Today I am hosting author Eric Sandler on my blog. Eric and I met at the SCBWI conference where we found ourselves engaged in a discussion of horror writing across the Golden Kite Luncheon table, of all things.
Hi Eric, I’m so glad to have you interviewing on my blog today! I’m curious to know, writers often say that they write because they have to write. Do you see writing as a hobby or a vocation?
Vocation for sure. It certainly started as a hobby back when I was 12-13, writing fanfiction for newsgroups. As the years went on I started developing my own characters and stories and became more serious about getting published. Now my one goal in life is to see my name on a book I wrote. After that’s accomplished…I write the sequel.
Tell us about the world of your fantasy novel.
It’s not so much ‘world’ as ‘worlds.’ One of the main characters has the ability to travel to other universes, and so it’s about as far from Earth as you can get. Many of the worlds they visit are behind modern-day Earth in terms of technology and have entirely new species of animals and some varying laws of physics. Some worlds have magic, but that isn’t used too much, so my apologies to the Harry Potter fans.
Where is your favorite place to write?
Outdoors. I tend to take my netbook and sit outside in the backyard, assuming it’s not too hot (which it has been these last few days, so I’m behind!)
I’m with you on writing outdoors. But what do you do if it rains?
Fortunately, the deck has an awning that covers the whole thing, so I can write rain or shine!
|Eric’s outside writing place|
What is your writing routine like?
I have two computers, a netbook and a desktop. The desktop is for general use, the netbook for writing. For proper work to get done, I get away from the desktop. Preferably to a place without wireless Internet. I usually play music while I’m writing. Anything with a good beat that helps me think is in my playlist, so I tend to have a mishmash of artists. Overall it’s probably half Japanese music, half American artists.
What kinds of songs would you put on a playlist for your novel?
A mix of Japanese and American artists. Scandal, High and Mighty Color, m.o.v.e., YUI, Hamasaki Ayumi, Paramore, Evanescence, Bon Jovi, and several more scattered amidst individual songs.
You listen to Japanese music and speak Japanese. Have you ever lived in Japan? Do you use the language or culture in your novel?
Yes, I lived in Osaka for almost three years. I attended a language school there to study Japanese, and then taught English after graduating. I don’t use Japanese so much in this novel, but I’m planning to use it in a middle-grade novel I’m currently writing. The main character is Japanese whose grandparents are from–of course–Osaka.
Did you like to read as a child?
I devoured books as a kid. Ender’s Game and The Giver are two I read over and over. The latter I read a few years ago and was startled at certain parts that I could understand more clearly now as an adult. It made the whole thing much creepier. Ender’s Game remains more or less the same, but I still find it entertaining to read.
I love Ender’s Game and The Giver. Do you have other books you feel influenced you as a writer?
Ender’s Game is definitely a book I’ve read over and over. Bruce Coville and R.L. Stine likely are my biggest influences. I loved Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, and I read the Fear Street and Goosebumps series despite getting scared at Night of the Living Dummy. That one book will make me look askance at mannequins for the rest of my life…
Any thoughts about why kids like scary books?
When I was a kid, I read a lot of R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, etc. Despite sometimes scaring me into having nightmares, these books gave me a glimpse into the darkness that is our fears. I think there’s a subconscious attraction to that fear, as it gives us a peek into the unknown.
Have you had any stories, articles or poems published in magazines?
Yes, I’ve had a short story published on welltoldtales.com, and that same story won second place in the West Side Story contest (now defunct) as well as an honorable mention by Writer’s Digest in their Popular Fiction contest. So that one story’s really gotten around.
That’s so fabulous! Do you have advice to other writers who are still on their way to see their words in print?
Start writing. You can’t get published without putting pen to paper (or typing that first word). Follow through. Starting and finishing are the two most important parts of writing, because without that, you can’t move forward. Be prepared to edit, a lot. And I mean A LOT. This is before you even find an agent or editor. Find someone to beta-read your work (not a friend or family member) after you’ve gone through and edited the whole thing 3-4 times. It helps so much to have a fresh, outside perspective. Be prepared to take a lot of criticism. Accept that you can’t write it perfect the first time and will likely have to do several passes before it’s even close to submission-quality. Joining a critique group can also help a lot, but I personally haven’t had that experience.
Thanks Eric for visiting and answering my questions!
You can follow Eric on twitter at @EricSandlerYA
If you have any questions or comments to Eric, please feel free to comment below.
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If you’re a writer and would like to be interviewed on my blog, please comment below, or send an email to stzoore (at) yahoo (dot) com.