I am delighted to host Author Roy Huff on the blog. Roy has also contributed a guest post on Time Travel!
Read on to know more about the author: his thoughts, his books and the genre of SF/Fantasy!
Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in the South very poor. My family suffered through many challenges, and I lost my father when I was 21 to HIV/AIDS. Mental illness inflicted and continues to inflict pain on many immediate family members, but I’ve personally been fortunate. I moved to Hawaii to go to college, and after a delay and initial financial hardships, I was able to complete five degrees. I’ve had the privilege to work on some amazing projects including a grant for NASA/NOAA related to geostationary satellites (GOES-R). I’ve since begun writing and teaching.
What prompted you to start writing?
I’ve always been an academic, so nonfiction and academic writing was something I’ve done for as long as I can remember. That accelerated in college. In my early 30’s, I began writing fiction, in part inspired by a professor Jayson Chun and UH West Oahu.
How did the series ‘Everville’ happen?
I was working concurrently on my fourth and fifth degrees, writing a creative paper titled Everville for an English class. We had to share the paper with other students in the class, and one student commented she wanted to read an entire book on Everville. The rest is history.
What inspired you to write SF/Fantasy?
I’ve always loved science, so there is a natural love for imagining how technology will evolve from science in the future. In both science fiction and fantasy, I find an element of both escapism and wonder. They offer an avenue to plan new ideas and revisit societal constructs that aren’t always possible in the present environment. Speculative fiction can also be therapeutic, a place to go to recharge one’s mind and separate oneself from anxiety, abuse, or the realities of a harsh life. Of course, you have to come back to reality at some point, but fiction can provide an outlet in an often unforgiving world.
How much research went into the writing of this series?
The amount of research just depends on the topic. I have some level of background knowledge, but there are always times when I have to sketch an idea or thought and jump onto a search engine to find what I need. It’s usually not an awful lot, but research is still necessary from time to time.
How easy/difficult was it to write this series and create the characters for it?
Super easy, but the real challenge is making those characters compelling and the story engaging. Doing that requires asking the right questions and adding interesting flaws and motivations. How long that takes depends on a host of factors that can span hours or months.
How much does your day to day life inspire your characters?
All of it.
What do you do when you aren’t writing?
I love traveling, hiking, movies, and fiction on both the screen and in books and audio. I enjoy walks, spending time with family, learning, and good conversation with interesting and kind people.
How much time do you spend on your writing on average per day?
It varies widely. I’ve tended recently to write between 30-90 minutes daily if possible, or about 2-10 pages. But I used to be more of a marathon writer with 8-12 days of up to 45 pages a day. I wrote book three in the Everville series in six days. Recently, I feel more comfortable with 3-4 weeks for a rough draft if that’s my sole focus. But I’ve tended to stretch that out over months to gather a more sustainable routine within life’s other constraints. I’ve always done more traveling recently (the current pandemic excluded) which aligns to a more moderate but consistent pace.
What do you like best about writing a story?
There is no one thing. But, I like leaving a legacy behind. I enjoy creating new worlds and exploring ideas that haven’t been fleshed out by other works of fiction.
What kind of impact do your stories have on you?
Writing encourages me to grow, pay attention, and listen. It forces me to consider reasons and motivation but also to question the effectiveness and validity of societal expectations and rules. I usually write more optimistic fiction, so my own stories can give me reasons to hope and make me feel like I’m leaving something constructive behind to positively impact other people.
How much inspiration do you draw on from real life experiences, with respect to plot, characters etc?
All of it. Every thought, experience, feeling, or emotion provides subconscious or explicit inspiration for every part of the story.
Finally, what message do you want to share with us readers?
I wish to inspire my readers and give them a glimmer of hope for a brighter future. It may not seem like it, especially in trying times, but the arc of humanity has moved towards greater tolerance, reduced poverty, less violence, and longer life spans. Expect this trend to continue. I’ve woven that belief in my writing.
Additionally, I’m launching Seven Rules of Time Travel mid-July. You can find it on Goodreads here https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54130441-seven-rules-of-time-travel
I’m also giving away a free space opera short at https://www.royhuff.net/salvationship
So why write about time travel? Fiction is a great way to explore what could be and what might have been. Time travel in particular allows the writer to fix mistakes as an individual and as a society. Who hasn’t thought about changing something in the past? Why not take advantage of that?
And what about the future? Why not imagine seeing the future and steering it in a direction that benefits you? In essence, it’s the most direct way to blend the benefits of fiction with real human desires and emotions. It’s escapism combined with the ultimate reality check. It forces you to confront your demons and develop a solution to vanquish them.
Time travel takes on many flavors. Writers can use the paradox trope as a literary tool to show character growth, forcing them to face reality instead of fantasy. I generally don’t like the paradox because it takes some of the fun out of the genre, and there are other more intriguing options to show growth that is unique to time travel.
Lifting time travel constraints allows the writer to explore those human conditions that usually don’t get explored. It forces the writer to find compelling motivations and character growth to engage readers.
Depending on the mechanism of time travel, one unexplored prospect is immortality. Humans, and all creatures, are limited by a finite lifespan which provides a sense of urgency. What happens when that urgency is removed.
And what about power? They don’t call Doctor Who a Time Lord for nothing. If you were immortal and could manipulate time, what would you do? What would your story look like? This is mine.