Author Interview – William Hahn

The Kalieri don’t threaten with dungeoms (we have truth potions AND the ability to tell if someone lies). One of the Guardian Clans’ mages has determined that If you enjoy fantasy, you might want to take a peak at Will Hahn’s world. [Rafflecopter giveaway below]

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LoHI_JT_front_coverWhat genre(s) do your write? My tales are all set in the Lands of Hope, a world of epic and heroic fantasy. And I’m not trying to wiggle out of your first question, but I sincerely believe that if you write about another world, you’ll probably venture into all genres- there are already touches of horror, mystery, thriller, and maybe even a hint of erotica in the tales I have out there. After all, these are stories about people!

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? A little bit, probably not! After all, I write “epic”. But a friend threw down the six-word-bio challenge, and I came up with this: Born Vermont, five sisters, survived both.

How long have you been writing and what inspired you to begin writing? I was blessed to have a very literate and thoughtful environment as a child, and was always writing something- comedy routines, a radio play, and probably some of the longest and worst love letters ever to meet the alphabet. But the Lands of Hope, that’s a bit easier. I had a revelation on a weekend with friends, June 22nd 2008 and came home at last determined to take the three decades of notes I had compiled about the Lands and chronicle them. Or at least start to! The good die young, so I think I still have some time.

What is the last book you read? In the past year most of what I’ve read has been the online offerings of fellow authors. But at the moment I’m nearing the end of a most remarkable book, written in 1941 by an American who had served in the US Embassy in Berlin for years under the early Nazi regime. His book is entitled “You Can’t Do Business with Hitler” which seems like a laugh-line now but was a serious argument that needed to be made at the time. A truly remarkable piece of history written just before we entered the war ourselves.

Which writers inspire you? Tolkein, Lewis and LeGuin because, duh. Mary Renault and Ariana Franklin for mastering the art of historical fiction and making it seem as exciting as fantasy. Barbara Tuchmann for writing about history in such detail that it seemed… as exciting as fantasy. Stephen R. Donaldson who wrote the Mirrors of Mordant, probably the single most enjoyable read I’ve ever had. And I must also include the great pulp authors like Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft and the Marvel Comics bullpen.

Where did you get the idea from for your novel, “Games of Chance”? This is going to be a little tricky- confession incoming. I’m not a writer, you see, but a chronicler. I don’t get ideas, and I certainly have no control over these heroes. The Lands of Hope are visible to me- I cannot explain it any better than that- and when I’ve watched them long enough I describe what I’ve seen and heard to the reader.

Can you tell us something about the story? It’s all a question of where I direct my attention, you know? In the Lands of Hope, a small number of people choose to break with the customs and traditions of their ancestors, and go on adventures in direct imitation of their ancient heroes. Adventurers are usually despised by “right-thinking” folk but they certainly have interesting lives. Ever since I first started looking in on the Lands, though, there was one in particular, named Solemn Judgement but known as The Man in Grey. Even for an outcast he was different- and whereas adventurers usually went around in small groups, Judgement could not find a home even with them. I saw this about him, saw the terrible aloneness he endured, his driven nature and the great, miraculous deeds he took part in- but I had no idea where he came from. I suddenly realized as I watched him, Solemn is not nearly as old as everyone takes him to be… This story, Judgement’s Tale, is a result of my efforts to view those early days in the career of The Man in Grey. In Part One, Games of Chance, you can see how he first came to the Lands and the crucial events he was drawn to play a part in, while still just fifteen years old.

Who do you think will like reading your book and what other novels do you think are similar to it? Judgement’s Tale is definitely epic fantasy fare- there are multiple venues, some deep mysteries and characters that I hope will stir the reader to empathize. As for similarities, naturally I bristle madam! Don’t you know everything that’s ever been written is utterly unique? No? Well, it has the I-don’t-belong-here idea you see in stories like Donaldson’s White Gold Wielder cycle. I notice several of the main characters are quite young, but it’s not much like T.H. White’s Once and Future King- this is a tale of folks who have to act grown up, quick. Certainly with the number of characters and the shifting points-of-view it may remind readers of the blockbusters of GRR Martin and Tad Williams. But I want to be clear- this is a tale of heroes, not “The Godfather in Chainmail” (my slightly-jealous nickname for Game of Thrones). The divide between Hope and Despair is sharp and visible.

Are you working on a new book or story at the moment? I have two WiPs, and asWill 3 you might imagine that doubles the rate at which I get almost nothing done. The sequel to Judgement’s Tale, The Eye of Kog, is about a quarter-drafted. But the immediate task remains, as it has for nearly two years, the third novella in the Shards of Light series, a tale called “Perilous Embraces”. It’s about half-done at 35,000 words and is without question the most difficult work I’ve ever attempted in the Lands of Hope. The main character is a beautiful female who can see the future- which is to say, I have almost no comprehension of her character. I mean, my lovely wife said “yes” when I asked her to marry me and I don’t even understand THAT.

Where can people go to read your work and when will it be available? Games of Chance will be available July 4th at all the major online retailers. I regard Smashwords as my “home” platform and encourage anyone interested in the Lands to check out my current books there (links below). If you search for me at Amazon/Apple/B&N, try spelling my name as “Wm. L. Hahn” and the results should score.

Which writers inspire you? All the ones I mentioned above. I would also like to name Katharina Gerlach, for what she writes as well as the sheer volume and energy with which she tackles the job of being an indie author today. She’s an inspiration and it’s a pleasure to work with her, as she has been so much help to me.

Do you have any tips for aspiring authors? Keep at it. I live in a combined home-office/home-school with no walls, piccolo lessons, Disney Channel and three cats. Tic, tac, nudge goes the writing, pressed nearly flat between layers of life like that last squidge of toothpaste in the tube. And it took years but I have over a quarter-million words in publication, plus blog posts and more. If you write something, you are a writer! The rest is just a question of degree.

Good reviews, mixed reviews, bad reviews – what are your thoughts on each of those? I am very pleased and almost inordinately proud of the reviews I’ve received on the Tales of Hope. The online world has a problem with reviews right now: not just the sock-puppet one-stars, but the ghost-written/Uncle Jim pandering/ you-scratch-my-back five-stars too. Somehow we need to throttle it back, and accept that four of five is REALLY good, and even three stars should mean you liked the book and recommend it. This five-stars-or-bust mentality is grade inflation at its worst. I urge folks who’d like to know more to check out a site that’s trying a novel way to produce honest, high- quality reviews- it’s called BookVetter and the demos alone are well worth a visit.

If you review other’s books, what is your approach to reviewing those? I give peer reviews at my day job all the time- technology writing, very businesslike and rather colorless- so it’s a joy to review a book read for pleasure. I definitely lean towards the positive side, despite what I said above. But when I see a problem, I mention it- I try to clarify what this would mean for the audience (for example, that the writing level is not poor at all, but probably better for younger readers or something like that). A lot of blurbs try to make a book sound like you couldn’t possibly dislike it regardless of age, and that’s seldom true.

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Links: Will Hahn is the chronicler of the Lands of Hope tales. Will Hahn at Smashwords:ThePlane of Dreams– A band of adventuring companions finds their greatest challenge comes when the quest has ended. See the trailer!The Ring and the Flag–  Captain Justin races to save a rebellious barony from itself, with men who think he isn’t worthy to lead. Shards of Light Part One Fencing Reputation– The renowned stealthic Feldspar tries to unearth a dangerous artifact, and still keep his identity hidden, perhaps even from himself. Shards of Light Part Two Three Minutes to Midnight– If Trekelny is to steal the temple’s greatest treasure, he must take the love of its High Priestess with him. A brief tale of the early days. The Book of Tales– A short illustrated tome of legends from the distant past of the Lands, featuring magical beasts and heroes. The Lands of Hope Facebook Page (shows the chronology of the Lands and has news about publications)

Website: Will shares time with other indie authors at the Independent BookwormThe Compendium of the Lands and the Maps of Hope are freely available there. You can also find Will’s Blog Thoughts – Including tales of a happy childhood (which continues), hopes for a writer’s journey, and analysis of Classics You’ve Never Read.

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4 thoughts on “Author Interview – William Hahn

  1. Aubrey, thanks for stopping by (sorry I’ve been on the road). Related to Hahns?The horror… but glad you enjoyed the world-view. I sure do.

  2. Pingback: Games of Chance Blog Tour Itinerary | Independent Bookworm

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