I’m interviewing Lucas Aubrey Paynter, the author of science-fiction fantasy novel “Outcasts of the Worlds”. My questions are bolded, author’s responses are in regular font.
What’s the hardest part of being an author?
Largely, it’s been the continuous fear that anything I’ve written will be too strange and alienating and that the reader won’t be able to accept the oddities of the story for what they are that they might see the overall work for what it is.
Seriously, I wrestled with the prologue and the first chapter more than anything else, in heavy part trying to establish the peculiarities of what Flynn and Jean as the first protagonists are without it feeling distracting. Whether I’ve succeeded or not, it’s in the wild now, but I hope from the early chapters on, the story will engage and not repel the reader.
Can you give us a short synopsis of your book?
Flynn has drawn many people close. He has gained confidence and trust. He has been welcomed into families. He has ruined lives, sold out those who thought him a friend. He has destroyed communities, ensnared trusting hearts, left his victims helpless. Only now does he begin to regret.
Imprisoned, Flynn faces a choice: freedom, despite his sins, or the punishment he deserves. His selfish choices will take him far, beyond the ruined Earth he has known all his life. He will find himself in the company of those unwanted by nature or deed. And for all the horrible things he has done, he may find the chance to do something good with his life, if he can only force himself to be a better man.
What inspired you to write this book?
Outcasts of the Worlds is something I’ve been developing for a long time, and at first it was a love of epic fantasy and eclectic, ensemble casts. Along the way, it became complicated, as redemption stories and ambiguity tangled in more and more. Outcasts is meant to go to dark places and deal with characters who’ve done dark things but, for it all, I feel it’s the most optimistic thing I could write.
How many hours per day do you spend writing?
The amount varies. I try to write at least one scene every day I have the time, and that usually takes a few hours. And, to be realistic, a portion of that is spent staring at the screen, re-reading what I’ve written and wondering if it’s working.
Sometimes whole paragraphs are deleted. Occasionally, I just start over. If things go well though, a few hours. If they’re going badly, I may be there until I figure out what isn’t working (which at times comes down to what character I’m focusing on), but I end up stuck at my desk quite a while longer before anything gets done.
Name your top five favorite books.
To note, the numbering is probably quasi-arbitrary. Probably. A few of the books may also be quasi-arbitrary. But these are ones I really like.
1. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – That’s where I started and, hell, that’s probably where half of everyone started.
2. A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony – The Xanth series has become increasingly mixed for me as time has gone on, but there’s a lot I loved about the first entry, and it had me reading Anthony’s works for years to come.
3. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson – Yes, I saw the Will Smith movie first (which I don’t think was all that bad), which led me to look into the book and–in short? I adore the book. I wrote a paper in college on it entitled “All Hail Our Vampire Overlords, or Much Ado About Staking.” My Rocky and Bullwinkle themed title landed me a B. I have no regrets.
4. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson – Though a good read in its own right, I appreciate Jekyll/Hyde’s role in literary culture more than anything else. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Jekyll and Hyde being the same person was supposed to be a plot twist! It’s the older spoiler in the book! (so to speak)
5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling – This is probably an odd one to round this list out, but aside from the excitement of the ending, I consider Half-Blood to be the dullest of the Potter books (in terms of events). It was also a favorite to read though, as I ate up the backstory material that was finally being doled out.
What are you working on now?
Outcasts of the Worlds is the first book in a (presently) unnamed saga. The second book in said (presently) unnamed saga is titled Killers, Traitors and Runaways. Think happy thoughts, everyone.
About The Book
Author: Lucas Aubrey Paynter
Genre: SciFi Fantasy
Beyond the remnants of Earth lie many worlds, connected by pathways forgotten and invisible. They were left by the gods and have been found by Flynn.
A confidence man. A liar. A monster. Flynn has seen himself for what he really is and has resolved to pay for everything. Even if it means spending the rest of his days locked in Civilis, a tower prison for society’s unwanted – “half-humans” gifted by the fallout of nuclear holocaust centuries past.
Jean, a prisoner in the neighboring cell, has different ideas and despite himself, Flynn finds himself joining her daring escape. After rescuing her friend Mack, the three flee Civilis as Flynn pieces together the hours before his capture and finds himself drawn to an abandoned facility where a rift to another world opens at his nearing.
Together they will venture farther beyond the stars than humanity ever imagined, find others like them that will never belong, and tangle with forces both ancient and immortal. They stand alone, hated and scorned – and the last hope of making things right in a cosmos gone terribly wrong.
Lucas Aubrey Paynter holds a Creative Writing degree from California State University Northridge—which looks really good when one talks about how they want to write for a living. A fan of engaging storytelling in any medium, he spent years developing the worlds, characters and conflicts that Flynn and his company encounter, before settling at his desk and writing Outcasts of the Worlds, the first part of a much larger tale to come.
Currently residing with his wife in Burbank, California, Lucas enjoys reading in a variety of formats, potentially overanalyzing character motivations and arcs, and the occasional good, stiff drink.
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