I am delighted to bring you an interview with the Author Marc Watson today. Tomorrow, I will be reviewing his duology “Catching Hell” so do look out for that as well!
Marc Watson is an author of genre fiction of all lengths and styles. He began writing at the age of 15 and continues to be a part-time writing student at Athabasca University. He has been published on flash fiction site www.101words.org (find his stories here) as well as comedy site www.thecorrectness.com.
Marc lives in Calgary, Alberta. He is a husband and proud father of two. He is an avid outdoors-man, martial artist, baseball player, and lover of all Mexican foods.
- Tell me about how the idea for this book / series came about?
Happily! The imagined the world and most of the deep lore of the setting of ‘Catching Hell’ (what I refer to as the world of Ryuujin) in high school, and it stemmed from a lot of the comics and anime I was consuming at the time, only with a more western bent. Couple that with long walks to school with music in my ears and an overactive imagination, and eventually the world just sprang forth.
- Where did the name/s of your Main Character/s come from?
Names mostly just come to me for no good reason, which was where Johan spawned from, but Aryu I needed to tie to the overarching narrative of the Ryuujin world, which is a long-dead deity named Ryu. I needed them to be similar, if not identical.
- Did you find it easy to build your world?
Oh yes. Mentally I’d been living in that word for twenty years. Picking a story out of it and using that was simple. The lore is entrenched in almost everything I’ve ever written. You as the reader just don’t know some of it yet.
- Are you a planner or a ‘pantster’ when it comes to writing?
Pantser! Pants pants pants, all day long. I’ll go into a project with a rough idea in my head, and then see where it takes me. I’m a big believer in letting stories and characters tell me what they want to be.
- Who are your writing idols?
Gordon Korman, a YA author from southern Ontario, has been my inspiration for years. He started writing at a very young age, finishing his first book in his very early teens, and he never stopped. He had the writing bug about the same time that I did in life, and he’s done amazing things with it for sure.
- What is the last book you read that you couldn’t put down?
I’m a big fan of author Brent Weeks’ ‘Lightbringer’ series, so I’d have to say ‘The Blood Mirror’, which is the most recent in the series.
- Do you have any quirks/habits that you do when writing?
Only that unlike most authors and writers I know, I usually need to be at work to write properly. The hum of business going on around my cubicle is my preferred ambiance.
- What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
Nothing yet, but I have hopes to make it to Japan and Scotland someday to absorb the culture of the worlds I want to write about.
- What is the first book that made you cry?
Not to play the macho man card, but when it happens I’ll let you know. I can say I’ve read a lot of books that seemed to be trying really, really hard.
- What is your writing Kryptonite?
Time. I’d love to write more, but I also love being outdoors, playing sports, and being with my family whenever I can. I have about 45 minutes a weekday to write, and that could easily be taken up doing something personal, or promoting, or just watching Netflix.
- Have you ever had reader’s block?
Ha, a great question, and an easy one to answer: absolutely. I’m in the middle of one right now, though I’m admittedly not trying very hard to break out. I haven’t read a book in months because I’ve been so busy with other stuff. If I have time to read, then I have time to do things I think are more important.
- What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Not many, honestly. I haven’t committed to the writing culture so I’m mostly an outsider. That said, Konn Lavery out of Edmonton writes some ridiculously imaginative horror/thrillers, and I’ve been an acquaintance of his for a few years. Also members of Calgary’s Imaginative Fiction Writers Association like Liz Grotkowski, Craig DiLouie, Chris Patrick Carolan, Ron S. Friedman, etc., are all amazing writers and the group as a whole has been a wonderful place to soak up ideas and just talk shop.
- If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
That his haircut is god-awful. It’s just…it’s just a tragedy. Six circular pony tails around his head? Good lord.
- How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I suppose it gave me more confidence because I’m clearly saying something someone wants to hear, but on the other side of that, it took a lot of wind out of my sales. I committed to getting published, I got published, and now what’s next? What’s the next level, if I’m a man who doesn’t care about the money or sales? That’s still TBD.
- What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Easy. When I first started and had a goal of getting published, my goal was simply to make enough money to take my family out to dinner with that first check. Maybe it would be an extravagant steak dinner, or sharing a small fries at Wendy’s, but it would be all on profits from my brain. In the end, it was a fantastic Mexican meal out (dessert included). I gave them every penny earned and walked out with my head held pretty high, I must say. My family deserved it for all their support.
- What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
Although I can name a few that went the other way (liked them and then just left them behind), I can’t think of any I’ve tried to warm up to. My reading time is precious. If I don’t like the first thing you have to say, I’m likely not coming back for seconds.
- How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?
As contrite as it may be to say, I don’t. I love the reader. I want the reader to enjoy what I have to say, but I don’t take the reader into consideration when I’m crafting a story. I write the stories I want to hear but could never find, and I hope I find a reader that feels the same way. I can’t get bogged down in trying to balance the reader’s experience.
- How many unpublished and/or half-finished books do you have?
At the current time twelve, in various states of readiness. Some almost finished, some only half done.
- What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
As a fantasy and science fiction writer, not much! I’ve done some small research work for my first book Death Dresses Poorly regarding landmarks and distances in Seattle and Chicago, as well as some distance calculations between points in Catching Hell. I like to start as fresh as I can.
- What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
The constant fear that I’m going to screw it up! I was raised by a single mom as well as an older sister. I have an amazingly strong and classy wife I love to death, and have always been surrounded by remarkable women. I don’t want to mess it up and do something stupid or cliché in the name of the opposite sex just for story purposes.
- How many hours a day do you write?
As I previously mentioned, maybe 45 minutes a day during my lunch hour at work. And that’s often taken with other stuff I need to do. I can’t write in silence, or at night after the kids go to bed, so writing at home is right out.
- What did you edit out of this book?
Pahl! Rest in peace, Pahl. You were a good man. Originally there were three protagonists. Aryu went in one direction, and Johan and Pahl in the other. For years I worked with this split dynamic, and then one day I just realized that Pahl wasn’t doing anything for the story that another character couldn’t do better, and I also realized I liked the image of two warriors going out into the scary new world instead of three, so Pahl got cut. And as a main character, I can assure you that was a serious undertaking.
- If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
Well for starters, two things: I do work full time at an engineering company and enjoy it very much, and also, I never ever want to write full time. That said, if I came upon some money, I’d likely go back to working part time at camping stores in town. I did that for years and it was the most fun I’d ever had at work. I’d still write, but only when I wasn’t selling or using camping gear!
- Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
For sure. Every single one of them. I’m thankful for the good ones, and the bad ones are water off a duck’s back. I don’t write for the reviews, and lord knows I’ve read things I didn’t like that others found transcendent, so if I get a bad review it’s just the nature of the game. I’m certainly never going to change what I do and how I do it based on reviews, be they good or bad.
- Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
As a crafter of epic fantasy and some incredibly deep lore, for sure I do. I don’t expect anyone to ever catch on to them, but you can tell when the world in a book is only half-baked. A very annoying trait I’m looking to avoid, so I make sure ever thread ties back to something bigger, even if I never write about what that bigger thing is.
- What was the hardest scene in this book to write?
Love and romance. I’m still trying to figure out how to write it without sounding terrible and corny.
- Have you ever Googled yourself? What did you find?
That I’m a Scottish comedian, head content designer for Minecraft, and a rollercoaster engineer from Florida.
- How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Different books have different answers. The first book I completed was Catching Hell, which eventually became this duology. If we go from when the first concept was hatched to when the last personal edit was made, it was ten years of work, five of which was pretty dedicated to re-writing and editing and re-writing again.
My second book Death Dresses Poorly (which was my first actual release, thanks to the cosmic dance that is publisher release schedules and being with two different houses) for that same series of events as mentioned above, was six weeks.