Welcome to a Tattered Remains Interview
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Kyle West. Author of The Wasteland Chronicles: Omnibus Edition (Books 1-3) and The Xenoworld Saga (3 Book Series) which Kyle is currently working on the fourth book in the series.
I stumbled across the The Wasteland Chronicles: Omnibus Edition (Books 1-3) for free on Amazon decided to give it a read. I was immediately hooked and went on to read the entire 7 books in “The Wasteland Chronicles Series.”
If you enjoy science fiction in a dystopian world with some fantasy, zombies and aliens all mixed together and sprinkled with a touch of X-Files and thrown into a bunker then you should give this series your attention.
Enjoy the interview.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
A: I probably started writing for the first time around eighth grade. I took a creative writing class in high school as well which really opened my eyes to the possibility of being a writer. I remember my teacher being very encouraging, and to be honest, writing is one of the few things I have a knack for.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
A: Generally, writing is very similar to most other jobs. To be successful, you have to put in the time every day, or almost every day. I start in the morning and stop in the afternoon, sometimes early, sometimes late. It all depends on my word count. I try to get at least 2,000 words a day.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
A: I do every so often, probably a few times a week. It usually comes in the form of an email or a Facebook message. Usually, it’s because they want to tell me what they thought of Wasteland Chronicles, and I enjoy hearing what people think. As a writer, you’re with a book or a series so long that you never really have the experience of it being new, except when you conceive of the idea, and usually, you already know 80 percent of everything that’s going to happen. So it’s great to hear from people who sit down with few preconceived notions of what it is, what they thought about it as a whole. A lot of readers get through the entire series in a week or two, where it took me two years to complete. If I read my own books to try to get a sense of what I like, all I can see is what I want to change.
As far as what I would change, just a few things here and there. I might go into more detail about certain aspects of the world, or fix some of the inconsistencies. There would be nothing major, just a bit of polish, because the books were written and conceived rather quickly.
Do you write every single day?
A: I don’t. I usually take the weekends off.
Aside from writing, what are your hobbies?
A: I like lifting weights, playing video games, watching movies…but reading will probably be my most satisfying hobby. I usually do so for 30 minutes a day, minimum. If the book is good, it’s what I could spend all day doing.
What was the hardest part of writing?
A: Sitting down to write. The writing itself isn’t the hard part. The hard part is focusing when there are so many distractions to be had. Distractions are the number one enemy of any writer, or anyone trying to be productive. There’s a reason many writing books recommend unplugging the Internet, or writing somewhere where you can’t focus on anything other than your book. Writing is really strange. It’s something writers love to do, or at least love the idea of doing, but sitting down to do it is one of the hardest things. But, you do it, otherwise words aren’t going to get on the page and you’re not going to eat. I definitely see writing differently that when I wasn’t a professional writer. It was something I did only when I had the whim, whereas now I have to do it whether I want to or not. The strange thing is my mood has nothing to do with the quality of the words. Only the work itself matters.
What do you like to read in your free time?
A: I like to read very widely, anything from other sci-fi/fantasy novels to literature, classics, and non-fiction. I’m currently reading a non-fiction book the Reformation, since early-modern Europe has always fascinated me. Reading about the religion and politics of that era gives me an idea of how to make it work in my books, even if a lot of that action is featured off page.
What’s the worst job you’ve had?
A: Probably the one I was working when I started to write Wasteland Chronicles. To put in a positive light, it was a strange sort of inspiration to write. A negative impetus, if you will.
Are you working on anything presently?
A: I’m working on the fourth book of my Xenoworld Saga. It is currently untitled, but I’m very excited for it come out because a lot of the things start coming together.
What is your writing space like?
A: I have a nice, old desk that’s been in my family for years. While a bit small, it was purchased by my great-great grandmother in the 1800’s. I have a small office in my apartment, a nice big computer screen so that I can see a lot of words at once. I do want to upgrade a bit. While I like the desk, it feels small sometimes, and it would be nice to have a lot of space and maybe an extra monitor so I can do a bit of research or to see more of the document.
When did you decide to write the “The Wasteland Chronicles”?
A: I got the idea for it while I was still working at a pretty low level job at Chesapeake Energy. I was pretty unhappy at that job, but because of the market, couldn’t really find another way out. So, I think writing was a distraction. The world of the Wasteland was a lot more interesting than my life, and by the time the first one was done, my writing professor at OU (which I had left a few years ago) said that it was pretty good. Basically, I wanted to get out of my job, and I think it was the first time I really realized that if I was going to be happy, I had to do things my own way, or find a way out myself. Writing was my attempt to do that. After I published my first book, I discovered writing forums where other indie writers were trying to make it, and I emulated everything the successful authors were doing as far as marketing, covers, etc. Luckily for me, it worked out, but I’m always conscious of the fact that success is a very fickle thing in the world of writing. But when you have fans who say they’ll read whatever you put out, it does a lot to allay my fears.
As far as why did I want to focus on the particular ideas present in the Wasteland chronicles…it’s hard to say. I think a lot of fiction that’s focused on a meteor or comet impacting Earth focuses on stopping it. I wanted to write a story where it had already happened, and I also wanted to write about an alien virus that was embedded within it, and the idea of a post-apocalyptic war between not just aliens and humans, but two different alien factions, really appealed to me. While I borrowed a lot of ideas from other stories (all fiction does to an extent), I still think Wasteland Chronicles turned out to be a pretty unique story line, even if doesn’t really start to differentiate itself until book 3 or 4. Which also happens to be the time where I was getting more comfortable writing books.
I also wanted to write about a main character who wasn’t the typical action hero type, but someone who has fears and doubts, but persists nonetheless. I have never been able to relate to hero type of characters, because they never seem to have any real fears. They always seem to be utterly confident they will win, and most of the time, they do. I wanted to write about someone who was young, naïve, and full of doubts, but someone who matured as the world threw a lot of stuff at him. I think everyone at some point, whether they are young or not, goes through stuff like that, even if it’s not monsters and meteors.
Kyle West is the author of multiple best-selling science fiction and fantasy novels. He has written two series, The Wasteland Chronicles and The Xenoworld Saga, and has eleven books to his name. He’s pretty much a nerd, and if you’ve taken the time to actually read this because you’re interested in his novels, then you probably are, too.
Kyle enjoys reading, traveling, a good cup of coffee or well-mixed drink, among other things he can’t really think of at the moment (spoiler alert: he’s the one writing this bio). He enjoys cycling and lifting weights, mostly as a means to be fully prepared for the pending zombie apocalypse. He resides in the bustling metropolis of Oklahoma City.
The Wasteland Chronicles:
The Xenoworld Saga:
Night of the Necromancer: Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse?
If you are interested in knowing when his next book comes out, join his mailing list! You can find it at this link: http://eepurl.com/A1-8D
Meanwhile, you can find him at the following cyber haunts:
All the novels can be purchased from the Amazon page for Kyle West.