I was given the opportunity to speak to author A.J. Scudiere at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con about her four novels, her audio-books, and her advice on how to get started as a writer! So here is of the interview I hope you folks enjoy!
“Can you explain your newest book?”
The newest book is Phoenix and it’s about a firefighter who was in a fire as a child, and in that fire he knows he lost his birth mother, but what he doesn’t realize until he’s much older is that he also lost a younger brother. So as he finds this out he goes on a search for the death certificate just to lay the past to rest. He finds that there is no death certificate and the further he goes the more he finds that things are not as they seem. So he has to figure out that the fire he was in wasn’t just a fire.”
How did you get into writing as you’re a teacher as well?
“I always wrote, when I was in third grade I had a pen and a notebook and it always seemed like a good idea to go and write an eighty page novella. So teaching was a natural fit, and I feel that both are very parallel.”
Which book was the most difficult to write for you?
“God’s Eye was the hardest to write, because I wrote Resonance and while I was shopping it around I wrote Vengeance, and Vengeance was so easy to write because I was occasionally writing letter s to agents and sending them copies of my books and so it was easy to write another book. And then they both got picked up and the publisher wanted the third book, and I started going to Cons and book festivals, and doing book signing, and trying to pay my bills as well as trying to write a third book. Trying to write a third book while trying to get a toehold in the market is crazy. And so that one was the hardest.”
How did you come up with the idea of using a full voice cast in your audio books?
“When I knew the book was going to go to audio I started to listen to a handful so I would have a better idea about audio books. I hadn’t listened to an audio book in about a decade, and I found I really liked some of them, and others I didn’t like. You get a single reader and it not only depends on the reader’s ability to act, but their ability to do voice work. A lot of times instead of characters they become caricatures, and it just comes down to nobody talks like that. My audio guy was Stephen Rudnicki who did the Enders Game 20th Anniversary addition. He was also looking to expand audio books, and I didn’t realize but it takes a very particular writing style and my style worked very well for them.”
To people who are trying to write and trying to become authors what advice to you give them?
“I say if you’re really getting started you have to practice. People like to sit down and believe they are going to write the great American novel on the first try, but Mike Phelps didn’t jump into an Olympic sized pool and swims the times he does on the first try. I wrote two novels before I wrote Resonance and I didn’t even try to shop them around, I was just trying to become better at my craft. The other advice I have is to not ignore the most popular advice around, it worked for somebody it might work for you. Also don’t feel married to that advice if it doesn’t work for you.”
I’d like to thank A.J for taking time out of her Con schedule to speak to me, and her publishers for setting up the meeting! It was a great experience, she was an amazingly nice person and I definitely hope to speak to her again soon.