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An Interview with David Atkinson, author of Future Proof

atkinson

David Atkinson lives in Edinburgh with his wife, two teenage daughters, and a Labrador called Bea. He is fortunate enough to be traditionally published with Harper Collins and independently published with Collective Charm Books.

His most recent novel, Future Proof, is an Amazon bestseller in seven different categories and won the Page Turner Genre Award. Future Proof also has its own musical soundtrack, which can be streamed from all the usual sites—Spotify, Apple Music, etc.


Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I started writing in school, not particularly well, but I was enthusiastic. Whilst all the kids used to groan in English when the latest reading assignment was handed out—usually a hefty tome by Charles Dicken, Thomas Hardy, or Ernest Hemingway—I used to secretly punch the air, as I loved that stuff. I also used to borrow Shakespeare plays from the school library to read. That looks kind of nerdy now reading it back, but I guess I was.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

I have always loved the time-travel genre, but found the writers always seem to get tied up in knots around the “hard-science-fiction” elements and explaining things. I was determined to write something that I’d enjoy reading. (That is always my aim, as I think if you try and write for someone else, you’ll come unstuck—well, I would anyway.) I tried to take as much of the “science” out of the story as possible and make it about the characters.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

The title Future Proof came near the end of the first draft. Until then, it had been called Get It Right Next Time, which was only ever a working title. Future Proof came from some dialogue between the main characters. Interestingly, it does help with the sequel I have planned, which I’m working on. That will be called Future Perfect.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

Strangely enough, the book does have a soundtrack. I’ve been a musician for many years and decided the book would be perfect for a musical experiment. There is an album of eight songs called “Future Proof by Memerine.” Memerine is an anagram of my daughters’ names, Erin & Emme.

In retrospect, I should just have used my own name, as this has confused things. There are eight songs on the album, all relating to specific key points in the plot. They are featured in the audio version of the book. I wrote and arranged the music and lyrics. I also played all the instruments and produced the music. I worked with some wonderful female vocalists for the songs, as I don’t like the sound of my own voice. The album is available on all the usual streaming sites. I also use a song title as the head of each chapter to reflect what happens during the chapter. I liked this as it helps set the mood for what the reader is likely to experience in the coming narrative.

Describe your dream book cover.

Future Proof‘s book cover fits the story as it’s dark and mysterious. Whilst the book is laced with dark humour and has some genuinely emotional roller-coaster moments, it is, in the end, a happy, life-affirming story. I like that the cover is quite dark and in contrast with the ultimate ending.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I have had a lot of jobs over the years. As a student, I had a variety of jobs; I worked in a bar and a sports shop, and on the weekends, I was a singing telegram—dressed as a gladiator! My current day job is in financial services, and whilst I enjoy this, I’d love to be able to write full-time.

What books did you read (for research or comfort) throughout your writing process?

I try and avoid all books in the genre I’m writing in, but I did read a few textbooks around epigenetics and genetics which I use in the story. I also wrote to a number of prominent specialists in the field of epi-genetics but none replied. Perhaps they were too busy, or perhaps they decided I was a random nutcase!

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

I want readers to finish the book and feel uplifted and genuinely moved by the story. I didn’t initially set out to write a life-affirming piece of prose, but the way the story unfolded as I went along meant that was inevitable. I have to say that Luci, the main female character in the story, is my favourite of any I have ever created. I remain a little in love with her, even now, and if the reader comes away with a similar feeling, then I’m happy with that.

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