Time for another Author Interview! This time its with Sci Fi/Horror author L. David Hesler!
1. What inspired you to write?
When I was a kid, I never went anywhere without a book and a sketchpad. My dream was to be a comic book artist. At some point, my imagination outgrew my ability to draw, so I found myself desperately trying to record these stories in writing. I originally imitated what I had always been fond of; mainly, this included some flavors of Stephen King, a dash of Marvel Comics (circa 1992) and reruns of Tales from the Crypt. I was also blessed with two supportive parents, a handful of creative friends, and a few influential English teachers who encouraged me to explore fiction throughout high school. I won a writing contest my senior year and was fortunate enough to have a short story featured in a literary magazine. And I was hooked.
2. Have you ever had writers block while writing? If so how'd you get over it?
I think I may be suffering from it right now. But I don’t like to think of it as writer’s block. Instead, when I start to feel that numbness take hold of my mind, I try something else. I might write some poetry or maybe I’ll do some character sketches or draw a comic strip. My best method for dealing with writer’s block is to pick up the guitar; I’ve been a guitarist for nearly fifteen years and I compose original music all the time. When I get stuck with writing, I go to the guitar and normally compose a full song before I’m ready to jump back into the fiction. So when one creative outlet gets clogged, I try another. And if they all get clogged? I go for a walk or read a book. (Naj's Note: I might use your ways to get over writers block! Great stuff!)
3. How long does it usually take you to write a book?
One book took me nearly seven years to finish. That’s the longest period of time I’ve spent on a writing project and I hope it never happens again. The others normally take a year to a year and a half. If I could write full time, I think I could produce at least two or three books a year, along with some short stories. Unfortunately, that’s not my world right now. I have work, family, all the stuff that comes with being a grown up (ugh). So I have to steal my writing time. Most often, this means I stay up too late and wake up too early. Time is at once a writer’s closest companion and worst enemy.
4. You run into a bookstore, where do you go first?
I immediately check the bargain bins. And when I find nothing but cookbooks and historical biographies, I make a mad dash to the speculative fiction aisles. I browse the science fiction and horror sections, then I check out the YA section. This portion of the store was always boring when I was younger; it was all Goosebumps and Babysitter’s Club. Now, I think it’s one of the most vibrant sections of the store. YA readers are living the dream these days.
5. Paperback or Hardback? Why?
Hardback. It makes a much better weapon if someone tries to mug you while you’re reading on the bus. Also, there’s something sacred about owning a hardback book by an author you love, isn’t there? I found a hardcover edition of Stephen King’s “The Eyes of The Dragon” in a tiny bookstore in Oklahoma. It’s one of my most cherished books! (Naj's Note: HAHAHAHAHA. I love your answer.)
6. Your favorite Genre?
I dwell in the realm of the weird. Mainly, I’m a fan of dark speculative fiction, whether it’s horror, fantasy, or science fiction. You have to understand that I was watching old horror movies and crazy science fiction flicks when I was five years old. I cut my teeth on Flash Gordon, X-Men comics, Dracula, and Star Wars. I love the strange and unexplainable. I enjoy watching paranormal videos on the internet. I get a kick out of being perplexed by the universe and its workings, scientific or metaphysical. Literary books or movies bore me to tears. I want the odd and unusual. I want to be confused.
7. What is your weakness? Books, Food, etc.
I’ll buy any book with a clearance tag on its cover. I’m pretty sure there’s a self-help group for that particular affliction. I go crazy for sliders. Any kind, really. And I love pomegranate juice.
8. State 5 random facts about yourself.
1. I like hard alternative rock music, but I write fiction to cinematic scores.
2. For years, I could never remember the correct spelling of the word “necessary”.
3. I broke both of my femurs in a car accident when I was eleven years old.
4. I am a Cubs fan even though I’m originally from Texas and have only been to Chicago once.
5. I am the guitarist and song composer in an online band called DeepSkyTraveler. (Naj's Note: How cool is that! You can play and sing!)
9. What are you currently reading?
I read multiple books at once. Right now, I’m working on “Boneshaker” by Cherie Priest, “Under The Dome” by Stephen King, and I’m about to start “Diary” by Chuck Palahniuk. Also, I am slowly reading “Origin” by JA Konrath on my phone.
10. While writing how many times do you go back and rewrite a plot?
I try not to rewrite while I’m working on the first draft; an author can get lost in the story this way, constantly rewriting those first few chapters without ever moving the story forward. The rewrite comes towards the end, if not after the last sentence. I used to fear that part of the process. It felt like I was wasting my time going back and reworking the book. But one day, I realized that the rewrite is really just a writer’s way of finding the true story. It’s like digging for fossils. You can’t stop when you’ve only barely scratched the surface. You have to keep digging until you get the whole thing uncovered and out of the dirt.
11. In all the books you've read. Who is your most favorite character and why?
Roland Deschain from Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series stands out in my mind. He is at once noble and common, an amalgamation of old standards and post-apocalyptic desperation. If I had to be trapped on an island with any fictional character, it would definitely be the gunslinger himself. And speaking of being trapped on an island, my second favorite character is Simon from Golding’s “The Lord of the Flies”. His fate in that book shook me to my core when I was in high school. And finally, there’s Arthur Dent from Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. Through him, I learned the importance of always knowing the location of my towel. And he was such a lovable loser… a cosmic underdog. (Naj's Note: I can't believe I haven't read any of the books mentioned. -.- I'm so disappointed in myself)
12. How many books in a month do you tend to read?
I used to read about two books a month. Now, I’m lucky if I read an entire book in one month. There’s a fine line writers have to walk when balancing writing and reading time.
13. Heres your chance to market any of your book. Describe the books and why readers should pick it up?
“Prismatica” is a collection of short stories that reads more like a novella. It is one part dark fantasy, one part horror. Read as a whole, the stories detail the life of father and police officer Michael Duncan as he is plucked out of the time stream by forces unknown, only to be returned with amnesia and an important quest to accomplish. This book has action, horror, humor, and sorrow. As one reviewer suggested, it is an example of what might happen if Stephen King and Quentin Tarantino collaborated on a book. If that doesn’t get you excited, you might need to see a doctor.
My other published piece is “Lane 8: A Tale of Death & Bowling”. This is a short story that was originally inspired by the legend of Stull, Kansas and the supposed gateway to hell that can be found there. Urban legends (or rural, in this case) provide wonderful inspiration for writers like myself. Though there is no mention of a gateway to hell in my story, I do explore what an encounter with a demon might be like in my neck of the woods (that is, middle America). As it turns out, demons enjoy bowling.
I’m also working on the final edit of a full length YA fantasy novel that will be available within the next two months. It is the first in a planned series. At the same time, I’m working on a few serialized stories to turn into podcasts through a nifty website called Podiobooks. I’m also doing a serialized piece through the virtual world of Second Life, streaming concerts and readings to my blog. Beyond those projects, I’ve been planning another YA series that draws some heavy influences from the short-lived TV show “Erie, Indiana” and my favorite series of books, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy”.
Thanks David for being part of this feature! I totally loved all your answers some even cracked me up.
Hope you guys enjoyed reading the interview! I know I did! :D