Interview with ‘Wool’ Series Author, Hugh Howey

by on July 2, 2012

in Entertainment

Hugh Howey Interview on BruSimmFor anyone whose read the books in the Wool or Silo series by Hugh Howey, you already know what I’m about to say.

For those of you who haven’t yet, I would suggest that you check out the first book in this indie book series and tell me you’re not hooked by it.† Hugh Howey is self-published and doesn’t have that huge overhead that requires huge prices, so the cost of the Kindle versions of his work are very affordable.

After reading the Wool series, I realized that I found an author that describes scenes and scenarios differently than any other author I’ve read to date.† Hugh has a way of describing situations in such a way that feels as if you are right in the middle of it all.

What I mean is that in many books, authors paint a picture of a scene.† In Wool, Hugh defines the moment for the reader, from a personal perspective.

Interview with 'Wool' author,  Hugh HoweyI can only explain it to being akin to the difference of someone trying to describe a painting to you from the outside looking in, versus experiencing the painting from inside the vibrancy of the colors and lines that create the image.

I find that this aspect of the series is what pulled me in and engages me.† This descriptive style that he applies to Wool, seems different from his popular Molly Fyde series.† So if you loved his award winning Molly Fyde series, I think you will go bonkers (in a good way) over Wool, as it seems to be the more popular of his work on Amazon.

OK, I’ve blathered on long enough about the man’s writing style.† He was gracious enough to give me the time of day for the below exchange, so let’s get on with some words from the self-published indie book series author himself:

An Interview with Hugh Howey:

-What got you started thinking about being a writer?

Iíve always wanted to do this, but for the longest time I lacked the drive to get up every day and attack it like a job. After years of trying to write a novel and giving up, it wasnít until I started attending book conferences as a member of the press that I really got motivated to give it a serious shot. It was hearing the accounts of authors doing what I wanted to do, and it made me think it was possible. I went home from one of those conferences and planted my butt in my chair and set to work. That was almost four years ago. I havenít stopped.

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-What was your first written project? Something you never published, or…?

The first major work I ever undertook was “Molly Fyde” and the “Parsona Rescue,” which was picked up by a small publisher and sold pretty well. It won an endorsement from #1 NYT Bestseller Douglas Preston and earned rave reviews. The response to that book hooked me on the process of completing a work and putting it out there for consumption. Itís an addictive feeling.

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Wool 2-You seem to have many ideas at once. How do you pick and choose which one to work on?

Oh, yeah. Itís a huge problem. I have a half dozen novels that I want to get written and soon.† I choose partly based on what I feel most passionate about and partly on what readers are demanding next. The problem right now is that I have a considerable number of people demanding three different books!

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-Do you self-edit or have an editor?

I do 7 or 8 passes through the draft myself. My wife and mother do most of my editing. ūüôā

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– I was going to ask about your influences, but I was stalking… I mean researching your FB page and saw this… if there’s anything you can add, by all means!

“What sci fi influenced you? What books, authors, TV shows?

Battlestar Gallactica, Firefly, Ender’s Game, The Baroque Cycle, The Naked God Trilogy, Lost (what not to do), I, Robot, Foundation, Lucifer’s Hammer, Neal Gaiman, Star Wars.”

To this list, I would add comic books in general. Comics are great for learning how to mix a visual storytelling style with minimal amounts of dialog and exposition. Thereís also the need for each issue to have its own climax and cliffhanger, which I try to do with every chapter. Reading thousands of comics over the years has filled me with a decent sense of pacing and storytelling. Even I probably donít appreciate the contribution this medium has made for my craft.

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Molly Fyde and the Persona Rescue-In your bio, you talk about going to school and trying to write. But you don’t mention education specifics. Do you have an innate talent at writing, or did you take courses?

I havenít taken any creative writing classes, no. I switched my major from physics to English when I was at the College of Charleston, mostly because of this extraordinary professor I had for a pre-requisite class. Even this move was more because of my love of reading than any hope of becoming a writer.

I ended up dropping out of school after my junior year. I was living on a sailboat at the time, and wanted to go see the world. I sailed down to the Bahamas and tooled around for a year. I think those adventures probably did more for me than a few writing classes might have. In my opinion, reading is the best way to learn to write. Lots of reading and life experiences, so youíll have something to write about.

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-Is “I, Zombie” motivated in part by “I, Robot” or was that a coincidental title?

Itís definitely an homage to Asimovís classic. He gave life to robots. I hope to do the same for zombies. I donít aspire to do it as well as he did it, but I aim to pay my respects.

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'Half Way Home' by Hugh Howey-How did you come about selling on Amazon?

Oh, they let anyone publish! Which was good enough for me. I threw my books on the Kindle store over three years ago, more as an afterthought than anything else. It wasnít until this past year that Iíve begun to see the e-book as my primary product with physical books of secondary importance.

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-Was it easy to do/set up? Or did you have inside help?

It was, but itís hard to do well. I still canít do it very well. These days, I hire help for setting up my e-books. Many authors have no problem at all doing it themselves. I feel like I have to re-learn the process every time I publish a book.

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'The Hurricane' from Hugh Howey-Word on the street is the Ridley Scott is looking to purchase some film rights for Wool?† Seriously, did you think you’d get THAT far with Wool (or any other knitting substance?) to have something you wrote being considered to be a movie?

No, I never thought anything like this would ever happen to me. And yeah, Ridley Scott and Steve Zaillian bought the film rights to WOOL. Itís surreal.

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-Is that kind of giddy measurable, or just silly fun?

The latter. It all feels like a dream.

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-This final question is what I call my “Rocking Chair” question:

Imagine if you will, life is good, you’re sitting on a rocking chair, you’re retired and you’re reflecting back on your career. What do you see you taking away from your career? What is it that you hope you’ve accomplished with your writing that you would love reflecting on?

My career could end right now, and I would be beyond satisfied. All I ever hoped for was a handful of entertained readers. The number of people who have read my work just blows my mind. That so many of them have come away pleased? Thatís what Iíll sit back and marvel at.

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– THANK YOU Hugh to take the time for this interview!

My pleasure! Thanks for having me.

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You can go visit Hugh Howey and see where he’s at on his latest book, over at his website, or follow his Facebook page.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris July 2, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Thanks for this window into Hugh Howey’s world. I’m newly hooked having read the Wool omnibus and First shift and I can’t wait to get to his other works. Two thoughts: first readers should check out his short stories for free on his web site– they will give one a taste for his style. Second, I loved his acknowlegement if comic books and their influence on his writing. I promote reading in my school through comic books because they are motivating for visual learners, bridge reluctant readers and provide stories wth fabulous vocabulary- for much like poets…comic authors have a limitted word count and are forced to eliminate fillers.

Paul forcey July 2, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Until now I had never heard of these books but I think I will make a note of his name and go look at his works when I am in the bookshop next.

Am I the only person left who still buys from bookshops rather than Amazon?

jali July 2, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Great interview sir! I am a fan of Hugh Howey and I think that you shared a great conversation with us. Thank you.

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