(This is the first in my new author interview segment on the blog. These will post, generally speaking, on Mondays and be archived on the Author Interview page.)
Aaron Hodges: https://www.aaronhodges.co.nz/
1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.
I am currently finishing off the third book in my Descendants of the Fall series, titled Age of Gods. I’m really enjoying how the two main characters in the story have developed since I first conceived of them back in March during quarantine, although they’ve definitely made life tricky for me at this book! I just hope I’ve done them justice for my readers!
2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.
Well this series I’m currently working on is about a fallen world where two species of human exist, one that takes after our own peoples, and another called the Tangata who possess inhuman strength and speed. And the two species are in the middle of a decade long war—one which humanity is losing. They will need a miracle to emerge victorious, or perhaps some divine intervention from the mysterious Gods who rule this world.
3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)
Haha is this not editing for everyone? I certainly find it exhausting, but also very rewarding as my first drafts are usually VERY rough, so its nice to see how polished and complete the final product is afterwards.
4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?
I actually really like outlining. I generally spend a week brainstorming different scenes and characters that will feature in the story, and while I don’t use every idea that pops into my head, its still my favourite part, probably because it really gets the imagination flowing.
5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)
Hmmm, I’d probably say Ian Irvine’s world building skills. I really enjoy creating backstories and geographical features in my books—I’m an environmental scientist by trade so I generally have a good understanding of that sort of thing. But the Ian Irvine takes it to another level, his maps are down to the minutest detail, and his histories make you believe this world actually exists!
6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?
Haha considering some of the stuff I put my poor characters through, I’m not sure I’ll get out of this one alive. I guess I’d pull the whole God card and say there’s a reason behind everything that happens!
7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?
Haha the main character would be Erika, princess of the broken kingdom of Calafe, and Archivist to the Queen of Flumeer. She’s extremely shrewd and cunning, and up against her is Jon Snow (I’ve been rereading GoT this week), who might be a great swordsman but lets face it, probably not the greatest poker player! As for what we’ll win…I’d say both would be pretty happy with a dragon, don’t you think?
8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)
I think probably my number one advice for any writer is not to get held up in the early details/editing of your manuscript. Until you finish the first draft, you don’t even know whether you’ll be able to finish and it is so easy to get bogged down reediting what you’ve written before you even reach the end. So my advice is always: finish, then edit. At least for your first book.
9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.
I wrote a dystopian in 2016 titled ‘The Evolution Gene’ (originally the Praegressus project). It ah…predicted a civil war after the 2020 election, plus a plague. I’m a little concerned how closely its mirroring real life at this point…