Disclaimer: I understand that these questions will seem odd or out of place compared to what “could be asked”. I created these questions as they were interesting to me, and could be answered quickly, so I wouldn’t take up too much of the author’s time. As I’m known to say, this is a “no-nothing blog” and I’m a no-nothing writer, so even getting an author to answer a few of my questions is a joy.
About the author: Andrew K. Rowe is a professional game designer. He’s also worked at awesome companies like Blizzard Entertainment, Cryptic Studios, and Obsidian Entertainment.
When he’s not crunching numbers for game balance, he runs Shades of Venaya, a swords and socery themed live-action role-playing game. In addition, he writes for pen and paper role-playing games.
Aside from game design and writing, Andrew watches a lot of anime, reads a metric ton of fantasy books, and plays every role-playing game he can get his hands on.
Question 1: How did you invent your magic system, and what are a few “rules” you’ve put in place that hamper your own writing?
Answer 1: My magic system(s) were initially created for use in tabletop and live-action role-playing games. After I created them for gaming, I adapted them for the novels, making significant changes and additions for the purposes of the story.
I don’t really feel that my rules hamper my writing: they just require me to think creatively about how characters might apply their limited skillsets toward complex problems.
Question 2: What process do you have for writing, and how often do you find a chance to write?
Answer 2: The most important part of my writing process is isolating myself from distractions. Even small distractions can stop me from writing effectively for hours. I try to write on a daily basis, but I’ll sometimes focus more on editing or marketing tasks instead.
In order to make sure I’m productive, I tend to do a lot of outlining before I get started with a project, but it depends on the specific book.
Question 3: Is it true you’re the person who coined the term “progressive fantasy”, if so, how does that make you feel? If not, how does it feel to hear that others are saying you did?
Answer 3: Not exactly. First of all, the term is “progression fantasy”, not “progressive fantasy”. The term came from a discussion that I was having with Will Wight about how we could more accurately categorize our books. While I was talking to Will, Jess Richards suggested the specific name that we ended up using.
Question 4: What words of encouragement, or advice, do you have for up-and-coming fantasy writers?
Answer 4: Don’t let early failures discourage you. I wrote five books that I couldn’t get published before self-publishing one, and I know many authors have similar stories. Don’t give up- there’s always a chance to learn and grow if you keep trying.
Question 5: What’s the reason you write, and how did you conquer imposter syndrome?
Answer 5: I write to put stories in the world that I want to exist. Whenever I see other stories, I’m constantly thinking about what I’d do differently or what I’d want to see- so, I write those things with the hopes that other people will enjoy the same things I wanted.
As for imposter syndrome, there’s no easy solution. Frankly, I think most authors experience it, and that fact alone is part of how I handle it.
**End of Interview**
I wanted to say a huge thank you to Mr. Rowe. For shame on myself for not correctly writing Progression fantasy, but life is about learning from your own mistakes, even if you’ve made them a dozen or so times within the journalism field. The below links will take you to the start of Mr. Rowe’s well-written and popular book series. Thank you for taking the time to read through this interview.
I'm a high school English teacher in Texas. I also hold degrees in radiography and radio and television broadcasting. Though I obtained certain knowledge and skills from my prior degrees, I do not currently use them.