Interview with Vex Vaudlain

When did you first start writing?
[Laughs] I honestly can't remember. I know I was very young; the first time I started considering writing as a career, I was rearranging the books in my father's study - a frequent and enjoyable habit - and I remember being unable to reach the top! I think I was... five at the time. After that, and throughout most of my primary school life, I tended to scribble down ideas or little excerpts of stories that I intended to write. I even submitted a few shorts to magazine contests in the hopes that they'd make the now defunct stories pages. I wasn't very lucky. [Chuckles]

The first manuscript that I wrote is still in printed form in my closet. I was sixteen when I finished it, but I never got around to rewriting it - and trust me, it's in desperate need of a rewrite! Since then I've dabbled or written stories that were never quite... finished. The manuscript might be done, but we writers are very critical of ourselves, and I never considered them really suitable for publishing. Until now, that is!
What's the story behind your latest book?
There are two. The first is one that I completed some time ago; a science fiction adventure that I'm editing for publishing here on Smashwords. It takes place in a really odd future for Earth, at least in my opinion, and is the first in a series of three. Like most of my stories, it was inspired by a dream. I have the strangest dreams, but I love every second of them - which is odd, considering I often get very little sleep! [Laughs]

The second is an entirely new novel for an ongoing series. The stories all take place in the same world - tentatively named DreamScape - with different adventures for different characters that live in that world... and I can't really say more than that for fear of giving it away.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
A couple of months ago I stopped working on a permanent basis and began to do full time freelance work. It's given me enough to go on, but as a freelancer you have to be really diverse. You need to be able to design, to code, to write, transcribe, translate... but my first love is, and will always be, writing. So I made the decision that it was time to focus more time on my writing. I have so many stories to tell, and I can't wait to share them with the world!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It's in telling the story, really. To be able to create your own world... Think of Inkheart. I really love the books and the movie because that is almost what it feels like for me in real life. Every word, sentence, setting and character come alive, and I feel like I become apart of that world. And sharing that world with others - for the better of worse - is a really rewarding experience. Up to this point I've shared only with friends and family, but I hope to change that.
Who are your favorite authors?
Oh, this is always tough for me to answer. My first 'favourite' author was Stephen King. He was, and is still, my biggest inspiration. I lived for horror, and he was my hero. [Laughs] I always tell my friends, if you want a happy ending when you read a King book, NEVER read the epilogue. He'll take that acceptable ending he just gave you in the last chapter, and rip it to shreds!

King led me to John Saul, who led to Koontz... I love them all. Outside of horror, I also enjoy reading Terry Pratchett (sarcastic cracks at the world at its best), and Dan Brown. There are a few others, but I think those would count as my real 'patron saints'.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Get out of bed? I do not get out of bed! [Laughs] No, my desk is actually right next to the... odd futon-couch-bed thing that I have, so I quite literally just sit up in the mornings and start my day. Once I've got the music blaring, it's off to the shower, then the kitchen for breakfast and coffee. All of it involves a lot of dancing and laughing at myself, of course. After that, it's back to the computer, and let the writing begin! And, honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.

And what keeps me going? Iron fracking will!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I don't write... One of my favourite pastimes actually involves writing. It's called 'Forum Role-playing'. It's the creation of a character on a forum (which is generally some kind of unique setting), and playing that character off against other characters by writing 'posts' to each other. It's like writing a story with several other people all at once, and never quite being in control of the outcome. It's a lot of fun!

I'm also a big lover of movies and series (to my detriment, damn distractions!), and I'm also something of a gamer. When I can make the time, those are things that I enjoy doing.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
If you mean my first novel length story, then yes, I do. I was 12 when I began working on it. It took place in a fantastical world of mythical creatures and beasts, different dimensions, and grand adventure. I still love that story, and page through it occasionally - when I can stand then internal cringing at just how bad my writing was back then! [Laughs] I was a kid, give me a break. But yeah, I remember it, and maybe, one day, I'll turn it into something more than a few hundred pages of Mary Sue Wins The Day!
What is your writing process?
I found and image a while ago that I felt describes the writing process perfectly. It begins with great enthusiasm as you open your word processor and begin writing. About one sentence in you feel wonderfully accomplished - the first sentence is always the hardest. You celebrate with coffee. And more coffee when, a few hours later, you're glaring at that first page and wondering why the hell the words won't magically appear. Give it a few more hours, and you're willingly doing exercise to escape your new demon for just a few minutes. And in the end, you beat your head against the desk several times before you optimistically promise yourself that tomorrow will be better, and go to bed... and start over again the next morning. [Laughs]

Seriously, though, my 'process' generally begins with something just... inspiring me. It can be so many different things. That becomes an idea I jot down, either in just a sentence or two, or in a short scene. After that, it just grows on its own. Metaphorically speaking, of course; I still pour in blood, sweat and tears into every added word.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember the first story I ever read, but I remember the first 'adult' book I ever read - and that DEFINITELY had an impact on me. It was 'The Homing', by John Saul. And it made me shit scared of just about every damn insect in existence. Even ones that are probably harmless. Bees, ants... if it creeps or crawls, KILL IT! [Laughs] But it's still one of my favourite books. I just think I was too young when I read it the first time. I was a stubborn kid.
Describe your desk
I shouldn't. I really shouldn't...

The box is on the desk. The desk itself is dominated by two screens, letting me work all over the place all the time - nothing sucks like having to minimize a document to look up something. The speakers take up the rest of the space, and whatever spots remain are littered with hard drives, cables for said drives, my phone charger, my coffee cup, a water bottle, an ashtray, and a pack of cigarettes. And notebooks. And a couple of pens to go with the notebooks. OH! And there's a lamp in the corner. [Laughs] There's no free space on this thing. Not one bit. But it's my personal organized chaos, and I prefer it that way.
Published 2016-10-15.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.