currently I’m chipping away at both a post-apocalyptic buddy story and an alternate earth crime thriller. And longer term, I continue to be one of the lucky 26 authors invited to write for the ABC Anthologies series (at time of writing C is for Chimera has just been published and I’m very proud of the tale I had included in that).
What Australian work have you loved recently?
Ok, it’s going back a few years, but I remain in awe of Trent Jamieson’s Business of Death trilogy. Simply the finest urban fantasy I’ve ever read. More recently Jason Nahrung’s Blood and Dust duology is an absolute ripper.
Which author (living or dead) would you most like to sit next to on a long plane trip and why?
Either HG Wells or Arthur Conan Doyle, because I get the sense they’d both be wonderful raconteurs and both were inspirational in my youth. They approached a dark and gloomy world with a sense of both wonder and honesty and I’d value learning anything I could from them. Plus, they’re just bloody good storytellers!