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Joel Shepherd is the author of the Spiral Wars series, among other books. He took some time away from science-fiction world-building to answer a few questions.

Do you think writing as an Australian for a broader English-speaking audience is helpful or hurtful?
These days I don’t think it matters very much. The audience has become so global, and I don’t think most readers care where the author comes from so long as he or she tells great stories. All the Anglosphere nations have a particularly strong relationship in other forms of entertainment, no one bats an eyelid at Hugh Jackman or Margo Robbie starring in Hollywood movies, I think people care even less about seeing it with authors.
Philip K. Dick or Philip Jose Farmer?
PKD all the way.
If Hollywood made any of your books into movies, which would you want it to be?

I honestly wouldn’t care.
Are we any closer to artificial super soldiers like Cassandra Kresnov than we were when you first started writing these books?
Well theoretically we’re always closer, but that doesn’t mean it’s coming any day soon. We keep being told that computer-based AI is just around the corner as well, and I suspect we’ll still be getting told that in a hundred years. Human-level sentience is hard, and I don’t think the current bunch of AI researchers have any idea just how hard because they’re all much more interested in machines than they are in human beings. And building artificial people, well, there’s progress being made toward artificial organs today, but it’s in its infancy. If the concept were easy, it wouldn’t be so interesting.
What’s in the works for 2018?
Spiral Wars #5 and maybe even 6, I hope.

Joel Shepherd is an Australian science fiction author. He moved to Perth, Western Australia with his family when he was seven, where he later studied film and television arts and international relations, at Curtin University. He has interned on Capitol Hill in Washington and traveled widely in Asia.