I have returned! I’ve been away on holiday to the Lake District with my amazing girlfriend Vicky and her family for 9 days, and I only returned on the 18th December. Already I am back at work, writing and world-building as I go. Going to take it easy for a little bit (Christmas Holidays for one!) But I’m looking forward to returning to what I love!
My video game articles are still incoming, and my Top 10 list will be the next on the list. Today though is another interview, with an awesome author friend of mine Allan Anderson, who has been a great inspiration to me this year. His latest book has just been released, and I am honored to interview him. I hope you all enjoy!
1) First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you write?
I live in a rural area and primarily write fantasy and other genre fiction, though I do write a few short stories here and there when the mood hits me. Many of my stories feature anthropomorphic characters, as I find them a lot of fun to write around.
2) How do you develop your plots and characters?
Generally, I work out the stories in my head first, let the characters decide where to go and what to do, take notes when necessary, and wait for the story to finish before starting to write it down. This way I avoid dead ends and plot holes that would otherwise force me to go back and re-write entire chapters if not half a book. Some of my larger stories have been told and retold inside my head for years.
3) Tell us about your current project.
My current project is the second book of “The Last Chronicle of Azureden” series, which I hope to have into edits before then end of next year.
4) Who would you say is the main character of your novels? And tell me a little bit about them!
Of all of my novels? I’m trying to do something a little interesting with my works. Whereas the main characters for each novel and series will be different, one of the supporting characters will be present in a number of them, essentially making him the main character of my writing universe. His name is Tibbold E. Riley, a dimension jumping werewolf, and you can find out more about him on my website.
5) What advice would you give new writers on how to delve into creative fiction?
The first bit of advice I would give is to start early. No matter how good you think you are, it takes time to develop one’s craft and that first book often takes the longest to write. I started writing in high school and have done so through college and most of my adult life. The next bit of advice I would give is to be careful where you get your advice on the internet. Many authors run blogs advertising advice to new writers. Most are not really qualified to do so. Not a week goes by I don’t run across a blog offering bad advice that many new authors eat up simply because they don’t know any better. To become a better, well-rounded writer, you have to do your own research and read a wide variety of books. If you really want good, meaningful advice, it will likely cost you a little money in the form of classes, How To books, and style guides, all of which are usually vetted by others in the industry. But don’t be afraid to spend such money on yourself. A solid, educated background is an investment that pays off every single time.
6) What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the worldbuilding within your book?
My world building is taken from a variety of sources, from Saturday Morning Cartoons, to ancient religions, to picking out pieces of the medieval and renaissance periods, to the experiences working in dog kennels and natural parks alike. Political and religious backgrounds are taken from almost any time period from any culture. Technology can also range from spears and rocks to fusion reactors and space travel. In some cases, one could say my worlds are organized messes each put into their own little pile… until they decide to run together.
7) What inspires you to write?
The need to tell a story, and the desire to have those stories read and enjoyed by others.
8) What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Which book? “A Deal in the Darkness?” I would say the hardest part was keeping myself from wanting to change things after the drafts had been accepted by my publisher. As I said, my mind is constantly replaying scenes over and over again in the attempt to get the best result from them.
9) What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
My favorite chapter of “A Deal in the Darkness” to write would have to be the second to last, where the anti-hero reveals themselves and he and villain finally clash. It was also the hardest chapter to write because so much of it establishes the circumstances for the rest of the series and I had to make absolutely sure every single word, phrase, and quip, was correctly laying the groundwork for going forward.
10) Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
This being my first full book, I learned much of the ins and outs of publishing and marketing, though I still have a lot to learn, and always will. We never stop learning, so long as we continue to journey forward.
11) It’s sometimes difficult to get into understanding the characters we write. How do you go about it?
The same way I go about other things. I place the characters in a variety of situations, often having little or nothing to do with the story, and gauge how they react. When doing this its important I don’t let my personal desires of how I want them to act get in the way of how they actually act. This sounds crazy, but I’m not the only author that does it.
12) What are your future project(s)?
Currently, I have to finish up the second book in the Azureden series, then I’m probably going to break away for a little bit and give Tibbold a novel after he’s become more established. I don’t know what the future holds, but I hope I can do all the amazing things I have planned.
13) If you couldn’t be an author, what ideal job would you like to do?
Given my background in graphic arts, painting, and biology, I would probably work in animal care part time and do traditional artwork in other cases. If I had to choose a new career it would probably be with the Park Service.
14) What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you? (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
I would prefer any interested readers go to my website. https://foxshideaway.com
I also have an FB author page https://www.facebook.com/allbanderson/ which is currently open to public comments. Anyone is also free to follow me on Amazon or Goodreads.
Thank you so much for the interview, Allan! Merry Christmas to you all, and I will return soon.