Aaron Foster lives in the verdant, idyllic haven otherwise known as Eugene, Oregon. His wife, two preciously precious children, and a rather spoiled Shih Tzu leave him just enough time to dream up spy adventures for Adam and his friends. When not writing, Aaron enjoys woodworking, tinkering with his electric car, and other seemingly benign activities that throw the nefarious forces in the world off his scent. A day job as a system engineer provides the spark of real-world inspiration for the fantastic technology that plays a prominent part in his stories.
EXTRA CREDIT INTERVIEW WITH AARON FOSTER:
Today LitPick is fortunate to have a second interview with Aaron Foster, currently on the run from a formidable ring of international terrorists. Aaron is the author of Adam Undercover, The Presidium Files and is working on his second book in the series.
Do you have a solid outline before writing, or do you usually get ideas as you go along?
I always have outlines. So many outlines... They change and morph as I write the story, but the main plot points and character developments are pretty spelled out in advance. Unless a character does something crazy and I have to change things.
Has someone you knew ever appeared as a character in a book (consciously or subconsciously)?
I think little bits and pieces make their way in to some characters, but not as a whole. I'd be super-embarrassed if someone read the book and was like, "Hey, that's me!" But then I'd kill the character or they'd turn evil or something.
What do you do when you get writer's block?
Personally, I find that exercise is the best fix. I'll go out for a run and completely change my environment. It helps my brain untwist itself from whatever I was hung up on. Plus, endorphins. It seems like all the cool, awesome, humorous bits in the story come to me when I'm outside.
If you could live in a book's world, which would you choose?
This is a tough one. I suppose it would really depend on my mood. There are times I'd love to go on a grand, sweeping quest in Middle Earth or Alagaesia, but sometimes I'd just want to stay curled up on the couch and wave my wand to do the dishes, you know?
What is your favorite book-to-movie adaptation?
Most recently, I'd have to say The Martian. I have a big sci-fi soft spot, and everything about the book and the movie were just great. The film was cast well and captured all the same dark humor and ingenuity that made the book so cool.
If you could have lunch with one other author (dead or alive!), who would it be?
Arthur C. Clarke, without question (see aforementioned gooey, sci-fi center). In addition to being a fantastic writer with an amazing imagination, he was truly a visionary. I firmly believe our world would be a different (and not better) place if wasn't for his ideas.
Wild Card Question: You are a self-professed IT geek, and the author of a cool book. Usually those two things don’t go together. How is it that you have two large parts of your life that are so vastly different?
My wife says I'm "wired different." I know she means it in a good way. Every time I take one of those personality trait tests that goes right/left or puts you in a quadrant, the test breaks. I'm always smack in the middle. IT work, while satisfying in an alphabatize-your-DVD-collection kind of way, always left me needing to do something creative. I love woodworking and building things, but using power tools at all hours tends to irritate the neighbors. That, and you can only fit so many desks, tables and lamps into a house. Writing turned out to be a great low-impact outlet to satisfy my need to make stuff.
Aaron, thank you for a great interview! We’re sure your neighbors appreciate your quieter writing over your noisier woodworking! We’d love to see pictures of the furniture you’ve made.
SIX MINUTES WITH AARON FOSTER:
Welcome back to LitPick’s Six Minutes with an Author! Joining us today is first-time sci-fi novelist Aaron Foster. Aaron claims to be currently on the run from a formidable ring of international terrorists. Protected by a powerful yet unnamed underground organization, he and his family try to lead relatively normal lives in the strange, idyllic haven known as Eugene, Oregon. Aaron's current cover identity is that of an IT geek.
How did you start writing?
I have great childhood memories of my dad curating a little home library for my sister and me. Whenever it looked like one of us was going to pull out an “I’m bored,” he’d hand us a book. Most weren’t kids’ stories; I remember sitting on my bed with a novel and an open dictionary next to me.
When my daughter was born, I started reading a bunch of stuff that I could keep around for her when she was older. YA literature was just becoming a thing at that point. Mr. Potter and others were spurring talented authors to write for a younger audience. What struck me about many of these books was that they were so accessible. The stories were great – fast paced, exciting and imaginative – but weren’t so concerned with being “literary.” I began to wonder if it was something I could do . . .
Who influenced you?
My parents were teachers, so reading was always part of our family. They get the lion’s share of the credit for keeping me interested in books. As far as authors, there are so many: Arthur C. Clarke, J.R.R. Tolkien, Michael Crichton, Stephen King, C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, Joe Haldemen. More recently: J.K. Rowling, Eoin Colfer, Rick Riordan, Christopher Paolini, Patrick Rothfuss, Daniel Suarez.
Do you have a favorite book?
This one is like picking a favorite child, so hard . . . The Kingkiller Chronicle series by Patrick Rothfus is two of three books in; I’m really excited about those. From the sci-fi side, I’d have to say the Rama series by Arthur C. Clarke.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
The most important thing is to learn patience. Nothing in the world of writing and publishing moves quickly. The next thing is realizing that being an author is so much more than writing. Promotion, marketing, and the other details of dealing with a book are nearly half the effort of actually getting the words on paper. Whether you get published in the traditional fashion or go the indie route, become comfortable with selling your work.
As far as the actual writing goes, I think it’s a highly personal thing. I’m a pretty organized person and need outlines, timelines, plotlines – everything all written down in advance. I know others that have everything in their head and just sit down and write. However you do it, surround yourself with smart people who are willing to help you and to be honest. You’ll probably end up rewriting big chunks of your first draft several times, so you’ll need people you trust to help you through that process. There will be at least one instance during this process where you think your manuscript is horrible and want to burn it. Don’t give up.
Where is your favorite place to write?
For me, it’s not so much the place as being in the right mood and frame of mind. I’ve written whole chapters in one sitting in a coffee shop, on an airplane or during a lunch break in an empty conference room. Other times I have a perfectly comfortable chair in my little home office surrounded by books, but nothing comes out. Ideas usually come when I’m lying in bed trying to fall asleep or when I’m out for a run.
What else would you like to tell us?
We all know the satisfaction of starting, enjoying and finishing a good book. It’s as if you’ve been invited on a journey and made new friends along the way. I still geek out on a regular basis that something I wrote could do that for even a few people. It’s humbling and exhilarating at the same time.
Writing my first book has been an incredible experience, and I can’t wait to see where it leads. I’ve written ten or eleven chapters for Book Two so far, and things are progressing nicely. With any luck, early 2016 should see another of Adam’s adventures.
It’s been great having you, Aaron! You certainly have great taste in authors, and we look forward to reading Adam Undercover! Make sure to take a look at the Adam Undercover website; it’s pretty cool!