13 Worlds by J. J. Hair is a delightful adventure that dwells into the mystery and realm of the universe. The book is about a group of people directed by the Guide to destroy the 13 planets out there. In a candid interview with Bookish Fame, J. J. Hair opened up about his books, his journey as a writer, and more. Read on!
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Hello, everyone! I am Joshua Hair – author of 13 Worlds. Since getting my Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, I’ve been a Process Engineer at different manufacturing sites for over 5 years. I’ve decided to take some down time from my profession to focus on my passion – writing. So far it’s been a great alternative to the “stress” of manufacturing engineering.
When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
I was 17 when I started writing my first novel – Salfour. It was a mixture of science fiction and fantasy and was told from several different character perspectives over the same timeline. I never finished the novel, but it was longer than 13 Worlds before I quit writing it. That’s when I first got into writing – but I was steered away by a harsh critique at the time. I’m glad to be back into it. Over the years, I believe my writing has improved substantially since my first novel.
What inspires you to write books? What are the things which catch your attention?
I always have “make believe” ideas going on in my head at all times. I’m quite the daydreamer – but I’d say TV shows, movies, video games, and other novels can be a source of inspiration for me. Every facet of 13 Worlds has tapped upon one media source or another. My all-time favorite novels are Ender’s Game and Red Planet – by Orson Card and Robert Heinlein, respectively. My most played video game would probably be Final Fantasy VII (not the remake), but there are too many favorites to list here.
Tell something in brief about your book 13 Worlds?
What I both like and dislike about 13 Worlds is how difficult it is to condense into a summary. Sure – you could focus on the crew of starship Ranus and suggest it is just a novel about destroying planets using black holes. But really, it is about a being who has sought to wipe out anyone who might achieve his level of success utilizing gene-editing technology. The Guide doesn’t want competitors, so he’s set certain planets for destruction. He’s also tried to dismantle scientific progress using psychological warfare, but ultimately that’s not enough to stop his “enemies”. We get to see everything from the point of view of characters living on these planets – who have their own internal struggles and issues they’re dealing—while those same characters are completely ignorant of a much bigger problem they’re about to face.
Do you see books as a carrier of an important message or a medium of entertainment?
I’d say my book emphasizes how important science is for human progress and that it shouldn’t be suppressed for short-term gain. But there are a myriad of “hidden” messages, although I try to steer clear of religion or politics. I want everyone to enjoy the book. At the end of the day, I’m hoping readers are entertained.
How do you organise yourself, as a writer, to keep track of the world you’re writing about?
Most of my work comes from stream of consciousness, but I have a basic outline of the plot and the characters for each chapter before I start writing. I know where everything starts, who everyone is, and where the chapter ends beforehand. Although that, too, can change if I get a new idea or direction as I’m writing.
When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or full-time profession?
I was sure hoping for that, but I believed it was very tough to become financially successful in this field – my opinion hasn’t changed much.
How did you approach the writing process this time around? Do you have a set routine or does it vary? And how do you manage it with your full-time work?
I’d say there’s a lot more structure and planning in my more recent attempts. I aim to write 1000 words a day, until I hit the word target for my book. Any chapter I feel that has pacing or prose issues is usually rewritten at least once until I feel good about it. I always try to be in a good mood whenever I write – mood is integral to quality writing, in my opinion. Since I’ve been working from home recently, I haven’t found writing to be much of an interference.
How would you describe the contemporary scenario of writing and reading around the world?
Unfortunately, I think a lot of people are moving away from reading as a medium and into movies, TV shows, and video games to experience a narrative. I still think the interest is there, but it isn’t what it once was.
How crucial is marketing and promotions when it comes to selling a book?
Until recently, I’ve never read a novel that wasn’t popular. Am I more open-minded now that I’m writing stuff myself? Absolutely. But I believe marketing is crucial to increasing a book’s popularity. A novel without marketing is DOA.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors? What is your favorite genre?
Orson Card and Robert Heinlein are my two all-time favorite authors and science fiction is definitely my genre – but I like fantasy, too. You can’t really talk about fantasy without mentioning J. R. R. Tolkien or C. S. Lewis.
Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?
If you feel like you’ve got something special, try to ignore the negative voices and push yourself forward. But don’t forget that criticism is usually meant to be constructive – so take it for what it is.
Are we going to hear more from you in the future?
I’m absolutely hoping for a follow-up to 13 Worlds, but I’ll have to see how the book performs going forward before committing to it.
*We wish Author J. J. Hair all the best for his future endeavours.*