Who is the man behind the Sci-Fi book Refraction?

This year saw the debut Sci-Fi book by Terry Geo - Refraction.  A book that I've found extremely enticing and absorbs in the true nature of Science Fiction.

Terry Geo Bio

Born in Derbyshire, raised in Yorkshire, resides in London, Terry learned from a young age that he was different from his peers.  He preferred the company of girls over boys, didn't like sports and would write at every opportunity.  He was bullied throughout his school life both physically and verbally and had to deal with the cruelty of others from an early age.

Terry Geo wrote and directed his first play at age 11. At 16, he started work in television, writing scripts and becoming the youngest director in the country.  Terry applied for a job while taking his final exams and started work in television the week after he finished school.  For the first time in his life, he found a world where he could shine and be accepted for who he was.

He came out as gay to his parents the following week and never again hid his sexuality from anyone. At seventeen he became the youngest director in the country, producing a light entertainment show for Yorkshire Television.  After a short stint in a boyband, Terry went back to writing, editing two national publications.  He toured the world as an actor, moved to London and in 2017, wrote and directed a musical for the London stage.  A year later, Terry married Ken, the love of his life, in London.  After their honeymoon in Thailand, he returned to a book he had started some years before. In January 2019, his cat Megara sadly passed away.  This hit Terry hard and in memorial to her, he wrote her into the book he was writing. She is now a part of Terry's debut published novel, Refraction.

Terry Geo Interview

I was given the opportunity to remotely interview Terry on his new book and the future of Refraction.

It would appear from your bio that writing has always been in your blood, who were your roles modes and inspirations growing up?

"I wasn’t really inspired by one person or one author, I was more affected by writing styles.

"I have always been an avid reader, devouring the works of Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, C.S. Lewis and L. Frank Baum as a kid; but it wasn’t until my ninth birthday that I developed a real skill for it. I discovered a book called The Three Investigators and the Secret of Terror Castle in a second-hand book shop. It was the first time I was exposed to a “twist” ending. I expected the story to continue down a certain path and then boom, something totally different happened. I didn’t know stories could do this.

"Up until that moment, the narrative in the books I’d read had always taken the expected route and it was only then, I realised it didn’t have to. I had been writing ever since the first moment I put crayon to paper, but now my head was filled with new possibilities, exciting new ways I could write and entertain people. Stories flooded my brain when awake and while I slept.

"One of my dreams was so vivid, I made it into a radio play which I recorded in my bedroom, always taking an unexpected turn that the listener wouldn’t see coming. In school, I would write about dark castles and menacing dragons where the hero would be killed in the final act, shaking up the norm... This didn’t get the reaction I hoped for.  My teacher called my parents into school, worried that while everyone else was writing fairy tales, I was killing off the main protagonist. I remember not really understanding why I was being reprimanded, but I agreed not to kill off any more people, instead, I killed off their pets. I actually used this event in Refraction and named the person it happened to Terrell after Stephen Terril, one of the characters from The Secret of Terror Castle."

All the characters are likeable and believable, are any of them based on people you know in your life?

"The four main characters we meet in the very first chapter are all based on facets of me. Abby’s night terrors, Ryder not wanting sympathy for his condition, Jake’s frustration with being a gay guy in Yorkshire and Terrell, as he’s a creative geek."

Can you relate to any one particular character?

"I relate to all of them for different reasons. I’m more closely associated with the four characters I mentioned above, but I relate to them all equally. As they are all constructs of my brain, everyone from Ryder to Isabell are equally important for the narrative of the story. There are elements of people I’ve met, read about or seen on TV but mostly they are bits of my thoughts and dreams given life on the pages of the book, so it’s impossible to say I relate to any one of them more than another."

Do you see yourself most in Dr Sharma, who is guiding the group through the story?

"Surprisingly not. The way I write is from beginning to end as if I’m reading the book for the first time. I have an idea of where I want the story to go, but often I’ll write something I don’t know the answer to (which I know sounds crazy) and then will attempt to find the solution through my characters.  Amazingly, this works 90% of the time, and where it doesn’t, I take out the entire thread.

"Because of this, Padman (Dr Sharma) was also my guide through the story. I would turn to him for the answer and write as if he were answering my question as opposed to me writing him.  I would put myself in his shoes, try to take on his experience and knowledge and write from that angle.  I think having a background in acting helped me to achieve this and although it’s all coming from my brain, it enabled me to access parts of me I wouldn’t have been able to any other way."

Do you have plans to create sequels or even prequels to the book?

"Refraction is one of a trilogy. Right at the beginning of the book are the words ‘The Present’, the next book will be The Future and the final book will be The Past.  The stories are already structured in my head, I just need the time to write them now. I plan on starting the next one in the series in January and hope to be finished in the next year."

Is Sci-Fi your preferred writing style or do you have an array of genre that you tap into?

"I get inspiration from everyone and everywhere. I love the freedom sci-fi gives me as a writer, but I wouldn’t want to limit myself to one genre.

"My goal now is to finish writing the Refraction trilogy. There is a second trilogy which could also be applied to this world, or it could be a stand-alone series, that all depends on how people react to the next two books.

"I find science fiction has the most scope for imagination, as long as the writer remembers to stick to the rules they invent for their universe. There are things mentioned in Refraction the reader may think “wait, that’s not right”, just know that everything is correct in the universe I’ve created and will be answered, if not in this book, then in the trilogy.

"I hate loose ends and find that some sci-fi writers believe they have free-reign to do whatever they want. That is true, as long as you know where those threads lead and can be tied up for the reader. There is nothing more annoying than something incredible happening in a story and the only pay off is the writer saying, “it happened because I said it does".

"Outside of science fiction, I wrote a musical drama a few years ago and am in the midst of writing a speculative fiction novel at the moment, although Refraction takes precedence over everything. I’m already getting requests for the next book!

"I think people get the wrong idea about sci-fi. They think Star Wars and Star Trek and believe the genre can only exist in faraway lands in the distant future. That’s not all this genre has to offer. Science fiction is fiction based on science and so you have the scope to take that idea anywhere. You could have an entire story about a sentient toaster or the creation of a new element which allows us to float instead of walk. (Copyright Terry Geo before anyone steals those lol)

"I see science fiction as the genre that allows us to take those stray, outlandish thoughts and run with them. The electric car is great, but what if... I think if I had to pick my favourite writing genre, it would be the “what if” genre. I love imagining what the world - and we - could accomplish if given the tools to do so."

Can we expect to see more novels from Terry Geo?

"As quickly as I can write them, you will be able to read them. Writing is a long and often solitary profession and when creating fictitious worlds and characters that only live as thoughts in your head, it can take even more time to commit them to paper. Now the first book has been published I hope to have a slightly easier time writing the sequel. The characters have already been established and the world has already been set, although the next book will be very different from this one.

"Refraction is a fun story everyone will enjoy reading. I can’t tell you the amount of people who have contacted me saying “I don’t usually like science fiction, but I loved your book.” Don’t look at it as one particular genre, just see it as a book you have to read. It has drama, comedy, adventure, thriller and more pop-culture references than you could dream of - at least in one sitting!"

For more information on the world of Refraction, check out Refraction Website.

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