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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Aug 13, 2021

Mark interviews Simon Lowe, an author with a number of stories published in various magazines, who, after a decade working in book stores, released his first novel (The World is at War, Again) in June 2021 and now writes part time while also performing the role of a stay at home dad.

Prior to the interview, Mark welcomes new Patrons Talena Winters,
Rachel Amphlett, and Carolyn Stein, reads comments from recent episodes, offers a personal update, and a word from this episode's sponsor.

This episode is sponsored by Findaway Voices.

You can learn more about how you can get your work distributed to retailers and library systems around the world at

In their chat, Mark and Simon discuss:

  • Simon's recent release of the speculative fiction novel The World Is At War, Again and how it's about government declaring newer technology to be too much of a threat to be allowed
  • How the novel is set with the world at war without there being a specific single war such as WWII - as a commentary of the ongoing "state" of war
  • Some of the parallels between the content of this novel and the current pandemic world we're living in
  • How the removal of technology also reduces a person's ability to "fake" who they are, in the same way they can behind the filters of social media
  • Conceiving of a world without technology as one of of being able to focus on how people interact directly with one another
  • The impact of external factors on the way people connect and focus
  • Simon's 10 years of experience as a bookseller and the various formats for paperbacks
  • The difference in UK and North American bookshop genre designations such as "Crime" in the UK which is "Mystery" in North America
  • Mark's experience on what people were looking for when they walked into a bookstore and asked for the "non-fiction books"
  • How, for some people, walking into a bookstore can be an intimidating experience
  • The way Simon's experience as a bookseller informed him as a writer and within the business of publishing
  • Decisions on which books to stock, which are based on understanding the marketplace and what is going to sell within that market
  • The importance of not taking it personally when a bookseller or publisher is not interested in your book
  • How thinking of the book in smaller chunks made the process of writing the novel more manageable
  • And more....

 After the interview, Mark reflects on the concept of breaking your work/writing into smaller, more manageable chunks as one way to conquer the overwhelm of a large project in front of you.


Links of Interest:


Simon Lowe is a British author. His stories have appeared in various publications, including AMP, Storgy, Ponder Review, EX/POST, Blackwater Review, and elsewhere. After a decade working in book stores he now writes part time as well as being a stay at home dad. His new novel, The World is At War, Again, was released in June 2021.


The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0