Interview with Aaron Saylor

Aaron Saylor

Interview Date: 8/3/2012

When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?

I wrote my first story when I was 3, and have been writing on it ever since. It was one page long, and illustrated -- my mom kept it for 25 years, then gave it to me one Christmas, framed. I'm not sure what prompted me to start, or to have kept going all these years. It just seems like the right thing for me to do.

If you could have one superpower, what would it? (Assuming said power would be reasonbly powerful.)

Healing. Or teleportation.

Do you have a favorite superhero from novels, comics, or movies?

I'm a huge comics fan, particularly Marvel of the 70's and 80's - Captain America, X-Men, Spider-man, and Fantastic Four are favorites. I still go back and revisit those stories and I think I appreciate them more now than I did when I was a kid. I also was an inexplicably huge fan of Rom: Spaceknight. The last decade or so has really seen comic art and writing taken to a new level, and there is a lot of great work being done out there in the both the majors and indies.

Kev's response: I remember when McFarlane, Liefield, Jim Lee, and their ilk came on the scene nearly 20ish years ago. Man, that was some good artwork. It made me sad when most of them got their big payday and moved out of the art part of comics.

Where do you get your inspiration for writing? What motivates you?

Inspiration strikes at anytime, usually from some tiny moment that doesn't mean anything until a few days later when I'll think, "You know, I can get a story out of that." As far as motivation, I would say that I have an innate need to just tell stories. My novel Sewerville, which comes out in August, was important for me to get out - it talks a lot about my hometown in rural Kentucky and all of the problems that have hit the region since I left, like drugs and political corruption.

Do you pre-plan your stories, or are you a by-the-seat-of-the-pants style writer?

A little of both. I prefer to sketch out the major plot points and character bios, then let the characters take it from there. One thing that I force myself to do is, almost never accept my first idea when it comes to the actual details. For me, anyway, first thoughts are always heavily influenced by other books I've read, or movies I've seen. Sort of, "Do it like so and so did in that book, or like so and so did with that movie." I read and watch so much, it's almost not to use another story for reference. They just seep into the brain. So, I just use them as a starting point and then tweak and turn until I have something almost totally different in execution than what I started with, but doesn't lose whatever central theme appealed to me in the first place. If that makes any sense.

Do you write only when inspired, or do you have a set schedule where you sit down to write?

I try to stick to a schedule. You have to. If you're waiting for inspiration it'll either never come, or when it does, it will be so overwhelming that it'll lock you up.

Kev's response: Or in a car early in a long drive... >:(

Do you have a favorite genre to write in? To read?

Most of my work tends to be more literary, but I really want to try the horror and sci-fi genres. Those are my absolute favorites for literature and film. My mom is a big-time reader and she loves those genres too -- actually I guess she loves all genres -- so I'd say I come by it honest. I read Pet Sematary in 3rd grade and it scarred me for a month.

What do you enjoy the most about writing?

Those moments where you realize, "That's pretty damn good." It's real magic. If tears well up while I'm writing, I know I'm onto something.

Is there any part of writing that you don't enjoy?

Editing. Editing. Editing.

Kev's response: The real "work" part of writing (and promotion, I suppose).

Can you tell me something odd about yourself?

Hmmm... well, I don't know if this is odd, but you can see a brief shot of my face on a bulletin board in the movie "Trailer Park of Terror." Out on DVD now - I highly recommend it!

Kev's response: So ... is that the terrifying part of the film? :)

Do you write one story at a time, or do you have several novels in the works at one time?

I only have one or two actual novels going at once, but I am constantly spitballing other ideas, sketching out plots and characters.

Are you for, or against, evil plots to take over the world? (Not saying I'm doing that, but thought I'd ask, just in case....)

If it fits the genre, sure. The more intricate and bizarre, the better,

Where do you see the future as far as paper books versus digital e-books?

I don't think either one is going away anytime soon. I do think the big publishers are not adapting well to the e-book revolution, and as they continue to reduce the number of books they publish through traditional methods, going for "safe" product, they only back themselves into a corner. It'll catch up to them eventually.

What are your current projects?

Well, I just published a short story called "The Sweet Smell of Pine Needles," and then Sewerville publishes in August. I like to call it a literary gangster novel, set in rural America. Really dark and violent stuff, meth dealers and prescription drug abuse. It's about a man who works for one of the state's biggest kingpins and finally decides to get out of the life when he's forced to kill his own brother. On the literary side, it's a rumination about this part of the country where I grew up that has really fallen into despair, economically and even emotionally. The main character in Sewerville sees vision of the town falling into a sinkhole. After that will be a sequel, a collection of short stories with each one centered a single character, fleshing them out even further as a bridge between Sewerville and the 3rd book, which expands the story to statewide and perhaps even national levels.

Do you have any advice for others about self-publishing?

Consider yourself a professional. Take it very seriously and don't give up. Edit, edit, edit. And NO CHEAP COVERS. That's an instant turn-off.

Do you have any online sites where readers can find out more about you (and your books)?

Not yet, but they're coming. For now, just google me - "Aaron Saylor"! And Facebook. And Twitter - @aaron__saylor

Kev's response: Aaron, thanks for joining me, and good luck on the release of Sewerville!

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