Authors in Isolation: Aaron Hodges

Back with a new interview! Apologies on the delay with these, I’ve been sick a lot the past few weeks. Let’s kick things off again with an author interview with Aaron Hodges.

First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you write? 

My name is Aaron Hodges and I’m a fantasy author from New Zealand! I mostly write in the epic fantasy genre, you know, dragons, swords, magic, etc, but I’ve also got a dystopian scifi that was a pet favourite of mine.

How do you develop your plots and characters? 

I think my characters generally tend to take on a mind of their own, with each becoming more a reflection of the circumstances in which they’re place—and those circumstances in turn being a result of their own decisions! In that way, a lot of my plot is character driven, although I try to constrain them within the greater plot of the world I’ve created, with general goals they have to achieve and an ultimate conclusion they have to reach.

Tell the world about your current project!

My current project is set in a fallen world, where two species of humanity are at war with one another. The mindless, superhuman Tangata have already conquered one kingdom of humanity, and now the remaining kingdoms must ally together to hold them at the river Illmoor. 

Who would you say is the main character of your latest novel? And tell me a little bit about them!

One of the main characters is Lukys, a raw recruit sent from the island nation of Perfugia to fight on the frontlines. Lukys soon learns he and his fellow recruits weren’t sent south because of their ability, but because their Sovereigns had judged them as lacking any useful skills for their society. Untrained, they are thrown straight into the action by a general uninterested in wasting time on useless recruits. If he wants to survive, Lukys will have to find someone to teach him the skills of his new trade—before the Tangata attack and slaughter them all.

Have you been to any conventions? If so, tell me a little about them!

I’m afraid not, might be looking at some this year though!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I think I always kinda wanted to be an author, even in primary (elementary) school I was always writing creative stories for my teachers!

If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?

Haha I literally already do this quite a bit, except its more I choose someplace to live or travel, and then end up incorporating places from there into my stories. I loved travelling through Europe for just that reason. But if I really have to choose, I’d probably say I’d go back to Argentina, where I’d been living for a year before the pandemic struck! Such diverse landscapes there, many of the locations in my current series are drawn from there. 

What advice would you give new writers?

I always give the same advice—finish your first book, then worry about editing, publishing, etc. Until you finish the first, you’ll never know if you can actually do it!

What inspires you to write?

I enjoy it (well, for the most part, editing is hard!). I like the freedom this profession gives me in life, I like the feeling of creating new worlds and characters and stories, and I like to hear how my fans have been enjoying what I’ve written!

What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Definitely editing haha. Well that, and advertising!

What is your routine when writing, if any? If you don’t follow a routine, why not?

I always head to my local café and get myself a flat white, put in my headphones with my music track, and then get down to work. This was a habit I got into when I first started writing again, as I’d had writers block for years, and now I really struggle to get anything down without it!

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write in any of your books, and why? 

I think strangely my favourite chapter was in my dystopian series, when one of my characters completely derailed the entire book. She’d been through a lot, really, and instead of continuing with the plot as planned, she decided no, I’m done, and just had a nervous breakdown in the middle of the book. It really made me realise just how alive these characters are for me, that they can’t just go do something that doesn’t make sense for them, and after everything this character had been through, she needed that breakdown.

Did you learn anything from writing your latest book? If so, what was it?

I’ll tell you a secret, I learnt quite a bit about the geography of the west coast of North America 😉

Are you a plotter or a pantser? A gardener or an architect?

A little bit of each? I like to set the general outline of the plot first, then pants my way through the details!

If you had to give up either snacks and drinks during writing sessions, or music, which would you find more difficult to say goodbye to?

Hmmm, I’d say the music, I really struggle to get into the zone without my headphones!

Which is your favorite season to write in, and why? 

I don’t really have one! I hate the winter, mostly because of the short days

It’s sometimes difficult to get into understanding the characters we write. How do you go about it? 

I like to have a certain defining event or characteristic for my important characters, which allows me to really latch onto their personality types.

What are your future project(s)?

I’m currently considering writing a space scifi, in which humanity is enslaved on a planet by a race of alien creatures with technological superiority.

What is your favorite book ever written?

Druss the Legend by David Gemmell! One of the only books to ever make me cry.

Who are your favorite authors?

David Gemmell for his characters, Ian Irvine for his world building!

What makes a good villain?

I would say one of two things—a true backstory or driving force to what he does. For instance, one of my main villains grew up without magic in a world where his mother, cousin, kings, everyone important had magic. He determined he wanted to rid the world of its tyranny, and everything grew from there!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Scuba diving, skiing, rock climbing (haven’t done that so much lately!), anything outdoors really!

If you couldn’t be an author, what ideal job would you like to do?

Well I used to be an environmental scientist so I guess I’d go back to that!

Coffee or Tea? Or (exult deep breath) what other drink do you prefer, if you like neither?

Coffee in the day, herbal tea in the evening!

You can travel to anywhere in the universe. Where would you go, and why?

Another habitable planet I guess?

Do you have any writing blogs you recommend?

Afraid not!

Do you have any writer friends you’d like to give a shoutout to?

I suppose I’ll give a shout out to my fellow Kiwi author TG Ayer!

What superpower would you most like?

I’m terrified of heights—or rather falling—so I would love the power of flight, so I’d never have to be afraid again.

It’s a very difficult time right now for the world. When quarantine and pandemic comes to an end, what is the first thing you would like to do?

Probably head back to Buenos Aires where most of my friends are right now!

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)?

Readers can get in touch at author@aaronhodges.co.nz or on my Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/fantastic.adventures

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