Life in Writing
This is my first ever interview but I must say that I quite enjoyed the experience. Reese Hogan was interesting to interact with and gave great responses to my questions with answers covering everything from the intense story of her latest book, to her love of the TV show Chuck. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did.
Q: Where are you from?
A: Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
Q: Do you have a job other than writing? What do you do?
A: I am a stay-at-home mom of two young children, ages 2 and 4.
Q: Why do you write sci-fi and fantasy?
A: I love taking realistic concepts familiar to us and adding a scientific or magical twist that changes everything. Writing science fiction gives me the opportunity to think outside the boundaries of what we consider normal and take that in unexpected directions. It is this freedom of going as far as my imagination can take me that draws me to this genre, both as a writer and a reader.
Q: What are you currently working on?
A: I have two projects in progress right now: a science fiction series tentatively called The Land of Fallen Light, and a ten-episode serial called Holding the Ashes.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your newest project.
A: The Land of Fallen Light takes place in a newly occupied country in wartime. The main character is a submariner who returns home with the strange ability to influence lightning and electricity. But the power comes with a cost—and their conquerors will stop at nothing to discover the secrets behind it. It is set on another world, but the technology is reminiscent of the 1940’s. Holding the Ashes is one of four serials set two hundred years in the future, in a post-apocalyptic setting where death gods rule the world. My story arc is about a thief who withholds a soul from her death god. Her decision has unexpected repercussions when she realizes how crucial every soul is to the god’s greater plans.
Q: When will your next book be released?
A: I hope to have The Land of Fallen Light out within the next year. Holding the Ashes will have one episode released every four weeks over a ten-month period (along with the stories from the three other authors on the team), but I have yet to be updated on when the project goes live. I believe it will probably be in the next couple months. I will be posting on my website as soon as I know for sure.
Q: When did you decide to become a writer?
A: I have been writing novels for twenty years, but I only made the decision to do it professionally two years ago.
Q: Where do you get your inspiration on what to write?
A: Anywhere! The concept of writing about a doppelganger (The Deadliest Echo) came from a Jeopardy question. The basic premise for Fallen Light came from a rock album. Sometimes a picture I find online will start me wondering about the story behind it, or a strange news story will plant possibilities in my head. Sometimes, I just try something completely opposite from the last thing I’ve written and see what happens.
Q: What are some of your hobbies outside of writing?
A: Reading, exercising, hiking, skiing, and spending time with my family.
Q: What book are you currently reading?
A: I just finished The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson.
Q: Who are some of your favorite authors?
A: Lois McMaster Bujold, Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, Jim Butcher, and Maria V. Snyder.
Q: What do you do to market your books?
A: The main thing I do is try to get my name out there, rather than just trying to sell my book. I do this by attending author events and writing retreats, or joining online communities like Independent Authors United (with whom I work as a staff member). I also did a few signings after my first book came out, and those met with the greatest success in terms of sales. Keeping sales steady while trying to write at the same time is extremely difficult, though, and I generally make writing the priority—no matter how much you market, a writer’s success will eventually stall without continuing to produce quality work.
Q: Of all the books you’ve written, which is your favorite, and why?
A: The Deadliest Echo is my favorite so far. I had a lot of fun researching Russia and Germany in the 1920’s and creating characters to inhabit the setting. The plot was very intricate, which gave me some unique challenges, and it was very rewarding to me to come out with what I did. Fallen Light is a very complex project as well, with lots of research on military warfare, submarines, and electromagnetism, and I think this project will grow to be my favorite over Echo as I really get all the pieces fitting together. It’s already been a lot of fun (and work!).
Q: If any of your stories could be made into a movie, which would you choose?
A: The Deadliest Echo, so far. As a historical thriller, I think it would translate to the screen nicely, and has plenty of action that would make for an exciting viewing.
Q: If you could be friends with a fictional character (Including any from your own stories) who would you choose?
A: I’d probably choose John Casey from the show Chuck. He’s badass enough to get you out of anything, you’d always have adventures with him, and he has a streak of compassion that only shows up for those he cares about. One of my favorite characters ever written.
Q: Does your taste in movies and shows line up with your taste in books? If they differ, how so?
A: Yes, I’d say my taste lines up for the most part. The only difference is on the violence spectrum. I can take more violence on the page than I prefer to watch on the screen. Shows and movies can reach a threshold for me where the graphic violence outweighs the emotional weight of the story. Books have this threshold, too, but with Hollywood always pushing people’s limits, movies are more likely to surpass this point for me than books are.
Q: Do you have a certain place that you like to do your writing? Does environment affect your work?
A: The main thing that matters is that my environment is low on distractions. The main “place” I get good writing done is anywhere I can get away from my kids for awhile! My upstairs desk is perfect in the evenings, but I get huge chunks of writing done on the rare times when a family member takes the kids out for a day—or even takes them for a few nights. I love my kids, but productive writing and kids do NOT go together.
Q: Of all the books in the world, why is yours worth taking the time to read?
A: My novel, The Deadliest Echo, is ideal for anyone who loves historical fiction, thrillers, a little bit of violence, and some unexpected twists. It’s got a little bit of everything: espionage, torture, an assassination attempt, a love triangle, and of course, the science fiction element: the mystery of the main character’s doppelganger, who walks into Echo’s life with the blood of his best friend on his hands.
Q: What makes the main character of your latest book interesting to read about?
A: Echo is a bit of an anti-hero. He had a distant and abusive father who sent him to West Point at an early age. Echo relocated to the other side of the world as soon as possible to put distance between them, but he’s plagued by a loneliness he can’t quite define. His career as a mercenary and a killer is both an escape and a burden; having grown up with a similar father, he doesn’t know where else to turn, especially because it comes so naturally to him. This background complicates his relationships with American mercenary Jez and the beautiful Russian girl they rescue…he’s not sure how to relate to either of them, but he finds himself—for the first time in his life—in the position of caring about others besides himself. I tried to capture this sense of isolation and the awkward feeling of not belonging that I think many people can relate to, no matter what station in life they find themselves.
Q: Last of all, leave us the blurb for your latest book:
A: The year is 1928, and American mercenary Echo Maebius is seized while fleeing Russia after the disappearance of Joseph Stalin. Just when things can’t get any worse, Echo’s doppelganger walks into the room, offering him a way out—but with a terrible catch. Now, broken, damaged, and alone, Echo must find out why his closest comrade Jez has disappeared from his life—and why the failure of their mission in Moscow is responsible.
Told in alternating chapters between Echo’s past and present, The Deadliest Echo is a science fiction thriller about assassination, alternate paths, and the dangers of being a foreigner in a country newly raised from revolution. It is a powerful tale about the thin line between loneliness and friendship, and the intricate web of secrets that forces Echo to confront the one truth he most wants to escape…
Unless he can finish the mission he never completed in Moscow, the whole world will pay the price for his failure.
I'll be reading through The Deadliest Echo and posting my review soon. If any of you are interested in The Deadliest Echo or any of Reese Hogan's works, take a minute to check them out at any of the following links:
Daniel M. Quilter is the author of A Soul Divided. On this blog he'll interview other authors, review books, share nerd wisdom from popular sci-fi and fantasy, and occasionally share his insights on writing. See a list of his works or see what he's working on.
Are you an Author? Are you interested in doing an interview for this blog? Find out how by clicking here.
Interested in getting your sci-fi/fantasy book reviewed on this blog? Check out our submission guidelines
Do you write any flash fiction? Do you want to share it on this site? Click here to review our submission guidelines.