Saturday, March 5, 2016

Interview with author Wade Lewelllyn-Hughes

Q ~ Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Born and raised in Arkansas, I left the South after graduating college and moved to my chosen home of Seattle, WA, where I lived happily until love intervened. Quite the change, Los Angeles became my home, and four years later, upon completion of my husband’s PhD at UCLA, we moved to Bozeman, MT. It’s easy to laugh at the extremes, but I travel often and am able to find the pros of living in most communities.

Besides, I love Winter, even if Fall will always have my heart. And the snow gives me one more excuse to stay in and write.

Q ~ What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I’m most definitely a child of the 80s. My desk sits in the center of my office just to allow for the shelves of toys I’ve collected (and books). We’re talking from Care Bears to GI Joe, Dungeons and Dragons to Sailor Moon. My interests are pretty varied as well, ranging from playing RPG video games to traveling this world.

During the day, most of my time is spent working a corporate day job for a tech company in the travel industry. Not a horrible job, by any means, but not where I set my career aspirations. While I’ve been working toward my writing career for years, I’ve only released my debut fantasy novel, OPPROBRIUM, at this point.

Q ~ If you could have lunch with one person, dead, alive, or imaginary, who would it be and why?
Oh, that’s rough. Or Imaginary? The temptation!

I think I’d have to go with someone who could answer a question lost in time, and quite selfish in the grand scheme of things. My great-great grandfather is whom I would chose. Records around his move to the US from Wales are impossible to find. I’m not even certain I have his correct first name, let alone what brought him over.

Q ~ What are you currently reading?
Uh-oh! That’s the sort of question that gives insight into my scattered lifestyle. Short answer: I’m currently reading AN IRISH COUNTRY CHRISTMAS by Patrick Taylor. Who doesn’t enjoy a cozy, simple novel now and then? I’m also reading/listening to THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss. And, to break the Patrick trend, I’m listening to LAFAYETTE IN THE SOMEWHAT UNITED STATES by Sarah Vowell. Heart her.

Q ~ Are there any new Authors that have grasped your interest recently and why?
Patrick Taylor, actually. It completely relates back to his books being a calm, simple story, kind of the way Midsomer Murders or Murder She Wrote can be engaging and relaxing at the same time, but lacking the murder bit. My day job is fairly stressful, which is why I believe I’ve drifted toward his work.

Q ~ How did you begin writing? Was there a single catalyst or a series of events?
I actually began writing when I was in the sixth grade, though I put that dream on the shelf until college, and never considered it a career path until ten years after that. The catalyst for me was a desire to keep my imagination alive while my friends were aging and losing interest in things I still enjoyed and found inspiration within.

Q ~ What’s the best thing that’s happened since you began writing? The worst?
Writing-related, I’d say the best thing that happened was my first five-star rating from a stranger. The worst, discovering my initial release copy of OPPROBRIUM had grammatical errors. So embarrassing. You often think as a self-published author that you’re far too careful for that to happen. After all, that’s one of the main stigmas self-published authors face. Nope. I actually read through the book again, after completing the rough draft of my next work, and found two more! Suffice it to say, I’ve eradicated them for future readers and knock on wood that they’re gone for good.

Q ~ What are your biggest influences in life? Who are your biggest supporters?
That’s another tough question. I’d say my biggest supporters are my mother and a few of my closest friends. They don’t let me get bogged down when I find an errant comma in a published work or hit speedbumps in my writing.

I’d add my husband to that list, but there are too many days where I’m tempted to lock my office door just to get work done.

Q ~ Why did you choose to write fantasy as your primary genre?
Escaping into an unfamiliar world of wonder is what it’s all about, really. While I love the world I live in, I feel like I get to play in another world with magical races, unexpected solutions, as well as creepy dangers. And I get to bring my friends along for the journey.

Q ~ Do you prefer to write in a small town or big city setting? Why?
My writing crosses both to increase the world-building aspect. I think if I switch to magical realism or contemporary fantasy after completing The Lamentation’s End series, I’d look to Seattle or Los Angeles. If I wanted to go with general fiction, I’d be torn between Seattle and a quiet, green village somewhere in the UK.

Q ~ Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release, OPPROBRIUM, and what inspired you to write it?
Love to! OPPROBRIUM is born out of a story I began writing in college. As with every writer, there’s an element of autobiography in their work. For me, it’s a bit more extreme with this novel, as a gay man leaving the South. The novel focuses on the adventures four young people, who endure their own shame cast upon them from the oppressive society they live in. They too are aiming to escape and establish roots in a more accepting (and far safer) haven. Not too surprisingly, many of the characters are more-or-less pieced together from influences in that time in my life.

Q ~ What was the most difficult part of the process while writing OPPROBRIUM?
Oh, gosh, writing. I’ve read over forty books on writing, not to mention countless blogs, and attended workshops to hone my craft. Couple that with a stressful day job and life events, timing wasn’t always on my side.

Q ~ What characters did you find yourself especially drawn to and why?
While Kylan’s circumstances mirror mine the closest, I’m quite fond of the female characters in my book. Watching their development as they challenge their own opprobrium is fulfilling to me. And then there’s Ferix, the saucy satyr, who is just fun to write.

Q ~ Do you have anything in the works at the moment? Care to give us a hint about it?
I’m currently working on a novella in the series, reworking the rough draft. It takes place before the events in OPPROBRIUM and centers around Stille van Veen. Set in the country of Lekelith, the plot revolves around what led Veen to join the monastery, the Ukresti on the Mount. The novella also gives the readers some insight into events, places, and characters they’ll experience in the next novel.

My current plan to complete this novella by Spring, and write one with a similar goal for Carolle, which will be set in the city of TrĂ´ne d'Argent in Racine.

Q ~ What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Time is something you’ll have to allow when starting out. Your mind won’t always have the “right” solution on hand, especially when you only have a vague feeling in your gut that something just isn’t working. But it’ll come to you, whether in the middle of the night, in the shower, or while cleaning the dishes.

Also, as exciting as it is to complete a draft and hope it’s the final version, follow Stephen King’s advice and let it sit for a while. I believe he recommends six months. One month generally works for me. My mind has had a break and what I believed was mundane may not be. If it is, it’s much easier to fix with a fresh perspective.

I hope that helps. I know a lot of aspiring writers seek advice on traditional publication. Unfortunately, I can’t help in that arena, as it has never interested me.

About the author:
At a desk surrounded by action figures and stuffed animals from the 80’s and beyond, that’s generally where you’ll find Wade Lewellyn-Hughes. It’s where he gathers his inspiration. Well, there, as well as within shelves of novels, and an unfortunate addiction to Tumblr. By weekday, he’s a day-jobber for a tech company. By weekend, he’s diligently working to promote his debut novel, OPPROBRIUM, and writing the next installment in the Lamentation’s End Series.

Outside of his office, he’s a professional cat warmer specializing in marathoning British television with his husband in Bozeman, Montana. If not writing through his vacations, he prefers to visit the UK, Ireland, or Orlando theme parks—or an immersive RPG world.

You can find more information on his upcoming projects by joining his mailing list here.

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