Author Aaron Bunce started his academic career in criminal justice, but eventually connected his life-long love of literature with his passion for writing. After finishing his debut novel, Within, he attended Southern New Hampshire University’s English and creative writing program. He released his second novel, Before the Crow, in April 2016, and graduated later that same year with a B.A in Creative Writing, with emphasis on fiction. The third book in his Overthrown series, A March of Woe, will release wide in print and digital formats March 1st, 2018, and is destined to be the most exciting yet.
2018 will also mark the release of his fourth novel, Unleashed, a sci-fi thriller set on a mining station floating in deep space. Aaron prefers darker, grittier stories, detailing the struggle of flawed, relatable characters set against fantastical backdrops. Beyond writing, Aaron is the owner and chief editor of Autumn Arch Publishing. For more information on his fiction, social media, future titles, and author events, visit him online at www.Aaronbunce.com.
For more information on his publishing company, visit www.Autumnarchpublishing.com.
1. Will you tell us about your most recent published work?
I released A March of Woe, the third novel in my Overthrown series this March. It continues the story I started in Within (which will soon be re-released with a new cover and title), and Before the Crow. There will be six volumes in this series, so this marks the halfway point for me in the overall story arc. I had a blast writing Woe, which isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy writing the first two, but this particular story featured some fantastic action sequences as well as some really surprising character decisions (yes, they even surprise me sometimes!)
2. What personal challenges do you face as a writer?
I face several. Firstly, I have a tendency to write long books. Before the Crow is the only one so far that clocked in below 150k words. They also feature a lengthy list of characters, so keeping their voices all distinct and separate in my mind can, at times, be tricky. The longer books means I am not able to release as often as I’d like, so sometimes readers might think I’ve slipped into a period of hibernation. I also have a full-time job and a family, so finding the time to sit down and write, uninterrupted, can be a challenge.
3. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
I like to use the “plantser” style of writing, which utilizes only a very loose storyline. I write by the seat of my pants the rest of the time and let the story take me where it wants to go. Every so often, a character can lead me off the rails, so I have to backtrack and get things headed in the right direction again. A tighter storyline might structure the process a little, but I’ve found that it puts a dampener on my creativity.
4. What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
I’d say reading, but that is tied so intimately to writing that I’m not sure you can delineate where one ends and the other begins. So with that said, I’ll go with “my job”. I would definitely give that up, which would probably afford me even more time to write. That sounds like a win win!
5. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Considerably. I wrote Within in 2013, when self-publishing, a. k. a independent publishing was in its infancy. I wrote fast and sloppy, just desperate to get a project finished, with less thought on the process afterwards. It meant that I had to spend a lot more time in editing and revision. It also changed my view on finances. I balked at the cost associated with certain aspects of publishing, namely cover art, editing, proofreading, and formatting. Many indie authors refuse to spring for the big items, namely editing and good cover design, which in my opinion are crucial to not only making your book look like they belong but also read that way, too. Since starting, and through some painful lessons learned along the way, I write slower and more deliberately, have developed a list of designers, proofers, and formatters I trust, but most importantly, I’ve learned that I cannot stop learning.
6. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Will you tell us about them?
I started writing a book years ago-a story about angels and demons and the battle between heaven and hell. It is rough and painful to read, as first novels usually are, so that one will never see the light of day. I have a book that is almost complete-The Delving, which is the first book in a new, supplementary series to my Overthrown novels. I also have a half finished werewolf story, Savage Dawn, which I hope to have out in 2019. Additionally, I have been working on A Prince of Orphans, Overthrown #4, and a sci-fi horror novel, with the working title, Infection, a post-apocalyptic story set in underground bunkers after a theoretical WWIII, as well as a fantasy story featuring a mirror that serves as a portal to another dimension. I have a lot of irons in the fire.
7. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I wish I could say no, but I do. I have since the beginning and find that the positive feedback and criticism drive me. I only wish that people who leave low star ratings would also take the time to write reviews to support them. At some point I will probably stop reading reviews if only to dedicate more time to active writing projects.
8. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
There are a few, yes. Mostly they are characters that are inspired by people I’ve known. None of it is malicious, but usually lighthearted stuff that will give some people a chuckle, or a moment of fond remembrance.
9. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I have been fortunate to create a sizable list of author buddies-thanks mostly to signing events and conventions. The author community is fantastic. They are supportive to no end, and not only help me stay on top of new and upcoming events but also provide that competitive support that keeps me writing. We push each other, but aren’t really in direct competition. The most memorable experience I’ve taken away might just be my first ever convention. I got to mean “The Forever War” author, Joe Haldeman. He told me a story about how he, Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Heinlein were at a science fiction convention, sharing a smoke on the patio and talking about their works in progress. It was just a matter-of-fact story for him, but for me it was three of the science fiction authors I grew up reading. Three men I revered and do to this day. It was amazing.
10. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
“Invest the time to learn marketing.” And I mean the broad concept. I didn’t understand marketing concepts when I first started to write, but if I’d taken the time to learn a little here and there, it would have made the journey a lot smoother. It boils down to, what genre/market does your book belong in? What does the story need to be? And what does it need to look like? They seem like simple concepts now, but back then I had no clue. I zeroed in on an image I wanted to use as a cover as well as what I thought was a cool thematic title. Little did I know, I was missing the mark, and actually making my book skew horror in both cover and title. Those two things made marketing and in person sales of my first book difficult and are the reason why my first Overthrown novel is re-releasing with a new title and cover very soon.
11. What are common traps for aspiring writers?
First is scope. Some new authors are considering way too many things before they ever sit down to start writing their books. They are thinking about what they want their cover to look like, what publishing avenue to pursue, and how they will get people to read their books. This is way too much to consider at first. The number 1 battle any aspiring author needs to tackle is telling their first story-what they want that story to be, how they want to tell it, and who they want their characters to be. It comes down to narrowing focus, setting tangible goals, writing small. Brick by brick.
12. What’s the best way to market your books?
I haven’t cracked that code yet, but I feel like I’m making strides. It comes down to making your book look appealing, sound intriguing, and getting it in front of the right people. I know, it sounds easy, but it is the greatest challenge any author will take on. Book blogs, professional reviewing services, Facebook pages and groups, as well as Amazon and Google ads are all good methods to get your project out there, and hopefully attract some of the right attention.
13. What is your favorite childhood book?
I had a lot, but the most memorable was “Red Planet” by Robert Heinlein. My dad as a science fiction fan, so naturally that is where I started. Red Planet was the first science fiction book I read cover to cover, and it changed me. After that I couldn’t read enough. I guess you could say it was the proverbial “uncorking” of the bottle.