Who is Kynan Waterford?
Who me? Just another sci-fi author with illusions of grandeur. But I do love science and reading, two things I can thank my father, Colin Waterford, for.
In his heyday, my dad was an agricultural scientist working for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (or, as any Aussie knows it, the CSIRO). He also used to read to me and my (many) siblings as we ate breakfast, instilling in me a deep love of stories.
To my young mind, my dad knew everything. At least, he had an answer for every question I could think of. It encouraged me into an education heavy in maths and science, and led me to complete a bachelor’s degree at the Australian National University along with an honours year studying genetics.
I use what I’ve learned in my books, not to try and accurately predict the future, but to add a touch of realism to the sometimes outrageously fantastical futures I create. It’s fun to think about where our relentless push to learn more might take us as a species.
And then there were the books.
Between my mum, dad and older brother, I was exposed to the likes of Raymond E. Feist (The Riftwar Saga), Janny Wurts (Empire Trilogy), Frank Herbert (Dune), Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven (The Mote in God’s Eye and many others), Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time), and Terry Pratchett (the Discworld series) to name a select few. All of them sustained my imagination with incredible detail, originality, and finesse, and have undoubtedly influenced my own style of writing.
Terry Pratchett was my favourite, with his brilliant sarcasm and satire (that I could never hope to emulate), character-driven perspectives in each chapter (that I have happily adopted in my books), his unpredictable plots that nevertheless lead to coherent, satisfying endings (something I do my darndest to achieve), and the general moral messages about what it really means to be human hidden like gems throughout his books.
It may come as a surprise, but I never really liked my ‘English’ subjects at school.
I could never see the point in writing a second draft of anything, let alone a third or a fourth. It wasn’t until much, much later that I came to understand that editing is where the real magic happens. Particularly when it comes to science fiction novels where you’re attempting to build entirely new worlds and weave a compelling, yet consistent story on so many different levels.
I only really contemplated a career in writing after I heard some friends talking about writing a novel at a party when I was midway through university. The idea stuck with me and after a particularly vivid dream involving aliens, giant robots, and a futuristic city, I decided to use it as inspiration for my first novel.
I wrote my first book over a month or so in a fever of excitement (something I’m sure anyone who’s written at least one book can relate to).
The story was great (or so I believed), but the writing really wasn’t. I only realised this after I’d written two sequels to my first book and then gone back to edit the first.
Like all artforms, the more you do the better you get, and I’d become good enough to recognise just how novice the writing in my first novel was. So I got to work editing. I must have gone through that 120,000 word manuscript more than 20 times, but I could never get it to a place I was happy with. So, around 2003 or so, I gave up and started from scratch.
Thus it was that ‘Jupiter – Illusions of Faith’ was born.
Without realising it, my relentless efforts to improve my first novel had honed my skills as a writer and an editor, and (following more relentless editing) I eventually self-published Jupiter in 2006. The book was a hit with the small audience I was able to reach, and I’ve since written three more in the System Series (each one a stand alone story based on the planets in our solar system).
It’s been hard fitting my writing around a full-time job with the Australian Bureau of Statistics, raising two boys, Rowan and Caden, with my beautiful wife, Cassandra, and my other creative hobbies (like cosplay and 3d printing), but there’s something incredibly satisfying about creating an entirely original story and characters within their own world.
I may not ever be known as a prolific writer, but I hope my books will stand out as fun, original, and satisfying reads. Whether I’m successful or not, I know I’ll be writing until I inevitably leave this world.