For the first quarter of 2020, my Wednesday interviews will be with authors who are part of When Valor Must Hold, the upcoming anthology of fantasy stories published by Chris Kennedy Publishing.
Today I’m interviewing Christopher Woods. His story Darkness Before the Dawn was a bit of new thing for him. He hadn’t done much fantasy writing before, but he’s a great writer so he gave me a great story. Also, it had a dragon and an ice wizard in it. If that sounds like the cover for When Valor Must Hold, it’s not a coincidence.
Interview: Christopher Woods
Why are you here?
- What are your influences? Most of the influences for my writing came from reading umpteen million books over a thirty year span. You can probably see different things as you read my work that remind you of other writers of days gone by. I’m not even sure if I can identify most of the particular places where this can be seen because there were so many. The biggest influence I have in my life is always my wife, Wendy. She makes me a better person and keeps me going when I feel like quitting. Her heart is big enough that I have trouble understanding how it all fits in such a tiny person.
- Who are some favorite other creators? I have a long list of authors I dearly love, some living, some gone. Louis L’Amour may have been the best story teller I have ever read. Edgar Rice Burroughs told stories of heroes, with good and evil at odds with one another. Heroes triumph in the end. David Weber was the reason I got into Military Sci-Fi by writing his Honor Harrington series. Later I met the man and he is one of the nicest people I know in the industry. I have to give props to Chris Kennedy, who turned a writing career into a very successful publishing career. There are a slew of writers I have read that could be added to the list but it would take a novel to list them all.
- What made you a creator in the first place? I have always written short stories but nothing that was intended to see the world at large. An active imagination and a lot of comic books had me writing stories in various comic universes. I don’t even know where those stories ever got too. The things I have published are much more recent. They sprang from a time when I was basically living in the attic room at my dad’s. I had gotten divorced, had my home foreclosed on, and gone through bankruptcy. The economy had just tanked and I was working a factory job that only gave us three days per week. I had a great deal of time and very little money, so I wrote a book.
- Why did you choose to create what you create? The first book, Soulguard, came from a dream I had three nights in a row. Seemed like a good place to start so I did. I have several things I want to do. I want to continue from several of the short stories I have done over the last year. The fantasy, Darkness Before the Dawn is one of them. Traitor’s Moon from the Salvage Universe of Kevin Steverson begs to be continued. There are three more Soulguard books to finish out that series. I would like to do a western as close to the style of Louis L’Amour as I can manage. In fact, I would like to write several.
Describe your great Lab of Creation?
Where do you work? Mostly from home. Sometimes I work away from the house and I write there after the work is done, but most of my writing happens in my office.
- Do you listen to music? If so, give some examples. I am a huge fan of Heavy Metal. Five Finger Death Punch, Seether, Stone Sour, and Godsmack, to name a few. Lately I have found Shaman’s Harvest and really like their music.
- What other things exist in your productive environment? I work in a roomful of stuff my wife has procured to give away at the conventions. There is also a stupid cat that seems to like walking across my hwfwfguwfgwfjjffrncusjuq28 keyboard.
- What things have you tried that haven’t worked? I’ve tried to write when I was physically exhausted and it doesn’t work very well. So now I try to write in the mornings before I go to work. It seems to work a lot better for me.
What are your superpowers?
- What kinds of things do you like in your creations? I want a happy ending. Sometimes it will be laced with loss but my heroes win in the end.
- What are specific techniques you do well? I’ve been told my dialogue is very good and the humor is enjoyed.
- What are some favorite successes you’ve achieved, especially things you had to struggle to overcome? Becoming a published author is probably the greatest success I can think of aside from finding Wendy. I don’t know how I got lucky enough to find her but I do know how I became a published author. She kept telling me “just do it, people will love it”, until I did and I found out she was right.
What will Lex Luthor use to defeat you?
- What are some of the challenges you have faced that frustrated you? I can never seem to get the work done where I can just focus on the writing. I had planned to be done by the end of 2019 and I still have a month or two ahead of me.
- Do you have any creative failures which taught you something? What were those lessons? Readers may not follow you to another series. Sometimes they won’t even follow you to another character in the same series. There is no guarantee people will read the “next” book. The lesson is to just keep going, even when the readers don’t follow. At some point you will get new readers, you just have to keep doing the work.
- How do you overcome normal slow points like writer’s block? Sometimes I will take a break and play some video games. Sometimes it will be wood working. Music helps jar me out of any writer’s block too.
- Which mistake would you try to keep other creators from making? Don’t give up too soon. There may be a time when you feel like you just aren’t good enough. When that happens, try to learn what the problem is and rectify it. Don’t give in. I wrote Fallen World and it sat doing nothing for close to two years. I decided to approach it from a different angle and put it with Chris Kennedy where we opened the world to other writers. It’s now selling and growing. Don’t give up. Look for a different approach.
- If you could go back and tell yourself anything about writing, what would it be? Start sooner.
- Favorite Muppet? Animal
- Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of? Shaman’s Harvest
- Favorite Superhero? Wolverine
- Favorite 1970s TV show? Dukes of Hazzard
- Favorite Weird Color? Candy apple red
- Favorite Sports Team? Not a sports guy
- Best Game Ever? Skyrim
- Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Fall
- Best Present You’ve Ever Received? Wendy
- What Cartoon Character Are You? Grape Ape
- Your Wrestler Name? Fat Boy Slim
- Your Signature Wrestling Move? Run around screaming with my arms in the air
- What Do You Secretly Plot? Conquering the world
- How Will You Conquer the World? Can’t let you in on the secret… Yet. Soon.
- Best Thing From the 80s? Hair bands
- Favorite Historical Period? Old west
- Most Interesting Person In History? The first guy to literally strap a rocket to his back and go into space. That guy would be interesting, I believe.
- Steak Temperature? Med Rare
- Favorite Chip Dip? Sour cream and ranch
- Favorite Cereal? Marshmallow Fruity Pebbles
- What Do You Eat For Your Last Meal? Something loaded with carbs
- Beverage(s) of Choice? Diet Pepsi
- Do You Have Pets? A fat dog and a retarded cat.
- What Actor or Actress Should Portray You in Your Biopic? Kevin Smith or Jack Black
- What Question Should I Add to the Lightning Round? You got it covered.
What question(s) would you like to ask me?
How goes the book writing on your end? What have you got coming up?
Rob’s Answer: I’m in that drudge stage on None Call Me Mother where I’m juggling 110k and turning them into a story instead a random collection of words held hostage. I’m also writing my short story for the next 4HU anthology and soon will right a prequel for my story from We Dare.
Tell me again where we can find your stuff?
- theprofessionalliar.com https://www.facebook.com/ChristopherWoodsSoulguard
- Daskada, the Legend – Feb 28,
- Farmer’s Creed– available now
- Salvage Conquest—Available now
- Give Me LibertyCon (co-edited with Toni Weisskopf)
- Freedom’s Challenge (Soulguard Book 6)
- Dogs of God: Science Fiction According to Chris (anthology)
- Co-authored book in Fallen World with Chris Kennedy (as yet unnamed)
- New story in Salvage Universe anthology number 2, Farmer’s Accord (The Fallen World)
- Traitor’s Moon novel (Salvage Universe)
And where can we find you?
- FantaSci in Durham, NC March 20 – 22
- LibertyCon in Chattanooga, TN June 12-14
- DragonCon in Atlanta, GA Sep 3-7,
Do you have a creator biography?
Christopher Woods, teller of tales, writer of fiction, and professional liar is the author of multiple series. His popular Soulguard series, the Legend series in the Four Horsemen Universe, The Fallen World, and Traitor’s Moon in Kevin Steverson’s Salvage Universe. He has written nine novels and been featured in several anthologies. As a carpenter of thirty years, he spends his time building, whether it be homes or worlds. He lives in Woodbury, TN with his wonderful wife and daughter. To see what he is doing just go to www.theprofessionalliar.com .
Thanks to Christopher for taking the time to answer my questions.
If you have any suggestions or comments about this interview format, let me know so I can keep tweaking it.
Also, thanks to you for reading. If you’re interested in any of the other interviews I’ve done, you can find them all here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?cat=326. If you are a creator, especially an independent creator, and you want to be spotlighted in a future interview, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, if you want to join my mailing list, where I’ll announce every interview, as well as what’s going on in my life, go to www.robhowell.org and fill out the form (Name and Email Address) or drop me an email and I’ll add you.
Have a great day.
Author of the Shijuren-series of novels
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