The Literary Odyssey of CW Lamb

A Journey Through Genres and Imagination

CW Lamb, IT professional turned successful indie author, discusses his unconventional path, genre-spanning works, self-publishing journey, and collaborative approach, offering insights for aspiring writers.

Embarking on a literary journey that defied convention, CW Lamb, a seasoned IT professional, ventured into the realm of fiction writing at the behest of unexpected encouragement. Shaped by his ex-wife’s insight and a personal curiosity that blossomed into a creative endeavour, Lamb’s odyssey from an unassuming start to a flourishing indie author offers a narrative rich in resilience and innovation.

Intriguingly, Lamb’s foray into fiction was sparked by an unconventional muse: a project collaboration with his ex-wife, a television screenwriter, which unveiled his latent knack for storytelling. With no formal writing training to speak of, Lamb delved into the craft instinctively, eschewing conventional plotting methods to craft narratives that unfolded organically, earning him the moniker of a “pantzer” – a writer who flies by the seat of his pants.

Navigating the labyrinthine landscape of self-publishing, Lamb’s ascent from obscurity to acclaim underscores the transformative power of perseverance and self-reliance. Evading the limelight until his creations spoke volumes, Lamb’s advice to aspiring authors resonates with a steadfast determination to forge ahead, unencumbered by external validation.

Spanning a tapestry of genres from science fiction to fantasy, each iteration of Lamb’s literary universe offers readers a kaleidoscope of immersive worlds, meticulously crafted yet invitingly ambiguous, leaving room for individual interpretation. His deft balance of character depth and vivid settings exemplifies a storytelling ethos that transcends genre boundaries, captivating audiences across diverse literary landscapes.

Central to Lamb’s narrative tapestry is the acclaimed “AL:ICE” series, a riveting exploration of artificial life and the ethical quandaries it poses. Drawing from his IT background, Lamb’s portrayal of AI teeters on the precipice of plausibility, grounding speculative fiction in a foundation of technical acumen and philosophical inquiry.

Crucial to Lamb’s artistic vision are his collaborations with cover artists and editors, whose contributions imbue his works with visual allure and editorial finesse. From mentorship by industry stalwarts to fruitful partnerships with cover designers like Yvonne Less, Lamb’s journey is punctuated by serendipitous encounters and collaborative synergy, elevating his literary oeuvre to new heights of acclaim and accessibility.

As CW Lamb continues to chart new literary horizons, his indomitable spirit and creative ingenuity serve as beacons of inspiration for aspiring authors and seasoned wordsmiths alike. In the ever-expanding cosmos of indie publishing, Lamb’s narrative arc stands as a testament to the transformative power of passion, perseverance, and the relentless pursuit of artistic excellence.

What inspired you to transition from a career in engineering and technology to becoming a fiction writer, particularly delving into genres like science fiction and cyberpunk?

Actually, I am still a full-time IT professional, my writing comes as a part-time effort. I hope to transition into a full-time Author at some point but those IT dollars are hard to replace. As for my inspiration, that came in two parts. 

My ex-wife is a Television Screenwriter and I had worked with her on a project that needed some technical input. During the process, she was impressed with what I was able to provide and suggested I give writing a try.

The second motivation came with an idea I wanted to explore and writing about it seemed the obvious choice. The book developed out of that and surprised everyone I knew.

  Your journey from self-publishing to building a successful indie author career is intriguing. Could you share some insights into the challenges you faced along the way and any advice you have for aspiring authors considering the indie route?

Just do it, as they say. I am an engineer with a C-grade English literature education at best. When I sit down to write I don’t do outlines or summaries or any of the traditional processes we were taught in school. I just begin at the beginning and tell a story. I am what I am told is a pantzer, I write by the seat of my pants.

In my case, the only person who knew I was doing it was my then-wife. I wasn’t sure where I was going with it so I kept the effort to myself, to avoid that ever-asked question from friends and family “How’s your book coming along?” You need to be strong enough to drive yourself and don’t look for outside validation, you should be doing this for you and not them. Indie Authors need to be self-reliant and willing to do the research to make things happen on their own. Although I do have a special female contributor for the romance books.

I was fortunate enough to have one person to evaluate my effort early on to get some valuable feedback. I sent my first five chapters to my ex-wife to read. Her response was, to lose the first three chapters to the back story in the body of the book and start at chapter four. “It’s good work, keep writing.”

Your books span across several genres, including science fiction, fantasy, paranormal romance, and cyberpunk. What draws you to explore such diverse themes and genres in your writing?

When I wrote my first Science Fiction book I received an unexpectedly good response. As I said I am in IT so we have particularly thick skin when it comes to harsh criticism and I was ready to pull this off the market if it failed. I received my fair share of complaints but they were predominantly technical and not about the story itself. Sales jumped and I used that money to improve the things I could, like the cover and editing software.

Book 2 sprang from the question, of whether was I a one-hit guy, but it sold extremely well with over 80% retention from book one.

Next, I asked, if my success was the story or the writer, so I jumped over to Fantasy to test the waters and my readership followed. My Fantasy series sells as well as the Science Fiction. The Cyberpunk story came to me in a dream and the Romance book was by accident. I wrote The Dowry based on my experience in buying a house and again the words just jumped on the paper. I sent a copy to my editor and asked him to tell me if it was any good and what it was. His reply was “This is wonderful and congratulations you are now a romance writer!”

Each series you’ve created seems to offer readers a unique and immersive world. How do you approach world-building, and do you have a favorite world or setting among your books?

I think it is important to give the reader a good grasp of the character’s surroundings. I try and leave the character descriptions to the minimum to provide the opportunity for the reader to see themselves in the storyline. Overly described characters don’t allow for the broadest reader base to identify with those they are reading about.

Well-described surroundings however are essential to carry the story. As I write I do imagine myself in the tale, capturing what I see and how the characters are affected by their place in them.

My favorite is my historical romance as I am a bit of a history buff and it allows me to imagine the world in a different time.

  Your series “AL:ICE” explores the concept of artificial life from artificial intelligence. What inspired you to delve into this subject, and what kind of research did you undertake to create a believable portrayal of AI in your books?

As I have mentioned my daytime job is in Information Technology. AI was a concept far earlier than what we discuss today and companies around the world have been striving to be the first to present a working solution that delivers a perceived boost to humanity. I have my own opinions on the good and bad of that but the story itself was, at what point does a self-aware AI become Artificial Life? We are far from delivering a stable AI and as I relate in the book it happens by accident.

Collaboration with cover artists and editors is an essential part of the indie author journey. Can you share some experiences or insights into how these collaborations have influenced the final presentation and reception of your books?

I have been incredibly lucky in my writing career, first in selecting to write a Military Sci-Fi book at a time when the market was starving for such. In my search for a publisher and publishing agent, I was introduced to a big name in the editing game, Pat Lobrutto, who took a liking to my work and was willing to mentor me. He showed me great editing doesn’t come cheap but happily put himself out of business as my skills improved and my needs diminished. I still struggle with proofreaders and typos but my edits in a structural sense are few these days.

My cover artist was another great find. Yvonne Less caters to the Indie market and delivers great value at an affordable price. She and I have worked together for almost ten years and I highly recommend her to anyone looking for a bump in their artwork. Her covers help me sell books.

As for the question, find someone whose work you like and get their input on their resources. I know of no one in the game that can turn away work and while you might not be able to afford them, they are generally a wealth of information if you are pleasant. It’s amazing what can be gained with a little respect and a nice conversation.

This award is presented to CW Lamb and a group of exceptional authors.
This interview is showcased in the print edition. Click image to enlarge.

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