Sunday 6 May 2012


What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Scott Haworth.  I was born in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio.  I currently live in Columbus, Ohio.  The latter city may sound familiar to you because of a number of pop culture references.  It seems that whenever a writer from New York or Los Angeles wants to talk about the quintessential Midwestern town they point to Columbus, Ohio.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I wrote a couple of funny short stories in high school that got pity laughs from my friends, but other than that I never had much interest in writing when I was younger.  I went to college and got a bachelor’s degree in history and political science.  One day, a few months after graduation, I was watching the movie Independence Day on cable and scoffing at how stupid the plot was.  I said to myself, “I could write a better alien invasion story than this garbage!”  Two months later I had completed my first novel.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
When I come up with an idea I usually spend a few weeks kicking it around in my head before I even think about putting anything down on paper.  I’ll spend another week or two coming up with a rough outline.  When I’m actually writing, I try to stick to a strict schedule of writing 10 pages a day, 4 days a week.  I’m a natural procrastinator, but I find it’s usually easy to stick to this quota.  After the novel is completed, I like to let it sit on my hard drive for a month so I can get some distance from it before I start editing.  All together the process takes about four or five months.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I’ve written everything from science fiction to political satire in my quest to get published.  I particularly like to write about ideas that I haven’t read or seen before, regardless of what genre they fall into. 
Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
The favorite book that I have written is American Liberation Front.  It was the third of the six novels I’ve written, but it was the first one that I really felt confident in my writing ability.  The basic story is about two brothers who have different reactions after a nuclear terrorist attack destroys Los Angeles. One brother reacts angrily and joins with the fascists who seize control of the United States.   The other brother, who is more logical, joins a resistance movement to restore democracy.   I wrote the book during the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks when I, and I’m sure most Americans, were having an internal conflict between anger and logic.  I also enjoyed using my background in history to draw parallels between my fictional story and the rise of fascism in Germany during the 1930’s. 
Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration?
My ideas usually come immediately after I make a snide comment to myself while watching an irritating news story.  While watching a typical story about Democrats and Republicans failing to compromise I said to myself, “Ugh!  We should just split the country into red states and blue states… Hey, there’s an idea.”  That’s where the basic plot of Abraham Lincoln’s Lie came from.  Similarly, I saw something on television once where theologians and scientists where debating near-death experiences.  Several people were on the program who were convinced that they had been visited by angels and told that it wasn’t their time to die yet.  It seemed silly to me that these people believed in an omnipotent God who could make a simple clerical mistake and not realize from the beginning that the individual was not supposed to die at that moment.  I decided that sounded a lot more like human error.  That was how I came up with the first chapter of Heaven 2.0.  Mike and Gabby, two human beings from the future, make a mistake during one of their missions to rescue people at the time of their deaths.    
How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
I designed the covers myself.  The basic process consists of me slamming my fists against my desk, cursing like a sailor and swearing revenge on the designers of Photoshop.  The end result, after three or four hours of that, is a great…er, good…eh, not terrible cover.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Sometimes I choose character names for a specific purpose.  For instance, Gabby and Mike in Heaven 2.0 are references to the archangels Gabriel and Michael.  My readers often notice that, aside from Heaven 2.0, the main character in my novels is always named Nick.  This is a choice to amuse myself while I am writing.  For a six month period when I was younger it seemed that every book I read or movie I saw had a “Nick” as a main character: Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby, Nick Rivers in Top Secret!, etc.  I found it funny that Nick was such a common name for everyman characters.  For minor characters I take a high school yearbook and flip to two random pages for a first name and a last name.  Assuming the names match the gender and ethnicity of the character, that’s what I use.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
Books usually don’t transfer well because movies rarely live up to our imagination of the story.  I enjoyed the movie versions of Tom Clancy’s novels, particularly The Hunt for Red October.  It’s hard to butcher a book when you have Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin as the leads.  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was one of my least favorites.  I don’t know what studio executive decided to change so much of the plot from the book, presumably because they thought American audiences were too stupid to understand the humor of Douglas Adams.  I like to imagine it’s the same executive who keeps green-lighting M. Night Shyamalan projects even though every film he has made since The Sixth Sense has been terrible.  I also thought The Hunger Games adaptation was awful.  They couldn’t show a lot of violence in a PG-13 movie so they decided to not show anything at all. The camera was so shaky during the movie that half the time I didn’t know if I was looking at Katniss or Peeta.  I didn’t pay twelve dollars so the director could give me a headache and make me nauseous.  I can do that in the comfort of my own home with a six pack of Schlitz, thank you very much.
What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I just finished the paperback version of A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore.  My next choice will likely be something else by Moore as I’ve recently fallen in love with his writing.  If anyone reading this interview has never read one of his novels, drop everything and go pick one up.  The man is a genius. 
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Don’t quit your day job.  The life of a writer is one of constant rejection and self-loathing.  I read an article a few years ago about someone who, after changing the character names, submitted chapters of some of Jane Austen’s novels to publishers and literary agents.  None of the agents and publishers recognized the material and all of them responded with rejection letters.  We live during a time where Shakespeare and Steinbeck couldn’t get published. Unless, perhaps, they wrote about teenage vampires.
Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
I once read a book in college written by a historian named Studs Terkel.  The Space Shuttle Columbia, which was tragically destroyed in 2003, was piloted by an astronaut named Willie McCool.  I consider myself to be a pretty creative guy, but how could I possibly compete with such awesome, real names like these?

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