Today I welcome Wade Fransson, author of The People of the Sign, and other titles. He’s here with me today to talk about his books and writing, but before the interview I just wanted to say when you’re through here, you might want to take a peek at his website as it is one of the most eclectic and interesting author websites I’ve ever seen.
IDI – Wade, lets start off by giving everyone a taste of what you’re working on now.
WF – The Rod of Iron is the conclusion to a trilogy that began with The People of the Sign. This final volume reaches back to the origins of mankind and the recent archaeological finds at Goebekli Tepe to answer questions about who and what we are today, and where we’re headed. This book has been submitted to the voting process with Something Or Other Publishing, and I’m about 300 votes away from the 1,000 vote target. http://tinyurl.com/V4TRoI
IDI – I voted for you! I hope you reach your goal. When did you first know that you were meant to be a writer?
WF – I don’t know that I was, but darn it, I’m going to force myself upon the world, like that Blind Melon Bee-girl. Now that I am a published author I rarely meet anyone who doesn’t believe they’ve got one good book in them, if they only had the help to bring it forth – so I guess we’re all just pregnant women looking for a competent midwife.
IDI – Give us a rundown of your writing process, beginning to finished product.
WF – The ideas simmer for ages, then I write randomly, in spurts, at first, and then under self-imposed deadlines. The basic broad brush strokes are laid down when I’m awakened at night and can’t sleep, or when I lock myself in a place away from home, and then it all gets finished in rewrites that are typically reviewed, chapter by chapter, by a hand-picked set of 3-5 fans. Their input is invaluable, not so much on plot, but on broken and missing pieces, and most importantly, I need cheerleaders to write.
IDI – Your process sounds very much like my own (and I don’t think any of us mind getting a boost from a cheerleader or two!)
Everyone has their own style/voice if they’re doing their job right, but who would you say your work most resembles?
WF – I’ve patterned my work after Robert Pirsig – of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle” fame. There is some vague similarity to the subject matter, but it’s the way the story is told which gave me wheels (pun intended). I actually look forward to my next book, in which I’m going to try a new approach, but my trilogy owes everything to that seminal book.
IDI – In this era of the hashtag, how much time/effort do you give to social media as a means of self-promotion?
WF – Way too much. And yet it is critical. What I’m trying to do is constantly improve and find ways to build on what I learn. It’s a social school of very hard knocks, but you certainly can’t ignore it. And in the beginning fans are won one at a time.
IDI – You’re right, it is critical – and time-consuming!
Tell us, what do you feel are the biggest misconceptions new authors have about the publishing industry?
WF – I feel writers approach it in two ways. On the one hand, many view it as a lottery system, they pay their dues and
hope one day to get lucky. On the other hand you have the tortured artist vs. the evil empire syndrome. To me, the truth is in the middle. It’s a business, and Vitamin C is important. Contacts. Who you know. But emerging authors should look to mentors to guide their activities, and realize that their odds of ultimate success are relatively high, if they are willing to define success as something less than being a superstar, and are willing to approach it as though it’s the Iron Man Triathlon, vs. a 100 yard dash.
IDI – What is your absolute, all-time favorite book?
WF – Frank Herbert’s Dune. I’ve read that mammoth book 3 times. And though it was years ago, it had it all. Two movies later, nobody has come close to capturing 1/100th of it.
IDI – Who, in your opinion, was the best character ever written, and why?
WF – Well, since I went with Dune I’ll go with Paul M’aud Dib – the “Dune Messiah”. He had the tragic childhood story, he was a conflicted hero, torn by great pressure and the weight of decisions, an exceptional human being in an extraordinary situation, whose entire life is determined by forces way beyond his ability to deal with them. It is these external forces that define him as an individual, and Frank Herbert creates a complex character that is flawlessly integrated into the complex universe of Dune.
IDI – He sounds interesting.
Popular music features heavily in your work. How did you decide which songs and lyrics to feature in your book?
WF – Music impacted my life in powerful ways. I gradually came to understand that music is a universal language of the heart. There is a lot of intellectual “stuff” in my trilogy so I knew it needed to be laced with the music to reach people in the right way emotionally, compared to telling stories about real people and events in a sensationalistic manner. Once it became clear that I could, and should, use a Beatles song title not only for the chapter titles, but every single subheading, that eliminated the need to quote Beatles lyrics, for which I probably wouldn’t have been granted permission. The lyrics that did present themselves to me I consider a gift. Then I ended up having to erase key pieces when I failed to obtain publishing rights – thankfully I got a few critical ones. There’s a tip for new writers, start the process of obtaining rights early.
IDI – I’ve never had to obtain publishing rights for music, but I’ve always thought it wouldn’t be nearly as easy as some might think.
What got you off the couch to actually start putting your ideas on paper?
WF – I was newly married, and my wife was pregnant, and there was something about having a child on the way that drove me, relentlessly, to do this. Some kind of “dysfunctional family” male nesting instinct – which has something to do with the lost personal connectivity between my grandfather and father. While my wife was pregnant I had a painful move from California to Wisconsin, and United Air Lines was so much to blame for my pain, that I wrote a 16 page story called “A Thousand Little Pieces” just to get it out of my system. In that story United Air Lines was the metaphor for an organization I had been a part of, and although it is humorous, not a serious story, it is to The People of the Sign as Hobbit is to The Fellowship of the Ring. I say that knowing my 16 pages are infinitely inferior to The Hobbit, so don’t take that as narcissistic Hubris – it’s more like a fractal pattern.
IDI – It’s funny what sparks motivation. Wade, thank you so much for joining me today, I wish you the very best with your writing and invite readers to check out the links below to learn more about you and your work.
WF – Thank you for having me.