10 Questions With Hugh Howey

Welcome Leighgendaries to a special fourteenth edition of 10 Questions With…

Today, our guest is:


Hugh Howey

Hugh Howey has been a major influence for many Indie Authors.  Just when you think he can’t write a better story, he does.  How about we just jump into this?

It’s time for:

10 Questions With Hugh Howey

Before we get to the questions, tell us about yourself.

Not much to say, really. I feel like a normal kid who grew up as an avid reader, always dreamed of writing a novel of his own, finally managed to, and then the rest has been some good fortune. I guess the most exciting thing going on in my life right now is that I’m moving back onto a sailboat, which I haven’t done since I was in my twenties. This time, I’m going to try to sail around the world.

Now, let the questions begin:

1.) What is something that many people might not know about you?

I know ballet.

Can you imagine Neo saying that in the Matrix? That would’ve changed the tenor of the film, wouldn’t it? I’m not very good at ballet, but I know a lot of the positions and moves. If you put me in a padded dojo with Morpheus, and we had a ballet-off, I’d kick his ass.

2.) What inspired you to write your first book?

The plot was inspired by my boating travels and by the awesome relationship I was in at the time. The act of writing the book was inspired by a lifelong dream to write a novel, just a single novel, so that I could say that I had. I was an avid reader growing up, and I wanted to try my hand at this craft that I admired as a consumer.

3.) Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Cliche answer, but my favorite author is Shakespeare. What really strikes me is how well he understands people. I think all his humor and tragedy is derived from his keen observation of the human condition. This is what makes for a great writer, I think. Lots of life experiences and a very good understanding of what makes people tick.

4.) If you could have dinner with any author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

William S., of course. I imagine he’d keep me in stitches. Something tells me he was a very funny guy.

5.) What book are you reading now?

UPRIGHT THINKERS. I loved SAPIENS as well. I like reading books that compliment each other back-to-back. Gives you a look at a subject in three dimensions instead of two.

6.) Are there any new authors that have captured your interest?

Yeah, Susan Casey. I loved her book THE WAVE, and I recently read her book on sharks, THE DEVIL’S TEETH. She’s brilliant.

7.) If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in any of your books?

Yeah, if you gave me enough time, I’d change it all. WOOL especially. Had I known it would be read as a single novel, I would’ve saved some of the twists for later in the book. I would absolutely ruined that work if I could do it all over again. Ruin it, thinking I was making it better.

8.) Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Actual text? Okay. The following is from today’s writing session, all still in rough draft. It’s from Part 5 of the BEACON 23 series.

I hated Sundays as a kid. Hated them. From the moment I woke up, I could feel Monday looming; I could feel another school week all piled up and ready to smother me. How was I supposed to enjoy a day of freedom while drowning in dread like that? It was impossible. A pit would form in my chest and gut—this indescribable emptiness that I knew should be filled with fun, but instead left me casting about for something to do.

Knowing I should be having fun was a huge part of the problem. Knowing that this was a rare day off, a welcome reprieve, and here I was miserable and fighting against it. Maybe this is why Fridays at school were better than Sundays not in school. I was happier doing what I hated knowing a Saturday was coming, than I was on a perfectly free Sunday with a Monday right around the corner.

I call this the Relativistic Weekend Effect. We live in the present, but our happiness leans heavily on the future. Our mood is as much expectation as experience. Life in the trenches was the same way. It was the quiet that jangled the nerves. It was the lead-up before the push more than the push itself. To this day, I grow more faint at the scent of gun oil than I do the sight of blood.

9.) If you were to get rid of one state in the US, which would it be and why?

I’m going to cheat and say Washington DC. There’s no need for our legislature to meet in person anymore. It makes it easier for big companies to lobby everyone all in the same place and more expensive for small companies to travel and lobby the reps and senators from their home state. We could invert that cost of doing business and give more power back to the little guy if we sent the legislature home. Keep the executive and judicial up there, and the museums and monuments, but scrap the rest.

10.) A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?

He looks at the animal sitting at the bar, who’s been eating his friends, and he says, “Hey asshole. Your fate is sealed.”

Go ahead, pimp whatever book you want:

Read the BEACON 23 series. This is my best stuff since WOOL. And the fifth and final part is coming out in less than a week. So now’s a great time to catch up!

For centuries, men and women have manned lighthouses to ensure the safe passage of ships. It is a lonely job, and a thankless one for the most part. Until something goes wrong. Until a ship is in distress. In the 23rd century, this job has moved into outer space. A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at many times the speed of light. These beacons are built to be robust. They never break down. They never fail. At least, they aren’t supposed to.

You can get the first four parts by clicking on the image.


I would like to thank Hugh Howey for taking the time to do the interview.  I hope you enjoyed this interview and much as I did.  You are really missing out if you have never read any by Hugh Howey.  I recommend Sand.  The world that Hugh Howey created with Sand, to me, is his best.  I could picture the world perfectly in my mind.  He created characters that I connected with.  The action in the book is amazing, I could taste the sand and feel it closing in around me.  But be warned, Sand has a lot of bad language in it.

The old world is buried. A new one has been forged atop the shifting dunes. Here in this land of howling wind and infernal sand, four siblings find themselves scattered and lost. Their father was a sand diver, one of the elite few who could travel deep beneath the desert floor and bring up the relics and scraps that keep their people alive. But their father is gone. And the world he left behind might be next.

If you enjoyed this interview you might enjoy:

Leighgendary Shorts: Glitch by Hugh Howey – Here we discuss Glitch by Hugh Howey.  He even chimes in himself.
10 Questions With Peter Cawdron
Review: Ready Player One
10 Questions With Andy Weir


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