Author Interview with Chad A. B. Wilson

Dragon Soul Press sat down for an interview with Author Chad A. B. Wilson, featured in the Dragons and Heroines anthology.


1. What inspired you to start writing?

When I was in second grade, I would write narratives out of the movies I watched. The first thing I ever wrote was a retelling of Charlotte’s Web, complete with dialogue and everything. I even got the punctuation right. In sixth grade, I wrote a zany time travel novel inspired by The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Later in middle school, I began writing horror stories inspired by Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Peter Benchley. So I’ve always been inspired by what I’m reading. When I read a good horror story, I want to write a good horror story. I’m not in competition with the greats, but I want to try to do what I enjoy and make something that other people will enjoy. That’s really the motivation: inspire enjoyment in others. Some people, they just feel compelled to write, and their art comes first, but for me, it’s always outward focused. When I was in a punk band in college, I wrote a song called “I wanna be a sellout.” I’ve always wanted people to enjoy what I do. It’s not about art or the idea that people don’t understand my work because it’s great art. I want to write what people enjoy. I spent 10 years working on a PhD in Victorian literature. Once I finished that, I went back to reading the fun stuff I always loved—fantasy and science fiction. So then I was inspired again! I started writing again about two years ago.

2. What comes first, the plot or characters?

Definitely the plot. I know that may sound weird, and maybe it’s because I’m a novice and not that great at it, but the real world is full of boring people. What makes things exciting are external events. I’m not writing stories about the internal struggles of real people, after all. No, what I need are exciting events; then I figure out how a person will deal with those events, and the character is fleshed out along the way.

3. How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

I’ve read enough about writing science fiction and fantasy that I’m aware of the trap of world building. Basically, I don’t do much. I let the plots drive the world building, and then I go back and revise. I’ve written two novels (unpublished) and a dozen short stories that take place in Grenmir’s world of Searithia and the city Falsea, so the world has become fleshed out over time.

4. Describe your writing space.

We built a shed behind our house and decked it out as a “studio” after the pandemic hit and the entire family was working and studying from home. My wife works in there during the day, and then I go write in there after most of the house is down for the night. It’s just a simple desk but it’s cozy with few distractions.

5. What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

I find satisfying conclusions to be the hardest. Ideas come easily, but shaping them into problems that can be solved is difficult. I used to love the heist genre, for example, because of the way the protagonists would solve the problems (that they always anticipated beforehand). I’ve tried to write my own heist stories, and they always come up flat. It’s the interesting solution that eludes me. I imagine audiences can see my conclusions from a mile away.

6. What does success mean to you? What is the definition of success?

Like I said, I want people to read and like my work. That’s really it.

7. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I have three unpublished novels. My favorite is my latest: a bizarro, supernatural tour of Texas led by a middle-aged alcoholic gunslinger who must save the world. It’s called “Grit Versus the Necromantic Society.” Its absolutely bonkers. One chapter is told by an armadillo. In another, Grit is saved by an army of squirrels. He meets a bunch of famous ghosts, too. It was so fun to write.

8. Where do you get your inspiration?

I am often inspired by travel. Atlas Obscura (a travel website of the odd and bizarre) has inspired some of my current work. I know I have a story when I pull off the interstate and find something so weird or creepy that it sticks with me. Or sometimes I just get images in my head that I must write a story around it.

9. Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?

I just finished another story about the rogue Grenmir, and I’m working on revising my Grit novel. I may seek out a publisher or may self-publish. I haven’t decided.

10. Where can readers learn more about you?

I can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Author Interview with J.R. Rustrian

Dragon Soul Press took a moment to interview J.R. Rustrian, author of The Dragon’s Den in the upcoming History anthology.


1. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I’ve been writing in some way since I was five years old. I would write three sentence stories in second grade as an assignment and write fan fiction in middle school and high school for myself and friends. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I decided to take a crack at writing fiction. Looking back, I realize that the passion for writing was always there.

2. What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

In my opinion, the ability to create a live, vivid character is a good element of writing. Using your unique voice to create somebody that speaks to a reader can make or break a story. What also makes for good writing is a world that you can see yourself interacting with, a place that you will either want to live in or be terrified of being in.

3. What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

Recently, I’ve noticed a lack of focus. Ideas are there, but difficult to translate into words on a page. Characters are also difficult to deal with since I place so much emphasis on whether or not these people are believable and compelling.

4. Is there lots to do before you drive in and start writing the story?

It usually starts with a premise, then evolves into who is part of that premise and where. I’ll try with an outline of all the ideas in my head, and try to put that into something resembling cohesive. I’ll jot down character backgrounds, world settings, scenes I want to see into a journal that I keep close. Then, I’ll dive in and see if anything comes from all that. 

5. Do you have a favorite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special.

I wrote a story for Brave New Girls with a character named Leona. She’s a brainy, techy girl, but awkward and full of self doubt. What I love about her is that how much she has passion for her inventions and science in general, but struggles with typical teenage issues. In creating her, I tried to make her a bit unconventional. Most of her growth is personal and emotional, but never loses that spark that makes her who she is.

6. Where do you draw inspiration from?

I’m a big history fan, so a lot of ideas come from books that I’ve read and classes that I’ve attended. I’m also Hispanic, so I turn to Mesoamerican stories and settings for a lot of inspiration. Real life also offers a rich gold mine of ideas.

7. Who is the author you most admire in your genre?

I’m a big Philip K. Dick fan. His stories are off-beat and give a more relatable view of science fiction that I tend to emulate in stories. Michael Crichton is also great. There’s a lot of suspense and tension that just grips you.

8. What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I love playing video games, cooking, hiking and watching movies.

9. Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you.

I’m a huge heavy metal fan. I’ve been listening to the genre since high school. There’s nothing more calming than screaming guitars and loud drums after a long day.

10. Where can readers learn more about you?

Check me out on Twitter.