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Author Interview with SL Rowland

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S.L. Rowland is a nomad. Born in the South, he loves traveling and has road-tripped coast to coast three times over. He currently lives in the mountains of East Tennessee with his Shiba Inu, Lawson. When not writing, he enjoys hiking, reading, weightlifting, playing video games and having his heart broken by various Atlanta sports teams. Find out more at his website, Patreon, or super-secret Facebook group!

When did you first start writing fiction?

Aside from some really bad Harry Potter-esque scribblings when I was younger, the first time I ever sat down with the intent of putting a story together was in college. I wrote a handful of post-apocalyptic zombie short stories, and that was the first time I ever really had fun writing. It was probably seven or eight years after that before I tried my hand at a novel. There were a lot of failures and half-finished attempts before I ever completed one.

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

I’m such a slow reader with a terrible attention span, but my genre of choice is Fantasy.  Though if a story grabs me, I don’t really care what genre it is in. I used to prefer physical books, but for convenience sake, I started reading on Kindle.  A few months ago, I cracked open a physical book for the first time in a while. No matter where I sat, the lighting was bad and it felt awkward holding this massive hardcover in my hands.  That was when I realized I had unknowingly switched teams. I like the ability to read in bed, on the couch, or wherever and not need light. Plus it’s so much easier to pack my kindle than a giant hardcover.  Nowadays, I only purchase print books if they are signed or have artwork in them.

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

That’s a tough one.  For LitRPG, I’d say Dominion of Blades or Secret of the Old Ones.  They are both great books that don’t get nearly enough love.

Of your books, which is your personal favorite? Why?

Sentenced to Troll.  I had a lot of fun writing it.  There’s a lot of sarcasm and humor mixed in with actual issues.  And it’s a ton of fun to write about the different monster cultures.

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

Awaken Online. Massive battles of humanity vs the undead would look epic on the big screen.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Not really. I think you can have stuff going on in life that makes it hard to sit down and focus, but the words are always there. They might not always be quality words, and sometimes you just have to dig hard to find them. It’s just a matter of perseverance.

Are you an outliner or pantser?

Pantser, though I do make notes of plot points I want to hit once they occur to me. I don’t do detailed outlines and usually find my way as it goes along.

What is your writing process like?

It’s pretty simple.  I sit down and write. I do a lot of rewriting in the early stages, going back and building on the previous chapter before starting anything new.  I send my completed chapters to an alpha reader and then post to Royal Road and Patreon. Once the novel is finished, I’ll make another pass and then send it to my beta readers.  After that, I make edits and send it off to my editor.

How many hours a day do you write?

Anywhere from 2-8, but usually in the 3-4 hour range, unless I know exactly where the story is going then I can write for longer periods.  Since I’m a pantser, sometimes I hit roadblocks and have to sleep on it before figuring out what happens next.

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

My desk is filled with a lot of knick-knacks, but the only essential items are my computer and a notepad.

Who are some of your favorite authors of all time?

J.K. Rowling, Tolkien, Steinbeck, GRR Martin, Stephen King.  Rowling is the biggest influence on me becoming an author. I fell in love with the world she created.  There’s so much depth on every page and it was pretty amazing to watch the effects that her words have had on so many people.

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If you could have any super power, what would it be?

There’s so many good ones that it’s hard to choose. Super Strength and Flying would be a lot of fun. Telepathy would probably drive me mad. The older I get, the more I think rapid healing and regeneration is the way to go.

Where do you get your ideas?

Honestly, I have no idea.  They come to me all the time.  I’m such a slow writer that I’ve forgotten more ideas than I’ve put to the page.  My phone is full of ideas that I will probably never get to write. It’s a good problem to have.

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

I think it has the potential to put everyone on the same playing field. As it grows and voice translators get to a point that they can translate accurately in real time, there potential to bring the world together in ways that have previously been impossible.

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

It depends on the subject.  I research things as they become an issue. Most of my research is looking up how things appeared in certain time periods so that I can accurately describe them.  The most difficult thing I’ve had to research was deciding which way to design the full-immersion units.

First video game memory?

Playing Super Mario World.  I don’t know if I ever beat the entire game, but I had so much fun playing it when I was younger.  The haunted mansions, the castles, flying above the clouds, I don’t know if I have played a game since that’s simultaneously that much fun and frustrating.

What can fans expect from you next?

I’m currently working on Sentenced to Troll 3, and then I’ll be working on Pangea Online 3.  Sentenced to Troll 2 will be available on audible in July.

Anything else you would like to add?

Leave me lots of reviews and support me on Patreon.

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