Author Spotlight – Aaron Hodges (UNTAMED ISLES: THE PATH AWAKENS)
Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelors of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering. After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he grew tired of office work and decided to quit his job in 2014 and see the world. One year later, he published his first novel – Stormwielder – while in Guatemala. Since then, he has honed his skills while travelling through parts of SE Asia, India, North and South America, Turkey and Europe, and now has over a dozen works to his name. Today, his adventures continue…
Welcome to the Hive, Aaron. Let’s start with the basics: dazzle us with an elevator pitch! Why should readers check out your work?
Well I’ve been writing and publishing books for a good six years now, so I’m by no means a new hand in the genre. I love to develop deep, realistic characters in my books and throw them into interesting worlds filled with danger and conflict. And, well, this new series I’m developing is no different!
Tell us a little something about your writing process – do you have a certain method? Do you find music helps? Give us a glimpse into your world!
I generally can’t write a word without a bit of music! It helps me drown out any distractions and really sink into my world and characters. I also like to take my laptop out to a coffee shop or library where I can escape the distractions of home and just write!
Speaking of worlds, what inspires your worldbuilding? Do you have a magic system/s? If so, can you tell us a bit about it?
What (or who) are your most significant fantasy/sci-fi influences? Are there any creators whom you dream of working with someday?
I think David Gemmell is one of my biggest influences in terms of character. His books were filled with such magnificent heroes and villains that brought the struggles and strife in the pages to life for me. In terms of world building, Ian Irvine is my idol. He spent twenty years creating his three worlds, including maps the size of your door and history books stretching back twenty years.
We see such varying opinions from authors when it comes to the time of editing their books. How have you found the editing process? Enjoyable, stressful or satisfying?
We always appreciate a beautiful book cover! How involved in the process were you? Was there a particular aesthetic you hoped they’d portray?
I’m usually very much involved in the cover design process, at least in terms of describing the kind of posture and elements I’d like in the cover. I work with a range of artists and I’m sure it drives them mad sometimes, but I really like to make sure a cover is properly representing the story I’m writing.
Can you tell us a bit more about your characters? Do you have a favourite type of character you enjoy writing?
I love larger than life heroes. I’ve had a few characters like that, although they’re usually matched up against impossible odds. Lately though, I’ve wanted to try some darker antiheroes. Zachary in my latest book is a master thief and assassin with a not so wholesome motive to get to the island, and he’s not afraid of dropping bodies on his way if needs be. I also like to pair different characters up together, so there’s an interesting cast in this series, including a young man just making his way in the world, a shady sea captain/smuggler, and a slightly befuddled old fisherman
The world shifts, and you find yourself with an extra day on your hands during which you’re not allowed to write. How do you choose to spend the day?
Ooooh hopefully something outdoors. It’s winter here in NZ so the only outdoor activity I’ve really been getting to do is skiing, but I’m looking forward to getting in a bit of surfing and diving over the next few months
One of our favourite questions here on the Fantasy Hive: which fantastical creature would you ride into battle and why?
Oh gotta be a dragon. Probably a bit vanilla these days but being able to fly would be a game changer! I guess that’s why dragon riders show up more than a few times in my books.
Are you planning anything fun to celebrate your new release? Do you have any upcoming virtual events our readers may be interested in?
October 26th the Untamed Isles is hopefully hitting shelves so that’s what I’m currently excited about. I’m hoping to be doing a live reading over on my Facebook page, so you can check the details there to find out more about that!
Finally, what is the one thing you hope readers take away from your writing?
A sense of hope? Of ordinary people being able to rise to the greatest challenges. Maybe a little bit of magic and joy in their lives. Although not all stories finish with a happy ending.
Thank you so much for joining us today!
The Untamed Islands: The Path Awakens is available HERE.