Today I have an interview with author John Hennessy. His book At the End, along with the rest of the trilogy, has just been picked up by Permuted Press, so in a strange twist on the usual, there are no buy links for the book right now, but you’ll likely want to put this apocalyptic book on your wishlist to buy once the new edition is released.
What’s the hardest part of writing a book?
The hardest part for me is keeping everything straight. For example, if a character has submachine gun with a quarter-full magazine in one scene, but then suddenly only has a knife after a chapter break, and there isn’t any explanation for it, well that’s when I tend to get frustrated because I won’t even notice until I reread the scene again! Remembering what all my characters have on them at all times, and why they have those items, all gets a little intense as the story moves along.
What’s your favourite part of writing a book?
My favorite part of writing is seeing where the characters go, because, as you probably have heard before, characters truly write the stories. I’ve preplanned a lot of scenes with what I wanted to happen to a character, and how the character would react, but when the time came and I got going, I ended up with a completely different scene with completely different reactions (in a good way). It’s pretty cool, and very entertaining, to myself at least. I just love that anything is possible in sci-fi/fantasy, and that even I don’t know the whole story.
Do you read reviews written about your book?
I probably shouldn’t, but yes, I do indeed.
How do you deal with negative reviews?
I’ve always heard the saying everyone’s a critic, but I didn’t realize how true that was until I started self-publishing. Some of the negative reviews I have received have had their merits, like one noted how terrible I had executed a scene in my book At the End, where a character lands a spacecraft (with the resemblance of fighter jet), and though it really hurt to read, it was dead on. I hadn’t done the research on how to land a jet, and it wasn’t something I had even thought about until then, which is the problem not having the money to hire an editor when self-publishing. Unfortunately, I had blown all of mine on my first book, Life Descending, in the hopes that it would succeed, which it hasn’t.
Then there are some just bizarre reviews that I don’t understand at all, the craziest being one on Amazon where a woman said my “book screams research please”, and that it was impossible for 12 billion to go missing in one day, noting that there are only 6-7 billion on the planet, even though in the book’s description it is explained that the book takes place in the future, after the termination of the birth control industry and a massive population boom. So the person didn’t even read the first chapter or the entire book description! And I said to myself, WHAT? Why even put a review out? I understand people have different tastes and opinions, and that not every will enjoy what I write, but that’s just ridiculous. So, for the most part when reading negative reviews, I now take them with a grain of salt, where in the past I had responded too much to them.
Do you have a writing routine?
I certainly do. I can’t imagine writing and not having some kind of routine. Even in college I had made sure I had one, otherwise I wouldn’t write (my entire freshman year). Usually I get up early and write while drinking tea (Yerba Maté) from a strainer straw, until my fiancée wakes, who works 4/10’s, then start up again around 1 or 2 in the afternoon and go until midnight (when she gets off). Of course, I take breaks, and get distracted all too often (there are way too many articles on the internet!) but that is essentially my routine.
Which of your characters is your favourite?
My favorite character from my books is Bravis, who not human but a gyrran, a creature I invented for my fantasy sage The Cry of Havoc. He is so innocent and different from all the rest that I have created. I have never had a dull moment with him.
Anything else you would like to add?
My book At the End was recently picked up by the small publisher Permuted Press, along with the rest of the trilogy, which was made possible by all the wonderful reviews I have received on it. I am very exited to see how strong the story can become after a professional editor has given it a few good beatings (killing my babies, as professors say). The second edition will be out sometime in the next few months, and I can’t wait to see the finished product.
Born in 1988, John Hennessy became entranced by the world of fantasy and sci-fi at a young age, playing video games and reading books for many long nights/early mornings. He recently graduated from Western Washington University, and now lives in the Rose Lands of Portland, OR, at work finishing The Road to Extinction Trilogy.
At the End (The Road to Extinction #1) by John Hennessy
Night 1: 12 billion taken.
Day 1: Confusion.
Night 2: 13 billion taken.
Day 2: Panic.
Night 3: 13 billion taken.
Day 3: The fight for survival begins.
In 2048, the human population borders 39 billion after the termination of the birth control industry, and the realities of overcrowding have sunken into the minds of the world, until billions mysteriously go missing. In the wake of civilization’s collapse, a trio of teenage gamers from Washington struggle to endure. Maggy, a strong-willed intellectual, leads Darrel and Félix, two shy geeks, on an expedition down the west coast, as they try to determine the source of humanity’s downfall.