Interview with Ian Hiatt
Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about?
I think when every writer starts their vowel movements for the first time, they usually have grand and noble purpose behind it.
DEATH OF AN ASSASSIN and books in the Saint Roch series are just plain about having fun. Both as a writer and as a reader. There's still be character development, high stakes, and things-to-ponder kicking around between the cover and backflap, but they're blended in with the gunfights and profanity.
As for where this topic itself came from, I've always been a fan of Greek mythology and the mythologies of any other culture I can find a book for. But so many of the ancient tales are too far removed from our own modern culture and can come across as dry. Not to mention, there are far too many instances where Generic Hero Man triumphs over Terrible Monster Lady in those stories. It's not fair and it's only one frame of reference. The villain of a story is all about perspective, so I thought, why not show tell a story more akin to that damned Odyssyeus crashing his boat into the island home of the Sirens just because they happened to be singing and his crew couldn't help themselves.
How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?
I mull over a story idea for months/years before fully settling on what it is I want to write. I usually start writing as a “get my feet wet” sort of a thing. If it requires a great amount of research, such as historical fiction, I'll do that in spurts. But in general, I only research when I question what I'm about to write. If it's a topic I'm not well versed in, I find out what I'm missing.
Nothing makes a story drag along more than inadequate research. And nothing brings it to a faster ass-grinding halt than too much research.
How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?
Countless. The best thing you can do with rejections is keep track of who rejected you (so you're not hucking your book at them multiple times) but not how many times you've been rejected.
Of course, if those rejections come with notes you can do two things: 1) realize that no one is an expert on reading, writing, or publishing and that their advice may not be iron-clad, 2) realize that the people you're pitching to do know a thing or two about reading, writing, and publishing and that you may want to take their advice. If those two things sound as though they are contradicting each other, don't worry---they are. There's no perfect formula for “making it” in this business and anyone who tells you there is is likely trying to sell you something. Be like goblin-made armor. Take in only that which makes you stronger.
For numbers, this was my second completed manuscript that I pitched at agents, editors, and passing strangers on the street. It's one of the many, many, many started stories, though.