A.R. Wise was born in Hammond, Indiana, just outside of Chicago. He's spent time in several states throughout the years but now resides in beautiful Colorado, near the Rocky Mountains. He is the proud father of two adorable, beautiful girls that inspire him everyday, and is married to an unreasonably understanding and loving wife. He has been writing since he was a child, but the ebook revolution is what finally convinced him to offer his work to the world.
Lovely family picture, am sure the girls are very proud of dad as he looks so proud of them in the pic too! Thank you for sharing such a nice family photograph with us.
What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Aaron Wise, but I go by AR Wise as an author for no real reason other than I like the way it sounds. I was born in Indiana, and have moved around the country a lot, but settled in Colorado, near the beautiful Rocky Mountains.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
Absolutely, yes. There was a time when I seriously considered going to film school to become a director, but life never let me go that direction. I've always needed a creative outlet, and writing is the way that I've found I can work best with.
When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
The first month where I pulled in more income from writing than from any other source. I owned my own business, and was writing as a hobby for a while. Then my series took off and I was suddenly given the opportunity to look at this as a career. While I'm perfectly fine with people calling themselves a writer without earning a dime from it, I was always hesitant to stake my claim on the title. When I started to earn a decent amount from my books, I realized that it was foolish to call writing a hobby anymore!
Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
I did everything as a self published author, and I encourage every aspiring writer to do the same. The world of literature has experienced a sea change, and waiting around for a publisher to take notice of you is a sure fire way to get placed at the end of the line. It is the best time in history to be a new author, but you’ve got to be willing to take the initiative. Don't get left behind!
Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
Yes, sort of. I used to be a sales rep for health food companies, and I still work with a couple of them, but that's in transition now. My books are able to provide a decent income at the moment, so I have decided to work as hard as possible to make my dream of being a full time writer a reality. It's a scary plunge into uncertainty, but life tends to reward the risk-takers.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Deadlocked 5 takes place 20 years after part 4 and explores a world ravaged by the zombie apocalypse.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I plan on continuing the Deadlocked series for as long as I have good ideas. I refuse to allow the series to devolve into an exercise in repetition, which is why I made such a drastic change between parts 4 and 5. Besides that, I will continue my Vampire's Prey series as well as delve into a few new books. I desperately want to explore the horror/comedy genre, which is something I plan on doing very soon.
What genre would you place your books into?
Horror. A lot of authors hate that title, since it has become synonymous with low quality. I eschew that opinion, and happily place my name in that ring.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I've always been a fan of Horror, from books to film, it is one of the only genres that promises a visceral ride. I love to explore the depths of terror, and pride myself on writing characters that react in realistic fashion. I never want my readers to feel like the characters are doing something idiotic, which is unfortunately common in the genre.
Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
Deadlocked 5. It's fairly common for authors to claim that their most recent book is their favorite, but I'm being honest. It would've been easy to simply continue on from part 4, but I felt that readers deserved to see the series evolve, and I wanted to challenge myself. D5 not only takes place 20 years after part 4, but also introduces new characters that are completely different from anyone in the previous books. I am proud of how it turned out, and my readers have responded extremely well so far.
Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration?
Music plays a big part in how I write. Almost every single book I've written started with a song. Music sparks images in my mind, and if a song touches me I'll often replay it over and over as I start to craft a storyline around the emotions I feel while listening. Usually, this is the genesis for an ending to a story, and then it's just a matter of writing everything that leads up to that moment.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Yes. I wish I could say that I was above the fray, but that would be a lie. I check my reviews at least once every day, and pour over them endlessly. The good ones can serve as inspiration, and the bad ones can break my heart as fully as a bad break-up. The internet opens the door to haters, and it's impossible to avoid that. The best books ever written will undoubtedly have one star reviews on Amazon, and you can always take comfort in knowing that even To Kill A Mockingbird (one of my all-time favorite novels) has a slew of one star reviews.
What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
It's easy to focus on the one star reviews from people who hate your work, but in time comes the realization that no one can avoid a few haters. Those rarely affect me anymore. I think the harshest reviews are the ones that disparage my writing ability. I've been very fortunate to not get very many of these, but I've gotten a couple. If I remember correctly, there's a four star review of one of my books out there that claims they loved the story despite me not being a 'literary genius'. Oddly, despite it being a positive review overall, I think that dig at my writing ability chafes me more than any one star review out there. Luckily, I've had enough success to stop putting much weight on the people who dislike my work. That's the ultimate cure for a bad review: Success.
Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
No. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and every opinion is valuable. That's the very essence of art: it affects each of us in different ways. If we all had homogenized reactions to a piece of art, then it could no longer be called 'art'.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I'm a flip-flopper on this one. Sometimes I start with a great title, and other times I don't have one until I've already finished. However, one exception is the title that I give each chapter of my books. Almost every single time I start with one title, and then change it after finishing the chapter. Some of these chapter titles are my proudest accomplishments! For instance, in Deadlocked 2 there is a chapter titled Down Came The Spider, and another titled Flesheater. Neither of those titles mean much until you finish the chapters, and then they suddenly have more meaning than I could possibly relay here. Those two chapter titles add a lot to the story, and I'm proud of them both.
Which format of book do you prefer, ebook, hardback, or paperback?
Ebook. I can't express this viewpoint enough. I'm like most people, in that I grew up with good old-fashioned physical books, and I still love them. I love the way they feel, and the satisfaction of turning that last page. However, as much as the romantic in me wants to curl up with a dusty tome in the corner of a quiet bookstore, the revolution that ebooks have caused is, in my opinion, the greatest thing to happen to literature since the printing press. When you embrace ebooks, you're embracing a new movement in literature that will spawn a slew of new authors that would've never existed if not for this technology. When you buy a self published ebook, you're putting money directly into the pocket of an artist and funding their dreams. It used to be thought that the publishing industry acted as quality control, preventing the slush pile from getting printed, but that opinion has been shattered. In today's market, the publishers are clearly more interested in printing celebrity nonsense (Snooki has a book? Really?) and then promoting the hell out of it instead of looking for the next hidden gem. The future of good literature is with ebooks, and the future of pop-culture, overly advertised, corporate funded feedbag books is with publishers. That's not to say all traditionally published books are bad, nor that all self published ones are good, but I'd put damn good money on the next classic author coming from SP roots rather than the archaic traditional publisher model.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
Yes, although there are so many factors that come into play that must be considered. Some books seem made for the movies. Take Fight Club for instance, it's a movie that I would argue is actually better than the book, which is a rarity. Then go watch Battlefield Earth (or better yet, don't) to get a feeling for how bad the transition can be! In my opinion, movies and books are completely different animals, and must be treated as such. Fans of books infamously decry movie versions because the film didn't follow the books to the letter, which is a ludicrous opinion. All art is about the emotions it inspires, and you are affecting completely different senses when you're talking about movies versus books. With a book, you're titillating a person's imagination, and with film you are attempting to present the viewer with a visual and audio experience that requires little to none of their own imagination. When transferring one to the other, you have to take this into consideration. The worst translations don't, while the best are willing to alter the story dramatically if needed. Two examples of great adaptations that spring to mind, Godfather and The Shining, both slice apart the original books and offer utterly different experiences. The directors (two of the greatest directors in film history) recognized what part of their source material would translate well to film, and which would not.
Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
No, at least not for a long, long time. However, the ebook market is going to dramatically increase in the coming decade, and the traditional model is going to shrink. The best example to use as a comparison is the music industry. I have a good friend who desperately clings to his CDs and albums because they are what he grew up with, and is familiar with. He owns an iPod, but rarely uses it because he still loves his CDs. If the world was filled with people like him, mp3s would've died a quiet death long ago. However, every year that passes ushers away those of us that cling to our old, familiar ways and welcomes a new group of people who look at mp3s and ebooks as the new standard. How many 16 year olds do you know who are running to the record shop to buy the CD of their favorite band instead of just downloading it off the internet? The same thing that happened to the music industry is currently happening to books, but publishers are fervently denying this, as opposed to the music companies that embraced the change. It's a fatal error, and one that I hope not too many good authors get caught up in.
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Self publish! I can't stress this enough. Don't let yourself be convinced that good authors get accepted by publishing companies and bad ones self publish. That's just not true anymore. Increasingly, publishers are spending all their advertising dollars on pulp crap by celebrities or authors that already have a name that draws readers. The average first time author gets a $5000 advance on their book, and then never sees another dime from it. In exchange, they have to give up a huge portion of the rights to their work for a very long time. Being self published certainly doesn't guarantee success, and it can be a LOT of work to get your name out there and your work noticed, but the rewards are huge. Don't sit on the sidelines and hope that your book gets accepted by a publisher. Take the initiative and make a name for yourself. There's never been a better time to be a new author, unless you're not willing to work for your dream. If you're hoping to write a book and then be plucked from the masses by an angel in a suit and tie from a massive New York publisher, then all I can do is wish you 'Good Luck' as I, and many more like me, go out and actively pursue our dreams instead of simply wishing they would come true.
Where can readers follow you?
I actively update my website with information about my books as well as my ruminations on the publishing industry. I've tried to be very open with how I managed to find success in the self publishing world. For horror fans, I also just started a new podcast called The Horror Show Podcast with a couple friends of mine where we discuss everything about the genre. There is also an ARWisebooks fanpage on Facebook.
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