Author Interview: Aidan Watson-Morris
Your Name (as it appears on your books):
Your Blog or Author Website (no purchase links):
How would you describe yourself?
I’m just a kid. There’s really nothing more to it than that. I’m a fifteen year old guy who likes write.
How would you describe what you write?
It’s classified as science fiction young adult, but I dislike labeling it like that. It’s what people use to limit writing, so it only works within a certain context. Science fiction will never be more than science fiction, etc. I suppose I write to challenge people. That seems a little arrogant, but I find a lot of mainstream fiction nowadays doesn’t really try to change people’s minds. The most controversial message in young adult fiction seems to be that war is bad. Everyone thinks war is bad. It’s not hard to agree with, either, because war is bad. I want people to question themselves and their lives. We shouldn’t be content with just being mad at things that are beyond are control. That’s easy. We should wonder how important the things that are a part of our daily lives are. We should constantly be questioning ourselves and our surroundings.
What inspired you to start writing your first book?
In seventh grade, our teacher forced us to read a young adult novel, I won’t mention the name, that was utterly pedestrian. It was structured conventionally and was completely adequate. Nothing stuck out, but nothing was bad. I hated that. I thought that a novel should be all or nothing. A novel should be something that leaves a strong impression, even if it’s bad. I think that’s where a lot of The Numbers came from, the idea that people wouldn’t forget something that I had written. Of course, as I wrote the book, it became a lot more than that, but that was the initial idea.
Do you prefer chocolate or vanilla?
That depends on the context. For the most part, chocolate.
What authors influence your writing?
Kurt Vonnegut has had an incredible impact on both my writing and my life, but other big influences are J.D. Salinger, Joseph Heller, Charles Bukowski, Chuck Palahniuk and Chuck Klosterman.
What one writing tip do you have for new authors?
It’s cliché and it’s been said in much better ways before, but “writing something that only you can write” is a prominent idea because it’s a good one. Anyone can write an objectively good story with time, but no one remembers a flawless story that had no style. People remember books because they’re different from other things they’ve read.
Did you self or traditionally publish, and why did you choose that route?
I published with Penumbra Publishing, a small publishing house. I felt like I would have more commercial opportunity with a more traditional publisher.
Do you have a blog, and how has it helped with your promotional efforts?
I have a personal blog which doesn’t really function as a blog at all at Tumblr, but I’ve gained 600 or so followers with it and they’re the primary reason any copies of the book have been purchased so far. I’ve being pretty lax with marketing, because I’m kind of embarrassed. I hate almost all of my writing as soon as it’s out in the open.
What one thing are you OCD about, in general?
Light switches. If I’m in a room with two light switches, they both have to be on. Even if the lightning with one on and one off is no different from the lighting in a room with one light switch, I get a heavy migraine in the former situation. It’s just the placebo effect, probably, but it’s something I’m very picky about.
What is the most creative way you have promoted any of your books?
I made a comedic video, but a few people who bought my book mentioned that it wasn’t the jokes but my wordless stare at the camera at the end for a few seconds was what really compelled them to buy a copy. I think they were just trying to make me feel better.
What would you do differently if you had to start over?
Everything. I wouldn’t have written The Numbers. But I’m not really the best of judge of that, y’know? When Aldous Huxley wrote an updated foreword for his masterpiece, Brave New World, he mentioned that if he edited his novel to fix the bad parts after it had already being finalized, he would’ve ruined what was good about it in the first place. I just hope that I’m not the best judge of my own work.
Where do you hope to see yourself in the next five years?
Living frugally off of writing, probably still taking myself too seriously. I’d love to work with Penumbra again, they were fantastic. I hope my feeble attempts at marketing haven’t discouraged them. Ideally, I’d like to publish quite a few books before I graduate, but I just don’t see that happening. It took me a year to finish The Numbers, and it’s (technically) a novella
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