Erik Henry Vick
I read and reviewed author Erik Henry Vicks books, Demon King and Rooms of Ruin in 2018. I loved the novels and his writing. That is why he is one of my favorite authors and has earned a position on my Author Spotlight page! Please see his interview and upcoming work below:
1. What inspired you to write a book?
I’ve always been interested in writing. When I was in the second grade, my teacher ran a book report contest, and she made an addendum that you could include a “few” stories. I won the contest having written over 70 stories. I got serious about it in college and wrote a couple of novels and a slew of short stories. Later, I switched to non-fiction and academic writing, but once an autoimmune disease disabled me, I came back to fiction as therapy of sorts, and to give myself a way to feel productive again.
2. What does your typical writing day look like?
That’s a more interesting question than you might think. Because of my Personal Monster™ (my illness) “typical” is not a word I can often use, so instead of my typical day, I’ll describe a great day, a not-so-great day, and what I call a chainsaw day.
No matter what type of day it is, I set aside time in the afternoon to write. I may not get to use that time, but it’s scheduled, and if I can, I do. I’ve recently adopted Pomodoro-style sprints to help boost my productivity, and I try to start at around 1 pm. On a great day (brain, Personal Monster™, doctors’ appointments, etc., willing) I try to complete four sprints a day between 1 pm and 6 pm. On a not-so-great day, I may start later and may only achieve two sprints. On a chainsaw day—a day where I want to use a chainsaw to address my illness—I set aside the time but may not do any sprints, or even spend anytime at the computer. I spend a lot of time thinking about the book, telling myself the story, or even reading and resting.
One of the biggest, greatest tricks I’ve learned that allowed me to get back into writing is Stephen King’s idea of a “next note” which Mr. King mentions in Bag of Bones. When I’m done writing for the day, I take a minute and jot down what happens next while I’m still in a flow state a few lines below the last line I’ve written. I’ve extended that idea in two ways. First, I have a “chapter” after the current chapter I’m working on, named “Next.” In “Next,” I keep ideas that come later in the narrative, or ideas for stories to tell from the perspective of the book. Second, I keep a One Note notebook on every story I write, and as I think of ideas when I’m not at the computer, I put them in One Note. An example of this is the ending for Wild Hunt (the next Blood of the Isir novel, coming out at the beginning of 2019). I’ve known roughly how the story ends since somewhere in the middle of writing Rooms of Ruin. In the time between knowing the rough idea for the scene and when I wrote it, I expanded that rough idea numerous times and even had the broad strokes of the dialog in One Note.
My wife and I have developed a lot of accommodations to allow me to write at all—everything from a Lazyboy recliner for an office chair to programmable hardware. To learn more, please see https://ehv4.us/gear.
3. Do you have a favorite book you have written?
If forced to choose only one, I’d have to say Rooms of Ruin is my favorite right now. If I could choose two, I’d say Rooms of Ruin and Demon King.
4. What advice would you give to a new writer just starting out?
I see a lot of new writers coming into the field with the wrong mindset, and the mindset is associated with Imposter Syndrome. This mindset can be summed up with the phrase: “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
Many new writers believe the best way to learn about writing is to read a book on the subject and implement the book’s method down to the letter. Over the years, I learned that a better way to go is to learn what I could from these books, by trying the methods and adopting what works while discarding the rest. There are no books (and no number of books) in existence that will teach every person “how to write.”
And that’s another thing… Learning to write requires that you write—a lot. You can’t learn the craft from a book. You can’t learn the craft from the Internet. You must write, and you must learn what works for you.
When you are developing your methods, ask yourself this question: “Will this method someday stop me from writing?” A case in point: I know a person who believes she must have perfect silence to write, and so if there is the slightest disturbance, her writing day is ruined. I trained myself to write while watching television or listening to loud heavy metal, and I can tell you, I can write anywhere. That’s what I mean: advice such as “Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed.” Ask yourself if you can imagine a time or situation in which that will stop you from meeting your daily goal. If the answer is yes, run the other direction.
5. Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you?
Yes, I’m on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, along with more fiction-specific sites such as BookBub and Goodreads. I also have a blog, an email-based Readers Group, and can be reached via email (I try to personally respond to everyone). Incoming wall of links:
Facebook Readers Group (open): https://ehv4.us/fbog
Please don’t hesitate to reach out. Interacting with readers is one of the best parts of the job, and I enjoy it quite a bit!
6. How do you handle literary criticism?
If you mean criticism by professionals such as yourself, Leonard, typically, I’m thrilled with the review. Literary criticism is a powerful tool for self-directed learning.
7. Please describe your writing space?
I mentioned the accommodations we’ve put in place to allow me to work above. I think that word is an apt description of my writing space—accommodated. I sit in a La-Z-Boy recliner instead of a desk chair. I have my keyboard, mouse, monitors, and a programmable one-handed keyboard on a modified sit-stand desk that acts as a swing arm to hold the whole setup over my lap while I’m in the La-Z-Boy. To my right is my “desk,” on which sits a third monitor, my computer, a microphone for dictation (on another swing arm), and various doo-dads crucial to writing (a plastic wendigo, a bust of Darth Vadar, an Incredible Hulk figure). It’s more of a storage space than usable space. I have shelves on the wall above the desk that hold copies of my books and a few commemorative mugs given to me on release days by Supergirl. Two guitars, a Fender Stratocaster and a Jackson Dinky, hang on the wall behind me for super-extra-magical days when I can play them during breaks.
8. Who is your own favorite author? Dead or alive.
I love the work of many, many authors in diverse genre, including (in no particular order) Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Orson Scott Card, Ernest Hemmingway, Joe Abercrombie, David Gemmell, Anne Rice, Clive Barker, Tony Ballantyne, Kevin Scholes, Kevin Hearne, Patrick Rothfuss, George R.R. Martin, J.R.R. Tolkien, and so many more. But the author that has had the most lasting impact in my life is Stephen King. It’s not hyperbole to say that without Mr. King’s work, I wouldn’t be writing today.
9. What is the most helpful thing to you in this industry?
Many people have helped me get to this point as an Indie Author, from other writer’s who share their expertise, to great indie reviewers like yourself. The openness of the industry towards indies continues to grow, and that’s a very helpful thing. The retailers deserve a nod, too, because, without Amazon, Kobo, Google, Apple, and Barnes and Noble, the indie movement would never have happened to the extent that it has.
But the most helpful thing, I think, are readers—many of whom are willing to spend their own time to help indie authors succeed by writing reviews and working on launch teams, by spreading the word, one friend at a time, and by simply writing encouraging emails. It might seem like a trivial thing to write such an email, but as an author, I can tell you the few minutes spent drafting the email have a huge impact on my day.
10. If you had to describe yourself in 3 words…what would they be?
I am a Viking. (Yeah, that’s four, but does ‘a’ really count?)
As I mentioned above, Wild Hunt, Blood of the Isir, book three, is the next novel I will publish. It’s done and almost ready to ship off to the editor and proofer as I write this. I’m shooting for a mid-January release. It draws parts of Hank Jensen’s story to a conclusion, but don’t worry, it opens the door to a whole new universe for the series to continue in.
Please read this excerpt from Supergirl in reference to the upcoming novel:
“I am one of the first people to read Erik’s work when it’s complete. I look for typos and inconsistencies before it goes to the editor. I may have mentioned before that I’m not much of a reader and when I do read, it is non-fiction. Erik sends me parts of the book in files to read on my Kindle and I usually can’t keep up with him. By the time I get started on the first file, he has already sent two more! This time I was so pleased with myself for getting through the first file before he had any others ready. Well, it wasn’t exactly fair because he was in a flare. I finished the final file the other day and I think it is the best one yet!
I do have a suggestion that he will likely never implement… I want him to shorten the chapters so I can take breaks more often. I like to read in short bursts and stop at chapter ends but his chapters are marathons!
The next step for Wild Hunt is to go to the editor and get cleaned up even more. Erik doesn’t have a release date just yet but the end is in sight! I hope that when you get to read it, you like it as much as I did!”
About the Author:
Erik Henry Vick is an author who happens to be disabled by an autoimmune disease (also known as his Personal Monster™). He writes to hang on to the few remaining shreds of his sanity. His current favorite genres to write are dark fantasy and horror.
He lives in Western New York with his wife, Supergirl; their son; a Rottweiler named after a god of thunder; and two extremely psychotic cats. He fights his Personal Monster™ daily with humor, pain medicine, and funny T-shirts.
Erik has a B.A. in Psychology, an M.S.C.S., and a Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence. He has worked as a criminal investigator for a state agency, a college professor, a C.T.O. for an international software company, and a video game developer.