I would like to welcome you all back after my mini hiatus. Life got a little ahead of me last week, but I think I’ve caught up to it now, so please help me welcome L. David Hesler, author of ‘Children of Aerthwheel’.
IDI – When did you have your Eureka moment, or did you always know you were born to be a writer?
LDH – The day I decided that I loved rainy days in elementary school. It meant I could stay inside with my classmates and fill entire sheets of paper with stories and hastily drawn illustrations. I understood the power of telling a fun story! When I realized all these other kids were enjoying something I had created, the light bulb nearly exploded over my head. Ever since, I’ve been determined to create for a living.
IDI – What are you working on now? Can we get a peek, an excerpt maybe?
LDH – I am currently working on a serialized novella called ‘Rose & Blade’, which serves as a bridge to guide readers from my debut fantasy novel, ‘Children of Aerthwheel’, to its sequel, which will hopefully be available next year. The novella offers up some savory details about the history of the weird realm our heroes discover in ‘Children of Aerthwheel’. It is also connected in some ways to the book of short stories I published prior to the novel. Anyone who enjoys science fiction and steam punk will probably get a kick out of ‘Rose & Blade’. Anew chapter is available every Friday on my blog for free. That’s right, no strings attached!
IDI – Some writers have been known to be eccentric, from keeping rotten apples in a desk drawer to only being able to write while lying down. Do you have any quirks or superstitions that have become as integral to good writing as plot and character?
LDH – I used to think that I could only write if I was in a good mood or if life was going well. Of course, that was when I was younger. As I’ve done a little growing up, I’ve come to understand that despite my best efforts, those kinds of days don’t come with the same frequency anymore. Now, my only writing-related superstition is that I can’t start a good story without a proper animal sacrifice. But honestly, that’s what everybody does… Right?
IDI – Who’s your target audience. What aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?
LDH – My target audience is a YA/Teen and Adult age group. I think back to when I was a kid trying to find books and I absolutely hated the selection that was supposedly age appropriate. So I started reading stuff by Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, or Richard Matheson. I didn’t want a normal YA book. I wanted something that spoke to who I was (a weird geek) or what I felt (socially strange) in a genuine way. Even though I’m a little older, I still enjoy those weird and fantastic stories with characters who are honest and socially outcast. So I’ve tried to give my own writing that genuine touch. I write weird horror and creepy fantasy filled with characters who are underdogs. I want those characters to win because they remind me of myself and my friends when we were young, and I know that there are other people who will feel the same way.
IDI – I think (in part) that writing is almost like being schizophrenic, but without the personalities coming out verbally. I believe we ‘become’ the characters we write, at least for a time. We have to feel what they feel, think what they think, know what they know… so how can we not ‘be’ them? Agree? Disagree? What are your thoughts?
LDH – I completely agree with you. In addition to my writing, I also have a limited background in theater and acting. It’s not uncommon for me to walk about literally talking through the scenes as if I am one of the characters. I put myself into the story and walk my way through it to see what I would do or how I would act. I speak some of the lines to see how they sound out loud and I try to see the scene in a three-dimensional space. I did this with all the movies I loved as a kid; why wouldn’t I do it with the stories I create now? One of the perks of being an author is that you can be a little crazy and people don’t care much.
IDI – Everyone has their own dream. What’s yours… best seller, feature film adaptions, fame, riches, Oprah, Pulitzer?
LDH – I wouldn’t mind making a living as a writer, but my dream has always been pretty simple: I want to meet Stephen King not as a fan, but as a fellow author. Not an equal; I don’t think I could ever get to his level. I would be satisfied to simply meet him as another author so we could swap some writer’s wisdom. I can’t guarantee that I wouldn’t squeal a little bit when I first saw him, though.
IDI – Pen and paper or computer and Word? The bustle of Barnes & Noble or the quiet of your study? Alone or within a writing group? Tell us, what is your most productive/inspiring setting?
LDH – I write alone with a laptop or PC. And, I always have music on my player. I tend to write while listening to cinematic scores or film trailer scores. I have even been known to customize the playlist when I know I am about to write a scene that requires a certain tone. I am also a musician, so music has always played a huge role in my creative endeavors. For instance, if I get writer’s block, I’ll just go grab the guitar and start making some original music. It always does the trick. In fact, I just released a seven-song soundtrack for the novel; it’s called, ‘Songs of Aerthwheel’ and it features original music that was created while I was working on the book.
IDI – We all draw from within and I believe there is an element of ‘us’ in everything we write. How much of y ou will a reader find in any given book?
LDH – In my novel, ‘Children of Aerthwheel’, the protagonist Andrew Fish is physically 95% me, circa 1994. Emotionally, he’s a patchwork. He’s got some family issues where I did not; but I used his predicament to write about my own experience of losing my mother as an adult. Of all the characters I’ve ever written, Andrew Fish is most like me. In my other stories, I tend to pull from within and without. Some characters are inspired by friends or family members. Other’s are based on people I’ve simply seen on the news or while walking through the grocery store. Watching people is a great way to collect character ideas.
IDI – Everyone has their own style/voice, but what author would you say your work most resembles?
LDH – My writing has been compared to Stephen King’s work on a few occasions. Mostly this is because, as a younger writer, I basically tried to replicate his style in my stories. I think of this as the literary equivalent of a budding guitarist playing along with his favorite band’s music. You have to start somewhere. More recently, and much to my delight, my work has been compared to that of Neil Gaiman. It should be noted that he is another author I would love to meet in person.
IDI – In your opinion, what are the biggest misconceptions new authors have about the publishing industry?
LDH – Reach out to others, be genuine. Being an indie author is not easy. Indie writers don’t just throw out a book and find success overnight. Though it’s encouraging that so many more indies are seeing success, a new author has to understand that it is hard work. It is essentially the same as owning your own business. You have to eat and breathe this stuff to make it pay off. And you have to connect with other writers. Networking is more important in today’s publishing environment than ever before. Reach out to other’s be genuine and polite, and work as hard as you can while keeping a few minutes free to work on the next book. Books don’t sell themselves, no matter who you are.
IDI – Define a great book.
LDH – ‘Children of Aerthwheel’. But seriously, a great book pulls you out of your own head. You go places with characters who are genuine and you do things that you could never do in your real life. A great book makes you forget about the bills and the appointments and the laundry. When you have a great book in your hands, nothing else matters. It’s all about the world within those pages.
IDI – I would like to thank you very much for participating in an Ink Drop Interview and wish you continued success in your writing.
Anyone interested in contacting L. David Hesler, please follow the links below.
”Children of Aerthwheel’ on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Children-Aerthwheel-Godblood-Saga-ebook/dp/B005KLT85C/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1316269657&sr=1-5
On Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/89441
Interviews are conducted by Kathy Reinhart, author of ‘Missouri in a Suitcase’ and ‘Lily White Lies’, both available on Amazon, B & N and Smashwords, paperback and ebook.
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Thanks for sharing another Ink Drop Interview!!