Hugh Howey (author of Wool) and Natalie Portman, a fantasy interview
December 13, 2012
(Hugh Howey announced this week that he has inked a big deal with Simon and Schuster. On the heels of that announcement, I thought his fans might like to re-visit the dream interview about Wool he gave Venture Galleries a couple of months ago. Hugh strikes me as a really good guy, who has structured a deal that will allow him freedom to continue down the Indie road on his digital books while embracing the traditional route, which opens a new world of distribution for print copies of his works. Kudos to Hugh.–SW)
I should have known better.
Not really. You’re going to love it.
But, a little housekeeping first while the excitement builds.
If you are one of the few people in the world who has yet to buy Hugh’s novel Wool, please click on the image below to remedy the situation. And since I am a finalist, too, please feel obligated to do the same for Last One Chosen while you’re at it.
This is the third in a series of interviews from the Top Five Finalist authors in the Best Indie Books of 2012 Awards. The New Kindle Book Review announced the finalists on September 1, 2012. The winners will be announced October 1, 2012.
Let’s see how Natalie and Hugh got along.
My dream Interview by Hugh Howey:
Natalie Portman: More oil?
Me: Yes, please.
Natalie, while rubbing oil into my back: You sure this is okay with your wife?
Me: Totally sure. We have this agreement. She picked Brad Pitt—I picked you. That feels really good.
Natalie: I’m glad. So, how did you get into writing?
Me: Well, I was a yacht captain for a while. I used to drive big fancy boats all over the Caribbean for the rich and famous—
Natalie: No shit? That sounds like something you’d make up.
Me, laughing: If I was making something up, it would involve you. No, I’m serious, that was my gig after I dropped out of college. I drove boats around. And then I met my wife.
Natalie: Who has your permission to get a back rub from Brad Pitt?
Me: Absolutely. It’s only fair.
Natalie: How did meeting your wife move you from driving boats to writing?
Me: She was getting her doctorate in psychology at the time—
Me: Yeah, she’s wicked smart. Like you. Only she went to school in Florida, not Yale.
Natalie: I went to Harvard.
Me: Ouch. Not so hard, please.
Me: After she finished school, I followed her to Virginia where she was placed for internship. I did a few more boat jobs by flying out of Richmond, but it was less convenient and I hated to be away from home. So I started roofing.
Natalie: You were a roofer?
Me: Yeah. And then when she took a job in North Carolina, I got a job installing home theaters. But I quit that job to take a boat to Tahiti, only I never made it that far.
Natalie: What happened? A bad storm?
Me: No, the owners. They were batshit crazy. So I hopped off once we got to Jamaica.
Natalie: What did you do next?
Me: God, that feels really good what you’re doing to my neck right now. After Jamaica, I came home and started writing book reviews for a website. I went to a few writing conferences to cover them as a member of the press, interviewed a bunch of authors. And you know what?
Me: They are mostly regular people. Avid readers who had the same dream I’ve always had of writing a book, only they had something else: The motivation to stick to it and the patience to see it through to the end. So I started my first book, newly energized, and I’ve been writing practically every day since.
Natalie: Did you ever think you’d be able to do it fulltime?
Me: Hell no. Then again, I never thought I’d get oiled down by you. And neither must’ve my wife, or she never would’ve agreed to this.
Natalie: So how did that happen? How did you get to where you could quit your day job and just write?
Me: I honestly have no clue. I was promoting the hell out of my novels when a novelette went crazy on Amazon—
Natalie: I love that word, novelette.
Me: Oh, me too. And so the sales and reviews for this novelette just blew past everything else I’d ever written. So I started writing more. And the books kept doing better and better. I kept thinking the sales would end, but things got even nuttier. Soon, I had agents calling me, asking if they could represent my work. And then publishers started shoving large piles of money at me—
Natalie, excitement in her voice, hands falling still: And you took it, right?
Me: Nope. Are you done?
Natalie, resuming her work: Sorry.
Me: We didn’t take their offers. If I was published with them, I wouldn’t qualify for things like Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Book of the Year Award. And that would suck. So I decided to stay indie.
Natalie: Was that really the reason?
Me: Well, that and because my wife might allow this sort of interview, but no way in hell would a sane publicist let me get away with this.
(Here’s Hugh’s announcement of the Simon and Schuster deal.)