Self-professed space nerd Andy Weir's first novel, The Martian, was adapted into the award-winning film of the same name in 2015. Prior to that, he spent much of his life working as a software engineer. His follow-up novel, Artemis, published last month, is named for the book's setting, the moon's first and only settlement.
Why did you write your new book?
I wanted to have a story that takes place in the first human city that's not on Earth.
What scares you as a writer and why?
Well my greatest fear is that I only had one good book in me. Will The Martian be the only thing I ever write that people like? I don't know. I'm an insecure guy at the best of times, so putting myself out there for critique and judgment is very hard for me.
What's your favourite word to use in a sentence and why?
"Apparently." It's great for sarcasm and humour. And it very quickly and easily conveys that the speaker isn't thrilled with the situation.
If aliens landed on Earth, which book would you give them to teach them about humanity?
The Encyclopedia Britannica. Boring answer, I know, but it's really the best option.
Which book got you through the darkest period of your life?
The Myth books by Robert Asprin. I was suffering from a severe depression at the time, and they have a generally uplifting theme to them. You feel good after reading them. Also, they're primarily about friendship and loyalty. This was at a time when I was feeling very alone, so it felt good to escape into a world where people had friends.
Which book have you reread most in your life?
Small Gods by Terry Pratchett. I just love that book.
Which book haven't you read that you feel you should?
Okay, so here's my dirty little secret: I've never read Dune. I know, I know, I'm a terrible person. I've seen the film and the miniseries and I know all sorts of details about the setting. But I've never actually read it. My bad.
How do you know when you're truly finished?
When the deadline passes. :)