March 5, 2012

Author Interview: John Hennessy

Please welcome to A Three Way Tie: John Hennessy, author of Life Descending, part one of The Cry of Havoc, an epic fantasy series. Check out his website for more information here

When and why did you begin writing? 

Between my sophomore and junior years of high school I was on an Alaskan cruise with my parents, and I spent a lot of time in the cabin reading. I picked up Diablo: Legacy of Blood in Juno. That was when ideas started flying at me: ideas about a cursed armor and what that could do to a person trapped within. I started writing some of my ideas down my junior year, and by my senior year, I had enough written to use as my Senior Exiting Project. 

So going into college I knew I wanted to be a writer, and I had started out planning to major in Creative Writing, but I ended up enjoying Liberal Studies classes more and went that route. After my sophomore year is when I really took to writing, I became much more serious, and the bulk of The Cry of Havoc: Life Descending blossomed that summer.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? What is the easiest?
The hardest part of Life Descending was the editing, and worrying about the punctuation and all of that, and if the story was complex enough. I didn’t want to write something too simple, I really wanted it to have some depth that all great stories have. 

The easiest part was the landscape and the events that occur. Developing the world was the easiest for me, probably because it was by far the most fun. Thinking up characters and problems for them, I loved it.

What music do you listen to while you write?

I don’t listen to any music when I write, at least not anymore. I listen to my two parakeets—well, really just the one, the other one sleeps—serenade me constantly. They are better than any music you can find, in a sense, because they are live shows. I used to listen to all sorts of genres from local hip-hop from Seattle to rock bands like Brand New.

What inspires you?

Outside of fantasy and science fiction, my professors and their lectures have really inspired me. I get a ton of ideas from what they talk about, and what they had me read when I was in school. It really pushed me out of the typical genres that I read in high school, and into completely new worlds. I also draw from documentaries. I love animal documentaries, and I get quite a few ideas from nature shows.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Hidden talents? I can’t sing, or dance, or anything like that, now. I used to be a fair runner, and I learned what endurance means from that.

 What are your current projects?

I’m working on a YA apocalyptic short story right now, and the second part of The Cry of Havoc.

What book are you reading now?

J.H. I’m reading Orcs, A Clash of Kings, Escaping from Reality Without Really Trying: 40 Years of High Seas Travels and Lowbrow Tales, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, and some others that I pick up from time to time.

Quick: Vampires or Shapeshifter? Why?

Oh that’s easy: shapeshifters. Vampires get kind of boring, there are pretty much always the same. Shapeshifters can be ANYTHING, and the possibilities are near inexhaustible.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

You always hear—as a writer—write everyday, write everyday. But another thing I think is important is to read, and to read outside of your genre. For example, even if you don’t write romance, hate romance, and will never think about writing romance, you should read one or two just to understand the appeal of them to readers, and maybe incorporate some aspect from romance that works for your genre, say science fiction. You’ll be surprised what is to be learned from different genres that can be used for your own.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

If you pick up my book, and even if you don’t, please check out my map on my website. You can find it here. Also, check out my reviews, I have gotten a lot of great reviews, but to be honest, no real sales. If you are a fantasy or science fan, try my first four chapters; you can find them on my website, free to read.

Thank you for the interview!

No, thank you John!

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