Interview with Tom Merritt (Sword & Laser)


Welcome to another interview with the people behind the SFF sites.

Today I’m talking to Tom Merritt of Sword & Laser, a science fiction and fantasy-themed book club, video show and podcast. Tom also works on a daily podcast called Daily Tech News Show.

SCy-Fy: How do you prepare for a Sword & Laser show, Tom?

TM: I check email and check on our Goodreads group throughout the week. On show day I go into our Google Spreadsheet and create a rundown for the show. It consists of links to stories submitted for our new segment, notes on the current book we’re reading and a couple of representative forum posts and emails.

SCy-Fy: What are your future initiatives for the show?

TM: We hope to get our Patreon funding up to a level that the podcast can go weekly with an author interview every other week.

SCy-Fy: What do you think will be the major challenges in future?

TM: Keeping up with the wealth of new writers is always a challenge, especially for print on demand and self-published authors. The wide variety of books means there are more gems than ever but it also means they can be harder to discover.

SCy-Fy: What advice would you give anyone presenting on the internet?

TM: My tip for anybody working to make content for an audience is to listen to the audience. You don’t have to let them rule you, but listen to them and use them as a great advisor and gut checker.

SCy-Fy: Just between us – your secret list of useful resources?

TM: I actually find Barnes and Noble has the best listing of upcoming releases. I also keep up on RSS feeds from SFSignal.com, A Dribble of Ink and iO9 as well as several author blogs.

SCy-Fy: Points to watch out for?

TM: Everybody has a different opinion on books because we all bring our own experiences to a read. When talking about fiction you have to be prepared for lots of unexpected reactions.

SCy-Fy: Things that have kept you going in hard times?

TM: Actually the audience is the best. At least ours is. You can always find people to give you an encouraging word.

SCy-Fy: Has Sword & Laser been involved in any controversy so far?

TM: You know, we don’t really court controversy so I’m not sure I have a good answer to this. Some of the spirited discussion we’ve got in on the forums revolves around the depiction of women in genre fiction and whether listening to an audiobook is “reading.”

SCy-Fy: What was your favourite book you read in 2014?

TM: The Martian by Andy Weir.

SCy-Fy: Which forthcoming release are you most looking forward to reading?

TM: I’m a huge fan of James SA Corey so I can’t wait for the fifth Expanse novel, Nemesis Games.

SCy-Fy: Any last words?

TM: Please don’t kill me.

SCy-Fy: I’ll pass that on. Thanks for your time, Tom.

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