Now, I am quite excited to be sharing with you all my question and answer session with Hugh Howey, Author of the international bestselling Wool series and his latest phenomenon ‘Sand’.
Hugh has recently released news of his upcoming children’s book ‘ Misty: The Proud Cloud’, due for release November 18th 2014. You can pre-order a copy through Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Misty-Proud-Cloud-Hugh-Howey/dp/0982611951
Let me first fill you all in on Hugh Howey, for those that don’t know. Firstly, if you haven’t read any of his stuff why are you still sitting here, go and purchase, you need more Hugh Howey in your life.
Hugh C. Howey is an American writer, best known for his Wool series, initially writing Wool as a stand-alone short story. He decided to publish through Amazon.com’s Kindle direct publishing system because of the freedom he got with the self publishing system. In 2012, Howey signed a deal with Simon and Schuster to distribute Wool to book retailers across the US and Canada. The deal allowed Howey to continue to sell the book online exclusively. He notably turned down seven figure offers in favor of a mid-six figure sum, in return for maintaining e-book rights. Film rights to the series were sold to 20th Century Fox. Prior to his writing success Howey worked as a yacht captain, roofer, and audio technician.
You can see why he is such a modern day hero of mine, I hope to emulate in his footsteps.
The reason I was so eager to get an interview with Hugh, with the news of his upcoming children’s book I thought this sat in perfectly with LastoftheAuthors having just acquired a illustrator to my team.
Hugh Howey Q & A
Did you find yourself surprised to be writing a children’s book, or was this always something you wanted to do eventually as a writer?
I’ve always wanted to write a children’s book, but it didn’t seem likely since I can’t draw. The illustrator is such a crucial part of the book, maybe more crucial than the writer (I would certainly say this is true). The year before I started writing, I was working as a home theatre installer up in Boone, NC. One day, we head to a guy’s house to work on his internet connection. His name is Eric Carle. I’m thinking this can’t possibly be the author of THE HUNGRY CATERPILLAR, which was one of my favourite books as a kid, but indeed it was. He was an amazing person to talk to. Told me about his childhood in Europe, his father being captured by the Russians and held as a POW, the bombs that dropped all around his home town. And it blew me away to hear how brutal those experiences were but how much hope and joy he brings through his work.
When I started writing novels, the ones that took off were the bleakest ones. But that’s not how I see the world. I try to find hope and joy in all things. So this is the sort of project I’ve been yearning to do. This book is more “me” in some ways than anything I’ve written before. That’s another reason I wanted to tackle it.
How did you find the transition into writing for children, and is there any advice you may have picked up on that you could pass onto a writer who may want to follow the same path?
It’s all about the message for me. It’s even better if there are several lessons doled out in hidden layers. Children’s books are meant to be read over and over. Kids will watch the same film dozens of times, revelling in the familiarity and seeing something new each time (as any parent during the DVD release of FROZEN will tell you). So part of the trick is to make sure there are little hidden things in the art and the story for the observant readers to stumble upon.
Also: Kids are smarter than we give them credit for. Use the right words. Not talking down to kids is something we should do more.
How important to you was it to find the right illustrator and how did you know she was the one you wanted to work with?
It was everything. I wasn’t sold on the project going forward, even as we began the search. If we didn’t find someone, the book just wouldn’t get made. I knew that going in. My agent, Kristin Nelson, matched me up with another agent who specializes in children’s books. She made recommendations, and I started browsing their work. When I first visited Nidhi Chanani’s website (http://everydayloveart.com/
), I knew this was the artist I wanted and feared I’d never be able to hire her. Each of her individual illustrations told an entire story, and the colours and style are just magical. I was so nervous as we pitched the project to her and overwhelmed when she said “yes.” Working with Nidhi was such a joy that I’m already working on what I hope will be our next project together.
Do you feel this will be a one time thing or would you like to carry on writing more books for children?
I have at least one more that I have to get out there. It’s an idea for a children’s book that I’ve had for seven or eight years. The idea goes right back to when I dreamt up the character of Molly Fyde and the setting for Wool. I hope to get it moving forward in 2015.
I ask every Author this question as I find the answers very interesting; if you could share a drink with any author, present or past, who would it be and why?
Theodore Roosevelt. He was so well-read and had opinions on everything. Hyper intelligent but also an adventurous man. And he loved the sea. I’ve only been drunk twice in my life, but I’d gladly get hammered with Teddy.
…And finally, what next for Hugh Howey?
My next release is THE SHELL COLLECTOR, which is sort of a romance novel, but maybe more women’s fiction, with a strong ecological component. I don’t know what it is, to be honest. But I love it. And I hope readers do as well.Thank you so much Hugh Howey, I wish the latest book all the success