Interview with Tyler Edwards

Published 2013-10-29.
When did you first start writing?
That's a difficult question to answer. I've been creating worlds and stories for as long as I can remember. Most of my childhood was spent coming up with epic storylines for make-believe games I'd play with my friends. I also wrote some (terrible) stories around this time.

But I guess I truly became a writer when I was sixteen. I had gone through a pretty rough time, and I needed some sense of purpose. For years, I'd had an idea for a series of books I wanted to write, and I decided I should start pursuing that goal.

I wanted to do them right, though, and I quickly realized I had absolutely no clue how to write a good book. This led me to months of reading books on writing, grammar, and editing. I also started writing short fiction for practice, which eventually led to me stumbling into writing the World Spectrum series.

I still haven't written the series I originally set out to write. I'm still practicing.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Perth, Ontario, which is a small town about forty-five minutes outside of Ottawa. It's a lovely little tourist town, known as the prettiest town in Ontario, and surprisingly sophisticated for a town of only 6,000 people.

However, I attended elementary school in the neighbouring hamlet of Brooke Valley, and I'd say that had the biggest influence on my writing. Brooke Valley is mostly untouched wilderness, and my school grounds were no exception. It was around this time I was getting into fantasy, discovering things like Lord of the Rings and Warcraft, and this influenced the games I played during recess. My friends and I liked make-believe games where we would imagine ourselves as fantastic heroes -- wizards, knights, and Elves.

The great thing about my school's grounds was that they had such diverse environments that could stand in for anything you could imagine. There were deciduous woods that could become an enchanted forest. There was a copse of pine that had a more haunted feel. There was an old dumping ground of stones we called "the rock fort" that could become a bunker or fortress. There were groomed playgrounds that could be towns or battlefields, and wilder fields of tall grass that became wild plains and unexplored frontiers. There was an area of crumbling rocks and abandoned firepits that we imagined as ancient ruins, and a swampy area that could become a monster-infested marsh.

I was usually the one leading these games in the sense that I came up with the main ideas and storylines. It's these make-believe games that made me a writer. They taught me about creating worlds and stories. In fact, one of the major universes I write in evolved out of one such game I used to play with my friends.

I don't think my imagination would have flourished so much had I grown up somewhere more mundane.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Human Again is the third, and possibly final, installment of the World Spectrum series. There's not a lot I can say about it without massively spoiling the first two books, but it deals with the aftermath of the previous novels.

It's a more personal and intimate tale. While the first two books were about Leha trying to save the world, Human Again is about the world trying to save Leha.

That's not to say it doesn't still have a lot of epic action, though. In fact, Human Again features some of the most massive and brutal battles yet. But ultimately, it's more about Leha's inner struggles than her outer conflicts.

It also uses a popular sci-fi concept to reexamine all of the choices Leha has made over the course of the series. It forces her to confront her mistakes, and her failures.

From a personal standpoint, it's yet another work born from a period of misery and loneliness.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
My journey to become a writer hasn't been an easy one. It's been an endless spree of rejection letters and disappointments. The idea of continually sending my manuscript to publishers and waiting months for a response with only a slender chance of success was just too demoralizing. I wanted my books out there. I wanted people to actually read them.

So ultimately, the answer is impatience. I'm not yet convinced it was the right choice, nor am I convinced it was wrong.

But at least now some people have read my work, and that's a good feeling.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Firstly, I should say that writing generally doesn't involve a lot of joy. It's mostly a lot of hard work and disappointment. I like to describe the writing process as six months of agony for an hour of ecstasy.

But as for that hour? I find the great challenge of writing is to make the words on the page match the vision in my mind. In my head, every idea I have is a masterpiece. The trouble lies in making what I actually write match that perfect vision.

But when I finally get it right, it's one of the best feelings you'll ever experience. When the words are flowing and the story on the page is as vivid, intense, moving, and powerful as the story in my head, it's almost indescribable.

The only better feeling than creating a perfect scene is getting that scene into the hands of readers.
What are you working on next?
I'm not sure, honestly. Right now most of my attention is being taken up by promoting the World Spectrum and working as a freelancer.

I have a very tentative idea for a continuation of the World Spectrum series, but it's in a very rough state, and I'm not sure it's good enough to be worth writing, so World Spectrum fans shouldn't take this as a promise of more books in the series. I should also mention that it would essentially be starting over with a new story arc and new characters, not a continuation of Leha's adventures.

There's also the series I originally became a writer to create. It's been on my mind a lot lately, but I don't want to start on it until I'm absolutely sure I can do it justice. If you'd like a sneak peak of it, I recently posted a story set in its universe on my blog:

And there are also some books I started but never finished or finished but never published. I may revisit them and get them ready for the public.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. They're the only reason I write. I don't write for my own enjoyment -- I'm not a masochist. I write so other people can live in the worlds I've created, so they can feel the same sense of wonder I do when I immerse myself into a fantasy world.

The readers are the most important part of the writing process. I may lay the groundwork, but worlds and characters don't come alive until readers imagine them. A book that goes unread is nothing but intellectual masturbation.
Who are your favorite authors?
As a fantasy writer, Tolkien is to me what Jesus is to Christians. However, I'd say my literary idol is probably Ian Irvine. He manages to be so brilliantly original while still staying true to the epic adventure and deep world-building that makes the high fantasy genre so incredible. If I ever become half the writer he is, I'll die happy.

I'm also a big fan of Adrian Tchaikovsky and the complexity he brings to his worlds and his characters. I admire James Maxey's ability to bring fresh ideas to the fantasy genre. I love the brilliant prose of Glen Cook and Jeff Lindsay. I enjoy Chris Metzen's passion and ability to create stories of pure bombast and entertainment. I love the action and excitement of Terry Brooks' novels.

Of course, I have to give props to J.K. Rowling. The Harry Potter books devoured countless hours of my childhood.

I love how Lawrence Watt-Evans can take a seemingly simple moral issue and analyze it from every imaginable angle. I'm amazed by how the works of Homer and H.G. Wells can still be entertaining and relevant centuries after they were written. I'm eternally impressed by the depth of Christie Golden's characterizations. I've also lost many hours of my life to David Farland's Runelords novels.

I read way too much.
Describe your desk
Appalling. A disaster area. Pock-marked, battle-scarred, and plague-ridden. A place of wires and papers, where dreams go to die.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It gave me the chance to get my books off my hard drive and into the hands of readers, without needing to put out a lot of cash.

Smashwords hasn't contributed to my success. It is my success.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I like to take a walk every day. It's good to connect with nature and remind myself there's a real world.

As anyone who follows my blog knows, I also spend far too much time playing video games. One day, I'd love to write the story for a game...

I also like to watch television shows (over the Internet, because I don't have a TV) and professional StarCraft II matches.

To be honest, though, my life is pretty dull. My idea of a wild night is drinking fruit juice and listening to indie pop with the volume cranked to "medium."
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

Books by This Author

Human Again
Series: The Books of the World Spectrum, Book 3. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 58,830. Language: American English. Published: December 14, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk
A great force is sweeping through the spectrum of worlds, blurring entire realities together, and it will send Leha face to face with the proof of her failures: a universe of worlds ruined by her gambles.
Children of the Gods
Series: The Books of the World Spectrum, Book 2. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 105,260. Language: American English. Published: June 2, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk
Seven years after the return of the Old Gods, Leha and her allies encounter a fallen offshoot of the human race, sparking a war that will threaten to destroy all they fought for. Sequel to Rage of the Old Gods.
Rage of the Old Gods
Series: The Books of the World Spectrum, Book 1. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 138,240. Language: American English. Published: June 2, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk
(3.67 from 3 reviews)
The Old Gods, humanity's tyrannical creators, are returning. To save her people, a young woman named Leha must gather the alien powers of the lost worlds of Sy'om and Tyzu and unite the warring nations of humanity. But even Leha’s newfound powers may not be enough to save her people from the Gods’ fury, or from the hatred in their own hearts.