Ryan also has a blog at http://ryanattard.com/ where you can partake of his often irreverent, sometimes off-color, but always funny commentary.
M: Ryan, thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed. And how nice of you to come all the way from Malta. I hope you’re not feeling too jet-lagged.
R: It’s alright. I live so far away I have to literally circumnavigate the globe every time I am invited somewhere. Let’s hope in more like Sir Francis Drake and not Columbus – I can’t afford to get lost on that grand a scale.
M: Ha ha, we’ll make sure you don’t get lost. We’re actually having a bit of a cold snap here in Florida so let’s sit here on my couch. I don’t have a fireplace but I have four cats that will be more than happy to provide some body heat. I hope you’re not allergic to cats. Can I get you anything to drink? Hot tea, soy milk, wine, gin?
R: Cats are adorable. Coffee would be fine, thank you. I don’t drink at all and if you read my blog or attend an event where I’m present, you’ll know why.
M: I’m so glad you like cats. I’ve read your blog so, I agree, no alcohol for you :)
Now, your first novel, Firstborn, has just been published. Talk a bit about this novel. What is it about and what inspired you to write it?
R: Firstborn is the answer to my frustration with authors taking years to write their novels. I had finished reading Jim Butcher’s Changes and Derek Landy’s Mortal Coil and decided that, rather than wait for them to release the sequel, I wanted to entertain myself.
The idea spawned from 2 short stories I’d written to impress my peers when I was 16, and I think this is one of those rare times where peer pressure has good results.
M: I saw on your blog that it took you about three years to write Firstborn. What was the process like for you? What kept you going?
R: Well, writing for me is a drug. My manager says I’m neurotic about writing and writing some more. This stems from my idea that if I want to do this professionally, I have to keep going. Release more books, get a bigger fanbase, and hopefully not starve to death. I quit everything else and focused on writing full time. Making up stories is something (possibly the only thing) I’m good at – and quitting isn’t really an option.
M: I suspect that you’re good at a least few other things :) but writing is obviously what gives you intrinsic value. Many of the authors I’ve interviewed and reviewed are self-published. You’ve been published by AEC Stellar Publishing which I believe is a fairly new publishing company. How did you come about to choose AEC Stellar as your publisher? How was it to work with them?
R: I was waiting for a contract with a comic publisher who strung me along for 6 months. AEC followed me on twitter and on a whim, I submitted to them.
The following day I get an email from Ray, our CEO – “I like this, send the whole thing.”
So I do as he says and in 24 hours I get a contract. That same week he hooked me up with managers, editors, media moguls – and for that I can’t thank him enough.
M: Wow, that’s like every writer’s dream! So Firstborn is the first in your Legacy Series. How many novels do you have planned for the series? Do you know how soon the next novel might be available?
R: The Legacy Series is a long one – I say ‘around 13 novels’. The ‘’ are an indication that whilst I do have the whole saga planned out, I haven’t divided them up into novels yet. But I’ve always said 13.
So it’s 13 novels – not including short stories like Big Wolf on Campus and Dread Night. I do those whenever there’s something I can’t get into the novels or it’s a special holiday like Dread Night and Halloween.
M: I love the number 13. What is a typical writing day for you? Do you set yourself goals like word or page counts? What needs to happen for you to say that you’ve had a productive and satisfying writing day?
R: I don’t have anything silly like goals. And I don’t have a muse either. Or writer’s block. Writer’s Block is for people who can afford it.
I get up, get me coffee and start up my brain – I get into the scene I want to write and start planning it out. Often I would act it out and yell out lines to see if they make sense. Then I sit down and write. Sometimes I remember to do things like eat.
Usually my goal post is a chapter (OCD anyone?). I get that done, and I’m allowed meal breaks and to have a life outside of my head.
I watch some anime, maybe read a book, then pass out. Repeat until you hit THE END.
M: Sounds grueling but you do have a lot of writing to do :)
You know, publishing, whether it’s self-publishing or traditional publishing, is very competitive. Writers who are coming out with their first novels or short stories may feel overwhelmed or intimidated by the marketplace. Do you have any advice for writers who aspire to be published authors?
R: You don’t have to outrun the bear chasing you. You just have to outrun the guy next to you. The art world is all about perseverance. Once you get in, the only way to stay is to keep writing, to keep churning out good, quality work and build that title shelf. It may take years, but once it happens, you’ll want to do it all over again. There is no greater sense of achievement in this lifetime than surviving the process of thinking something to have someone read it.
M: That is so true. Perseverance is definitely key to success. Ryan, it’s truly been my pleasure to talk with you today. Thank you again for taking the time for this interview. I know I am one of many others who are look forward to reading more of your work.
R: Thank you for having me. It’s been such a great pleasure. I look forward to having more books that you and your readers can indulge in.
Thanks to everyone for reading my interview with author, Ryan Attard. Be sure to follow his blog at http://ryanattard.com and pick up a copy of Firstborn. You can also read another interview with Ryan at Sorin Suciu’s blog: http://www.sorinsuciu.com/interview-ryan-attard/
You can purchase Firstborn on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Firstborn-Ryan-Attard/dp/1940820022/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386952512&sr=8-1&keywords=ryan+attard.