An Interview with H.W. Vivian, author of In Hiding
H. W. Vivian is the YA/Sci-Fi/Fantasy author of In Hiding and the War of Rain Trilogy. Her debut novel is entitled Chasers. She also writes general fiction under her pseudonym, Alex Chu. Novels written under this pseudonym include the IndieReader 2015 winner for Best Humor Novel, Days of Amber, and the Suspense/Thriller, Monarchs.
I’m not going to be reviewing your newest novel, but from your other published novels, is there one that is your own personal favourite?
I would say that every newest novel is my favorite because it describes my latest personal and spiritual growth. So since In Hiding is my latest release, it’s my favorite right now. In another year or so, my favorite will most likely be different!
What is In Hiding about?
My latest novel is about a young girl who believes she was abandoned at a young age. She was brought up inside a nuclear power plant after being found by her “guardian”, who is less like a care-giving adoptive parent, and more like a boss. This “guardian” makes her work to power the nuclear reactors in the plant. When she gets older, she starts seeingflashbacks of her life before she came to the plant, and eventually realizes that what she’s doing is not what she was meant to do. I like to add a philosophical element to my novels, so in essence In Hiding is about the dissidence between what others in society (specifically those in power) tell us we are here to do with our lives, verses what we believe we are here to do. I think this ideal is very prevalent in our modern commercial global society.
Everyone has a ‘first novel’, even if many of them are a rough draft relegated to the bottom and back of your desk drawer (or your external harddrive!). Have you been able to reshape yours, or have you abandoned it for good?
I would say my first rough draft was the one that I published as my first novel, so it’s quite revised and refined. I do have several short stories from my earlier years that are still in the hard drive because I never delete story ideas. So you never know – one of those could be the next novel I publish!
Over the years, what would you say has improved significantly in your writing?
Honestly I think my writing has remained the same throughout my career. I always aim to write as descriptively as possible, so I suppose that lately my descriptions have been more specific, and I’ve been diving much deeper into character development.
Some authors are able to pump out a novel a year and still be filled with inspiration. Is this the case for you, or do you like to let an idea percolate for a couple of years in order to get a beautiful novel?
I’m definitely inspired! I can usually finish a novel within 6-8 months. I’m always writing something!
I have heard of writers that could only write in one place – then that cafe closed down and they could no longer write! Where do you find yourself writing most often, and on what medium (pen/paper or digital)?
I only write in my home, because, living in New York City, I get easily distracted by the bustling sights and sounds (not to mention the instability of writing in my place of work or in a public area). I think there’s a special connection between writers and their thoughts when using the pen and paper, so my first draft is always on paper. I then transcribe the words onto a typical Word document, and edit/proofread on that.
Before going on to hire an editor, most authors use beta-readers. How do you recruit your beta-readers, and choose an editor? Are you lucky enough to have loving family members who can read and comment on your novel?
I used to have a beta-reader who has since fallen out of touch… but the very nice advice she’s always given me was that, no matter how weird or awkward anyone thinks of my stories, it is one that I must still share because it is a testament to my existence during the however many decades I’m allowed to live on this earth!
I walk past bookshops and am drawn in by the smell of the books – ebooks simply don’t have the same attraction for me. Does this happen to you, and do you have a favourite bookshop? Or perhaps you are an e-reader fan… where do you source most of your material from?
Yes, bookshops (and cafes) are always interesting and alluring to me. I could get lost in a bookshop/cafe for hours! E-reading is a good way to organize one’s home and save space, but physical books (and writing pads) are always my preference.
I used to find myself buying books in only one genre (fantasy) before I started writing this blog. What is your favourite genre, and have your tastes changed over time?
I like every genre except romance. I don’t know… I’ve just never quite been drawn to them. But I have been pleasantly surprised by some romance novels that friends recommend me.
Social media is a big thing, much to my disgust! I never have enough time myself to do what I feel is a good job. What do you do?
I know what you mean. Social media is such a drag on my time! What I do is I just schedule posts in advance, so I don’t have to remember to post something every day. This method has done me well, and I highly recommend it to everybody! I manage everything myself! I wish I had a social media manager, though. Scheduling posts has changed my life, and kept me on-track with my marketing goals!
Answering interview questions can often take a long time! Tell me, are you ever tempted to recycle your answers from one to the next?
I don’t recycle my answers because every blogger I’ve met has been creative enough to ask different questions!