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Author Interview with Andrew O’Kelley

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Andrew O’Kelley was born in the Pacific Northwest, and loved every minute of it. After spending a few years in the military he relocated with his family to the deep south where he practices Social Work.

When did you first start writing fiction?

I’ve been writing fiction for years, but it wasn’t until the last year I started putting it out for other people to read. Basically my wife strongly suggested that I try to self-publish.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading? Paper or eBook?

Nothing beats a good paperback but I almost exclusively only read ebooks now. Its just a matter of space. Before kids I had a nice bookcase built into my stairs, but now. Not so much.

What’s your favorite under-appreciated LitRPG novel?

 I’m sure you’ve seen on reddit the “recommendation” list that always gets reposted. I’d like to see more books like Bone Dungeon, but if I had to say anything, it would be “Volper” by Ros Per.

Of your books, which is your personal favorite? Why?
           
 The very first book I put out as called “The Burning Republic” and man, it was terrible. But that was my first shot putting my stuff out there, the story was so-so and everyone hated it, but that’s when I knew “I can do this.” It’s right up there with the first dollar a business makes.

You can make one LitRPG book (not your own) a movie. Which is it and why?

I’d like to see System Apocalypse get turned into a movie. I prefer a more modern setting and not many novels do that, and I think the actual characters are written very well. IE, MC suffers terrible trauma and is damaged by that. That’s how it works in the real world and its reflected in the story.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

No, not even a little bit.

Are you an outliner or pantser?

I start off outlining and sort of drift away from the outline as I write doing brief corrections to the outline rather than the story.

What is your writing process like?

Notepad. 5 to 7 sections, each with the a sentence to tie it to the scene to the last scene. Then get up, make coffee, and start filling it in.

How many hours a day do you write?

I write 2 to 5 hours a day. Depending on quarantine or not. I’ve been far less productive staying at out home with my wife and kids then before when we all went our separate ways for a few hours a day.  

Share a photo of your workspace and tell us about it?

 I try to keep my work station distraction-free, but it’s not always possible. It’s full of the things that are important to me and reminders of milestones I’ve hit in my life. 

Who are some of your favorite authors of all time?

R. A. Salvatore, I always liked the self-disclosure that he worked as a bouncer before making it big. It always gave to me that sense that he’d seen a few things and actually been in a fistfight.  

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Weis and Hickman. Not sure which one of them created Raistlin Majere, or if it truly was a joint effort, but that character alone cemented them as my favorite authors of pretty much all time.

Where do you get your ideas?

I spent a few years in the Army in the field of HUMINT, which basically means I’ve a journeyman’s level in speechcraft and spycraft. When I got out I went into child welfare investigating child abuse and then picked up a master in Social Work and got about halfway through a Doctorate in Trauma Counseling before saying nevermind.  Most of my stories have elements of darkness that tend to reflect actual things I’ve been through, seen, or heard in that almost 15 years of combined experience.

What are your thoughts on how VR will affect the future of humanity?

I’m hoping it’ll change things for the better. I always liked the concept of the Oasis in Ready Player One in terms of allowing for quality access to things like education. I’d like to see more of that.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I research obsessively and tend to take far longer than needed. I can get distracted. One minute I’m looking out Latin terms to name a monster, and then next thing I know I’ll be in a click bait article connecting the ruins in Peru to ancient aliens.

First video game memory?

I was living in Germany at the time, not long after the wall came down and I remember my parents coming home from the PX on base with a Nintendo/Zelda Link to the Past combo.

What can fans expect from you next?

Carrion Crow, book 1 of my new series “Rise of the Black Seraph” and “Apocalypse Hero – A Dark Fantasy GameLit” I know, terrible, but sometimes stat tables can get in the way.

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