A Dome of Chrome.
A Dome of Chrome is an award winning short story. It is a Sci-fi tale of human expansion in new worlds, making contact and forming relationships with other races and how there will always be people who lose their humanity. I have read this and many other short stories produced by Jeremy Szal and I absolutely agree that he is a young man who will do great things with his writing. Please click on the link to read this great story.
On The Premises Magazine, Issue #23, Honourable Mention (read)
My name is Jeremy Szal, a 19 year old university student in Sydney, Australia who spends far too much time reading and writing science-fiction and fantasy stories when he really should be studying.
If it wasn’t obvious, I love stories. I love writing ‘em, I love watching ‘em, I love reading ‘em, I love playing ‘em, the list goes on and on. Science fiction, fantasy and horror draw me in more than the other genres do, particularly in literature. I’m also someone who writes them.
BCN: When did you first feel the need to write? Is it something you have always done, or did you come to it later?
JS: Not sure, really. My earliest memories are from reading books that my mum would give me on holidays. Then a weekly trip to a bookshop was quite a regular thing, and I’d pick out my own choices. I just loved stories, and I remember reading the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy in a single car trip, and then re-reading them on the way back.
And since I loved to read the stories, I always wanted to write them. I remember sitting on my computer and just pounding way, writing whatever came to mind. I was 14 or so then, and I had no clue what I was doing. My work was a cross between faux neo-noir and urban sci-fi. And of course it was dark – darker than someone my age had any right to be writing about. But I was dedicated; I’d write after school, on holidays…hell, I’d get up at 6 and start writing. Can’t do that anymore – I’m getting old.
It never went anywhere, and looking back I’m glad that it didn’t. I felt discouraged and stopped for a while. I was busying with studying and didn’t have the time. Then in Year 12 (or last year of school for you Brits and Americans) we studied science-fiction as a genre. I was introduced to books like Dune, Neuromancer, Frankenstein, Brave New World and A Princess of Mars. We watched cinematic masterpieces like Blade Runner, 2001 and The Martrx, along others. I was enthralled. I loved every second of that class, and would retake it in a heartbeat. But it really inspired me to dig deeper into science-fiction, so I started buying sci-fi novels and coming up with my own ideas.
A few days later I finished my studies, I started writing my first proper novel. I finished it during the summer holidays, and I’ve never looked back.
BCN: Are there any books or authors in particular that you find inspirational?
JS: Far, far too many. The unapologetic and brilliant pulpy John Carter novels. The gritty space opera of Iain M. Banks and his truly alien aliens. The lavishly dark and epic work of Joe Abercrombie. The fantastic prose and characters of Mark Lawrence. The poetic and magnificent work of Robin Hobb. George R. R. Martin’s world of unparalleled scope and brutality. The galaxy spanning space opera of Peter F. Hamilition. The down to earth urban grittiness of Michael Grant. Peter Watts, Brandon Sanderson, Karen Traviss, Greg Bear…we could be here all day. Suffice to say that I find many, many authors to be inspirational. But if I had to narrow it down, I’d say that Abercrombie, Banks, Traviss and Martin had the biggest influence on me and my writing style.
BCN: I loved your charcters in your short stories. Where do you find the characters? Do you use people, personalities you like/loath you see or know? Or see something on TV or other places?
JS: Thanks for that. And honestly, I couldn’t tell you. I really, really couldn’t. They just come to me whenever they feel like it, and I put them down in words. It’s as simple as that.
Of course, there’s always someone who I’ve despised over the years. I give them little cameos in my stories, and they always die horrible deaths. It’s rather fun.
BCN: Do you have a writing routine? Or is it something that when inspiration strikes you write non stop till you have it all out?
JS: Tricky. I try to write every single day. I don’t always manage to do so, but I still make it my goal. But there are certain times that I do, like late at night or in the evenings. The majority of my spare time is spent reading, and that always gives me a boost to plunk myself down at the desk and let the words trickle out. We all build off each other in a way. I read an awesome story, and I also want to churn something good.
At the same time, I’m also a university student, have a part time job, amoung other things, as much as I’d like to, I can’t just reject my responsibilities, wear pyjamas, drink coffee and write all day. One day, perhaps…
JS: Hmm. I’ll break this down in two. I’ve lived in Europe, Thailand, and my birthplace of Australia. I’ve travelled almost every year to somewhere new (I just came back from Thailand). I’ve visited ancient castles, old moats, torture chambers, temples, etc. And while they definitely do give inspiration for writing, I wouldn’t say they help in a significant way. Sci-fi and fantasy isn’t restricted by time, place or location. One short story was partially written in blizzard winter of Austria, partially in sweltering Thailand, and partially on the plane. Although there’s definitely inspiration to be found, I wouldn’t say that living in suburbia would largely effect how you describe a military war ship or an abandoned planet anymore then if you were living in a palace. The galaxy’s the limit. That’s the beauty of it. Although I will admit the torture chamber gave me a few ideas…
And yes, I get a few people surprised at my age. I was 18 when I sold my first short story, (six months ago now) although Gear Bear did it when he was 15. I’ve been told by many people that 18 is an exceptionally young age, but I don’t think so. You have to start somewhere, and I didn’t want to wait until I was fifty-five with a wife (ha!) and a few kids running around.
I’ve even had people tell me that I may even be too young, which I also vehemently disagree with. You can only get better. Every rejection letter helps you know you’ve got to improve, so you do just that. So my advice: don’t wait! Get those quills out and start scratching away. You have no idea how many people I’ve met that claim to be ‘writers’, but admit that they just need to figure out a way to get the words down on paper…
BCN: What else is on the horizon from Jeremy Szal? A book deal? A short story Anthology?
JS: I originally decided to write short stories because my original novel wasn’t going anywhere. Since then I’ve had nearly twenty published. It’s a gold mine, and I’m not going to quit writing them anytime soon. And although I am going to be in several upcoming anthologies, it’s unlikely that I’ll ever publish one. I don’t self publish, and I never will. As I said, rejection letters are good. If it’s not good enough for traditional publishers, then you’re doing something wrong.
And about a book deal, I’ve nearly finished a novel of mine. An editor from one of the “big five” has already shown interest in it, which is enthralling. We met at a SF/F convention, and we exchanged details. I keep the business card on my desk while I write, and it really helps me out. I don’t know if it’ll go anywhere, but I’m praying that it will. And if it doesn’t, I’ll write another. And another, and another. Until I strike oil. Just make sure to be there to buy ‘em when it happens, eh?
BCN: What is your favourite cake?
JS: Pfft. That’s easy. Black Forest cake. Or anything with lots and lots of berries.
Thank you Jeremy.
This is the link for more on Jeremy’s short stories: http://jeremyszal.wordpress.com/short-stories/
Jeremy can be contacted through his blog : http://jeremyszal.wordpress.com/
he is also on facebook and twitter @JeremySzal
By Leanne Ellis.