It’s been quite a while since I put on my interviewer hat. At the behest of the Irish writing site writing.ie, I recently sat down to interview New York Times bestselling author Peter V. Brett. Peat was very gracious with his time, and very patient with my questions. The drink I bought him may have helped. (Click here for the interview.)
So how did I get this gig? It’s not like Martinez is a particularly Irish surname, after all.
It came about after writing.ie started following me on Twitter back in January. This led to some conversations, and the site’s manager letting me know that they were keen on doing more stuff about speculative fiction. Never one to let an opportunity for blatant self-promotion pass me by, I offer to help. You’ll see a guest post of mine on there later this summer, by the way.
Couple months later, writing.ie had an opportunity to interview Peat, and asked if I wanted to do it. Of course, I said yes. Couple months after that — during which Peat was on his book tour and I was traveling to Japan and such — he and I finally sat down. And it was a great chat.
While my writing in the interview is a bit more florid than my usual workmanlike prose, I liked this bit for one really big reason: Peat really tells it like it is. I think the general public, and especially would-be writers, see the so-called “writer’s life” as a very romantic, awesome thing. And while writing for a living is indeed awesome at times, it remains a job, and like any form of employment, there are pressures and deadlines and frustrations.
I had an absolute blast writing The Daedalus Incident, and I’m having fun writing other stuff now. But my fiction writing isn’t my primary source of income. I have a day job — a very supportive, well-paying and really quite lovely day job. I can afford to have fun with my fiction writing. I can afford to write at my own pace. Yes, I want to be a successful novelist, and I’m willing to put in the work, but I can walk away if it doesn’t pan out.
Full-time fiction writers like Peat don’t have that luxury. The business side of writing full time can be like a high-wire act sans net. For every Stephen King and J.K. Rowling out there living the dream, there are dozens of successful novelists like Peat who put in their hours every day out of necessity. There are mouths to feed. Another book finished, where’s the next? That next book is next year’s mortgage.
If the interview punctures a few hopes and dreams about the “writer’s life,” well…good. Write because you love it, not because you want to live some literary life that never really existed, except for a bare few souls who hit it big. Write because you can’t imagine not doing it.