- Nikky Lee
10 Questions with Aaron Hodges
Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelors of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering.
After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he grew tired of office work and decided to quit his job in 2014 and see the world. One year later, he published his first novel—Stormwielder—while in Guatemala. Since then, he has honed his skills while travelling through parts of SE Asia, India, North and South America, Turkey and Europe, and now has over a dozen works to his name.
Today, his adventures continue...
1. Tell us a bit about yourself! Where do you call home and what do you write?
I'm originally from Whakatane down in the Bay of Plenty, but I'm not really sure where home is these days! The pandemic caught me living in Buenos Aires and I returned in June, so I'm still kind of discovering my place back here in New Zealand right now. My books are primarily fantasy, set in other worlds of magic and monsters, but I also have one dystopian sci-fi series set in a future America divided by civil war, which is proving a little too close to fact right now!
2. What drew you to that particular genre?
I've always enjoyed reading fantasy, so it was natural for me to start writing stories in the same genre. There's something about creating entirely new worlds from your imagination that I've really always enjoyed the idea of.
3. What’s your best known work?
I'd say my best known/widest read work is still actually my first series, the Sword of Light trilogy. It follows a young man cursed with terrible magic and his struggle to control it in a world that is very quickly spinning out of control. Before he knows it, he is drawn into an ancient battle between the Gods and the darkness, and he realises he cannot hope to survive unless he masters the power that ruined his life.
4. What inspired you to write it?
Coffee mostly! No in all seriousness, my first book was more or less written back in 2010, but it then spent five years on the shelf waiting for its final edit. In 2015 I finally had the time during my OE [Nikky: Overseas Experience for you non-Kiwis] to pick it up again, but I found I just couldn't get my head in the right place—that is until I started going down to the local coffee shop and working there. I didn't even drink coffee at the time, so having the odd coffee definitely gave me a big caffeine boost to get it done!
5. Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter, panster or somewhere in between? How do you research? Do you research upfront or dive right in and Google as you go?
I definitely Google as I go, haha. But I'm more of a plotter than a panster. I write out outlines for my chapters before I start and then dive in, but of course things don't always go to plan so there's definitely still a panster in there somewhere.
6. What’s the strangest or most interesting thing you’ve researched for your writing?
I'm learning more and more about medieval lifestyles and how much life has changed since those days! But if I'm honest, the thing I'm most often having to check on Google is how many feet in a meter! Damn imperial is annoying haha.
7. What’s the most personal story/scene you’ve written and why?
In my dystopian series, in which the children of traitors are taken by the government and experimented on, there is a point where the grandmothers of the children get involved resisting the dictatorship. It might seem like an odd plot point, but this actually happened in a country close to my heart—Argentina. Back under their dictatorship, people who resisted the government simply disappeared, including their children. The grandmothers of those children organised themselves into a protest movement to resist the tyranny, and played a big part in the fall of the government in the end. I really wanted to recognise their sacrifice in the books, so it was nice to be able to include their movement as a major part of the plot.
8. Who are your literary influences? In what way?
I'd say the authors I read as children are my biggest influences, David Eddings for his massive, world ending stake plots, David Gemmell for his larger than life characters, and Ian Irvine for his fantastic world building.
9. What books are on your bedside table right now?
I've just finished rereading Game of Thrones for the third time and can't wait to get started on the latest Brandon Sanderson novel!
10. Last and most important, where can we find your books/stories?
I'm working on getting some books in New Zealand bookstores right now, but for the most part I'm on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Aaron-Hodges/e/B018KY4ZIA/ OR if you'd like to order any paperbacks from me directly, I do special prices for NZ readers by email order: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also follow me at my facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/fantastic.adventures
Follow Aaron on these platforms!
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