After ten years, and multiple drafts, Computer Science Professor at the University of New Brunswick, Andrew McAllister, publishes his debut novel, a thriller entitled “Unauthorized Access.”
With the publishing industry bowing to financial pressure and choosing a very limited number of first-time novelists each year, McAllister decided on the indie publishing route to get his book out to the public.
“With Indie publishing, companies like Amazon.com make it possible for anyone to publish a book, with no pre-approval required,” he says.
“I think of indie publishing as applying the YouTube model of content delivery to books. The public is clearly capable of deciding which videos go viral, and the same is turning out to be true with books.”
Growing up in Fredericton, and initially receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from UNB, he says he originally planned on a psychology career.
After enjoying an introductory computer science course from professor Tom Austin, McAllister says he took more CS courses as electives.“I always found myself reaching for the CS assignments before working on any other subject,” says McAllister. “That led me to choose computer science as a new career direction.”
After completing his Masters in Computer Science at UNB, McAllister began teaching as a lecturer at UNB in 1983. Leaving in 1984 to attend the University of Saskatchewan for his Ph.D., he returned to UNB in 1987as a professor in part because a mentor.
“Dr. Dana Wasson led the School of Computer Science when I was a graduate student and he was a big part of the reason I decided to teach here,” he says.
“He talked me into returning to UNB after completing my Ph.D., and twenty-nine years later I’m still glad he did.”
Ten years ago McAllister became inspired to write a novel while listening to an interview on CBC Radio, a computer security expert discussing hackers and cyber attacks.
When the expert suggested there would be an uproar if someone took down the computers at a bank, McAllister began imagining exactly that.
“To me the best stories have to do with people and conflict and personal stress. I enjoy reading about someone in an incredible bind,” he says, “so that is what I wrote.”
“Unauthorized Access ended up being about intense desire and betrayal, where people stand to lose their careers, their loves, and even their lives. After I wrapped my head around those ideas, they wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote them down.”
Not having the help of publishers and agents, McAllister says he was pleasantly surprised with the support from his colleagues at UNB.
“The initial reaction has been wonderful. My colleagues across campus have been supportive and encouraging since the book publication was announced,” he says.
With his book published, McAllister is looking forward to the launch of his book, “Unauthorized Access,” on July 9 at 7pm at UNB’s Student Union Building.
Contributed by Bronté James, Communications and Marketing. Made story was made possible through the support of UNB Associated Alumni.
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