Glad you came back for our second round today!
We never have slackers here, so we have a crossover author, D.H. Aire, who manages to blend sci-fi and fantasy in his series and stories and novels. Let's hear what he has to say!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve been telling stories since I was little kid. I became a voracious reader when I was eleven or twelve. I read a lot of Edgar Rice Burroughs first, Tarzan, John Carter of Mars, and the like. Then a friend introduced me to the Science Fiction Book Club and I was reading Isaac Asimov and a lot of great authors, but it was Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern Series, I think, which made me dream that I’d write my own stories of dragons on far off worlds.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I learned I couldn’t stop writing without feeling cut off from my friends. You see, my characters are my friend, though, they live on the page—or computer screen. They speak to me, telling me what they’d really say, how they feel, and what they’d do. Not what I’d plot them to do. That relationship, I feel, make me a “seat of the pants” writer, taking my stories to places I didn’t expect… Not writing just doesn’t work for me. I just have to write. I’m always, writing, rewriting, working on edits or writing another story.
In fact, when my daughter was in Middle School, she was once asked if she had any siblings. She answered, “I’ve thousands, my Dad writes them.”
How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
I’m about to release my twenty-second novel. I’ve written about seven novellas and lots of short stories. But my favorite? My favorite is Highmage’s Plight, the first of my books to be published, first of what is a seven-book series and spawned two other series. Plight is both epic fantasy and sci fi.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing has a power, a power that reaches through me to the page. Talking about the nature of writing, ideas, storytelling with fellow sci fi and fantasy authors and fans energizes me.
Writing is like exercising to me, I can sit and write for hours. I can take a break and daydream, working on a scene, the characters showing me what really happened. I’ll even wake up mornings and know what happened next. That often necessitates a bit of rewriting. After I finish a story, I’m mentally exhausted, but exhilarated at the same time.
But I often write the beginning of the sequel if there’s to be a next book as I finish a novel, which helps with continuity and leading me forward. Otherwise, I switch gears and go to another project as my editor takes the book through its paces.
That next project may be a short story, more recently writing a linking novella, or a novel. I’ve been going back and forth lately between my Apocalypse Knot and Knights Tower stories, while thinking about the next book in my urban fantasy series, Bred in Captivity.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I write all my fiction under a pen name. I have a day job that pays the bills and provides my health insurance and gives me a safety net to write what I want to write.
Also having a pen name can be very helpful when applying for jobs that may not appreciate the fact that I write every chance I get—or should I ever get criticized for writing, say, a cautionary tale, it doesn’t reflect on my employers.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I hope that by being original readers will be delighted. I’ve had readers tell me that none of my sequels seem formulaic to them—that they’re always surprised by my stories. I don’t like writing stories about Zombies, so I write about, well, voracious Bigfoot. Rather than write pure epic sword and sorcery, I like writing about a world where science was twisted by magic or a knight on a faraway planet battles a steam powered dragon. Or a story about immigrating to Mars by American teens desperate for the chance at a better life in a new world—an actual new world. Ultimately, I hope that’s want my readers enjoy, but what with some satire in the mix is what I’m writing and hope they’ll enjoy along with me.
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
I think anyone can be a writer, but passion is important. If a sport’s writer didn’t love the sport, why would they write about it? I know, some people are paid to cover little league, but if they love baseball, seeing a kid get on base is just as wonderful as the kid who keeps on trying. Passion is important.
I love sci fi and fantasy stories, have since I was a kid. Passion can help a writer finish the story they love, when emotions like fear of finishing may leave them unable to write another word. But anyone can write. Personally, I love stories by those with a passion for the story they’re telling—I feel it in every phrase and paragraph, every end of the chapter that makes me feel I have to read the next chapter. Though, I know I should be sleeping…
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you building a body of work with connections between each book?
When I started writing, I set all my novels, whether science fiction or fantasy in the same universe, though, in the case of my sort of satiric contemporary epic fantasy series it could be an overlapping multi-verse. Since those seventeen books, I’ve begun to write three other series, which are in separate universes. You could say that the Pandemic caused me to stop and work on other projects that I’d been putting off. Funny how life tripping our world up would do that to me. At some point, I’ll go back to stories in my main story universe. I’ve a lot more stories I want to write there. But, I do love my other projects.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Okay, I was at a low point in my life and hadn’t published any of the many stories I’d written over the years. I’d submitted stories many years earlier, well, like over ten years earlier and just gotten rejection letters. I was at a charity auction for a local nonprofit. There was an item, a 30-minute talk with a publishing consultant. I waited until the last second and put in the top bid. We spoke a couple of weeks later and she told me to consider posting on Writing.com or Scribd to see what people thought
of my stories.
Scribd didn’t seem to be the best fit for getting private member reviews, but Writing.com was. So, I posted an old short story of mine and people liked it. There were writing contests and I entered that story in one that came with publication for the first three winners that month in their online zine. My old stories kept winning, not always first place, sometimes second, sometimes third and the member reviews were not only really positive, but helpful. Writing.com is about encouragement—and I didn’t have a writer group where I could get feedback on my stories.
So, I began submitting my short stories to other markets, including submitting to Writers of the Future Contest. I began getting Honorable Mentions from WOF, then selling short stories to ezines and anthologies. I submitted Highmage’s Plight to a call from a publisher after more than, well, twenty years – and a lot of rewrites since. I got that contract and stared at it awhile, before carefully reading it. It was a fair contract and I signed it.
That donation led to advice that got me to dare to believe in myself again. At that low point in my life, that was a big deal and led me to the dream of publishing that first book, which led to the next being published. Since then I’ve self-published
I think it is also why I enjoy going to sci fi/fantasy conventions and speaking with others, learning from them and encouraging others, not unlike the consultant did for me.
What do you have coming next?
I plan to release at the end of November, Changeling Knight, Book II of Knights Tower, sequel to Knight of the Broken Table. I’m currently planning the third book in the series and a related novella.
Gotta catch him:
Twitter at @DHAire15
Dare 2 Believe on Facebook.