The evolution of an author: Scott Bury

Get to know your favorite BestSelling Reads authors a little better.

Why did you decide to write and publish a book?

I had dreamed of writing and publishing books since I was a child. Being a journalist satisfied the desire to write for a living, but I still had all these ideas for fictional stories and books.

When my sons were children, they liked stories with dragons, but I found most of the books on the shelves about dragons were unsatisfying. The dragons were always friendly, or cute, and people rode them. I wanted a story that really explored what dragons and “magic” means, and that became The Bones of the Earth. I worked on it in my spare time, and finally just buckled down and finished it, publishing it in late 2011. So it’s been 10 years.

Tell us about your books.

I’ve been a professional writer and journalist for over thirty years, and in 2010 I  the first fiction I published was a children’s story called “Sam, the Strawb Part.” Then I published a spooky short story for adults called “Dark Clouds.” After that, I finally published a historical fantasy I had been working on for ten years, The Bones of the Earth.

You may have notice I have not stayed in a single genre. And after Bones, I decided to write a parody of a certain bestseller, calling it One Shade of Red. It’s the only billionaire romance I’ve ever heard of where the billionaire is a woman.

Then, I wrote a three-volume biography of my father-in-law, Maurice Bury, a Canadian who was drafted into the Soviet Red Army in the Second World War, and fought against the Nazi invasion, and later, the drive to Berlin. The Eastern Front Trilogy comprises Army of Worn Soles, Under the Nazi Heel and Walking Out of War.

Then, I was invited to join three different Kindle World projects, and wrote a number of mysteries and thrillers.

Finally, I have returned to my favourite genre, historical fantasy, and last year brought out the second book in my planned Dark Age trilogy, The Children of the Seventh Son.

Is there anything about your first book that you wish you had written, or done differently?

Yes, of course. I wish I had remembered to bring the griffin back before the end. There are some awkward sentences I would like to change. And despite the several rounds of editing and proofreading, apparently there are some grammatical and typographical errors, still.

Why do you publish independently?

I started sending my fiction and non-fiction to agents and publishers in 2010, when the industry was going through a particularly hard time. Publishers were either merging or closing. I didn’t get rejected so much as publishers would not even consider a new author.

At that point, the e-book publishing platforms were just starting to take off, so I decided to go that route.

How do you think your writing has changed since then?

I think every writer will look back at work they published years earlier and cringe. I know that I regret some passages.

I guess that I have matured as a writer over the past 10 years. There are some aspects of my writing style that have solidified. I think I’ve found a good balance between too much and too little description.

I’m also aware now of bad habits, like phrases I overuse, or where I will over-use progressive tense rather than just a direct verb.

Tell us about your work in progress.

I’m working on a dystopian near-future science fiction novel about a young woman who’s kidnapped and saves herself as the U.S. falls apart. Then, I hope to write another Wine Country Mystery—I have the crime worked out—and then finish the Dark Age trilogy.

I am also toying with an alternate history about the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) people colonizing Europe in the 16th century, rather than the other way around. I hope to get some help or advice from people from the Haudenosaunee community, first.

What impacts, if any, has the pandemic had on your writing?

The impacts on my daily life have been pretty minimal, to tell you the truth. Other than not travelling, or going out to movies, concerts, museums or most events, of course.

But my whole family is I’m healthy, at least when it comes to COVID-19, and fully vaccinated. I’m grateful for that.

The pandemic has shown where our society is weak, where the fractures are, and our strengths, as well. I think any artist can learn a lot from the past two years.

What are some things about others’ books that you love?

I realized at one point that most of my favourite books fall into the “magic realism” category.

I like description that brings stories to life, that put me in the stories. I like realistic characters that I can identify with, and whose reactions to situations I can relate to.

I like action, too. Make something happen, authors!

I also like authors who take chances and do something that hasn’t been done before. Originality rocks.

What are some things about others’ books that you don’t like?

Poor editing and language are instant turn-offs for me. If I find a grammatical or typographical error in the first page, I won’t read on.

I am tired of the taciturn, strong-but-silent super-assassin who is so skilled, they cannot be hurt by their enemies. There have been too many stories like this.

Worst of all is the plot change at the end that comes out of nowhere, without any clues or event that would predict it. For example, just as the villain is about to kill the hero, they get run over by a bus. That’s just lazy writing.

What advice do you have for new or aspiring authors today?

Write! Don’t worry about whether you’re good enough. If you have a story in your head, get it out!

Then rewrite, and rewrite again. Then give to someone you trust for an honest reaction. Take their ideas and suggestions seriously.

Most important: before you bring your story to the world, have a professional edit it and another proofread the manuscript.

Thank you.

Scott Bury

can’t stay in one category.

After a 20-year career in journalism, he turned to writing fiction. “Sam, the Strawb Part,” a children’s story, came out in 2011, with all the proceeds going to an autism charity. Next was a paranormal short story for grown-ups, “Dark Clouds.”

The Bones of the Earth, a historical fantasy, came out in 2012. It was followed in 2013 with One Shade of Red, an erotic romance.

The Eastern Front trilogy tells the true story of Maurice Bury, a Canadian drafted into the USSR’s Red Army to face the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Army of Worn Soles, the first volume, was published in 2014, followed by Under the Nazi Heel in 2016 and Walking Out of War in 2017.

Scott Bury was invited to write for three Kindle Worlds by bestsellers Russell Blake, Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman. From 2015 to 2017, he published six novellas and a novel. He has since revised and republished three as the Hawaiian Storm mystery series: Torn Roots, Palm Trees & Snowflakes, and Dead Man Lying.

In between writing books and blog posts, Scott helped found an author’s cooperative publishing venture, Independent Authors International. He is also President of an authors’ professional association, BestSelling Reads.

He lives in Ottawa with his two mighty sons, two pesky cats and a very understanding wife.

You can find more about Scott Bury, and contact him through his website, his blog, Written Words, and on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.

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