When I made the decision to start writing a book blog it was as a medium to help me get my thoughts and opinions on the books I was reading out there. Over time it has evolved and turned into a way for me to meet like-minded individuals, find dozens of inspirations for books to read and also helped me showcase the work of indie authors. Just a couple of weeks ago I reviewed the ‘Americosis’ by Haydn Wilks. He was kind enough to give up some of his time for a quick interview for the blog and here’s what he had to say.
If you had to use three words to describe your book ‘Americosis Vol.1’ to someone who was contemplating reading it, which words would you use?
Judging from feedback I’ve gotten from readers so far, ‘vulgar’, ‘violent’ and ‘wild’ seem to crop up a lot. Whether you consider those adjectives to be positive or negative should give you a good idea of whether you’ll enjoy the book or not!
Do you have a routine or a special place that you do the majority of your writing and how do you overcome writer’s block?
I try to just force myself into writing as often as possible. I’ll often go to a coffee shop to write, as I find knowing I’m basically paying to be somewhere with the purpose of writing makes me less likely to get distracted. In the same way, I find I get a lot more done following a method of doing a first draft by hand and then typing it up on a computer later. Writing on computer, it’s far too easy to go back and change stuff as you’re going along, spend ages rewording the same few sentences over and over again, then just click onto Facebook or Reddit and lose an hour clicking links, watching clips and reading articles. Writer’s block isn’t so much of a problem as just getting the work done; I’ve lots of ideas I’d like to write about, sitting down and getting them written is the hard part
Is there any particular authors or books that have inspired you? And what is it about their writing that you love so much?
I really got obsessed with Chuck Palahniuk and Bret Easton Ellis when I first read their books as a teenager, than a few years later I did the same thing with Jack Kerouac and Charles Bukowski. I think Palahniuk and Easton Ellis’ books have an air of cynicism that was irresistible to my angsty teenage self, while the back attraction with Kerouac and Bukowski is how they weave fictional narratives out of their own real-life experiences.
Americosis has a lot of storylines going on, how did you come up with the plot and interweave them together so well?
Thanks for saying they came together well! Americosis is the second book I’ve put out, and my first novel, The Death of Danny Daggers, also focused on a large cast of characters whose stories overlap and interweave. I think in some ways it felt more instinctive to me to do that, rather than focusing on a smaller number of characters. Maybe it’s kind of an attention deficit kind of thing, wanting to jump between lots of different stories, and I think with the first book more than Americosis, it was kind of reflecting the way everyone you ever meet now ends up on your Facebook friends list or permanently connected to you in some way. You meet someone in a bar on holiday, have a fun night, add them on Facebook and never speak to or see them again, but you’ll have this constant stream of updates about their life – I guess this idea of expanded social networks is something that’s worked its way into my writing. As for the plot itself, it was a gradual idea that kind of snowballed over time as I would add more and more notes about it until I had enough elements to work with that I decided to sit down and start writing it.
One of the things I loved about Americosis was that it pulled me in enough to want to read more, what would you say the trick is to engaging your audience in a novella?
I’m glad you think so! My first attempts to write something were all screenplays, and something that I’ve carried over from the reams of screenplay writing guides I pored over as a teenager were each scene needing to have some kind of purpose. I ended up cutting tens of thousands of unnecessary words from my last novel, and it made me release that in a novel you may have way more space to go off on tangents and divert from the plot, but scenes still need to have some kind of relevance to be engaging. I think with the first volume of Americosis, having lots of different strands and characters that I want to introduce that will be built on more in the rest of series, it was quite easy to make the novella very fast-paced.
I believe you’re currently penning the 2nd volume to Americosis, can you give us an idea of what we can expect?
I’m nearing the end of the writing and editing process, I’m hoping Volume 2 will be out within the next few weeks. It’s carrying on directly from the end of Volume 1, so all the story strands that are introduced there are continuing, but it’s going to become bigger as well, covering more of America, both in terms of the story’s geography and the kind of characters included. In Volume 1, the time traveller who’s come to save America says he’s gained all his knowledge of American culture from movies; in Volume 2, he decides there’s a particular group of movie superheroes who he needs to reach and a supervillain that he needs to take out, not releasing they’re all just actors. And Hank is in hot pursuit, so you can expect some action-packed scenes where those two collide. Back in New York, the virus is spreading further and further, and John Baldini decides to target his estrange wife, Erica. It’d be giving too much away to say what goes down between those two!
What are you reading at the moment? Are there any books due to be released that you’re looking forward to?
I’ve just started reading David Mitchell’s ‘The Bone Clocks’, and found it really engaging so far. In general, it takes me a while to get around to books, so I don’t keep an eye on the upcoming release lists; I’m much more likely to hear about a book through reading reviews when it’s just come out, or pick up on a recommendation from a friend. A couple of books I’m looking forward to reading when I get around to them are the autobiography of Frank Turner, an English singer-songwriter who went from a moderately successful but really good post-hardcore band to selling out Wembley Arena with his solo stuff. I’m sure his years of roughing it, sleeping on sofas and touring the world playing shows will make for interesting reading. And I just heard the other day about a writer from my hometown of Caerphilly, Thomas Morris, who’s written a short story collection set there called ‘We Don’t Know What We’re Doing’ that’s gotten good reviews, I’ll definitely be interested to check that out.
Any final words?
If anyone reading this is interested in checking out Americosis Vol. 1, the eBook is now available completely free from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Smashwords. Volume 2 will hopefully be out by the end of the month, early September at the latest. And you can also get my first book, The Death of Danny Daggers, as a paperback or eBook in all the same places!
You can read more about Haydn here http://www.haydnwilks.com/ which also includes links to the places you can buy his work.
If you’re an indie author and would like me to review your work then please do get in touch.
Happy reading fellow bookworms.