Today I had the opportunity to sit down with the author O.L. Eggert, who has recently published his first novel ‘Vincent, Survivor’.
O.L. thanks for giving us your time today. I’d like to get you to kick off today’s interview by giving us an outline of your novel ‘Vincent, Survivor’.
The story revolves around Vincent Li at the beginning of the end of the world. When monsters and magic suddenly come into existence, it rocks his city and wipes out most of the inhabitants. With only monsters and desperate survivors left, just making it to the next day becomes a struggle.
What inspired this idea of a story that starts at the end of the world?
It started with a scene, several books down the line. The idea popped into my head one day and everything else just flowed from it. All the backstory, events leading up to it, the major players, etc. It was really crazy how fast my brain just made all of it up.
Did you also find it necessary to do research to extend upon what you made up?
I did a surprising amount of research. I didn’t want to get into a situation where a reader couldn’t suspend their disbelief because of technical details. A good chunk of the research was pretty morbid, too. I had to look up the decay process of bodies, how bullet wounds look and heal, etc. There were fun things, too, though. Looking up name etymologies is extremely interesting, and learning about the origins of mythological monsters is always fun.
I agree, mythological monsters are always fun. Since your novel is written in such a different environment did you find that you had the opportunity to add in elements of your own personal experiences into the story?
Not any specific experience per se, but definitely the way people talk. I’m pretty good about observing mannerisms and how people act in situations. I’m hoping that translated to my fictional characters, too!
Were there any specific ideas or themes that you wanted incorporate into this story?
There were definitely some ideas going into writing the book, but I made a conscious decision not to adhere too strictly to it. I didn’t want to force events to fit a preconceived narrative in my head. I think that just leads to very artificial characters. Often times while writing, I’d find characters writing themselves in that flurry I called a first draft.
When you had the characters writing themselves, did you find any particular ones were you favourites?
Flea was my favorite. He’s just fun. He’s a wizard pug, what’s not to love?
A wizard pug does sound awesome. I would definitely want to meet on of those! Did your wizard pug the most rewarding thing about writing the story, or were you struck by something else?
When I’m writing I get these few moments where everything clicks. I’m able to clearly see the scene in my head and it just flows through my fingers onto the keyboard, and I’m like, “Man, this is so good!” Of course, I’ll usually fall into a slump of self-doubt right after, but I think that’s just the writing process–it’s a roller coaster.
What techniques did you use to successfully ride that roller coaster?
I aim to write every day, at least two-thousand words. I can’t write at home because I’ve got two dogs, one of which is always crying to me for attention–don’t worry, I give her plenty, she’s just a brat. You can usually find me sitting in this nifty little study room at the local coffee shop. The walls are sound-proofed specifically for people to study and work in peace and quiet.
And, how long did your writing process take?
Beginning of 2015 until November for the first three drafts. Then another month and a half for professional editing and proofreading.
How do you go about the editing process? Do you do a large amount of editing the books yourself?
I did in the beginning, but the importance of a professional editor (or even a second set of eyes for that matter) can’t be overstated. You absolutely need an editor. They bring so much to a manuscript, and I urge any aspiring writer to get one–at the very least if your self-publishing.
Do you have any other self-publishing tips?
Be prepared for an ungodly amount of work. I went into this knowing I’d have to do all the marketing and promotion myself, but I didn’t truly understanding how much work goes into it. Whatever expectations you got, double it.
So how did you feel when you finally reached the point where you received your first book review?
I was thrilled! It was a five stars from a complete stranger. Up to that point the only people who had read it were a select few friends and family. As much as they said they liked it, I was always wary because I knew there were biases there. So to see someone I never met before say they liked it–it made me feel better about all the work I put into it.
Did you put a lot of time and effort into the cover of the book?
I contracted the cover illustration out to a guy in Mexico. I gave him a few ideas, and he came back with some rough sketches. After picking out one, he got to work and came back with the main illustration used. After that, I went to a cover designer who put the finishing touches (title and author). It all worked out pretty well in my opinion. The cover looks awesome.
I have to agree there. Now that you are finished with your first novel, do you have any future writing plans?
I’m plotting the second book. This series is going to be my main focus for a long time, I think.
Do you feel that your experiences reading have helped you get to this point as an author? And who are your favourite authors?
Stephen King, JK Rowling, Brian Jacques . . . those are just a few. They definitely influenced my writing, or at least put the crazy idea of wanting to be a writer into my head.
What are you currently reading?
Trust Me I’m Lying. It’s not fiction, but hey, sometimes I just want to read about some world world stuff.
What was your favourite book as a child?
Hank the Cowdog! It was in my school library, and I remember blazing through all the books they had.
That actually sounds like quite a good read. I will have to check it out. Thanks again for your time today, and I wish you the best of luck promoting this book and I hope that you find many new readers.
Want to find out more about O.L. Eggert? Contact him at the following locations: