The Martian

In Orbit: 7 Questions With Artemis Author Andy Weir


By Caitlin Malcuit

Andy Weir shoots from Mars to the Moon in his latest novel Artemis, introducing us to a wealthy and exclusive lunar colony where Jasmine Bashara works as a porter, struggling to get by. There's not much money to be made in that gig, so Jasmine—“Jazz”—must survive and earn her keep as a smuggler. When a heist too good to pass up unearths a larger conspiracy, Jazz is thrown into the seedy underbelly of the glitzy Artemis.

Weir talked to me about the new and exciting setting for his story, his influences, and imparted some valuable advice for writers navigating the publishing world in the digital age.

Caitlin Malcuit: What is your process for writing a novel, especially the research that goes into science fiction?

Andy Weir: I start with a bunch of research. For me, the science and setting have to be right before I’m willing to work on the story. Once I’m into the actual writing, I set myself a daily word count to shoot for.

CM: Which authors influenced you?

AW: I’m a Gen-Xer, but I grew up reading my father’s sci-fi collection. So, despite my generation, my main influences are the Baby Boomer era authors. My holy trinity are Heinlein, Asimov, and Clarke.

CM: What drew you to setting Artemis on a lunar colony?

AW: I wanted to write a story about the first human settlement off of Earth. And I just really think that’ll be on the Moon. It’s so much close to Earth than any other celestial body. Most importantly, it’s close enough for trade and tourism.

CM: Jazz is certainly driven to survive, as Mark Watney was when he was stranded on Mars, but, given the wealth disparity on Artemis, what inspired you to tackle Jazz’s unique situation?

AW: Well I’ve always had a love of heist stories and crime novels. So I figured why not do a sci-fi heist story?

CM: Are you excited to see where Phil Lord and Chris Miller will take Artemis as they bring it to the screen?

AW: Absolutely! Though it’s still early days yet. I try not to get myself too worked up about it. A lot of things have to go right for a film project to be greenlighted.

CM: What advice do you have for aspiring writers, especially now that NaNoWriMo is in full swing?


  1. You have to actually write. Daydreaming about the book you’re going to write someday isn’t writing. It’s daydreaming. Open your word processor and start writing.
  2. Resist the urge to tell friends and family your story. I know it’s hard because you want to talk about it and they’re (sometimes) interested in hearing about it. But it satisfies your need for an audience, which diminishes your motivation to actually write it. Make a rule: The only way for anyone to ever hear about your stories is to read them.
  3. This is the best time in history to self-publish. There’s no old-boy network between you and your readers. You can self-publish an ebook to major distributors (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.) without any financial risk on your part.

CM: Can you please tell us one random fact about yourself?

AW: I like to do woodworking. It’s a hobby that’s helpful to me to clear my mind when I’m stressed out or when I’m stuck on a plot problem in whatever project I’m on.

To learn more about Andy Weir, visit his official website, like his Facebook page, or follow him on Twitter @andyweirauthor. Also read our last interview with the author!

The Writer’s Bone Interviews Archive

Author Andy Weir On Hollywood’s Adaptation of ‘The Martian’

Andy Weir

Andy Weir

By Sean Tuohy

This Friday, the world will come together and try to save stranded astronaut Mark Watney from the Red Planet.

Andy Weir’s best-selling novel, The Martian, comes to life on Oct. 2 with famed director Ridley Scott behind the camera and Matt Damon in front of it. I was able to catch up with Weir to discuss the movie.

Sean Tuohy: When you first sat down to write The Martian did you ever think it would become Hollywood film?

Andy Weir: No, I had no idea it would even have mainstream appeal.

ST: What were your first thoughts after seeing the film? What struck you the most?

AW: I’m so happy! It's an incredible film. My favorite part was the visuals. You can't really describe a landscape in a book. You can try, but it doesn't really come across. Usually it ends up being a few really boring paragraphs. But in a visual medium, you can really show the sheer beauty of the environment, and Ridley really gave us an experience. We get to see Mars in all its glory.

ST: Matt Damon plays Mark Watney in the film. What do you think he brought to role?

AW: He absolutely nailed the character. The way he talks, his body language, everything.

ST: How did you feel the first time you saw the ads and movie posters for the movie?

AW: It was really exciting!

ST: What is next for Andy Weir?

AW: I’m working on my next book now. It's a more traditional sci-fi novel with aliens, faster-than-light travel, etc.

To learn more about Andy Weir and The Martian, listen to our podcast with the author:

You can also visit Weir’s official website, like his Facebook page, or follow him on Twitter @andyweirauthor.