This week's Author Spotlight features science fiction writer Drew Avera. Drew's debut novel is Dead Planet: Exodus. (See above.)
1. How did you get into writing?
I am by nature a creative person and I was looking for an outlet for that creativity. I had considered writing a book since I was a teenager, but writing always seemed to be a challenge that I would not be able to complete.
Finally, after I turned 30, I decided that I would give it a go. I began writing a fantasy novel and after 12,000 words, I quit. The story was going nowhere fast and I was losing interest in the characters.
I found out about NaNoWriMo around the same time and the rule is that you can only begin writing on November 1 and you need to complete 50,000 words by the end of the 30-day event. This was the challenge that I was looking for, something to keep me accountable.
I began writing the book that became Dead Planet: Exodus on November 1, 2012. I finished the 50,000 words twenty days later, just in time to visit family for Thanksgiving.
An interesting fact is that the entire first draft was written on my iPhone.
2. What do you like best (or least) about writing?
I love the creativity of writing. I hate the labor of revision. But, you can’t have one without the other.
3. What is your writing process? IE do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc?
When I first started that fantasy novel that I put to the side, I did not outline. Also, I would write everything on paper and then type it out on my computer. I think this method attributed to my lack of motivation and the story ultimately going nowhere.
For Dead Planet I typed the first draft on my iPhone and used a very basic outline for each chapter. I did not stick to the outline exclusively so I would have to make changes here and there. I preferred this method of writing and recommend it to anyone else who likes to have a structure to follow, but also likes to be spontaneous.
4. Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”
I recently discovered the Indie Author movement (if you want to call it that). There is a lot of talent out there that needs to be found by readers. I will admit that I am a slow reader due to my schedule and trying to make time for writing, so I tend to read only a couple of books per month.
Some authors that really stand out to me as far as self-published authors go are Hugh Howey, Richard Stephenson, and Tony Ruggiero. Each of these guys have also provided me with some great advice on writing the story that I want to write. I am inspired by the community of indie authors that I’ve found and that means more to me than any one book on the subject.
5. Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?
I would say outside.
6. What’s your stance on the Oxford Comma?
I had to do a Google search to even know what that is (when I read another interview you did with an author); once I found out what it was I began incorporating it. I will say when it doubt use the Oxford Comma.
7. What is your book Dead Planet: Exodus about and how did it come to fruition?
I needed a story to plot before NaNoWriMo 2012 and this was the best idea I came up with. It is about a future where Mars is inhabited and is controlled by a one-world government called the Syndicate. They control everything from education, health care, the economy, and even the population. Their primary goal is profits and power. The Agency is the company that trains policemen and which is controlled by the Syndicate. The policemen are political assassins and are used to kill anyone with a hit placed on their head. The main character Serus is a policeman and he discovers that a hit is placed on his sister. The story follows his efforts to save her as the world they know comes crashing down around them.
8. What’s your current writing project?
The sequel to Dead Planet: Exodus. I’m about 11 chapters in right now.
9. What book(s) are you currently reading?
Coven by Tony Ruggiero.
10. Who or what inspires your writing?
I like conflict and plot twists so I try to put those elements into the story. I get inspiration from everywhere, music, television, books, etc. I will admit that I was listening to a lot of Chevelle during the revision process.
Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where people can read your published stories, buy your book, etc.
I just hope that anyone who reads my book enjoys it and will share it with their friends. I can be found on facebook and twitter.
Also, my book can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C1KP6SS
Thank you for the interview, good luck in your future endeavors.
Thank you, Drew, for sharing your novel with us. I like the premise. Puts me in mind of something Phil Dick might have written.
Be sure to let us know when the Dead Planet: Exodus sequel is ready.
Grab your copy of Dead Planet: Exodus while the $0.99 bargain price lasts!