Thanks to Millie Ho for tagging all her followers on this!
Why Do I Write What I Do?
I’m a 90’s kid. I grew up with Disney movies, ensemble action disaster movies like Independence Day and Jurassic Park, and my mom’s profuse love for Star Wars (she has a Star Wars room in her house to this day.)
So, I like fun stories with big stakes and deep relationships between characters. A story usually has to have both elements for me to fully appreciate it. I can’t bring myself to care about all-action-no-substance flicks like Transformers. The Fast and Furious movies, on the other hand, have a HUGE amount of heart and great character chemistry. I also like watching Moulin Rouge simply to see Christian and Satine be in love; a movie that revolves around a good relationship can sway me, even if there isn’t much epic action going on.
I want to write fun commercial or genre fiction with characters you actually care about. It may be plot-driven, but that doesn’t mean the characters should be boring! If you’re not shipping all my characters together by the end of the book, I feel like I have failed. Additionally, the themes of my work usually have to do with science, space, or religion. That’s just a general statement, and the basis of my blog title “Aether House.”
How Does Your Writing Process Work?
1. Have an idea. Let it stew in my mind or a year or more. Paradisa stewed for 4. “Shannon-verse” has been stewing for 19. My short story Goliath stewed for about 10 months.
2. Decide on a project. I’ve got a masterlist of about 80 ideas, with about 10 that are favorites, and it’s often a process just picking one.
3. Research, character design, world building, etc etc. All that fun stuff to work out who I’m writing about.
4. Outline the book. REALLY outline. Most of my book have a 10k-20k word treatment that breaks down every chapter, every conversation, etc. It’s like a miniature first draft. I am not a “pantser.” Writing without a plan is miserable to me.
5. Analyze and revise the outline. When it’s happy, begin writing!
6. Write the first draft in 1-2 months.
7. Revise for a year or more, doing at least eight drafts and three rounds of beta readers. At least one of those rounds will be copyeditors, and at least one will be strangers. I’ll usually start on a 2nd book during this time, because I’ll have down time during those reading periods.
What Am I Working On?
My novel Paradisa is on its fourth draft. Paradisa follows a half-Iranian half-Irish chef named Connor Bishara, who’s lived on autopilot since DADT discharged him from Navy SEALs. His only joy comes from supporting his much younger sister, Clara, as she pursues an engineering degree.
On the very first page, their car hits a pedestrian that is definitely not human – it’s a Spectre, or a strange new creature that gods nor angels can explain. Without giving too much away, I’ll say that their near-miss with a Spectre entangles their lives with the archangel Raphael, as well as the Greek gods Hephaestus and Aphrodite, who reveal that *all* mythology is real. Unfortunately, even the pantheons of the world are not strong enough to defeat the demonic threat hovering over Earth…but with Connor and Clara’s help, perhaps they could be.
How Does My Work Differ From Others In Its Genre?
I write human protagonists. Not elves/vampires/half-chimeras. My secondary characters have extraordinary abilities, but the story is told from the eyes of humans. One issue I take with most fantasy is that the leads are all magical, or half-magic/half-human, as a way to give them great power while still making them relatable. But I like to take the Doctor Who approach – I write about the ordinary human companions of someone extraordinary, and show why the powerful person and the human person can be equally useful and strong. I don’t go for prophecies, “chosen ones,” or any sort of destiny that points towards my humans being ‘special.’ They get thrust into the supernatural world due to circumstances beyond their control, but they’re ultimately the ones who choose this life.
Now fly, my pretties! I tag all of you!