NOTE: Commentary is made as a private citizen and not as Regional Coordinator for Silent No More or Leader of Rachel's Hope, unless otherwise stated.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Welcome Reese Hogan to "An Author Speaks"!

Reese Hogan is a science fiction author whose novels often include a historic, or historically-inspired, setting. She enjoys studying languages and military history, and also loves outdoor activities, such as camping, hiking, exercising, and skiing. She has been writing for eighteen years and published her first novel last year. Her favorite genres to read are science fiction and fantasy, but she also likes biographies and history texts.  Reese lives in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, with her husband and two young children (ages three and one). She currently stays at home with the children and writes in the evenings.

What five words describe you? 

 Introverted, obsessive, organized, creative, and a dreamer.

What are you working on at the minute? What is it about? 

I am working on the first book of a new trilogy about an occupied country in time of war. The main character is a submariner who returns home to find out his brother is an enemy collaborator. He is also the carrier of a dangerous secret that makes him and two of his comrades the target of a hunt by their conquerors. He has to deal with the guilt when one of them gets left behind during an escape.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your
         most recent book?

My last book was The Deadliest Echo, which is a science fiction thriller set in 1920’s Soviet Russia. The main character is a 24-year-old American mercenary. My two main choices for him would be Sebastian Stan, who is best known as Bucky Barnes in Captain America, or a lesser-known Irish actor by the name of Ronan Raftery.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would
it have been and why? 

If I had to choose one, I’d say the Miles Vorkosigan saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. Every book in that series has the perfect mixture of emotion, action, humor, world building, and excellent character arcs that I can only hope to emulate in my work.

What is the hardest thing about writing? 

Every book is a puzzle. There’s so, so much planning that goes into any given work that it’s hard to fit all those pieces together perfectly and come out with a novel that resembles what you had in mind when you started. The hardest thing for me is that from the time I start something to the time I finish, I am constantly doubting everything I’ve done—there’s not enough action; there’s too many subplots; I need more points of view; this setting isn’t working. It’s an insane amount of work to fit it all together. But when you come out at the end with something you love, it’s so much more rewarding than if it had been easy. (It’s never easy.)

 Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writers block?  

I’ve had a lot of experience with this, and I think writer’s block stems from losing excitement about your story. When this happens, the first thing I do is go back to the last place I felt excited about and try to figure out if there is another direction I could go with the character or plot to bring that feeling back. Try to remember what made you excited about the project in the first place and bring more of that back to the forefront when the writing starts feeling sluggish. Switch to a different P.O.V. Concentrate on a subplot. If you only have one story arc, your story will feel flat and you will lose your steam, and then—bam. Writer’s block. Have enough going on that you have another avenue to go down when you want a break from the main thing. Or work on a different project. But whatever you do, don’t take a break from writing. In my experience, the longer you’re away, the harder it is to come back to.

Where would your dream location be for writing? 

In the mountains, without distractions, on a mild spring or autumn day.

 When creating characters, are they based on people in your life?  

Not usually. But I do use things that have happened in my own life as flavor for my characters.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad? 

I would never respond, but I do read them. Maybe if one day I have hundreds, I won’t, but that hasn’t happened yet. The first bad review I got was difficult, of course, but I think it’s like a rite of passage to becoming a real writer. Somebody you’ve never met has read your work! And I honestly think those bad reviews and ratings help people trust your book more if they are thinking about buying one. If I’m considering a book and see seven 5-star ratings, I know right off the bat that those are all friends or paid reviews. I don’t trust it. I’d rather see a book with mixed ratings and reviews, because there is no book in the world that is loved by everyone. Sometimes, it helps to go read the 1-star reviews of your favorite novels. You’ll find that most bad reviews boil down to a single aspect of the book (dragging pace, misogynistic main character, self-centered hero, whatever) and once you start getting a feel for that, you’ll realize that your own bad reviews are likely about a single aspect, too. Once you realize that, then you’ll have a good idea of what you need to work on.
If you couldn't be a writer, what would you be? 

A few things that come to mind are airline pilot, fertility doctor, or translator.

What would you tell your younger self that would have
helped you in your writing career? 

Get involved in writing communities. Join critique groups. Share your work. Take classes. Write every chance you get.

Where can we buy your work? 

Both paperback and ebook versions of The Deadliest Echo are available through the Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites. If you contact me through Goodreads or my website, I’m always happy to mail out a signed copy.

 How can we keep up with you?

My website:
Twitter:  @ReeseHogan1

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