Thursday, April 11, 2013

A. Wrighton Innterview

 A. Wrighton is the author of the hot new novel, Defiance Dragonics and Runics Part I.  I have given a several interviews, but this is the first one I have ever conducted.  She has been awesome to interview and I wanted to thank her for this opportunity.


Give a brief bio of yourself, including your earliest aspirations of being a writer and anything else you want to share about your journey to authorship.

I was born and raised in Southern California (Go Trojans!) but took the opportunity, once older, to live and travel all across the Continental US (43 states down...7 to go). I’ve always been writing or telling stories; my mother has a bunch of examples and even saved the first one I ever wrote. It’s on that huge lined paper for Kindergarten with the dashed middle line. It was about a giraffe whose neck was really short but could fly. Don’t ask me where I got that from...

During my undergrad years, I wasn’t really pursuing writing head-on, I did it on the side because I was a double major in international relations/linguistics and history. Then, this teacher in a writing course pulled me aside and said I would be wasting talent if I didn’t answer my calling and write. She jokingly (I think) threatened my grade if I didn’t switch to a double major with English. I did switch, and I am ever grateful to that professor as she led me onto the path to earning my M.F.A. in Creative Writing.

Who or what do you consider to be your most significant influences as a writer?

History is my most significant “what” influence. Everything I write is steeped in history in one way or another. My works might not seem similar when you line them up - historical fiction, paranormal young adult, fantasy, sci-fi - but they all have history in them, in depth, somewhere.

My most significant “who” boils down to three authors (my fave books of theirs I’ve listed, too):  Jane Austen (Pride & Prejudice), Ernest Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises) & Tim O’Brien (The Things They Carried).

What is it about fantasy that’s so alluring?  Are there other genres that you would like to write?

Fantasy is alluring because you’re encouraged to break the mold - bend the rules - and be original. I love doing that and when I get a genre requiring it I’m all pen and paper! I also love the hint of romance there always is with fantasy. There’s something indescribable about being taken into a world with magic and wonders that we will never see and with creatures we are never going to behold anywhere else. I just want to be a part of spreading that kind of experience.

Other genres I write include historical fiction, paranormal, young adult, sci-fi, and drama/comedy for screenwriting (TV & Film).

Which do you prefer writing, heroes or villains?  Why?

It really depends on the story. With my fantasy series, Dragonics & Runics, I am loving writing the Chancellor and his wife. It’s not that I like how evil and sadistic they are - but I like bringing them to life to really drive home how scary a situation where people like the Diesdens get into a power/control situation and start destroying lives.

I actually, normally, prefer writing the secondary characters. I know that sounds ridiculous but there’s something just plain fun about fleshing them out and making them compliment the story and the setting. It’s a fun little challenging puzzle, if you will.

Do you have a set writing schedule?  What are your biggest challenges as a writer?

Yes and no. I work a full time job in the entertainment industry so I write before work (before I get my munchkin off to school), then I write on breaks, and then (bless my family’s hearts) I write when I get home. People I have worked with always joke that I hand stuff in at odd hours. Hey, that’s the time I have, so that’s when it gets done. Oh, I write almost all Saturday day too.

Biggest challenges include my schedule and balancing day job with writing until it (hopefully) becomes my real job. That, and I have a family. I have to weave and squeeze in writing and gigs where and when I can and that - between soccer and family events - it gets pretty tricky sometimes.

Do you have any processes or rituals when you write?  If you’re asking me about the color of my editing pen, I’m sure you do.

I’m neurotic. Not really, but kinda sorta. I outline on fluorescent notecards (I sometimes tape them to walls/mirrors to check plot and subplot development flows) and I refuse to use any other color combo. I’ve tried the regular colored note cards! It’s just not the same!

I have certain pens I write with. Yes, I handwrite sometimes! This is mainly because I like a pen that flows but also because I have this old wrist injury that flares up if I handwrite too much.

I brainstorm with musical playlists created specifically for certain projects. I text myself random sparks/ideas I have immediately so I don’t lose them (My texts to myself are one of the biggest text records I have!) And I usually nosh on green grapes and/or drink coffee.

When I am revising/editing I do an in-computer revision on plot/character/setting incongruities, then I do an out loud editing on dialogue, then I do a paper edit on fleshing out and trimming up, and then I send it to my editor. I won’t skip a step. You can’t make me!

Oh, and I always write in scenes/clips. Sometimes in order - sometimes all over the place. Weaving them together can be the really fun part!

Who is your favorite character from Defiance: Dragonics and Runics Part I?  Why?

Argh! I hate this question! Er... Lanthar. No! Nylan... Okay, Callon. Crap. Let me think....Vee. I choose Vee. Why? Because there is so, so much more to her than what is on the surface and there are little plants here and there but you can just tell - she’s something special. She’s interesting and you want to know where she’s been and why. That, and because if I were to cast the movie version, I’d pick Julia Roberts for her. So talented. I just love Julia Roberts.

It’s clear that you have created a very detailed fantasy world for your story.  How do you keep all of the geography and cultures straight?  Do you outline?  Map?

All of the above. I have a Production Bible that has everything printed or handwritten about the world of Dragonics & Runics. I have pages on how the Dragons breed, grow, and co-exist - what their Queen Dragons were, who major Runics were in Soleran past, etc. etc. I also have a country outline in there that is similar to the CIA Fact List for foreign countries including climate, culture, and industry. In an epic series, these things matter so I have to keep them straight.

I also doodled a map. There are different versions as more and more of the world is discovered in the series, so keep an eye out for that. And yes, the maps have detailed notes on mountains, rivers, swamps, deserts, and cities.

What has been the most rewarding thing about writing?  Most frustrating?

Having people really get involved in the stories I have written. I love that they can feel and see everything. It’s so gratifying and inside I’m going “WOO! THEY GOT IT! I CAN WRITE!” while outside I’m thanking them for their kind words. My favorite was when a reader asked me how I saw the dragons and I replied, “A mix of traditional Dragons (wings instead of arms) with Wyverns (wings & arms but smaller), because I’d be way more fun to eat a goat that way.” He laughed and said, “This -- is why I love your writing.”

The most frustrating is dealing with being an indie author/publisher and doing all the ground work and getting told that I don’t count as much because I’m an Indie. That, or when I am working on something as a team and you have to navigate everyone agreeing and seeing the same vision without sacrificing quality or story.

What color is YOUR editing pen?

Purple. Bright, freaking purple. I do digress to orange or pink - if my munchkin begs me to - but I prefer my lovely purple ink.

A. Wrighton can be found at the following locations:

Defiance: Dragonics & Runics Part I (print):

Defiance: Dragonics & Runics Part I (ebook):  (Coming to Smashwords & others June 2013!)

My website:

Dragonics & Runics Series website:

Defiance: D&R Part I trailer:

Twitter: @a_wrighton


Friday, April 5, 2013

The Frustrated Idealist

I was recently asked in an interview if I was trying to simply entertain or deliver a message.  I had to think about that.  I’ve always liked stories that entertain while making me think and I’ve tried to follow that template when writing Procythian Reign.  All the King’s Men and Animal Farm are two of my favorite works, so it’s likely no surprise that my writing takes a darker view of human nature.

People fascinate me.  Mankind could accomplish anything he set his mind to doing, yet we have a polluted planet and spend trillions on weapons to kill each other while most of our citizens struggle to provide basic health care for themselves and their family.  I’m not bashing the military.  My last post should tell you what I think of our soldiers.

But are we going to learn from these tragedies?  Do we really want to?  Will the day arrive when we leave our planet an uninhabitable nuclear wasteland after a few hours of white-hot bloodletting?  How much longer will we kill each other over whom we choose to worship or love?  Will petty jealousies continue to rip us apart forever, or will the day arrive when we recognize that we have so many more similarities than differences?

I think about these things and try to understand.  It can make you crazy, but (for me) that might not be such a long trip.  I suppose it’s fair to say that we all have a darker side that we don’t want to acknowledge.  I suspect that’s why people slow down and watch at traffic accidents and why violence is so prevalent in our media. 

Maybe washing the baser instincts out of a race comprised of billions is just too daunting.  Perhaps our bad habits are perpetuated by a sort of natural selection.  How can we ever really stop our “evil” ways when they are the very instincts that protect us from the bullies of the world?  It’s pretty hard to leave the door open when we know there are wolves in the yard. 

It looks like the lowest common denominator will always keep us from reaching a level of enlightenment that we see in Star Trek or other Utopian fantasies.  It will for my lifetime.  I’m pretty sure of that.

I think that’s some of the spirit I’m trying to catch in Procythian Reign.  I try to make the people and their politics real.  As a writer, I try not to take sides.  I respect the honor and genius of men like Robert E. Lee, Thomas Jackson and Erwin Rommel.  Do I mourn for their causes?  No.

It is interesting, however, to realize that good men stand opposite each other in all of humanity’s conflicts, violent or not.  Not all are good men, but they’re there (good and bad) on all sides.  I didn’t write Procythian Reign to preach a vision or an idea, but it isn’t going to hurt my feelings if it makes you think a little, either.  My favorite writers have always made me think.  I would be honored to do the same for others.