"Learn From Your Mistakes": An Interview with IQ Malcolm.

Today's interview is with IQ Malcolm, an author of YA science fiction. I interview a lot of fantasy writers, so it was great to switch gears a bit and interview someone about space adventures and how to create them. Ian talked about his new novel Walking Spero, never writing the perfect story, and taking a work from adult to YA. I hope you enjoy!


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First things first, tell us a little bit about yourself!


My name is Ian Malcolm and I write YA Sci-Fi and Fantasy under the pen name IQ Malcolm because Jeff Goldblum’s character in Jurassic Park shares my name. I’m pretty sure it’s an internet law not to try to compete with a shirtless Jeff Goldblum, and thus the name change. Outside of writing, I teach English and history to middle schoolers in southwestern Wisconsin and enjoy spending my limited free time watching soccer.


What has your writing journey looked like?


Unlike other writers, I didn’t always want to be a writer. The idea of writing a book didn’t even seem plausible until I was a junior in college. At that time, I shared my novel idea with a close family friend who then told me I could never write a book. Unfortunately, I believed him, and it took me another four years before I tried my hand at writing. That was 2017. Since then I’ve published two novels, a handful of short stories, and my third novel, Waking Spero, will come out this August.


If you could co-author a book with someone, who would it be?


That’s an easy one. I’d go with Jay Kristoff. I started reading Aurora Rising towards the end of Waking Spero’s first draft, and I absolutely loved it. I’ve read a few of his other works since then and they’ve all been incredible. I think our sense of humor would work well together and his experience with co-authoring other books would be an added benefit.


Can you pitch your book, Waking Spero?


Waking Spero is a YA Sci-Fi adventure about two teens who wake up on an alien world with no memory of how they got there and their struggle to survive while searching for answers. Some members of my advanced review team have compared it to The Aurora Cycle and The 100.


What is your favorite part of writing sci-fi?


I think one of my favorite things about sci-fi is that it is a forward-looking genre. Although I enjoy reading stories set in the past and present, there’s something really fun about picturing what future civilizations may look like.


What were some challenges with writing this book? How did you overcome them?


In terms of the story itself, one of the bigger challenges I had with it was I originally planned it as an adult sci-fi book. It took some restructuring as a result, but I think it turned into a much better story in the end. In terms of personal challenges, I was taking a full college course load and working full-time on top of that. It didn’t leave me with a lot of writing time, but I manage to fit in into my schedule.


Walking Spero is the first of three in the series. What can you tell us about the sequels?


I can’t say much about the sequels as it would give away part of the mystery of where the characters are and why they’re there that they are trying to figure out in the first book. However, I can say that the second book, Invading Spero, is set to be published on June 8th, 2021, and it’s pre-order is live on Amazon.


What are some writing goals beyond this project?


After the Spero Trilogy, I have three other YA Sci-fi & Fantasy trilogies planned which I’m tentatively referring to them as Church of Thieves, the Makaio Trilogy, and the Symeon Trilogy. I feel like I’m at a point where I have a lot of story ideas and an unknown amount of time to get them all out. That is why the main goal outside of this project is getting my writing career to the point where I can go full-time in it.


Do you have any advice for fellow sci-fi writers?


I think this is more for writers in general, but you’ll never write the perfect story (by your own standards) and that is totally fine. I’ve yet to write a story that I didn’t want to go back and tweak it some more even after it was published, and every author I’ve talked to is the same way. You’ll improve your writing more by moving onto the next project than by overworking your current work. As long as you wrote to the story to the best of your ability at the time, then you did what you were supposed to do. Take what you learned from the process to ensure you won’t make the same mistake in your next project.


Anything else to add?


I just want to thank you for taking the time to interview me, and thank your readers who made it through all my ramblings to reach the end. If you’d like to order a copy of Waking Spero, you can do so at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B087YJ9RQR. If you’d like to stay in touch with me, then you can find me on Instagram and Facebook with the handle @iqmalcolm or sign up for my bi-weekly newsletter at https://mailchi.mp/f2752d7644e0/iqmnewsletter.