Bewildering Stories interviews
You have a number of works in print. Can you please tell us about them:
Well the first, and most important, is my young adult fantasy novel, The Zargothian Tales. It’s an epic fantasy novel about a young, American teenager named, Henry Simmons who finds a magical golden coin and on the night of his prom, it transports him to a parallel medieval world where he learns that he has a special purpose where he must save humans from the oppression of a cruel race known as, the Sadarkians. But Henry has some help from two air force men from 1945 and a witty, talking cat named Jasper.
I blend sci-fi with the typical elements of fantasy. (You can view more at www.thezargothiantales.com). I’m also working on a horror stage play set in Ireland in the 1920s and 1950s. It’s sure to send shivers down people’s spines. Graphic novels are also another area that I always wanted to work in and I’m currently writing a script for one. Two years ago I self-published a book of poetry entitled, A Viking’s Prayer — www.avikingsprayer.com
Do you have a favourite among your works?
Yes, I do. I think it would have to be my first novel, the one I just mentioned. I wrote that while recovering from an accident four years ago. That book got me through a pretty rough time in my life. It also allowed me to showcase my writing abilities and let me tell you, there’s some really cool battle scenes in it!
Do you have a favourite character? If so, who is it, and what makes it your favourite?
I guess it would have to be Henry because there’s also some of me in him too. Jasper is another character I like because he allowed me to insert some humour into the novel.
Who drives a story: you or your characters?
It’s a combination of both really. When I’m preparing a short story, novel, play etc. I always draft up a plan or layout of what happens in each chapter or Act. This acts as a map for me and I know where I’m going. Sometimes, however, I find that the characters take over and the story goes off in a different direction, which is also exciting.
What do you consider the strangest thing you’ve ever written?
Hmm... that’s a tough one. A few years ago when I was doing a home-study creative writing course, we were asked to create a character that the readers would remember long after they had finished reading the story. I found myself delving deep into the darker side of my writing, allowing me to create a terribly dark and sadistic character known as Mr. Benson, which was also the title of the story. This was a man who was in his late 50s, early 60s who killed without remorse and ate the internal organs of cats. Yeah, you read that last bit right.
Almost every writer is inspired by someone or something else. What inspirations have you found?
Everyday life and the people who I meet are also an inspiration for characters in my stories. Forgive me for sounding like a preacher here, but God also inspires me, as I always believe he helps me when I write everyday and I’m very grateful for the gift of writing that he has bestowed unto me.
How long have you been writing?
Almost a decade now. I began writing back in 2002 after a religious experience that I had.
What made you want to start writing?
Don’t know really. After I had the religious experience in 2002, it was as if a vault had been unlocked inside and all these stories just flowed out of me. I was compelled to write these down and this got me hooked on writing.
Some authors have said that their parents were supportive of their efforts when young, and some have said they had to sneak around and hide. What was the case with you?
My parents were and still are very supportive. When I felt down, they always reassured me that I would go far because they believed in my ability as a writer.
Who proofreads and critiques your work?
I proofread my work first and then I send it to my good friend and award-winning sci-fi author, Geoff Nelder. His critiques and observations are always excellent and he’s written a superb sci-fi novel, Exit, Pursued By a Bee. Check it out.
Where do you get your ideas?
Sometimes they come to me while I watch T.V. or other times when I’m asleep. Whenever possible, I always try and have a pen and notepad available to scribble down the ideas while they’re still fresh in my mind.
Where do you write?
In my bedroom or kitchen, wherever there’s silence. I must have absolute silence.
When do you write: at set times or as the mood moves you?
I write in the morning before I go to work and in the evening after work. I always try to write before 7 or 8 pm. Any time after that would not be good as I would be too tired.
If you could invite any other writer to dinner who would you ask and why?
Hmm... another tough question. Maybe J.R.R. Tolkien or a famous Irish playwright, John B. Keane. I’d like to invite both (if they were alive and didn’t mind their dinner being slightly overcooked) and ask them a number of questions on writing fantasy novels and plays.
Do you use the Internet to check facts, or the library?
A bit of both really, but more the Internet than the library. I don’t drive so the Internet is wonderful because it’s accessible from home and you’d probably find a lot more info. on the ‘net than in the library anyway. I have purchased some books on certain subjects because even though the ‘net contains a wealth of information, it sometimes doesn’t have what I want so I find myself buying books.
When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?
I like reading, walking, watching T.V. and having a few drinks with some friends. Going to the cinema is a big hobby of mine but unfortunately, there’s very few good movies being released so I don’t frequent there as often as I used to. I also own my own proofreading/editing and typing business — Lucid Eyes Editing — www.lucideyesediting.com — where I’m always proofreading someone’s work. There’s offers from time to time on my site so be sure to check it out to avail of any offers that crop up.
Do you ever have a problem with writer’s block?
Sure, every writer does at one stage or another. What I do to overcome this is just write what you can and maybe leave it for a day or two and then come back with a fresh mind. My advice is not to force it because if you do, it’s going to read forced and this won’t win you any fans.
What’s your favourite book?
I don’t have one particular favourite book but I do like The Devil’s Kiss by William W. Johnstone and The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.
Some writers say that they have to write a certain amount of words every day. Do you do this? Why or why not?
Yes, I always feel that I have to write 1,000 words each day or at least two pages. It’s a compulsion really and that’s the goal I set each day.
If you could be any character (other than one of your own) from a book or movie, who would it be? Why?
You might get this a lot but I’d like to be Superman because he has really cool powers. Plus, I’d love to be able to help the world like he does but I guess you don’t need to be Kryptonian or have powers to do that. If time permits me, I always try and help charities whenever I can.
What are your favourite and least favourite parts of working as an Associate Editor for Bewildering Stories?
The good bits: reading great stories and helping writers by giving them advice (or to pass the advice along to the editor to give to the author). The bad bits: reading submissions that are so uninteresting and/or are interesting but has a really crappy ending. One word of wisdom that I’d like to pass along to other new authors is: if you’re going to write a story, make sure the ending is satisfactory or at least is one that the reader will remember for all the right reasons. There’s nothing worse than spending 15-20 minutes reading a sub only for the ending to be s**t or confusing. Always watch out for this. You get one shot with a reader/editor, so don’t blow it!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Yeah, I’d like to say thanks to Bill and Don for giving me the opportunity to do this interview. They’ve been really great to me and I appreciate it. Be sure not to miss my exciting fantasy novel when it comes out in December. Check out the following website: www.thezargothiantales.com where you can read a sample chapter and join the mailing list to receive updates.
Thank you for reading this. Take care and have a nice day, guys.
Copyright © 2009 by Aidan Lucid