In the Spotlight is a new feature here at Second Run Reviews. I’ve invited authors, publishers and editors to take part in interviews, guest posts, giveaways and anything else that they can dream up that is appropriate for a blog.
Today Aaron Bunce, author of Within, is in the spotlight. While I saw Aaron in passing at ICON 39, I did not have a chance to speak with him. My husband spent some time speaking with him and introduced me. In addition to being an author, a father and husband, Aaron corralled a few local authors (published and aspiring) into a group, Writers Anonymous, that is attempting to meet on a regular basis to discuss all things related to writing. While I’m not an author, I’m honored that I am a part of that group.
In the Spotlight Aaron Bunce
Welcome to Second Run Reviews, Aaron! Thank you for being In the Spotlight and thank you for sponsoring the first In the Spotlight giveaway. I appreciate you stopping by and answering a few questions. So let’s get things started
Tell us a bit about yourself, Aaron.
I am a husband and father. I work in security at a nuclear power plant, and have almost completed a dual focus under-graduate degree in creative writing and fiction. I stay busy with work, school, and family, but also spend as much time as possible writing and reading. I started my first book Within, as a personal challenge. One to prove to myself, more than anyone else that I could maintain the focus needed to complete a full-length project. Once that was finished and published, the flood gates kind of opened. I have multiple projects in the works, all in varying degrees of production, but can’t wait to get them wrapped up and out there for people to read!
Now I haven’t read your book, Within yet and you were hinting that I should when we met in February. However, it sounds like your book might be a bit creepy. What makes Within unique? Will it freak me out?
I wasn’t trying to reinvent the wheel with Within, but what I wanted to do was offer people a fresh take on fantasy. I wanted to write a story centered on relatable characters, in a world that feels new, with a whole host of new monsters and creatures. I wanted to pay homage to Tolkien, whose work I respect very much, without simply copying and pasting elements I have fallen in love with over the years. I also wrote Within to have cross-over appeal. I have already had some fantastic feedback from people who don’t normally, or have never read fantasy before, and they have had some very good things to say. It is dark however, but that like so many things is subjective. I integrated some horror elements into the story, but there is also a little romance in there too. I really like to build tension and drama, and I try not to pull too many punches when it comes to the creepy bits, but I don’t think it would freak you out to bad…well, maybe just a little bit!
Okay, once I get some time in my reading schedule (have a finish a couple ARCs first) perhaps I’ll give it a try. Just remember, I’m not a huge fan of scary things.
I know that you have attended ICON. My fans have been treated to several pictures of my adventures at ICON 39. What’s your favorite part about attending conventions and author events?
I love conventions and author events. I particularly enjoy talking with fans and pitching them on my stories. It’s amazing how many people will build their judgment of a book entirely by the cover. I admit that I am the same way at times, so I take this as a challenge. I’ll engage people to find out what their favorite books and authors are. Sometimes I realize that my book isn’t a great match for them, and then other times they become intrigued and want to pick up a copy and start reading. Events also give me a chance to travel and meet lots of new people. Several weeks ago author Tamara Jones invited me to tag along with her to Horror Hound Weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she was promoting her fantastic new book, Spore. There were 6000 people attending, so I admit that it was a bit overwhelming. I spent the whole weekend engaging people, passing out bookmarks and other promotional material and loved every minute of it. I have met some amazing book fans and book bloggers over the past few years, and have come to truly appreciate how passionate they are. It really is that passion that drives me.
I’m somewhat familiar with Tamara’s new book. She is going to be featured In the Spotlight next month just prior to the release of Spore.
I know authors that are published by big published houses, smaller indie press and are self-published. Why did you choose to start your own personal publishing imprint, Autumn Arch Publishing?
When I finished my first book I was dead-set on the traditional publishing route. I spent the next year after finishing the manuscript just querying agents. I got some great feedback along the way, but realized that it wasn’t the kind of project the publishing industry was looking for at the time. It was long and it was complex, in a time when the indie movement was reshaping publishing, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. It was a lot of work, but I learned some valuable lessons along the way. Some writers quit because of the rejection they receive on the path to get published, but I found that it only made me more committed.
Over the last couple years, as I’ve started to get to know more authors, I’ve learned that authors definitely have a different level on commitment than your average folk. For many, it’s on the level of an athlete striving to play professionally.
What three books to you find yourself recommending to your fans over and over?
What a great question. First and foremost is Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. Few books, or authors, have shaped me in the way that Jurassic Park has. It was one of the first books that I read cover to cover almost overnight. Crichton was an amazing storyteller! The world lost a real artist when he passed away. I regret that I will never get to meet him.
Second would have to be Red Planet by Robert H. Heinlein. Red Planet was probably one of the first novel length stories that I ever read. It wasn’t Heinlein’s best known novel, and truth be told I probably rank Starship Troopers a little higher on my all-time favorites list, but for me it was his most influential novel. His ideas and philosophies are a tad outdated, but I can’t help but recommend it those people looking for a great science fiction coming of age story.
Third is Relic, by writing duo Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Relic was the first book that introduced me to horror as a literary element. It had it all, jump scares, creepy settings, and those wonderful “afraid to read in the dark” moments. But it isn’t mindless slash or splatter fiction. There are great characters (I am a huge fan of FBI agent Pendergast, whose fame started with this novel), a great monster (I love monsters!), and a great story to tie it all together! It really is a shame that they adapted this book so poorly to film, because in my opinion, they did the book a great disservice.
Ah, now I see why you connected with my husband! I’m not even sure how many times he’s read and watched Starship Troopers. And me, I just saw Jurassic Park for the first time when it was rereleased in theatres last summer. It is a pretty amazing story about science gone wrong.
What’s your current obsession?
Almost all of my focus right now is on finishing Before the Crow. I really fell in love with the characters and the story I started with Within, and am completely engrossed in the world, the cultures, and the races I introduced. I didn’t initially set out to write a series, but as I wrote I found that the story continued to expand and unfold. I had most of the plot figured out for book two before Within was even published, and now that I am working on finishing book two I can see the next segment coming into focus. I can see now why so many authors are moving to a series platform for their books. There are also a number of stand-alone projects that I have been dabbling with on the side that I can’t wait to explore as well. I just need to figure out how to add a few extra hours to every day.
Well, if you figure out the mystery of time and learn how to add more hours in the day, will you pass along the secret. I would LOVE to have more hours in the day.
To wrap things up, I’ve been asking everyone to share their last thoughts or pass along some wise words. What would you like to share, in closing, with the fans of Second Run Reviews.
Yes, as a matter of fact I do.
First I would like to thank you, Terri, for taking the time to chat with me about my book, and all things writing. If not for you and the awesome population of book bloggers and fans out there so many good books would go unread.
And second, I would like to thank all of the readers who help support indie authors. There is a crowded marketplace of talented, unknown writers out there, scrambling against big publishers to get their books noticed. But thanks to all of you, they can have their day in the sun as well. Happy reading everyone!
You are welcome, Aaron. Since I started attending ICON and started Second Run Reviews it has been a pleasure getting to know authors and about the craft. It makes me appreciate the work that goes into producing the new and old favorites that grace my bookshelf.