I’m Ryan Hauge, the author of Be Careful What You Joust For. You can find me at:
- Tell us a little about your life outside of the world of writing.
Ivy Smoak (my co-author on Be Careful What You Joust For…and my wife) and I started a toy company when we graduated from college. Designing toys and managing the business takes up a ton of time, but I still somehow find time to write. Oh, and cooking lots of Blue Apron, Homechef, and Plated meals…I’m kind of addicted to those.
- How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.
After seeing the Hobbit in theaters, my family started a challenge to see which of us could write the best fantasy novel. Mine was okay. Not horrible, but not great either. So I went back to the drawing board, spent a few years building the world, and then got back into it with BCWYJF. So to answer the original question…about 5 years, and I’ve only written fantasy. I might do a modern thriller at some point, though, but right now I’m completely focused on the Pentavia series!
- What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…
How can I pick just one thing? There are so many great authors out there. Great TV shows. Great movies. Great fantasy art. All of it inspires me. But if you’re going to force me to pick one thing, I’d have to give the nod to the classic RPGs I played growing up. I can’t even count the amount of hours I spent playing the Quest for Glory series and Baldur’s Gate 2. I was too young to really know how to play them, so I would just wander around aimlessly killing as many monsters as I could. Little did I know that I was actually doing research for my fantasy novels…
Right now I’m completely focused on marketing BCWYJF, but the outline of Book 2 is slowly coming together in my head.
- How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?
I outline the plot first. But I don’t think that’s the right way to do it. All too often it leads to me trying to shove a square character into a round plot. It just doesn’t fit. And then I get writer’s block. And then the book just sits there until I realize my plot is all wrong.
So with book 2, I’m going to take a slightly different approach and see if the characters can guide the story. If I’m being completely honest, though, I’ll probably outline the whole thing fifty times before it’s finished. That’s just how my mind works.
- What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?
My strength is in world building and plotting. I love both, and spend a ridiculous amount of time on them. My weakness is definitely character emotions. I’m an emotionless robot, so it’s hard to write characters that aren’t. That’s one of the countless places where my wonderful co-author Ivy Smoak helped immensely.
- After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?
I wish I had tips to share, but at this point, I don’t know if any of it is going to work. Talk to me after the release on April 17th and maybe then I’ll have some pointers about what to do. My strategy so far has been to do anything I can think of. Social media, Goodreads, paid advertising. All of it. It’s easily an 80 hour a week endeavor.
- What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?
I could give a million pieces of advice. Write for a specific audience. Learn how to use commas. Read between the lines if you force your friends and family to read it. They’ll tell you it’s great. But how long did it take them to read that next chapter?
My number one piece of advice, though, would be that being an author also means being a full time marketer. A great author can get a few good reviews. A great marketer can sell some copies. But to really hit it big, you need to be both.