Hugh Howey is the author of the award-winning Molly Fyde Saga and the New York Times and USA Today bestselling WOOL series. The WOOL OMNIBUS won Kindle Book Review’s 2012 Indie Book of the Year Award — it has been as high as #1 in the Kindle store — and 17 countries have picked up the work for translation. Look for WOOL in hardback in 2013 from Random House UK and keep your fingers crossed that Ridley Scott and Steve Zaillian will do something exciting with the film rights!
Hugh lives in Jupiter, FL with his wife Amber and their dog Bella.
*The interview is courtesy of my wonderful girlfriend Michelle, who arranged this conversation with Hugh Howey—one of my favourite sci-fi authors—for my Christmas present. She scored major brownie points for this.
Here it is, enjoy, WJ
WJ: How did you come up with the title of Wool? Before or after you conceived the idea of ‘cleaning the view screens’?
Howey: After. The cleaning pads are the literal meaning. The figurative comes from the act of having wool pulled over one’s eyes.
WJ: How long did it take you to write and revise the 1st Molly Fyde book before you deemed it good enough to send to publishers?
Howey: Two weeks. Seriously. They were the craziest two weeks of my life. 12-16 hour days of writing. I think it was the pent up frustration of so many stories begun but never finished. And I’d been dreaming up the story for years.
WJ: How long do you usually spend writing a work vs revising? Which typically takes longer?
Howey: I’d say they take about the same amount of time. Six weeks writing and six weeks revising seems to be my current schedule.
WJ: When you began writing First Shift, how much more had you planned in the Wool series? For example, during first shift, were you aware of what was going to happen in second and third shift, Wool 9 etc?
Howey: Oh, yeah. I’ve known the last scene in book 9, the big twist coming up in book 9, and the huge tragedy in the middle of book 9 since I wrote Wool 2.
WJ: Have you ever published a work on Amazon, then realized you had a plot hole or a section you weren’t happy with and gone back and changed it? Does Amazon make this easy to do?
Howey: Absolutely. Mostly it’s just typos that I fix, but Amazon makes this seamless. You hit “upload,” and the new book takes the place of the old one.
WJ: What program do you use to write? I use Scrivener and love it!
Howey: I use Pages. I have a copy of Scrivener, and I like it, but I never found myself using all the tools it provides. I think I just need a lesson in how it works.
WJ: Got anything else in the works other than what’s listed on your website’s progress meters?
Howey: Yeah, I have a few other books started and/or outlined. Just need the time to write them!
WJ: You’re one of the top Sci-Fi authors in the world right now. Awesome! Think you’ll stick to that genre when Wool is done?
Howey: Mostly. But I also want to write a mystery novel and a romance novel. Hopefully soon.
WJ: You’ve often said in interviews that when Wool 1 started taking off, you dropped everything else you were writing to focus on that. What else were you writing at the time?
Howey: Molly Fyde and the Darkness Deep, the 5th book in that series. It’s killing me not to have that work done and published.
WJ: I think you should write an autobiography. We’d love to hear about your days as a yaght captain, meeting your wife, odd jobs along the way. Etc
Howey: Already started it!
WJ: Could I write and publish a Wool fanfic? I promise I’ll do the best I can and not step on your toes!
Howey: YES!!! Please do. Please, please, please.
WJ: Thanks! It’s called The Runner…