Back with a new interview! Hoping to keep these going with everything going on. I’ll also be at Bristolcon next weekend, so if anyone going wants to chat or anything, just come up!
Next interview is with Alexzander Christion, an awesome guy who does some damn good live readings!
As always, I have a list of my current interviews for SPFBO(5) down below. Check out whichever you like!
And now, onto the interview!
First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you write?
I don’t fall neatly into any genre. What I write is closest to Action movies. The best description I’ve heard is; Lord of the Rings if it was directed by Quentin Tarentino.
How do you develop your plots and characters?
I consider myself a ‘Hate Writer’ I try to avoid all the things I’ve seen in other works that drive me crazy, like the wise old guy who only speaks in riddles even though the fate of the world is at stake. So while my plot and characters aren’t reinventing the wheel, the execution makes them feel unique.
Tell us about your current project.
The series is called ‘By the Hand of Dragons’ It’s about a boy, a magically created perfect soldier who wants to be a hero but loses himself along the way. Three books are out, I’m editing the forth, but it’s a major departure in subject and style from my usual stuff. Instead of 3rd person omni, I’m going with first person limited, and MUCH more character driven than the other books.
Is this your first entry into SPFBO? If not, how many times have you entered?
Yes, this is my first time! It’s the first time I’ve had something good enough and on time to make the deadline! I’ve been chasing this for three years! Win or lose as far as I’m concerned, I’m a rock star now!
Who would you say is the main character of your novels? And tell me a little bit about them!
The main character is undoubtedly Shefa (Sheath at the beginning of the book). As the firstborn he takes it upon himself to lead his clan to victory. He’s ten years old, incredibly powerful but even more ignorant. Being raised as a monk, all his world knowledge comes from books and he finds the real world very different. He’s proud and arrogant and pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a ten year old with power. His journey is not about becoming strong enough to save the day but becoming wise enough.
What advice would you give new writers on how to delve into creative fiction?
Pizza Hut sells shoes. If there’s someone out there buying Pizza Hut shoes, there is an audience for your work. Put the words on the page. Editing, improving, subplots, plot twists, loveable characters, characters you love to hate: none of it exists until you put words on the page. Worry about the book after you’ve written it.
What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the worldbuilding within your book?
The big seven ancient cultures, Egyptian, Roman, Nordic, etc. But the best stuff comes from futuristic civilizations, The worlds of Star Trek and Star Wars. I think it’s the amalgamation that makes it work. I traveled a lot as a kid, my dad and my brother are both stand-up comedians and my mother is an avid reader and Sci-fi fan, so there was no shortage of material in my house.
What inspires you to write?
The suckage of life! Needing to get away to a place where I merit holds more weight than money. Freedom. I used to daydream a lot, ask questions a lot, and I think it’s led me to create worlds where everything works and makes sense. If you look at, let’s say, Star Wars, the movies are great but then when the cartoons came along, they did things the movies couldn’t, they took, not so much the story, but the expanded universe, to infinite proportions. I’m always interested in what’s next, that’s what inspires me.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Getting someone to read it! Movies like Dungeons and Dragons in 2000 that represented the genre SO BADLY, motivated to write the kind of story I’d not only wanna watch be would be proud to have muggles watch. I didn’t want a good fantasy story, I wanted to tell a good story. Studying the pitfalls of other artists and understanding why they made the choices they did and studiously avoiding them, that research was the hardest part. I didn’t know how much I didn’t know so there was very little to impede me once I sat down to write.
What is your routine when writing, if any? If you don’t follow a routine, why not?
Coffee, yoga, and I put something on (movie or tv show for background noise) in the mood or spirit of what I’m writing that day. My mind wanders so its important for me to stay focused on putting my energy on the page. To stay in the mental realm of the day’s chapter and not emails or Facebook or whatever.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
It’s a tie. Chapter 5 Talon Fall was amazing to write. Its all combat. Elves, Dwarves, Humans, magic, weapons; its like the landing scene in Saving Private Ryan. Chapter 34 Chinks, Knicks, and Blood. Its where the big break, the big emotional pay off for everything the heroes have gone through finally happens. It was deep, and painful and cathartic. Exquisite pain.
Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
I learned tons. I learned about editing and publishing and how long everything takes and how much everything costs but as far as writing and growing as a person, I learned that my voice has an audience. I’m not the only one who thinks the way I do and like the stories, heroes and villains that I do.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? A gardener or an architect?
Gardener. Architect. City Planner. The concept of just writing and seeing what happens is awesome as a hobby but I don’t think doing anything professionally without a plan, map, or blueprint is a great idea. Not to say it doesn’t work and work well for some people, I just can’t do that kind of math in my head.
It’s sometimes difficult to get into understanding the characters we write. How do you go about it?
I don’t write until I understand the character. Right now, I’m writing a story I came up with three years ago so there is no work left to do, creatively. Once I understand the characters, the story pretty much writes itself. These people would only react a few possible ways in any given situation so once the groundwork is laid, the writing comes as easily as finding time in the chair.
What are your future project(s)?
YouTube channel and Con appearances. The next six books are plotted so its just a matter of punching the keys and hitting publish.
What is your favorite book ever written? Who are your favorite authors?
R.A. Salvatore’s the Silent Blade is hands done my favorite book to re-read. I love Salvatore, Mark Lawrence, Rothfuss, and Michael J. Sullivan, but if there were any author I’d give a thumb to have write another book its John Steakley. Armor changed my life and gave me the fortitude to finish a book. Its also where I got the term ‘Hate Writer’.
What makes a good villain?
Good writing. If you remove the hero from the story, the villain should be able to carry the book. He should be the star of his own show, one that intermittently crosses over with the Main character’s. If your villain couldn’t carry his own book, he’s not finished. But outside of that, they vary as much as good heroes. I like a person who has tried the right way and now the wrong way is all that’s left. The Magnetos and Kilmongers, and Jorgs of the world speak to me.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Nerd conventions. Just get together with friends at the comic shop or at home after the movies and just be nerds in peace and comfort!
If you couldn’t be an author, what ideal job would you like to do?
Film maker. Whatever I do, I’d have to write. I did the Soldier thing which is about as far from writing as I could get and even then I found my way to writing. Pure creative expression and true creative control is everything.
You can travel to any planet or moon in the Solar System. Where would you go, why and what would you do there?
Saturn. I want to see a world so different from mine that it forces my mind into places it never would have otherwise gone.
Pick any three characters from a fiction novel. These are now your roadtrip crew. Where do you go and what do you do?
Jarlaxle, Jalan Kendeth, and Tyrion Lannister and we’re going to Futurama!
Finally, 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)?