Nothing like going out with a bang!
Why not, right?
YES! Let's get to our third interview today, this time with Tiger Hebert!
Tiger, introduce yourself!
I am a firm believer that the Light shines brightest in the darkness. That's not only WHAT I write, but also WHY I write.
I love to explore humanity through fantasy because it allows us to take ordinary people (and orcs) through impossible situations and see what or who comes out the other side. It is often that through trials and tribulations that we get to see the most honest version of not only our characters, but ourselves. It is through this lens that we can discover truths. That is why I write dark, epic fantasy that dares to hope.
I am a Christian, husband, father of three young children, and a veteran. I have a BA in Communications. I was born and raised in Maine, and currently live in North Carolina. I love spending time in nature, and I especially enjoy hiking and swimming. When I'm not busy writing or chasing after my wife and kids, you can usually find me sneaking away for some quiet time with a good book. Some of the authors that inspire my writing are JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, Brandon Sanderson, and Steven Erikson.
DCU or MCU? MCU
Reboots – a great idea or a lack of creativity? With so many great books out there, why the reboots?
Coffee, tea, or cacao? Generally coffee, but it depends on the day.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books? My inspiration comes from many places. As a kid I had many diverse interests from sports to dirt biking, but when it came to toys and movies, fantasy was always my go-to. From Thundercats to Conan to The Last Unicorn to the Hobbit, I was in love with the genre. As I got older, I got into Magic: The Gathering and the Diablo games, which only deepened my love for the fantastical. It wasn’t until I went off to college and the military that I really got into reading those books. So, you will find a vast array of influences in my work, ranging from the Stormlight Archives, Malazan, and Lord of the Rings all the way back to Diablo, WoW, and Dungeons & Dragons.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? I have a full-time job as well as a wife and three kids, so I’ve got to fit writing (and all the authorly duties) into the margins. I’m not a morning person at all, so doing to early hour writing does not work for me. So, it’s typically afternoons and evenings for me.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? I’m a plotting pantser. So, what I do is that I typically create a high level overview when I’m plotting out the book. It’s usually just a bulleted outline with key plot elements that need to take places and a rough idea of when. Doing this type of outline for an entire book may end up only being 2-5 pages. Then I would proceed to go into pantser mode and completely deviate from what I’d previously outlined. This would typically lead to me being off the rails before long. So, what I’ve begun doing is creating an additional chapter-by-chapter synopsis as I go. This is usually about 3-5 chapters at a time. This doesn’t necessarily keep me following my outline, but what it does is help me make sure that the story continues to move forward and maintains continuity, despite my deviations. Is there a trope you find yourself going back to in multiple works? Or one you avoid? Good versus Evil is a prominent theme/trope in my work.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? I am currently writing my 10th book. Though I love the way this one is shaping up, my favorite is probably The Halls of the Fallen King. It was my 3rd book, and 2nd novel, but there was just so much growth and not only in the characters, but as a writer and story-teller. The story became tighter, but the characters more complex, and the world building was able to be developed in a very rich way. It’s also a book that’s rather unique from a setting and story perspective.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say? I do hear back from readers fairly frequently, whether via email or social media. While I occasionally get the feedback about the wild battle scenes and the characters they connected with, the best ones are usually conversations of a very different nature. The most rewarding ones are when readers connect with my work and come away refreshed because they’ve read something uplifting and full of hope. That’s really what it’s all about for me. My whole goal is to weave fantastical tales that edify and inspire the readers. Hearing that I’ve been able to do that for someone is an absolute joy.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? Conan, a ninja, and a fighter pilot.
What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry? Writing sexual content for books that target younger audiences.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want? While it is important to understand what readers want from a story and which tropes resonate with them, it is important for me to make them my own. Even if that means turning a trope or expectation on its head. Though fantasy fans will definitely find some familiarity in my work, I’ve worked really hard to give it its own unique flavor.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you building a body of work with connections between each book? As a fantasy author, we are usually taking the readers into a completely new and strange world. The world building that goes into the creation of these worlds is often massive. That naturally lends itself to expansive, sprawling stories that span multiple books and many pages.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? Start writing earlier!
Do you write novels, novellas, short stories, episodic fiction, poems, screenplays, or something else? What is your preferred format? Currently, I’ve published a pair of books with short stories, two novellas, and six novels, with a 7th novel due out later this year. I’ve also had a number of previously published short stories and poems that are no longer in circulation.
Are you traditionally or self published? Or both? Do you feel there are advantages to one over the other? I originally published my debut novel, Dragon’s Fire, through a now-defunct publisher who claimed to be a hybrid publisher. I was not very educated on publishing way back then and missed all the red flags. After a year or so, they stopped paying royalties and ultimately went out of business. This was around the time that MacMillian launched their own web-based publishing service. I republished my book through them, but I think they announced they were closing the doors after less than a year. At that point, I just decided to self-publish, and I haven’t looked back.
What do you have coming next? I am currently finishing up the rough draft of The Darklight’s War. It is 6th book and final book in the Beating Back the Darkness series, and everything has led up to this point. The fate of the entire world is in the hands of Theros and the Keepers. This book is currently over 200k words (prior to cuts and edits) and is a satisfying conclusion to the epic series, and it is due to release at the end of September.
In addition to working on that, I am launching a Kickstarter campaign on March 14th, with the goal of giving that entire series a makeover. The book is well loved by readers. However, the book was written over a nearly 10 year period, and that meant working with 5 different cover artists. Though they did good work, the series has lacked a unified, and up to date art style. So, I’m taking to Kickstarter. While the initial goal is to help beautify the outside of the books, I’m hoping that the campaign will do well enough that I can give these books a special treatment with interior art, fancy formatting, glossary, updated maps, and lots of swag. So if that sort of thing interests you, please check it out.