Writers of The Future Winner, Auston Habershaw
Joining us this time, Writers of the Future first quarter winner, Auston Habershaw. Here we go!
Stuart: Auston, it’s great to meet you. Introduce yourself.
Auston: Let’s see, where to start with me? I’m a science fiction and fantasy writer (though really more fantasy than scifi of late) who lives in Boston. Though I have had a wide array of jobs during my life, for the past eight years or so I have been an English Professor at MCPHS University. The school is focused around preparing students for the Health Sciences, so basically I try to teach all these science-focused students how to write essays and analyze literature. The rest of my time I write.
Stuart: So what got you into writing?
Auston: I can’t quite remember a time I wasn’t into writing. I’ve always, always wanted to tell stories. The only question was what kind of stories and in what form would I tell them. When I was in first or second grade, we were asked to write a paragraph. I wrote a paragraph that went on for a page and a half (it was a single paragraph, just long one). My teacher tried to give me a “C” for going past one page. After my mother tore the teacher’s head off, I remember being told specifically not to write more than a page. Naturally, then, I made my handwriting smaller. Then I got a D for Handwriting. I couldn’t quite understand why my teacher wanted me to stop writing so badly when I had more things to say. Basically, ever since I learned how, I’ve been writing something.
Stuart: Describe your “writer’s cave” your preferred writing location
Auston: I write at my desk either at work or at my home. In both locations, the desk is cluttered with books and papers and stuff. Right now at work I have 65 index cards stuck on the wall depicting every scene in my latest novel, which is in late-stage revision. Wherever I write, it needs to be in absolute silence. No music, no real white noise–nothing. I need the quiet to “hear” the words I’m writing, if that makes sense to you.
Stuart: Makes perfect sense. I’m the same way. So how long have you been entering WotF/ is this your first contest win?
Auston: I entered WoTF once in the 90s, when I was in college. I didn’t really enter again until 2008-ish, and then I entered about once a year since then with the exception of the past year or so, where I entered more often. I’ve probably entered ten times overall. I netted 1 Honorable Mention, 2 Semifinalists, and 1 Finalist before my the win. This was really exciting, since I was set to pro-out next year. My debut novel, The Iron Ring, just released on February 10th.
Stuart: Well that’s fantastic! And congrats on the book! What’s the nuttiest thing that ever happened to you?
Auston: I used to work as a minion for a slumlord who operated a shady bed-and-breakfast in Boston. One of my jobs was to get fresh towels for guests who requested them.What the guests did not know was that the towels were kept in the unfinished basement of a nearby building. During the day, said basement was the domain of a trio of sullen Guatemalan ladies who spoke no English. During the night, when most of the towel requests came in, the basement was the domain of rats. Lots of rats. Big, ugly, black or brown Norwegian rats with no fear of human beings. So, my process for securing the towels was to turn on the lights and yell, then do battle for possession of towels. I took the towels from the middle of the stack so as to guarantee no rats had slept upon them. To my knowledge, no patron contracted the Plague, so my conscience is (mostly) clean.
Stuart: Oh my gosh! Well a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. Tell us about your winning story
Auston: “A Revolutionary’s Guide to Practical Conjuration” is a fantasy story about an angry young man living in the ruins of a city ravaged by war and in the midst of a long reconstruction. It’s a story about the haves and have-nots and about how foreign interference (even if well-meaning) can often be resented by the native poor who don’t see any progress or hope for the future. It is set in the same world as my novel, The Iron Ring.
Stuart: Sounds cool. Tell us more about the book..
Auston: The Iron Ring is about Tyvian Reldamar–smuggler, criminal mastermind, and rogue–who is betrayed by his longtime partner and left for dead in a freezing river. The catch is this: his mysterious rescuer affixes a magical ring to his hand that keeps him from doing evil. This means Tyvian needs to find a way to get revenge without doing anything bad, which poses something of a challenge. This is the first part of an epic fantasy adventure called The Saga of the Redeemed which will track Tyvian’s (potential) redemption from vain, selfish, arrogant bastard to just a regular old bastard. The Iron Ring is out now, Blood And Iron (part 2) will be out in June, and the third installment will be out in the fall, all through Harper Voyager Impulse.
Some of the inspiration for the character and the books themselves comes, oddly enough, from Ian Flemming and James Bond. I consider Tyvian something of a Bond-esque character in a high-magic fantasy setting, so if that appeals to you at all, you will probably love the books. It is currently only available electronically, so you can find it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Stuart: Sounds awesome! Bond in a magical realm. I can’t wait to check it out. Well thanks for dropping by Auston. The books and the story sound intriguing, and I can’t wait to see you up on stage in April!
Auston: Thanks so much!
Find out more about Auston at aahabershaw.wordpress.com.
His novel, The Iron Ring, is available here, at Amazon.com.