Author Interview Questions
1: Hi, and thanks for joining today. In your own words tell us about yourself, not you the author, but just you!
A: I have had a pretty interesting life. Have lived in the Midwest and both coasts AND overseas. USMC veteran. Managed a gym, personal trainer, caver, biker, bicycle racer, bodybuilder, martial artist, father. Those are some of the highlights.
2: Why did you decide to become an author and what’s the best part? Yeah, it’s a double-whammy of a question. So unexpected!
A: I can’t remember ever “deciding” to become an author – its something I’ve always wanted to do. The best part is simply engaging and entertaining people, maybe making them think.
3: So, tell us about your work. Sell us on it! Why should we read it and why it will capture us?
A: I’ve published two works of fiction – “Heroes of Legend” and “Hole In the Soul” that garnered overwhelmingly positive reviews. Everyone feels that they are very interesting and highly entertaining. “Heroes — ” is a traditional ( I hesitate to call my own work classic) high fantasy, but “Hole — ” is almost unclassifiable. Someone called it a “contemporary urban fantasy,” and while that’s not completely accurate, it comes closer than any other label. My non-fiction, “The Power Cycle” outlines the training methodology I have used successfully for years working as a personal trainer and strength athlete. It received high praise from none other than Dr. Fred Hatfield – aka “Dr. Squat” – executive editor of Muscle & Fitness magazine for eight years, world-record weight-lifter, and legendary trainer.
4: Why did you choose the genre you write in over others to start your publishing career? Did others appeal to you more and you chose this? Was there a bit of choice weighing or was it rather simple?
A: I like and read lots of genres, but began writing fantasy because it is an excellent outlet for my over-active imagination.
5: So far, what would you say has been the hardest part of being an author?
A: Definitely being rejected. Its very de-motivating and can actually be depressing. You have to be EXTREMELY patient to be an author, and that’s not easy. Also, receiving negative reviews. That can be absolutely soul-crushing. You have to develop a very thick skin.
6: Now for the ever-so-shocking follow-up question. What’s the best/easiest part, if there is one?
A: Best part: Creating worlds and characters, telling a story. Easiest: Reading daily and calling it “research!”
7: Tell us about what your experiences in the author life have been like. I don’t mean the writing aspects. I mean the daily human life. Tell us what it’s like to live the day life you do and be an author at the same time. What’s it like when people in your life and, the people you come across, find out you’re an author?
A: People are generally very interested and intrigued when they find out I’m an author. They are almost always very positive and many reveal to me that they also like to wrote and want to be authors too. This makes me realize that nearly everyone has a book in them, but most people never sit down and try to write it. My daily life includes writing, and often in public places like the library or a coffee house, so people see me writing, and when they see me frequently some become intrigued enough to ask about what I’m doing. I’ve made wonderful friends and acquaintances this way.
8: Writing is a hard craft and a harder career. What are the things that keep you going, both in improving the craft and enduring the downs/lows of the career?
A: I am extremely fortunate to be able to spend as much time as I do writing. I never take for granted the fact that most people can’t dedicate the amount of time it requires. I keep this “attitude of gratitude” foremost in my mind. Being a natural storyteller helps. Telling a story through writing is not merely something I decided at some point I wanted to do. I basically have to do it. A fish has to swim, a bird has to fly, a writer has to write.
9: What do you love about the genre/s you write and what others appeal to you?
A: Fantasy is so wide-open. You are bound only by the fact that it has to have some sort of continuity and make a sort of sense within the world that you create. Other than that – you can do anything. That’s not to say that it will necessarily appeal to everyone, or even anyone, but you develop that sense as you mature as a writer. I also love sci-fi and am collaborating with another author on a grand space-opera that may see print before 2018. A good thriller and/or horror story is something I want to tackle one day also.
10: Tell us about the plans for your series and body of work.
A: “Heroes of Legend” was always planned as the first of three fantasy novels, and I’m finally nearing the end of the second one – “The Queen of Thieves.” It took on a life of its own and will be nearly three times the length of “Heroes — ”. The third will be “The Shattered Lands.” Then there is the sci-fi novel I am working on with another author. Title as yet undecided, but the universe we’ve created therein is fertile ground for more stories. Then there are plenty of people who clamor for another story about Blake and Nora, the main characters in “Hole In the Soul,” and there is more I have to say through that storyline. Its much more introspective than the other two, more about me.
11: The writing and publishing world has changed a lot. Self-publishing, small to medium presses popping up, and things like becoming a hybrid between indie pubbing and traditional. What are your thoughts on that? Any predictions on what the future might hold? What would you like to see, both as an author yourself, and, as a consumer/reader?
A: I won’t even make predictions along these lines, because everything in the traditional publishing world has been turned upside-down by self-publishing and indie presses. I will just say that I think that, while it has been very upsetting to a lot of authors and publishers, it has turned out to be a very good thing. Its true that there is a lot of crap out there now that would never have been published by a brick and mortar publisher, but the market will take care of those, and the good stuff will be proven. It’s the way of things now, and those who try to resist it may as well try to resist the tide, because that is how futile it is. Roll with it and take advantage of the opportunities that it presents.
12: The always done and asked question. Who are your favorite authors? What are you favorite books? What are you reading now? Tell us. Tell us!
A: Wow – too many to list all of them, but a few of my favorites are Jules Verne, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Kenneth Robeson, Jack Kerouac, Louis Lamour, J.G. Ballard, Larry Niven, Ian Fleming, Michael Herr, John Varley, Mike Resnick, Hunter S. Thompson, Neal Stevenson – who I grew up with and know personally, Ray Bradbury, Stanley G. Weinbaum, R.R Verdi – I could go on for an hour.
As to what I’m reading now – I just finished a non-fiction book that tells the inside story of the world’s most feared soldiers – “The Gurkhas. Better To Die Than Be a Coward” by John Parker. I just started “The Drought” by one of my favorite sci-fi authors J.G. Ballard. Like all his stuff it is weird and wonderful and very believable. His sci-fi is always about stuff that could actually happen in the very near future, which makes it extremely compelling. I can hardly recommend his books enough. If you ever saw the incredible Spielberg movie “The Last Emperor”, that is a J.G. Ballard book. Historical fiction rather than sci-fi. He was incredible versatile.
13: I’ve got to know…what’s your favorite word to use. Every author has one. What’s the word you catch yourself using a lot? We’ve all got those as well. What’s your favorite word just to say? Something where you like the way it sounds. What’s your favorite curse worse, if you’ve got one and or use them?
A: Ha! Are you kidding? I’m a wordsmith and I love words! Its just impossible to choose one. In writing sci-fi I use the word “pharg” as an expletive – a cuss word. I’ve always liked the way the word arugula rolls off the tongue. And Walla walla Washington is a lot of fun to say, especially quickly. Syphilis is a word that is intriguing because it is a beautiful word and means something repulsive.
14: Tell us about your latest release. Or, when can we expect your next one? What are we in store for?!
A:It’s a toss-up between this sci-fi collaboration and the re-release of “Heroes of Legend” that will be concurrent with “The Queen of Thieves.” The sci-fi novella will be a space-opera along the lines of “Firefly” and “Serenity” with a dash of Mike Resnick’s “Santiago.” “The Queen of Thieves” is a very swashbuckling tale with fantastic creatures, magic, and battles on a grand scale. It is hugely fun!
15: Lastly, where can we find you? Facebook? Twitter? Website? Links to your material. Go on, don’t be shy. Share!
A: All my books can be found on Amazon, though I use my first name Collier as an author. Collier Hageman. I can be contacted on FaceBook – on which I am very active, where I do use the name I’m actually known personally by – Todd Hageman. I am the only Todd Hageman currently residing in Ames, Iowa. If you send me a polite private message introducing yourself along with a friend request I’ll probably accept it.