- a prolific fantasy author from New Zealand known for his realistic characters and epic fantasy worlds.
Readers, let’s give a good, hearty welcome to this week’s guest!
Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering.
After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he grew tired of office work and decided to quit his job in 2014 and see the world. One year later, he published his first novel – Stormwielder – while in Guatemala. Since then, he has honed his skills while traveling through parts of SE Asia, India, North and South America, Turkey, and Europe, and now has over a dozen works to his name. Today, his adventures continue…
Aaron, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with the boring stuff, but I know what readers REALLY want to know.
If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?
That’s a tricky one. Probably something that I could fly on like a Pegasus or dragon. It’d certainly make the commute easier, and just make life in general a hell of a lot easier to get around! If it was big enough I might even be able to sneak in and out of New Zealand, which has become pretty difficult since the pandemic…yeah I think I’ll go with the dragon!
Classic selection for classic reasons!
What do you write? And how did you get started?
I mostly write epic fantasy, with the occasional venture into science fiction. I’ve loved fantasy ever since my middle school teacher introduced me to Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. It really birthed a bit of an obsession. I spent most of high school and university nose deep in fantasy books. I guess it rubbed off somewhere along the way, since I eventually ended up writing my own!
A great author to be your gateway drug.
What do you like to read?
Fantasy for the most part. I love books with great characters–whether they’re horribly flawed or noble heroes in an imperfect world. David Gemmell and Brandon Sanderson are two of my favourite authors, David from long long ago, while Brandon I’d just started reading when the pandemic struck. His books definitely saved my sanity through those long months of quarantine!
Hehe! The advantage to blogging about authors who write in your genre, most of your guest’s favs are on your bookcases.
What’s one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you?
Finish the story before you edit.
I’m not sure if it’s common advice, but certainly, I know a lot of first-time authors get stuck writing their first novel because they keep going back to edit the book before they’ve actually finished the entire thing! I did this with my first book, Stormwielder. I was never happy with it, just kept going back and editing and editing the early chapters, without ever finishing the end! Because of that, it literally took me 5 years to finish that book! These days I write a book in 3 – 6 months.
I love that you’re up on a double-Author-Spotlight guest day. Because the other author says he always edits before moving on. It’s definitely the level of perfection you’re trying to achieve that can slow one down — but also, the fact that you need to do what works for you, not for other authors.
What’s one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands?
Ok, so I have two pieces of advice that I fall back on regularly every time I hit a bump in the road.
Use an outline
I swear by mine really, although that’s kind of since I pretty much pants my way through a really detailed outline before I start writing the first draft. I think it saves me time from writing too many chapters/words in the first draft when I’m likely to delete them anyway in later drafts!
Ha! I love the description of a detailed outline as a thing to pants your way through! One usually thinks of planners and pantsers (writers who write by the “seat-of-their-pants/discovery writers who figure out what happens when they write it) as polar opposites. I’m totally stealing this!
Shameless Self-Promotion time!
My book releasing this week is a bit of a different beast. It’s actually based around the world of a game my friend and his team here in New Zealand are developing called the Untamed Isles. The isles are a crystal world filled with fascinating and at times dangerous creatures, and my book follows the first adventurers as they step foot on the island to explore. You can check out the blurb below for more details about our main character.
On a still and peaceful night, the world shook, and light split the sky asunder.
The seas parted, an island rose.
And beneath the earth, an ancient power stirred.
Zachary Sicario thought he’d finally turned his back on the underworld. For ten years he was content with his cottage in the highlands of Riogachd. But a master thief never truly retires. When Zach is struck down by a wasting illness, he is left with two options: accept his fate, or return to his criminal past in search of a cure.
It isn’t a difficult decision.
With rumours of a mysterious island circulating the kingdom, Zach goes in search of old contacts. They speak of strange lights and disappearing ships, of treasure and riches promised for the first to reach its distant shores. Zach has little interest in trinkets—but there’s another tale, one that whispers of the power to change a man’s fate.
With a secret expedition departing in the coming days, Zach decides to roll the dice. But he’s not the only one interested in magic. His competition are warriors and thieves, noblemen and assassins, all in their prime. And Zach is far from the man he once was.
Can the master thief beat the odds one last time?
The Evolution Gene (3 book series)
From Book 1: Deep in the mountains of California, there is a hidden laboratory. Children are taken there, some criminals, others simply the disappeared. All are fodder for the mysterious experiments conducted in its halls. Their purpose: unlock the secrets of the human genome.
None of the children have ever been seen again.
When the government hunters come for Chris, he soon learns the true depths of human cruelty. But the mad scientists are close to a breakthrough—closer even than they realize. When Chris wakes, he is no longer just a simple teenager. He’s no longer even human.
He is Reborn.
★★★★★ Stranger Things meets Maximum Ride in this terrifying dystopian tale by New York Times Bestselling Author Aaron Hodges.
Descendants of the Fall (4 books series)
From Book 1: ★★★★★ The Shannara Chronicles meets David Gemmell in this epic new fantasy series by New York Times Bestselling Author Aaron Hodges.
Centuries ago, the world fell.
From the ashes rose a terrible new species—the Tangata.
Now they wage war against the kingdoms of man. And humanity is losing.
Recruited straight from his academy, twenty-year-old Lukys hopes the frontier will make a soldier out of him. But Tangata are massing in the south, and the allied armies are desperate. They will do anything to halt the enemy advance—including sending untrained men and women into battle. Determined to survive, Lukys seeks aid from the only man who seems to care: Romaine, the last warrior of an extinct kingdom.
Meanwhile, the Queen’s Archivist leads an expedition deep beneath the earth. She seeks to uncover the secrets of the Gods. Their magic has been lost to the ages, yet artifacts remain, objects of power that could turn the tide of the war. But salvation is not all that waits beneath the surface. Something else slumbers in the darkness. Something old. Something evil.
The Three Nations (9 book series)
From Book 1: Not all magic is a gift…
When Eric was young, a terrible power woke within him, destroying all it touched. Horrified by what he had done, Eric fled his village. For two years he has wandered the wilderness alone. Now, determined to redeem himself, Eric seeks a new life in the town of Oaksville.
But this world is not the same one he left behind. The power of the Gods is failing, and dark forces have crept into the Three Nations. Both will seek to use Eric for his magic. With a war brewing, Eric must tread carefully to survive the coming conflict.
The Alfurian Chronicles (2 book series)
On the wild planet of Talamh, humanity thrived…
…until the alien Alfur conquered their world.
Now, defeated and broken, humanity serves their immortal overlords.
And pleads to the stars for a hero.
Rydian Holt is nothing, nobody. Just another human from the streets of Talamh. Or at least, that’s what he thinks—until his mother is caught up in a fledgling resistance group. Branded a traitor and sentenced to fight in the arena, now Rydian must face hardened gladiators in single combat. To survive and advance through the ranks, he’ll need the help of an enigmatic weapons master—and more than a little luck.
But after a lifetime of servitude, survival is no longer enough for Rydian. He seeks a way to fight back— not just against his fellow gladiators, but against the Alfur themselves. If Rydian can uncover their greatest secret—the truth about the mysterious Light that powers their world—he might just win his freedom.