Kindle Author Interview: Ted Skewes

Ted Skewes, author of The Mystic Functions, discusses his book, his journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about The Mystic Functions?

TED SKEWES: I set out to present my philosophical ideas via a story pandering to my other obsessions, technology and popular science. The result was a science fiction story that may just explain how the universe really works. Yes I know, this sounds like a pretty big claim; which is why The Mystic Functions is cast in fiction. I leave it to my readers to determine otherwise.

The story is about the introduction of alien technology and philosophy into human society and resultant intrigues and resistance. There is action and romance and technological ideas that take today’s virtual/augmented reality to logical extremes. It is also about meaning and the search for it.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

TED SKEWES: My characters pop into existence as required. If they don’t live up to expectations they’ll go back the way they came, albeit sometime later. I try not to create too many characters and I’m committed to doing more character development in the second book which is going to be much longer. My characters have definite roles.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

TED SKEWES: My ideal reader is somebody interested in scientific and philosophical explanations for what makes the universe, and the people in it, tick. However I know that this is a big ask and have written in such a way that I think that anyone can get something from it, if only entertainment.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

TED SKEWES: A few years ago I wrote a series of articles for the Victorian UFO Research Society Bulletin called How Far is Far Out? That was when I discovered that I really enjoyed writing down my crazy thoughts and analyses. Up to that point I had written a few songs but was always irked by the way that poetry and lyrics could only suggest ideas and not spell them out. I was developing a set of ideas that I called Karmic Field Theory and started to write them down. It began as an essay about the difference between religion and science and how they couldn’t merge but could be replaced by a broader paradigm containing elements of both.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

TED SKEWES: I think a lot and love having time to myself to do just that. (Some people call this day dreaming). I love to create scenarios in my mind like a movie and quite often lay awake after going to bed at night dreaming this stuff up. When I think I have enough that I’m in danger of forgetting I make time to start writing. As the ideas start to flow onto the keyboard they change and expand. I don’t get too fussy about getting every sentence perfect, that can wait until the review stage which I usually do for the previous few paragraphs each time I sit down to write. I review stuff in my mind a lot as well if I get the chance and try to make a mental note to change the text later.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

TED SKEWES: My earliest inspirations were writers like Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, Frank Herbert and the like.  I also had an extended Steven King period. Then came popular scientists like Michio Kaku, Paul Davies, Brian Greene, Hawking and Stephen Wolfram plus a number of UFOlogists like Timothy Goode, Whitley Strieber and John E Mack. Recently I have come to admire the talent that must go into film making and screen writing but I can’t name names but anyone connected with Steven Spielberg is worthy of a mention.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

TED SKEWES: You’ll have to excuse my Mr. Spock interpretation of this question. For this to be true I’d have be envious of someone else’s talent or ideas, and I’d like to think that I’m not. I admire many books and ideas and if I’m successful in my own right then I’ll be riding on the shoulders of the giants that came up with them.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

TED SKEWES: I have self-published two previous tree-book editions of The Mystic Functions and found it very, very difficult to get publicity. The ebook format is so much easier to send to people for review so that’s what I’m concentrating on. That and contacting blogs and lists like this one. I am also trying to involve myself more with the writing community here in Melbourne and have scored a Fifteen Minutes of Fame spot at the upcoming Emerging Writers Festival.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

TED SKEWES: Amazon/Kindle has a very large market share, pure and simple.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

TED SKEWES: Take the time to do it properly. (You cannot do a straight conversion from a word processor.) Regardless of format or medium, you need independent editing and proof reading but be your own person; stick with your own ‘voice’. Cherry pick all the advice and recommendations that your proof readers give you but if some comments are the result of the reader missing the point, then consider how you might have made it better.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.


Ted Skewes is 57 and lives near Melbourne, Australia, with his wife and three sons. He has been a computer professional for over 20 years, prior to which his time was consumed by music, song-writing and philosophy. Apart from a few articles published in UFO journals and on websites, The Mystic Functions is his first literary endeavour.

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