Author Interview: Seth C. Adams
Today is my stop on the If You Go Down to The Woods blog tour! Below I have an interview with the author, Seth C. Adams.
What is your favourite thing about writing books?
The process of writing is a very solitary and private experience. Putting thoughts to paper, watching in real time as my ideas—the characters, the scenes, the plot—come together and slowly form a cohesive whole, is a very fulfilling exercise. There is no one to blame, and no one to praise, except yourself, when the pieces of a story come together. It’s all up to the writer, and if at the end of the story you have produced something worthwhile, the sense of fulfilment is second to none. I’m sure all creative people—be they writers, musicians, painters, or what have you—have the same experience.
Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
Bandit the German Shepherd stands out for me in the novel. In writing his character I drew on my personal experience of having lived with dogs for most of my teenage years and all my adult life. The classic dog and boy stories that all American kids read in grade school—Big Red, Where the Red Fern Grows, and Old Yeller—have stayed with me for decades, and I always knew I wanted to include such a relationship in a novel if I were ever fortunate enough to make it as a writer. As a social scientist as well as a writer, there is something majestic and awe inspiring in contemplating the deep evolutionary timescale of the human/canine bond. That two species have transcended a mere symbiotic relationship of survival as early man and wild wolves did 80,000 years ago, to become steadfast friends and companions as modern humans and domestic dogs have for the past 35,000-38,000 years, is an incredible and beautiful thing.
What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
I’m a very boring, health conscious person. And so my drinks of choice are water and fruit juices. Oh, and coffee. Morning coffee is the nectar of the gods.
Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Writing is a very rewarding experience, though to do it well (as I hope I do!) requires a steadfast and unwavering sense of self discipline. As I mentioned earlier, it is a very solitary and private exercise, with no one giving you praise or criticism during the writing process, save yourself. So, if a person is serious about writing as a profession, and writing well, there is no room for bad habits.
How do you research your books?
I mostly follow the old cliché of ‘write what you know’, and so usually only require research for minute details of accuracy. For example, in If You Go Down to the Woods, there is a scene when the young protagonists decide to open an old car they find in the titular Arizona woods. Having never had to jimmy open a locked vehicle myself, I had to research the proper tools for attempting to unlock a vehicle to which one didn’t have the keys. Other than details like that, since I mostly draw my characters and situations from aspects of real life—and subjects/topics I know about—necessary research is usually kept to a minimum.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I fall somewhere in between. For a story to feel organic for both the writer and the reader, over plotting—trying to tidily determine every step your characters will take—is most certainly NOT the way to go about it. As strange as it may sound, a writer needs to let the characters make their own decisions. By this I mean that if the characters are ‘real’ in the writer’s mind—you can hear their voices, see the expressions on their faces, think their thoughts with them—they will let you know what will happen next. On the other hand, when I sit down to start a story, the idea for that particular tale has probably been rattling around in my head for a while. In the time between when an idea first comes to me and I sit down to actually write it—sometimes months, sometimes years—certain scenes and lines of dialogue have flitted about my mind. And if these bits of action stick with you, as the writer you know you have something important and relevant that needs to be in the story.
If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
I grew up on Marvel Comics, and have watched on with starry-eyed wonder the last decade or so as technology has allowed Marvel Studios to bring these characters to life on the big screen. If I could live in any fictional world, it would be the Marvel Universe, helping the Avengers kick Ultron’s mechanical butt, or the X-Men defeat Magneto once again.
If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
If we’re only dealing with literary characters, I would probably choose Stephen King’s Roland Deschain of The Dark Tower series. A cross between Eastwood’s Man-With-No-Name character, and a knight of the Round Table, Roland is the epitome of honour and virtue in a world (or universe) falling apart. If we were to include other media, say television or film, I would choose Scott Bakula’s character from Quantum Leap, time traveller Sam Beckett, for the same reason. Jumping through time on a possible mission from God to right wrongs, Sam Beckett is likewise a selfless hero in the truest sense, putting others before himself. Morals and ethics are qualities that oftentimes seem in short supply in our world, and the best works of fiction serve to remind us of the better angels of our nature.
About the Book
The day we found a burnt-out car in the woods was the day everything changed. Cold, hard cash in the front seat, and a body in the trunk… it started out as a mystery we were desperate to solve.
Then, the Collector arrived. He knew we had found his secret. And suddenly, our summer of innocence turned into the stuff of nightmares.
Nothing would ever be the same again…
About the Author
With a Bachelor’s in anthropology from the University of California, Riverside, and completing his Master’s in North American History at Arizona State University, as an adult he’s learned that real life is indeed often stranger–and more frightening–than fiction.
He currently splits his time between California and Arizona, and is always working on, or thinking about, his next story.