Author Spotlight – Evan Winter
Joining us for today’s Author Spotlight is Evan Winter!
Born in England to South American parents, Evan Winter was raised in Africa near the historical territory of his Xhosa ancestors. Evan has always loved fantasy novels, but when his son was born, he realised that there weren’t many epic fantasy novels featuring characters who looked like him. So, before he ran out of time, he started writing them.
Evan is the author of THE RAGE OF DRAGONS, which was originally self-published and is being re-released by Orbit Books in July 2019.
Thanks for joining us, Evan. Let’s start small: tell us about a great book you’ve read recently!
I really enjoyed Underlord by Will Wight and have enjoyed his entire Cradle series!
Excellent! Okay, time to escalate things: reality warps and you suddenly find yourself leading a D&D-style party through a monster-infested dungeon. What character class are you, and what’s your weapon of choice?
As much as I may want to imagine myself as the front-line dual-wielding wild one, I’m actually probably the cleric, running core support and healing the heck out of the actual berserkers.
When you’re not trawling through dungeons, trudging after those berserkers and wishing yourself out front, do you prefer to type or to hand-write? Why?
I’m left-handed, my writing is a series of illegible scribbles, and I’m faster at getting my thoughts down on a keyboard, all to say that I rarely write anything on paper.
And how do you like to work – in silence, with music, or serenaded by the souls of a thousand dead shrimps?
This shrimps thing has me tripping… but, I’m a music listener who sometimes hates that the music and lyrics interrupt my thoughts, at which point I have to work in silence. When self-editing, I’m always in silence though. I read the work out loud and try to make it move, flow, and hit the way I would want if it were being told to me as a spoken story.
Are you an architect or a gardener? A plotter or a pantser? D’you write in your underwear, or in a deep-sea diver’s suit? Tell us something unusual about your writing method!
I outline extensively and my outlines run around 20% of the final book. So, if you see me drop an 650-pager, it means that, somewhere, there is a 130-page outline that describes the story beat by beat. Sweats and a hoodie are my uniform.
A job with a comfortable uniform is not to be sniffed at! What are your most significant non-book fantasy influences?
Willow, Neverending Story, Star Wars, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, LadyHawke, Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Matrix, City of God, Gladiator, (watch me cheat…) Game of Thrones the TV show.
[Are we letting him cheat? Really? Fine, I’ll put the scorpions back in their cages]
What was the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?
The Game of Thrones finale. You know why I watched it…
The world shifts, and you find yourself with an extra day on your hands during which you’re not allowed to write or otherwise do any work. How do you choose to spend the day?
I’ll go to Canada’s Wonderland with my wife and son and spend the day riding roller coasters, eating fast food, and enjoying each others’ company.
I hope they still have that excellent dragon roller coaster! If you could choose one punctuation mark to be made illegal, which would it be and why?
Why would this need to be done when the only ones that exist are : “ , . ! ?
In no more than three sentences, tell us a little something about your current work in progress!
I’ll consider myself to have failed if I can’t feel even better about it than I do book 1.
If you could co-write or co-create a series (like The Expanse, or the Malazan Book of the Fallen), who would you choose to work with and why?
It’s not that I don’t think I can play well with others. I was a film director (primarily music videos) for almost two decades and film-making is the serious play-with-others situation. But, now that I can play in my own sandbox and invent anything and everything I’ve ever wanted to see, I’m not sure I’m ready, quite yet, to share. 🙂
Fair enough! What’s the most (and/or least) helpful piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
The most helpful advice was something my father told me. “Finish what you start.” He was right. He is right.
If you could visit any country at any point in history, where/when would you go, and why?
Not a country, but I’m going to Africa and I’m going to warn them. You can probably guess the when…
Every writer encounters stumbling blocks, be it a difficult chapter, challenging subject matter or just starting a new project. How do you motivate yourself on days when you don’t want to write?
Fear of failure. The problem is that the fear grows the closer to failure you get and that’s not the healthiest method of self-motivation. So, my goal is to transition away from ‘fear of failure’ and toward making writing an ‘undeniable habit’.
I think that’s something a lot of people can relate to!
Tell us about a book that’s excellent, but underappreciated or obscure.
Armor by John Steakley
Finally, would you be so kind as to dazzle us with what we like to call a ‘shark elevator pitch’? (It’s exactly the same as an elevator pitch, but with sharks.) (Well, one shark. Which, by the way, is currently picking between its rows of teeth to try and dislodge the remains of the last author who stepped onto its elevator.)
Ahem. So: why should readers check out your work? A shark elevator pitch of your own book(s) in no more than three sentences – go!
There’s a saying I’ve recently discovered and love because of all the power it packs in a pithy phrase. That phrase hits to the heart of the story you’re about to read.
“It ain’t no fun when the rabbit got the gun.”
That’s quite the hook! Thanks again for joining us, Evan.
Evan Winter is the author of The Rage of Dragons, available in ebook format now.