“Come in, -- come in! and know me better, man!” (With humblest apologies to Mr. Charles Dickens.)
I have been undertaking a challenge to post an interview question and answer daily on Twitter. As of this post I have 41 separate questions and answers about me and my writing. (You can follow my Twitter account to see all of my daily posts and other ramblings.) The idea started from a thing Zachry Wheeler added to his website, a random author question generator. It has over 600 questions to choose from and I thought it would be fun to try and do a different question from this list every day.
Now that I am well into the second month, I thought I would post the first 30 questions and answers here. Because I have a bit more space here, I have expanded on some of my answers (and corrected my spelling and grammar), so you can consider this the Geoff Habiger Q&A “Special Edition”.
Day 1: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
A: Well, so far the average is 5.5 years, but I only have 2 data points. I'm hoping to bring that average down with the next 2 books, though at the rate the sequels are going I’m not sure how well we are doing. One of the difficulties in writing as co-authors is not only finding the time to get together to write but syncing up our regular work schedules (Coy and I both still work real jobs) so we can write. So far that has proven difficult in the past few months as project deadlines have loomed for both of us. (Stupid real jobs!)
Day 2: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
A: Our goal with Unremarkable was to tell a fun, entertaining story. There was no ulterior motive or specific goal in mind. Based on reviews so far, I think we met that goal. The same is true with Wrath of the Fury Blade. We wanted a fun story, with some complex and real characters – even if it was in a fantasy setting. Again, I think we hit the mark on it. (Though Wrath does have a undercurrent theme about race in it, but that is secondary to the main story we are wanting to tell.)
Day 3: What is your advice to indie authors on marketing?
A: Plan ahead. While you are waiting for the book to be released, you need to be making those connections and plans to get the word out about your book. Setting up interviews, blog tours, etc.
Day 4: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
A: I don't think it did, other than getting me to work faster on the next book in the series. I still write the same way as before by writing the first draft long-hand, then typing it into my computer as draft 2. Once that is done, I send it to Coy for him to chop it up and fix all of my problems with plot holes, character development, and basic consistency. We then get together to go through and edit the book together.
Day 5: For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of your book, where should they start?
A: I recommend starting with the prologue, since that's where the story begins.
Day 6: Have you ever left any of your books stew for months on end or even a year?
A: Yes. Early in the process for both Unremarkable and Wrath of the Fury Blade the stories sat and simmered for several months between writing. I also have several short stories that I have left alone for years before doing anything with them.
Day 7: Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
A: No - most of my experiences don't translate well into supernatural or fantasy settings.
Day 8: Describe your perfect book hero or heroine.
A: I don't think there is a "perfect" hero. Each story calls for a different type of hero within it, and each is unique. That said, if the hero isn't kind to animals, then they are no hero to me.
Day 9: Do you have a daily writing habit?
A: No. I work a real job, plus I run a publishing company on top of my writing. I don't generally have the time to write my own material every day. I can usually get a couple of hours a week where I can work on my own material, but it is rare for me to get more than that.
Day 10: What famous author do you wish would be your mentor?
A: Probably Douglas Preston and/or Lincoln Child. I'd love to have them give me advice or mentor me on my craft. Especially because they work together as co-authors. I think being able to talk to them about their process would be something that Coy and I would like to hear.
Day 11: What's your favorite movie which was based on a book?
A: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. The movie was very true to the Rowling's story and I loved seeing the world she created come to life on the movie screen.
Day 12: How did you celebrate the publishing of your first book?
A: I didn't really have a celebration for it. Too busy trying to market it and getting the draft for book 2 written.
Day 13: How do you come up with the titles of your books?
A: They usually just pop into my head. I often get the titles well before I know what the book will be about. Many are puns or plays on the theme of the book. I have titles for about a dozen new books already jotted down (where is that notebook?) and we have the titles for at least 6 books in the Unremarkable series already figured out. I have the basic titles for the next several Reva adventures as well already figured out. Titles is the easy part. Getting the story down is the hard part.
Day 14: What projects are you working on at the present?
A: Coy and I are working on sequels to both Unremarkable and Wrath of the Fury Blade. The next book featuring Saul is called Untouchable – of course we had to use that as the title. The second Reva adventure is Joy of the Widows Tears. We have also been working on some new material. We have a couple of short stories featuring some new characters. Both are fantasy and are set in the same world as Reva’s adventures (Ados: The Land of Strife is the setting). One features a Varani sailor (the Varani are a race of lizard-people) who shuns the sea to seek revenge. We are planning it as a series of short stories. The other is an introduction to a new character that we want to write novels about named Flint Dagger – think international man of mystery and spy – the James Bond of fantasy. I also have a short story that will be published in Mavguard Magazine soon.
Day 15: What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your books?
A: That I'm not alone in this crazy idea. That there are a lot of other great, fun, and witty writers out there suffering through the same sorts of problems that I face. Meeting them has been a lot of fun.
Day 16: How big of a part does music play in creating your 'zone'?
A: Not a huge part. I can usually write any where and I often don't have a chance to listen to music. However, when I do, the music I choose is selected to set a mood - usually very dramatic and inspirational.
Day 17: Have any new writers grasped your interest recently?
A: Yes - Ricardo Victoria writes Science Fantasy and his first novel will be coming out later this year. I really enjoy his blend of science fiction with fantasy and Anime style action. A.E. Lowan writes great urban fantasy, and Eric Michael Craig writes wonderful hard science fiction. That's just three that I've discovered in the past year.
Day 18: If you had to rewrite any of the novels out there, which one would you choose? And do you think you'd do a better job than the writer?
A: I don't want to make any contemporary writers mad - especially those that have been 'successful', but let's just say that I read a couple of novels in 2018 that were really bad - by some 'famous' authors, and I think I could do a lot better than what they put out.
Day 19: What is your writing style?
A: Rambling along, spewing adjectives and adverbs willy-nilly onto the page and hoping that a coherent and somewhat plausible plot comes out of it. That's step 1. Step 2 is to edit, edit, and edit some more.
Day 20: Did the thought to give up writing ever occur to you?
A: Yes - a long time ago. I wrote several short stories and a complete novel when I was in college, plus the draft of another novel. But I wasn't happy with it, and very frustrated – and I didn’t have the sort of support structure I have today. (This was pre-internet days. GASP!). Plus, life just happened. So, I gave up writing for nearly 20 years. It's only recently that I have started writing again and I am glad I did.
Day 21: Why did you choose the setting for your book?
A: For Unremarkable we wanted to do something different with the vampire genre, and blending vampires with gangsters had not been overdone. The St. Valentine's Day Massacre was the initial prompt, so setting in 1929 Chicago was what resulted.
Day 22: Why did you choose the setting for your book?
A: Wrath of the Fury Blade started with a simple idea - in a world of magic and monsters, how do the police solve crimes. I wanted to blend a police story with a fantasy setting, and Coy and I already had our Ados setting from our RPG game. It was a natural place to set Reva and Ansee's adventures.
Day 23: As a writer, what would you choose as your spirit animal?
A: An otter. One, because otters are cool. Two, they are playful and enjoy having fun. I think having that level of enjoyment and fun is key to getting through the writing of a book or making edits.
Day 24: Are you friends with any of your contemporaries? If yes, do you discuss your current projects with each other?
A: Yes, and yes. It's the best way to bounce ideas and work through tough/troubling parts of a story. Being able to discuss my ideas with them really helps and I am never worried that they will steal my ideas. I like to think I am a good judge of character that that won’t happen.
Day 25: What did you do with your first advance?
A: Who gets advances these days?
Day 26: Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day?
A: Nope. That only drags you down into a well of despair because you'll hate yourself for missing your target. (And you will probably miss your target.) Just write, and let the creativity take you where it wants to go.
Day :27: What types of situations make you angry?
A: In writing or in life? In life, it's people who feel that rules and laws don't apply to them, as well as people who refuse to accept facts or won't take responsibility for their actions.
Day 28: What advice would you like to pass on to young writers of today that is unconventional but true?
A: That you don't have to write every day to be successful. You can write however often you feel works for you. The important thing is to get the words onto the page. But sometimes you can’t get to your writing every day. Life happens and it is important to not let that get to you. If the story is there, then it will come out in the end. And you will be less stressful for it.
Day 29: What is the craziest thing you've done in your life?
A: I refuse to answer this question on the grounds that I may incriminate myself. :-)
Day 30: Do you have a day job as well?
A: Yes. I don't know many writers today who are not retired or who have been blessed to have gotten a big publishing contract or movie deal, who are not working a day (or night) job.