Jason M. Hough
Within in your career in the gaming industry and now as an author you have focused on the sci-fi genre, for you, what is the appeal of the sci-fi genre?
First off, thanks for having me on the site and congrats on three years! Sci-fi appeals to me because it is at once fantastical but also very much grounded in our reality.
Before becoming an author you were a 3D artist and Game Designer for some very popular and well known games, why did you change to writing?
I left the game industry to join a large communications company. The work was more stable and came with great benefits, but it was almost completely devoid of any creativity. So I took up writing simply to satisfy my ingrained creative itch.
Does writing allow you to express a different side of your creative mind? Have you learned anything about yourself by becoming and author?
Writing draws heavily upon the visual skills I picked up as a 3D artist, but of course the medium is very different. Instead of modeling, texturing and rendering an envisioned scene, it must instead be cast into words. Having the initial idea or vision is still a critical part of the process, but learning how to express such things with language was a skill I had to learn.
I learned a lot about myself, but one thing in particular is that I really thrive creatively if I have a deadline. When I was writing at my own pace with no real goal I made very little progress. It wasn’t until I tried “National Novel Writing Month” that I realized a specific goal and deadline, even if arbitrary, helps me immensely.
What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?
Interesting question! I suppose a historical murder mystery. Not only would I need to do an insane amount of research to get the details of the period correct, but I also imagine that writing a good murder mystery must be incredibly difficult to pull off. Combining the two together… seriously, hat’s off to authors who can do that with any success.
What do you think are the key elements that need to be achieved within a sci-fi novel in order to make it successful?
I actually don’t think it’s different than any other genre. Great story, great characters, and all else is just details. If I ran the world it wouldn’t be called science fiction, it would be called future fiction, and simply denote a story set at some date after today (as opposed to historical fiction). To call it science fiction immediately implies a heavy dose of science, and I don’t personally think that is necessarily required. In fact, I deliberately kept the Dire Earth books light on science in hopes of making them more accessible to people who are turned off by the more science-heavy works in the genre. Don’t get me wrong, I love those kinds of books, I just don’t think it should be a requirement for writing stories set in the future.
Your Dire Earth Cycle series appears to be part sci-fi, part political thriller part post-apocalyptic novel, was it your plan to blend all of these genres together to appeal to more audiences?
It occurred to me one day that a space elevator provided an opportunity to tie these things together in a very tangible, natural way. So yes, it was my plan to blend them, but not because I thought it would increase the appeal. I simply thought it would be a fun thing to write. I also thought it would be neat if someone posted the word catatonic to my facebook page, and that if people did that on the day you post this interview I’d pick one of them at random for a free signed book. It’ll be interesting to see how well that approach is received!
Skyler is a very interesting character, almost a reluctant hero, did you want to portray him that way or is that how his character developed as the story unfolded?
One of the things I wanted to explore in the books was the manifestation of leadership, and how different people go about that. Skyler is interesting, and fun to write, because he’s not especially good at leading people and yet the role has fallen to him.
Why did you decide to have all three novels published within one year (not that I am complaining about it) but it seems like a different publicity technique that is actually becoming more popular?
That was actually the publishers decision, and honestly I was reluctant to go along with it simply because it meant waiting an extra six months for my first book to release. As a debut author, the only thing you really want to do is hold your book in your hands. So, waiting was tough, but this release schedule worked so well for Naomi Novik and Kevin Hearne that it would have been foolish to say no.
Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share? Another Trilogy perhaps?
Nothing to share right now! At the moment I’m writing short stories that go along with these novels, and in my spare time I’m plotting some new material. But, nothing is under contract yet, so I have nothing official to report. Soon, I hope!
What is one book on your shelf that you cannot wait to read (can either be a new or old favorite).
I’m anxiously awaiting THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES by Scott Lynch. It’s not on my shelf yet, but I have a spot reserved for it.
Thank you once again Jason for being part of my Blogoversary. Jason has very kindly offered one COMPLETE copy of his Dire Earth Cycle trilogy, which means you get all the books to read right away, which is amazing. Make sure to fill out the form before to enter and be ready for more author interview and giveaways to come.
a Rafflecopter giveaway