About the Author:
Drew Avera is an active duty navy veteran, husband, and father. Born is Mississippi, Drew joined the navy when he was only seventeen and has deployed three times in support of Operation Enduring Freedon, Operation Southern Watch, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He currently lives in Virginia with his family and writes books in his spare time.
Connect with Drew:
MF: Let’s begin with your novella, Reich. You’ve taken a very dark period in world history, thrown out the results of WWII and given us The Aryan Dynasty. What inspired this particular story?
DA: I’m not sure, it was a few particular things that peaked my interest. I love history and wanted to write a piece of historical fiction. It kind of blew up from there. The first chapter was actually a short story and some friends wanted me to “finish” it, so I kept adding to it until it became Reich.
MF: You say Reich “is a story of how misplaced power can lead to tyranny…” Do you think your experience in the military has given you a clearer perspective on the pitfalls of tyranny?
DA: I think history is written by the winners of war. The same can be said for the American Civil War, there are misconceptions that we are taught in school that do not jive with what the memoirs or personal correspondence of historical figures wrote at that time. I’m sure the same can be true of Hitler, he is like Judas in the bible, not because he betrayed Christ, but because he is villified by the world now. He is the face of evil in WWII and now we hate him. Do I think he was a good guy? Absolutely not, but I think the idea of forming a culture around him was a good story idea. If you read Reich you will find that all is not as it seems, and the world has no heroes.
MF: In your novel, Dead Planet, Book 1 Exodus, you combine science fiction (a setting of Mars in the distant future) with unsavory elements from our own world (political machinations and corruption). What inspired the story and why did you choose the setting of Mars?
DA: Every story needs a setting, and the world needed something to lose. That was my first book and I tried everything I knew to do at the time. I think if you read the story then you get a pretty clear idea of how I feel about corruption, and how the future can become a rather bleak place with a centralized government in charge. the scary thing is that most of the people in that world have no idea what freedom is, the world in which we live today is a far cry from Mars 2400 years in the future.
MF: You are currently active duty Navy and have a family. How do you balance your responsibilities with writing?
DA: Everything else comes before writing. I know that sounds dastardly coming from a writer, but the military demands a lot. I would not be a responsible family man if I shunned my family and locked myself away either, so I sacrifice the writing time there as well. I would love to be full time and write for four to six hours per day, but right now it’s out of the question. I can usually do about an hour per day, which is pretty productive considering all that is going on. The weekends is where I make my biggest gains in writing. Let’s just say that there is only a few television shows that I allow myself to watch, everything else is a waste of time.
MF: On your blog, you very eloquently talk of building a society full of book lovers. Do you think every person could potentially love to read or will there always be those who just don’t get it?
DA: Some people lack the patience to read, I was one of them. Comic books actually did more for me as a kid than actual books did. I think reading is simply taking the time to read a story, format means nothing. Especially for kids, if they want to read it, then let them, unless of course the material is too mature for them. That’s a parents job to discern what is appropriate. Other than that a book should be fair game.
MF: What do you read? What do you re-read?
DA: Science fiction, fantasy, and thrillers. I’ve only re-read a few books and can’t remember which ones.
MF: Who are some of your favorite authors? What impact have they had on your writing?
DA: It depends on the day of the week, but I love James Rollins, Brad Meltzer, Jim Butcher, Hugh Howey, and many others. I learn a bit from each one, but it’s mostly structure typle things more so than storytelling.
MF: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as a writer? What has been the best compliment?
DA: I was told early on by a “critique” writer that I needed to change the way I write because it was not marketable (as far as I know he wasn’t selling books at the time and I patiently tried to write as I was instructed), long story short I compiled a bunch of wordy garbage and became frustrated with my writing and quit that book completely. The best advice I was given was a message between Hugh Howey and myself on the NaNoWriMo site where he essentially told me to forget that advice and write what and how I want. It may not be perfect, but it will at least be my own voice. That was just the boost I needed at the time.
MF: Aside from polished and engaging writing, what three things do you think every new writer must do in order to succeed in this highly competitive and ever-changing industry?
DA: I think persistence, work ethic, and grit will get you as far as the industry can take you. You might not be a best seller, but in the end you can be proud of what you’ve contributed.
MF: If you could jump into a book, and live in that world …which would it be?
DA: That’s tough because I love space and would love to explore it so any Star Trek or Star Wars book would be cool, but my interest are so varied that I don’t know if I could really make a decision. It might be easier to line up a bunch of them and let me run into one blind folded lol.