The Games author Ted Kosmatka shares a few lessons learned from a published author, and gives us the scoop on his next book.
It’s been about nine months since The Games was first released. What has it been like? Have you heard from readers? Have you been busy with interviews and reviews?
Nine months already? Time flies. These months since the release of the book have been much like the previous few years of my life, really. Not much has changed. I just keep my head down and work, and write. I try not to get too caught up with the public side of things, though reading the reviews has been nice. Publisher’s Weekly picking The Games as one of the best SF/Fantasy/Horror books of the year came as a very pleasant surprise. It was nice to get that kind of validation.
I can only imagine that once something like a novel is out in a final form that you can’t help but wonder if there was something that you might have changed one way or the other. Did you feel that way? Was it hard consider something that you’ve worked on as “done”?
Well, there’s always second guessing, but you can rip yourself apart with that stuff if you’re not careful, so I do my best not to let myself dwell on it too much. I’m getting a bit better as I get older, but I still struggle with it sometimes. For example, I did get letters from more than one acoustical engineer who said the hearing range for the gladiator was off. I might have gotten a number wrong, so that’s something I would have changed. Even though only a very small percentage of readers would ever notice that error– basically, you’d have to be an acoustical engineer, or some equivalent– the writer’s job is to make the story immersive for everyone, so I may have stumbled a bit there.
Having gone through the entire cycle from authorship to publication and release, is there something that you’ve learned? Anything you could share with budding authors?
Every path to publication is so idiosyncratic that its hard to glean any overarching wisdom from any one success. I can say that I tried and failed, and failed. Years and years of writing that never went anywhere. Failure far beyond the point where a reasonable, rational person would have quit, certainly. In fact, I tried to quit. I had those stare-in-the-mirror moments– What the hell are you doing with your life? But I always ended up writing anyway. Writing for its own sake. Since I was a teenager. I couldn’t seem to stop. I’d hate to presume to give advice to anyone, but if I had to say something to budding writers it would be that the path to publication is paved with irrational persistence. More than talent, more than education– simply the inability to give up. If you’re a writer, and you keep at it long enough, the world will eventually see it.
Are you working on a sequel? Anything else? What have you been working on since the novel was released?
There’s no sequel to The Games, but I have written a second stand-alone novel called Prophet of Bones, which will be out in hardback on April 2nd. Prophet of Bones is a scientific thriller set in a creationist world. The novel is an alternate history that grants young Earth creationists their argument, as carbon dating in the 1950’s has proven the age of the Earth to be only 5,800 years old. Now every fossil discovery takes on new political and religious significance as archaeologists try to make sense of strange, primitive bones found on the island of Flores. Powerful forces are at work behind the scenes as one young scientist tries to unravel the mystery of these strange bones that might cost him his life.