Tag Archives: Rich Weyand

Interview: Rich Weyand

Greetings all

Today’s interview is with Rich Weyand, a smart guy I’ve enjoyed meeting at LibertyCons past. He just finished his Empire double-trilogy and he’s justifiably proud of them.

Interview: Rich Weyand

What is your quest?

Rich Weyand
Rich Weyand

I want to write books people can’t put down, that read easily, with characters that engage them, that they can open up on a rainy Saturday morning, read in one sitting, and then feel uplifted and happy and go out to dinner. Books that make you think but don’t give you a headache, that surprise you with their twists but aren’t contrived, that make you wish you lived in that world and were friends with that character. Books that reaffirm old-fashioned notions of love, honor, duty, and loyalty, and how they play out in one’s life.

What is your favorite color?

Emotion is the big one. Not gut-wrenching stuff, but where you can laugh and cry and love along with the characters in the book. Where you can see things through their eyes and experience what they’re experiencing. This can be hard to do as a third-person omniscient writer. I’m not inside their heads in the narrative. So I need to include scenes where characters open up to their familiars, and try to express where they’re at in their head. It can be as simple as a tear running down someone’s cheek, or as complex as five pages of dialogue. The big thing with emotion is to make your characters human.

What is the average flying speed of an unladen paint brush?

It took me a while before I could pace a book properly. I don’t do filler, and my books move through the plot pretty fast. And I’m a pantser — I never know where the book is going or how it’s going to get there. That makes it hard to know where you are in the story and how much of it there is to tell. So my initial novels are all over the place with regard to length. Anywhere from 45,000 to 95,000 words. (I don’t write those 150,000-word things. That’s two books to me.) The six Empire books all came out at 80,000 words, give or take a couple thousand. That’s a skill you learn with practice.

What are the powers of your personal Holy Hand Grenade?

I think the biggest is to build a plot on the fly. As I say, I’m a pantser, and so I don’t plot things out in advance. I could never come up with a plot as twisty as the Empire books in advance. At one point in Empire: Commander, I just thought, “What if these two secondary characters ran into each other at this point, and one recognized the other?” That led to a whole series of ramifications I could never have set out in advance, and affected the overall story in a major way. How do you plan that in advance? Others may ask, How do you have that happen without planning it out in advance? Don’t know. I just write the part of the story I see right in front of me and follow it wherever it goes.

Lightning Round

  • Cake or Pie? Pie
  • Lime or Lemon? Key Lime Pie
  • Favorite Chip Dip? Onion
  • Favorite Cereal? Honey Bunches of Oats with raisins on it
  • Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of? B. B. Blunder
  • Favorite 1970s TV show? Early SNL.
  • Best Thing From the 80s? Front-wheel-drive sedans. Driving live-axle rear-wheel-drive cars in snow is not fun.
  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Fall. It’s pretty, and not too hot or cold.
  • Favorite Pet?  Spooker. A cat that was THE cat, the quintessential cat.
  • Best Game Ever? Risk played on two boards. Like alternate universes, with transfer points.
  • Coffee or Tea? Coffee. More specifically, four-shot latte.
  • Sci-Fi or Fantasy? MIL SF

What question(s) would you like to ask me?

Why do you write?

Rob’s Answer: Sort of like the French Foreign Legion, it’s write or die. That’s a bit melodramatic, but at the time I started writing I was coming off a failed marriage, couldn’t find a job because I was too educated, and literally spent day after day doing nothing productive. It’s a good thing to not work one day a week. It’s an awful thing to not do anything productive for weeks on end.

Finishing A Lake Most Deep was huge for me. It’s raw and I made a bunch of errors, but I had finished a novel. I had accomplished something. 

I’m proud of what I’ve written, and I really like what I’m writing at the moment. If I never publish anything more, I’ll still have six novels and a number of short stories to my credit. I even have fans not related to me. Five years ago, I didn’t always get out of bed.

I’m not the hardest worker out there, certainly not compared to my parents. However, I *have* to work consistently, I have to contribute, or bad things happen. At the most basic level, I keep writing because if I don’t, I’ll go far too gently into the dark night.

Tell me again where we can find your stuff? 

And where can we find you?

I attend LibertyCon every year. Otherwise I’m not much of a crowds person.

Do you have a creator biography?

Rich Weyand is a computer consultant and digital forensic analyst. He was born in Illinois and lived there almost 60 years before he and his wife engineered an escape to the hills of southern Indiana in 2011. His undergraduate and graduate education is in Physics, and he’s never really recovered. He is currently heading up the launch of a computer software start-up.

Final question for you: What should I have asked but did not? 

You should have asked me how fast I write. And how I write so fast so consistently.  

I write about 15,000 words a week when I am in writing mode. That’s 2500 words a day, usually six days a week. I don’t take a specific day off every week, I just end up getting stuck doing something else about one day a week. Some people think that’s fast, but when I can see the story in front of me, I want to get it down. If I have to stop before I hit a stare-out-the-window point, I’ll write the first paragraph of the next scene before I stop so I have a live thread to pick up on.

You should have also asked me what’s my process.

I don’t do multiple drafts and I don’t do rewrites. I do a first draft, and my alpha readers read it as I go, in installments of about 8000 words at a time. Then I check through it for some known writing issues — ‘all of’ should generally be ‘all’, about a third of ‘that’s can be deleted, most ‘very’s in the narrative (though not in dialog) should be deleted, etc. Then I read the book, and fix any awkward sentences. Then it goes to beta readers. I fix anything the alpha readers and beta readers point out as a problem understanding or typoes, or whatever. Then I publish it. No editor other than me.

Thanks to Rich 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: https://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 rob@robhowell.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.

Rob Howell

LibertyCon 2019 AAR

Greetings all

I’m in Rocky Mount, NC visiting relatives after another fantastic LibertyCon. As always, so much happened that I’ll forget things. It’s the way of cons in general and LibertyCon in particular. I float from awesome thing to awesome thing without enough time to process stuff properly, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This year, as I’ve mentioned, LibertyCon faced some of the greatest challenges any con has ever faced. Their hotel crapped out on them. The Read House in Chattanooga might be pretty, but they burned some bridges here. A hotel breaking a contract is no big thing, I had it happen to me, and NeoCon in Wichita ended because of it. I had to tell some relative unknown named David Weber that we had to cancel the con and not have him as Guest of Honor. The fact that LibertyCon rolled with it and made it work, especially in the time frame they had is amazing to me.

That is, of course, a credit to the incredible staff, both in their skill and stability. There will come a time when Brandy, Rich, Donnie, Matthew, Vonn, Fritz, and all the rest are not LibertyCon’s spark plugs, but it is not this day! It is one of my favorite aspects of LibertyCon that they are so competent at their jobs, which allowed them to handle this year so smoothly from the perspective of those attending the con. Thanks to all of them and their staff.

That staff is a testimony to the foundations laid by Uncle Timmy. I have talked about him before, but the best tribute is 32 years and going strong of the best SF/F con I’ve ever seen. Honestly, I was a lot less emotional at the con than I expected. I thought about him quite a bit, though I was never terribly close to him, but I was rarely sad. Sad he wasn’t there, of course, but the truth is I was reveling in his creation too much to be sad. Not a bad legacy to have.

I will note, I’m crying while writing this. When I cry at Brewbaker’s, the staff there isn’t surprised or worried. I’m usually killing a character that I like, so that’s alright then. The waitress here at this random bar is probably worried about me. Hopefully, she’s just remember me as a random weirdo.

Speaking of parents, my mom joined me on this trip. She loved LibertyCon too. At Closing Ceremonies, when Brandy announced the dates for membership sales, mom told me to get her one and that was before Linda Bolgeo, among others, taught her to play Yahtzee at the dead dog party and she lasted longer than I did. Yes, Fritz, you’re right: “Rob’s mom sucks less than he does.”

Side note: Fritz, you made me laugh with this, which is just as well as you made me cry for the other.

The weekend started with getting together on Thursday night. This will shock people, but we closed the bar. It’s always great to get together and catch up, especially after such a productive year for all of us.

Side note, we’re not the Inklings, but the writing crew Chris Kennedy has gathered into his orbit is talented and hard-working. We’re doing great stuff already, and the future looks bright. Tons of stuff planned, announced, and plotted at LibertyCon. I’m honored to be a part of this.

The con started with those of us in the Four Horsemen Universe talking about the future of the 4HU. The Omega War series concluded with Alabaster Noon, and there was concern that this meant the 4HU was slowing down. To the contrary, the Omega War, despite its name, is only the second of five main-line series being plotted right now. That does not include side novels like The Feeding of Sorrows and a slew of other projects. The 4HU ain’t going away now. I’d be shocked if the eventual corpus of the 4HU is less than 100 novels plus anthologies, games, and whatever else. We’re at 35 and growing now.

Next was a panel on the contact between history, historical fiction, and fantasy. The best part of this con was chatting with David P. Coe, who is a very smart man and excellent writer.

I mentioned there wasn’t as much emotion as I expected about Timmy at LibertyCon, but Opening Ceremonies was one of two places where it was greatest. Gray Rinehart sang a new filk about Timmy, making Brandy cry. Then, Christopher Woods, looking bewildered, was drug up on the stage by Toni Weisskopf to announce a new anthology tuckerizing all of LibertyCon in honor of Timmy that will include a bunch of big names. The proceeds will go to both LibertyCon and a scholarship to the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop. Really cool, and it’s great to see good things happen to Chris.

My autograph session at 7pm went well, as I got a chance to chat with a few people and even sold a book or two. That’s what such a session is there for, and they are also one of the few times I can actually talk for a bit with a fan instead of the usual go-go-go. That’s so nice.

Then I did a reading with Theresa Howard at 9pm. Readings are fun, but sadly, 9pmm readings don’t tend to get many viewers. Probably just as well, because I don’t like the selection I made from The Feeding of Sorrows. Not enough action. I’ll pick a better choice next time.

I intended, at that point, to make it an early night. Narrator: “He did not make it an early night.” We got into a long discussion that turned into revelry at the bar. Closed it down again. I knew I wasn’t closing down the bar on Saturday, though…

Saturday started with a number of logistical things for the party, plus getting a bunch of old computer equipment to Gerry Martin. He has found ways to take all the old stuff, refurbish it, and provide it to a variety of users. Plus, it got boxes of stuff out of my house.

The banquet was the other moment of big emotion about Uncle Timmy, especially Arlen Andrews’ speech. It was also a great time for my mom, which I really enjoyed.

At 4pm, Chris Kennedy hosted his year ahead. He might have to do it in two hours next year, as he has so much going on. I got to announce the sequel to The Feeding of Sorrows, The Ravening of Wolves. I’m aiming to have it out around FantaSci next year.

At 6pm, I had an Author’s Alley time. This, too, went really well I thought. I would have done really well if I could have had a solid block of three hours, but there simply wasn’t time this year.

And that’s because of the Rob Howell/Chris Kennedy Publishing Party. This was, again, a rollicking success. We lasted past 3:30am. We went late enough that the bartenders were able to close the bar and come join us for a bit. Technically, we did *not* close the bar. Technically.

It’s become such a success we’re looking at getting more square footage as we’re just doing too well. Plans are afoot to make it even more fun next year.

Sadly, that meant when 9:30am rolled around and I theoretically had to get down to Author’s Alley at 10, I simply rolled over and got another hour or so of sleep. Sorry, not sorry. Will plan better next year.

I concluded my panels with a fun one called: Pantsing for Beginners. If you’ve never heard the term, Pantsing is “writing by the seat of your pants.” In other words, not plotting ahead of time. This ended up as a pretty good two-hour panel including Rich Weyand and Stephanie Osborn.

We left that to get to Closing Ceremonies, where Brandy announced the 2020 dates, 12-14 June. Then we went to meat fest at Rodizio’s, which wasn’t as organized this year because the restaurant didn’t respond to Gerry. Ah well, we ate meat. Lots of meat.

Last year I checked out of the dead dog party early. I almost did so again, but I caught a second wind and lasted until 11:30. Mom lasted until midnight. I had a great time chatting with Bubba of Bubba Truck fame and a bunch of others.

LibertyCon was, as usual, fruitful in all the ways. I have a number of new irons in the fire. While I don’t have many details at this time, suffice to say, I’ve got a bunch of new projects to work on. And that means, at LibertyCon 2020, I’ll just have to make new plans.

So thanks to Brandy and everyone running the con. Thanks to Mark and Chris for the 4HU. Thanks to the fans that are keeping The Feeding of Sorrows at number two new release in Action and Adventure. Thanks to all I hung out with at LibertyCon. And thanks to all who’ve supported me over the past few years. I’ll keep trying to get better.

Now, to go work on None Call Me Mother.


LibertyCon 2019 Preview

Greetings all

It’s LibertyCon week, one of my favorite events ever thanks to the hard work of Uncle Timmy, Brandy Spraker, Fritz Ling, Rich Groller, Matthew Fanny, and a slew of others.

As usual, it’ll be a busy time for me. My full schedule is here: http://www.libertycon.org/programming/pros3.php?pid=326.

I start the weekend with a bang, the Four Horsemen Panel and Autograph Session. This will be on Friday from 1-3pm in Meeting Rooms 4 & 5. It will include a whole bunch of us 4HU writers.

Immediately afterwards, I join in on a fun panel I’m really excited about: The Bridges Between Fantasy and Historical Fiction. I’m joined on this panel by David B. Coe / D. B. Jackson, Robert S. Evans, Valerie Hampton, and Holly McClure. Should be lots of fun. It’s in Meeting Room 7.

Then it’s back to Meeting Rooms 4 &5 for Opening Ceremonies at 5pm.

At 7pm, I have an autograph session in the Dealer’s Room alongside Lou Antonelli, Karen Bogen, H.P. Holo, and Jacob Holo. I *will* have my books there for sale, if you don’t already have one.

I conclude Friday from 9-10pm with a reading in the Lookout Mountain Room. I’m not sure what I’ll read yet, but I might pull out something from None Call Me Mother or Amazon top new release (I really get to say that) The Feeding of Sorrows. Also, you can hear something from Teresa Howard.

What a day. You can probably find me in the bar or at a room party kicking back after that.

Saturday is a little slower. My first thing is the Banquet at noon. I’m really excited to get to do this with my mom. This will be in the Tennessee River Room.

Then a bit of a break to prepare for some madness. At 4pm, I’ll join Chris Kennedy Publishing as he talks about the year ahead. I believe this will be on Facebook Live for those who are interested.

Following that, I have an hour starting at 6pm in the Author’s Alley. You can come buy my books, get signatures, or just chat. Also in the Alley during that time are:
Jim Curtis
Teresa Howard
Tamara Lowery
Rich Weyand
Matt Wyers

Then, at 9pm, comes the epic adventure you’ve all been waiting for, the joint Seventh Seal Press / Rob Howell Room Party and Book Launch for Alabaster Noon. It’ll be a blast, with a bunch of authors, all my books, and some interesting beverages like Peepo’s Pitch and MAC rounds. It’ll be in my room on the 3rd Floor, but I won’t know exactly what room that is until Thursday.

Then comes Sunday morning. I may regret things, but at 10am I’ll have my second hour on the Author’s Alley. This time I’ll be joined by:
Nick Braker
Julie Frost
J.D. Jordan
Holly McClure

My last panel is another one I’m eagerly anticipating. This is the brainchild of Rich Weyand. We’ll be joined by Stephanie Osborn and we’ll talk about Pantsing for Beginners. Not sure what pantsing is, well, you can come join us and find out the pros and cons of this style of writing. This will be at 1pm in the Tennessee River Room and we’ll work on things for 2 hours.

That’s my official schedule. Should be fantastic. We’re also staying for the Dead Dog Party.

As I’ve mentioned, my Mom will be joining me. Can’t wait to introduce her to my LibertyCon family.

See a bunch of you there.