Dragon Soul Press sat down to interview Austin Worley, an author in the Murder and Mayhem and Organic Ink: Volume 5 anthologies.
1. What inspired you to start writing?
My biggest inspiration to start writing was my 12th Grade Creative Writing teacher, Ms. Sullivan. Before her class, I had never really considered writing professionally. Her encouragement and confidence in my work ultimately led me to take the plunge. And here I am now: a published author and poet.
2. How do you handle writer’s block?
My first method for avoiding writer’s block is to plot out everything before I begin writing, because I find the only time writer’s block is a problem is if I don’t already know where I’m headed or how to get there. When it does set in despite my best efforts, I just push through the block as best as possible. Either the block will subside, or I’ll eventually finish, because even a paragraph or two every day is progress.
3. What comes first, the plot or characters?
For me, it varies wildly. Sometimes a unique idea for a character suddenly takes shape. This was the case with The Silver Shrike. I loved the idea of a superhero who wanted to prove to the world—and himself, deep down—that he was nothing like his villainous family. Other times, a very loose plot would grab my imagination. “An Oath to the Sun” in Murder & Mayhem was inspired by a little research into methanol poisoning, which made for a great murder mystery.
4. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Oh, this is a tough one. Personal quirks are so difficult to identify yourself. If I had to choose, I’d say the gender imbalance of my protagonists across my entire body of work is my most interesting writing quirk. Most of my stories published and unpublished have female leads. Part of this is because of recurring characters—roughly two-thirds of my published works star either Arlise Dun or Topsannah Price—but even if you only go by unique protagonists, there’s a definite slant towards women. I don’t know why. Lots of male writers find it difficult to write female characters, but that’s never been an issue for me.
5. What does success mean to you? What is the definition of success?
To me, success means my work ends up in front of readers. Earning a living purely from writing might be my pie-the-sky dream, but readers enjoying my stories is enough success for me.
6. On a typical day, how much time do you spend writing?
Between three and five hours in front of the keyboard is pretty typical, but I spend a lot more time working on writing-related stuff in my head.
7. Do you find it more challenging to write the first book in a series or to write the subsequent novels?
Series are tough because the deeper into them you go, the more limited you are by what came before. First stories or novels are always easier because you have so much freedom, especially in terms of character and setting.
8. What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?
Persist. There are going to be times where you doubt your writing is any god. Times when you want to give up on a story or even writing in general, especially once the rejections start piling up. But if you throw in the towel, you’ll never achieve your goals. Persistence is the only pathway to success, whatever success looks like to you.
9. Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?
Right now, I’m preparing for two novels. The first is a novelization of my second-chance superhero romance novelette “Law, Love, and the Whippoorwill”. I feel like expanding this story into a novel will allow me to better develop the characters and their reconciliation. My other project is a military sci-fi romance influenced by Honor Harrington and the work of Linnea Sinclair. Most of the subgenre is centered on marines or space fighter pilots, so I’d like to bring more of a naval focus to the table. Once the pre-writing is finished, I’ll dive into writing whichever one fires my imagination more.
10. Where can readers learn more about you?
You can find out more about me and my work on my website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, DeviantArt, and Wattpad.