We interviewed Kent Wayne, author of the “Echo” trilogy, a science fiction dystopia.
Within the story, there will be giant robo-suits, swords, and something akin to the Force.
His work is very military, as he spent 10 years serving. He calls himself the Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha based on the subject material of his writing. You can read the first five chapters of Echo 1 on his website.
It has been over a thousand years since humanity has left Earth to settle off-world on Echo. For almost that entire time, an age of darkness and oppression has ensued. Military and police have merged into the Department of Enforcement. Government and corporations have merged into the Regime. Little progress has been made except in the area of weapons technology. Echo’s only hope resides in one man, a bitter and crippled former Enforcer. Before he can break the cycle of ignorance for Echo, he must first do it within himself.
He has guested on a podcast and his books are getting rave reviews. We are very pleased that he is a fan of ours and was willing to answer our questions.
Without further ado:
1. How do you rank your writing compared to those you admire?
I’m pretty paranoid about my writing. I definitely rank myself as inferior compared to people like Stephen King, Marcus Sakey, and Robin Hobb. I’m someone who believes writing is really made in the edit, and that it’s up to me to pore over my draft until I know every detail (usually to the point where I’m bored witless by it). Then, towards the end, it should come together both in flow and structure and manage to entertain me even though I’ve read it countless times. To give you an idea of how ruthless I can get with this, my rough draft of Echo 4 was 355k words, but now it’s at 173k, which is over a 50% reduction in word count. I’m currently finishing my seventh pass-through.
2. Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from asking “what if.” The whole of Echo was based on the beginning scene in Die Hard with a Vengeance where Bruce Willis pisses of an entire neighborhood. I simply asked myself, “what if that happened in the future with a badass cybernetic guy, and what if the entire city turned on him, instead of just a neighborhood?” I also work by Joss Whedon’s philosophy of “focus on the moments and not the moves.” I sift through my imagination for scenes and one-liners that viscerally impact me, then construct a story around them. It is these powerful moments—like when William Wallace screams “Freedom” in Braveheart—that really live on in my memory, and so I try to center everything around them.
3. If you could sit down with one writer from any period who would it be?
I would sit down with Stephen King. “The Drawing of the Three” is my favorite work of fiction.
4. If the universal super being came down right now and said, “I give you two choices. 1.I will give you 100 million dollars for your work, but no one will ever be able to read a word you write, or 2. You can never ever benefit even one dollar ever off of your work, but 100 million people will read every book you ever write. Which one do you pick?
I would pick the 100 million dollars. I consider writing to simply be my transcribed understanding of human nature. The reason why that’s beautiful is because that understanding of human nature applies to every other endeavor. I have a wide range of interests that I would definitely pursue if I had more time and resources—cooking, dancing, illustration, programming…writing is simply an activity that I’ve managed to make work for me in the present moment. If I had a 100 million dollars, I would plunge into a lot more activites, and continue my love affair with understanding what makes me tick, as well as the seven billion other folks on this planet. I’m not particularly wedded to these abstract black-and-white squiggles you’re reading right now, but I AM fascinated by the principles that underlie them.
5. When did you know that writing was what you were going to make your life’s work? Or is it?
I understood that writing was going to be my life’s work when I realized that I could write while being surrounded by distractions, that it put me into a deep flow state—as deep as any meditation I’ve ever experienced—and as the years passed, I saw that I was unaffected by writer’s block (knock on wood).
6. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Yes, I read my book reviews. I deal with them by trying to understand why that person said what they did, and then running my own analysis to see if I think that person’s sentiment is valid. If they have made what I consider to be a valid statement, then I use that as a lesson learned. If not, then I ignore them.
7. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Yes, I sometimes hide Easter eggs in my writing. 😉
8. What was your hardest scene to write?