AUTHOR NAME: Travis Simmons
Birth date: November 25th
Where are you from: Gouverneur, NY
A little about your self `ie your education, Family, life etc: At the moment I’m a fulltime caretaker for my mother. I spend a lot of time writing and formatting books for other authors as well as writing two blogs, one on writing help and one where I just have fun with my readers. I’m enrolled in college for creative writing so that takes up a bit of time. When I’m not doing that stuff, I really love watching Netflix and spending time with my dog.
Tell us your latest book news? Right now I’m working on a series with the first book releasing on January 20th of 2015. This is a new adult fantasy novel that follows a young woman through an adventure of finding a cure for this shadow plague she’s caught. It’s based heavily on Norse mythology and has a pretty interesting cast of characters. I really can’t wait for it to be released!
When and why did you begin writing? I can’t really remember why I started writing. Maybe I thought it was cool? Maybe because someone I looked up to at the time was a writer. I think it was really because I had such a vivid imagination and loved creating characters and the worlds they lived in. I started writing when I was 14 and though some of what I wrote then was kind of crap, the basis of it and the ideas for those stories are still with me. Literally, they are still in a plastic file beside my desk. I do intend on re-working some of my earlier work, and we might even see the release of one of those stories in 2015.
When did you consider yourself an Author? Actually just recently. See, to me anyone can be an author, it really doesn’t take much in this time. Being an author takes little more than writing something and self-publishing it on any platform you choose. What’s different about some authors is that they think of it as a business, as a job, and they strive to make a living with it. That’s where I’m at. I really considered myself an author in the last few months when I decided to take it seriously as a business, and not a dream. To this point everything I’ve done with my writing has been toward one goal: making it pay. I like to call this building my empire. :-D
What inspired you to write your first book? A lot of people ask about inspiration, and really so many things inspire different ideas for me that it’s so hard to pinpoint one thing. I love researching, and as I research random ideas will give me entire stories. Recently, with The Revenant Wyrd Saga, it started with two names: Angelica and Jovian. I got those names and spent the next half hour of my work break jotting down notes about their stories. Seriously, it was like a floodgate opened and their entire story from beginning to end played out for me. It was interesting and took a few different tries to get it right.
Do you have a specific writing style? Not specifically. I tend to plot my books pretty heavily. I like to know how they are going to end so I can foreshadow enough to make it awesome in the final pages. In fact, with The Revenant Wyrd Saga one of the biggest mysteries of the serious, one of the hugest reveals, doesn’t happen until the last 15-20 pages. I love foreshadowing!
How did you come up with the titles? Titles are interesting. Typically they don’t change once I think of the title for the book. Sometimes the title is the first thing I think of. To me, knowing the title is important. I mean, how else am I going to name the document on my computer!?! Often the titles plop into my head and I get working with my cover artist right away. Other times it takes some mulling over. Titles, to me, need to be artistic and catchy. They are just as much a hook as the cover.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Not really. I mean, a lot of my writing is a way to discover myself. With The Revenant Wyrd Saga I was really caught on this whole religious idea of right and wrong, and I think that comes through in the books. I’ve been told that what is right and what is wrong is very confusing in the book and often the reader gets confused right along with the characters, which is what I was going for. I do like to strive for that human edge with my characters, and I really hope some of their struggles are things readers can relate to.
How much of the book is realistic? My books are fantasy, but a lot of research goes into them. I can’t say how much of them are realistic, but I really do love weaving Earthly legends and myths into the lore of my worlds. Obviously, some of the things the characters experience in their life can be paralleled in our own world.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? Nope. It started out where some characters were based on people I knew, but as time goes by the people changed from what they were when I based characters on them, and the characters grew into their own beings.
What books have most influenced your life most? I don’t normally read books and find deep meaning in them. Since I read mostly sci-fi and fantasy I can appreciate struggles the characters go through, but I tend to read to escape life for a while, and while I’m in the book, I don’t like to be reminded of Earth hahaha. I can say there have been some authors who made me think I wanted to be just like them when I grew up and one of those is David Eddings. Fantastic author.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? David Eddings hahaha. I think he was amazing. He had this way with the story and this way with his characters that made them stand out and made them real.
What book are you reading now? Right now I’m reading several, but the top three I’m enjoying are: A Game of Thrones, Hexed (by Kevin Hearne), and Erato (by Sharon Van Orman).
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Kevin Hearne is new to me, though I think he’s been around a while. One of my favorite new authors I’m pleased to call a friend, and that’s Sharon Van Orman.
What are your current projects? I’m working on a few. One of them is a sci-fi new adult novel about an alien trying to find herself when she doesn’t seem to fit with her own race. There’s one that I’m working on that is the sequel to my January release and they are based on Norse mythology. Finally I’m working on wrapping up my zombie series, Infernal Designs.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members: That would be my friend Frannie who really helped me when I was starting out. She pretty much said it didn’t matter how grandiose the story, write it as I saw it.
Do you see writing as a career? Certainly, and it’s a hard one!
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? Honestly I can say no, but my latest book is still pretty newly finished, so I’m sure in a few years that answer will be a resounding YES!
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I think it would have to be when I started reading Dragonlance as a kid and I knew if I couldn’t live in Krynn, I had to write about similar worlds.
Can you share a little of your current work with us? Certainly! The next one to be released is called A Plague of Shadows, and like I said before it follows a young woman looking for a cure for this shadow plague that will take over a human and draw out their shadow, making them a living, walking darkling bent on destroying humanity.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? The process of writing. It’s like work. I love finishing a book, I love talking about a book, I rarely enjoy WRITING the darn thing. Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s like pulling teeth. I make myself write every single day and aim for at least 2k words. It can be tedious.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? David Eddings. I love the way he writes characters. Another writer I love is Joss Whedon because he makes his stories more about people than about events.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? Not yet, but I have just signed my zombie books with a publisher, and that will require some travel for media and signings and such.
Who designed the covers? The very talented Najla Qamber!
What was the hardest part of writing your books? Forcing out the words. Sometimes the characters fight with me, sometimes the words don’t want to come out, or they sound like crap when they are coming out, or sometimes I’m really worried that people will realize I have no idea what I’m doing and I’m really just making this all up!!!!!
Did you learn anything from writing your books? That you can achieve your dreams.
Do you have any advice for other writers? Yes, write. Don’t concern yourself with trends or sounding like a bestselling favorite, just write the story that’s in your heart, and don’t give up on it.
Do your have anything specific you would like to say to your readers? I truly appreciate and love every single one of them! I used to think I wanted to write for money (which can be laughable at times). But then reviews started coming in, and just hearing how some readers love the characters or the plots really makes it all worth it!
Do your remember the first book you ever read? A Wrinkle in Time. Love that book to pieces.
Other than writing do you have any hobbies? No. I’m boring hahaha. I spend way too much time on Facebook. I’m trying to figure out twitter. Among that, I’m really looking for something I enjoy outside of writing so I can have an actual human conversation. So far nothing seems to work.
What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching? I enjoy TV shows over movies because the stories last so much longer! I love Witches of East End. I enjoy A Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead also. And, Netflix really needs to put out the next season of American Horror Story!!!!!
Favorite foods / Colors/ Music: Chinese; blue; alternative.
If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done? Be born to wealth? Yea, that sounds good. Also, nature conservation.
Do you have a blog/website? If so please share your links. Oh yes:
Personal Blog: http://travissimmons.net/
Writing Help: http://wyrdingwayspress.com/
Are you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. Please share those links also.