MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR ZACHARIAH WAHRER
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
I’m Zachariah Wahrer, and I write science fiction. 🙂
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
I’m currently working on the 4th and final book of my Dawn Saga. It wraps up all the story threads I created in the previous novels, and brings a (hopefully) satisfying conclusion to everyone who has read the previous books!
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I’ve always had a love of sci-fi. The first sci-fi book I remember reading was Ender’s Game, and I was pretty much hooked from there. The possible futures that science fiction explores draw me in. I also love stories told through multiple viewpoints (Stephen King’s Dark Tower Series, Kevin J Anderson’s Saga of Seven Suns, and Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time to name a few of my bigger inspirations).
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I try to make sure all the technology in my books is possible from a physics standpoint, so I spend a fair amount of time reading up on the science. That being said, I think there is a lot we still don’t understand about the universe, and this leaves some wiggle room for more fantastic and interesting story elements. It is a balance, and I don’t claim everything in my books is realistic, but I do try!
Can you tell me about your Series?
My Dawn Saga is a series of 4 books, written from several different perspectives/characters. I really wanted to explore the evolution of humanity, our place amongst the stars, other alien races, and how we would respond to an extinction level event. I also played around with some grand time scales, as well as some fairly disparate technology levels. It all blends together to form some pretty kick-ass space opera, I think. 🙂
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
I really like Destroyers of the Dawn (Book 3). It brings in a lot of history and explains character origins and motivations. All the books are good (in my opinion), but 3 goes deeper and creates a more fleshed out universe.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
As I mentioned earlier, I take a lot of inspiration from saying “what if?” about our future, as humanity, as well as the forgotten/unrecorded past. I think this type of exploration helps us understand ourselves better, and could help humanity avoid some very bad outcomes in the future.
Was it always meant to become a series?
Yes. From the time I started the first book, I knew it would be a series. And before I finished Breakers of the Dawn, I knew it would be a four book series. That was several years ago, but I’m set to release the final novel in 2019. It’s the culmination of many years of hard work, learning, growth, and perseverance.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I usually start off with a cup of tea, sitting at our dining room table (my office), and check my sales and ad stats. From there, I go on to answering reader emails and whatever other writing business that needs my attention. With that all taken care of, I’ll typically move on to actual writing or editing of whatever my current project is. That takes up the rest of the day, and by the evening, my brain is usually fried!
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
The last book of the Dawn Saga is going through the editing process. I’m planning to release it within the next few months. The title isn’t official yet, but I’ll announce it soon.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
Character names are very important to me. They need to follow the conventions of the culture the character is a part of, as well as saying something about the person or their history. I also try to make sure the names aren’t too close to each other, so readers can easily keep them separated.
Where do your ideas come from?
History, science, technology, etc. Pretty much anything I read about. I also have to credit just about every fiction book I’ve read as well. No author creates truly original ideas, and we build on the stories that have been told before us.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
I tend to blend a lot of genres into my sci-fi, so if I like an aspect of a particular one, it’s probably already in my series. There are elements of dystopia, post-apocalyptic, horror, fantasy, and even a little romance thrown in. I think it keeps things interesting and fun.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Marketing, for sure. Creating, polishing, formatting, and uploading a book isn’t a breeze, but for me it is a much easier than actually getting people to read it. I spend a significant chunk of each day trying to get my books in front of readers. I’ve learned a lot, and it isn’t as hard as it once was, but it still takes a ton of effort.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I would love to have one, and I’ve worked a trailer in the past. Unfortunately, I’ve never created a finished product I was proud enough to share. These kinds of promos take away from vital writing time, and while they are definitely important, I have to weigh their benefits vs their costs. I’ll get back to working on it someday, but it isn’t a high priority at the moment.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Continuing to release books and build my readership, year after year. Writing and being an author can be a real grind at times, and not giving up feels huge to me. Once this series is done, I think that will probably be my best accomplishment to date.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
Hearing from people who love your work. I’m so psyched to get emails from fans!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In a spaceship, heading to the moon colony. But seriously, probably working on another book in my latest series, thinking about what rock I’m going to climb next weekend.
Have you always liked to write?
I’ve enjoyed different creative pursuits throughout my life, including being a musician and a routesetter. Writing is just an extension of that creative drive for me, and one that has lasted longer than previous endeavors.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Work hard, don’t give up, and don’t take criticism personally. Nobody started off as some amazing writer. It takes time and effort.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
I’d probably continue as a climbing routesetter and coach.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I do read reviews, as I feel it is important to stay in touch with what readers have to say. I do not respond to reviews directly, but I try to incorporate what people have to say (within reason). Some of the really critical reviews are funny, while others have definitely hurt my feelings. I try to find a good balance in my relationship with the review process, and am still learning about that as I go.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
As I mentioned earlier, I dislike marketing the most. If it wasn’t a requirement, I wouldn’t do it. 🙂
Where did your love of books come from?
My parents and teachers encouraged me to read throughout my childhood, and that’s what got me started. I love how books can transport you to a whole new world, how they require the use of your imagination. You’re an active participant, unlike when you watch a movie or TV show. As much as I love reading, I do enjoy all forms of media that include a story telling aspect, like video games. They all have their appeal in certain ways.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
I mentioned some of these before, but Steven King, Kevin J Anderson, Robert Jordan, and Carl Sagan are a few of my faves.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
Oh man, it’s hard to pick just one. I love all of them for various reasons. I guess if I had to say, I think my favorite is Tremmilly. She’s resilient, resourceful, and grows a lot throughout the series.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Both, depending on the day, project, and phase I’m in. Beginnings and endings drain me. The middle portions of books are a breeze, and I love them!
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Thinking about climbing… It is a big distraction sometimes. 🙂
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Both. I write what I enjoy and what my ideal reader would love reading. Sometimes that is an original idea, sometimes that’s taking inspiration and paying homage to stories I’ve read before. I love the balance between the two, and it’s what I strive for.
Are there other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I have a lot of author friends that I’ve met through the community. We all help each other out with technical questions, encouragement, and promotions. Some days, you need help. Others, you can offer it.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Remembering the Future
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever eaten? A woolybear caterpillar. I wouldn’t recommend eating this, no matter how much money someone offers you…
Where can your fans find you and follow??
You can get my Dawn Saga starter pack free through my website (http://zachariahwahrer.com) by signing up for my newsletter. It contains a prequel short story, Breakers of the Dawn (Dawn Saga 1), and some digital art. And if you’d rather not subscribe, Breakers is currently free at all major retailers (http://books2read.com/breakersofthedawn). For social media, you can find me on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Amazon / Bookbub.
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️