Interview With Steampunk Author Bobby Hunter
Note: I write under the penname R.S. Hunter
What is your most recent published work?
In a couple of weeks, my most recent published work will be The Exile’s Violin, my debut steampunk novel. But if we’re going with most recent work currently available, it’s the science fiction horror story called “Jewel of Tahn-Vinh.” It’s part of the In Situ anthology by Dagan Books.
What is it about?
It follows one woman’s quest for revenge as the world around her slides into chaos.
What can you tell readers about the main character?
The main character, Jacquie Renairre, was a hell of a lot of fun to write. She’s definitely got a chip on her shoulder and has a “me against everybody” sort of mentality. She’s a private investigator with a personal mission that she’s been working on for over six years.
What was your favorite part of the book for you to write? What are you most proud of?
Some of my favorite parts to write were the airship battles. Since steampunk is such a visual subgenre, I felt like I had to really nail the spectacle of big ol’ airships shooting at each other. I hope the readers are able to picture the battles in their head like I was able to do while writing it.
Another one of my favorite parts was writing the dialogue between main characters Jacquie Renairre and Clay Baneport. They come from different social circles and have completely different outlooks on life. It was a lot of fun letting them banter back and forth.
What genres do you write in?
I bounce around between science fiction, fantasy, and a little bit of horror. Pretty much any the genres that fall under speculative fiction. There’s something about getting to ask a whole bunch of “what if” questions that really excites me about SFF.
When you have time to read (?) what do you enjoy? Who’s your favorite author?
I try to make time to read every day. Most of the time, I read right after I get into bed and before I fall asleep. The amount of time varies day by day. Some days I’ll stay up for an extra hour and a half (and pay for it the next day). Other days, I’ll fall asleep mid-sentence after reading two pages.
My favorite genres to read are the same ones I like writing: science fiction, fantasy, and horror. I’m not a huge fan of urban fantasy though. Also a lot of the time epic fantasy about your standard orphan with a big destiny will put me to sleep. I love space opera and could use more of it in my life.
What is the coolest thing a reviewer ever said about your work?
Since all of my previous publication credits have come from anthologies, I haven’t had the opportunity to get a lot of reviews. However, 20,001 A Steampunk Odyssey did get a couple of reviews, and one reviewer said that my story gave them “an unsettling but profoundly necessary foundation to the prettier ideas of steampunk […] because it shows us that it’s not just gleaming brass.” That was pretty cool.
Tell us a little bit about what you are working on now or next?
Right now I’m working on finding reviewers for The Exile’s Violin. I also just finished the first round of revisions on its sequel, Terraviathan. Now that those are done, I’m ready to start the first draft of a new sword and sorcery series I’ve been outlining for the past couple of months. It doesn’t have a name yet, but it should be a lot of violent, bloody fun.
When will it be available?
The Exile’s Violin will be available in the 3rd week of September.
When do you write? How many hours a day/week?
With my job doing SEO and copywriting for an online pet supply retailer taking up the daylight hours, I usually write at night after dinner. My fiancée will work on her InDesign projects and her TV blog while I work at the kitchen table. Some days I’ll put in 3 or 4 hours a night. On weekends, I’ve gotten in the habit of waking up first and writing for a couple of hours in the mornings. I like sleeping in, but I like the thought of having more finished manuscripts under my belt even more.
How do you prepare for a project? Do you work off an outline of your book or write by gut-feel?
I’m the epitome of a plotter. I’ll even plot out short stories. Trying to write, especially a novel-length project, without a detailed outline almost gives me a panic attack. It’s actually gotten worse over the years.
For example: the outline I wrote for The Exile’s Violin three years ago is about 25,000 words long (approx. 50 pages). But that’s not counting the handful of other background/worldbuilding documents I wrote. But now to show how my plotting has gotten even more detailed since then: the outline for Terraviathan (its sequel) is about 45,000 words long (approx. 80 pages).
Some people claim that such detailed plotting must stifle my creativity or something along those lines. They say things like “Oh, but your characters won’t get to grow naturally and take you to unexpected places.”
I call BS on that. For me, all that unexpected discovery with the plot and characters happens during the outline phase. I’ll work through plot problems and stuff then so I won’t have to do it while I’m writing my draft. Truthfully, my outlines are basically zero drafts. They won’t have dialogue tags and description, but that’s about all they’re missing.
I’m definitely not saying my way is the only way to go. It just works for me. If something else works for you, then go for it! We all know there’s not one True Way to write.
Do you have any events or book signings coming up? Where? When?
I don’t have any planned at the moment, but I expect there will be some giveaways once I get my hands on the paperback copies of The Exile’s Violin.
How can readers connect with you? (Blog, Facebook, email, whatever)