BRP: Today we are sitting down with author Aaron Hodges to talk about life as a kiwi, and his exciting new book, Firestorm. So, Aaron, tell us a little about yourself.
AH: Hello there everyone! Well, I’m a 27 year old fantasy author from New Zealand. I’ve only been published for about six months, but I’ve been an avid writer since I was in elementary school. It just wasn’t until recently that I decided to pursue my passion and write full time – and complete a series I first began writing over ten years ago!
BRP: So what are your books about?
AH: Well, my first book ‘Stormwielder’ follows the adventures of a young man called Eric, who just so happens to have magical powers. Those powers allow him to control the weather, but unfortunately, Eric has no idea how they work. Because of this his magic is linked with his emotions, and he causes a lot of damage when he loses his temper. The first book begins with his accidental destruction of a small town. It follows his attempts to deal with the fallout of that horrible event, and his attempts to make things right.
At the same time this is Epic Fantasy, so there’s also bigger stakes in play. As he searches for redemption, Eric encounters the Goddess Antonia, and soon finds himself in the midst of a war between the Three Gods and a dark creature called Archon.
And that’s where my new release, ‘Firestorm’, picks up – with Eric and his companions facing steep odds of surviving the coming battles, never mind winning the war…
BRP: What made you finally take the step to become a full time writer?
AH: Well it was a bit of a zig-zagged process. I actually quit my job as an Environmental Scientist two years ago and went off to travel the world – something us Kiwi’s do a lot by the way! So I spent a year travelling South East Asia, Canada, the USA and Mexico before I thought to really give this writing thing a proper go. I had been working on Eric’s story for quite a few years, but I’d kind of given up getting it published while I was in university. But having all this time on my hands, I finally decided to give it the final polish it needed and get it out there.
And to my surprise, it kind of took off.
That was the point where I finally realized I might actually have a chance of fulfilling my dream of being a full-time author and I dove headfirst into getting book two written.
And now six months later, I’m happy to say I think Firestorm is an even better offering than the first novel.
BRP: Are there other places you’d like to travel to?
AH: Well, I think there’s always going to be more of the world I’d like to see – even when I finish South America at the end of this year, I will still not have seen Brazil. But one continent I’m still really missing and think I’ll visit next is Europe! It’s actually a little ironic because Europe is where most kiwis go for their OE (Overseas Experience). Because of that I avoided it initially, as I wanted to do something different. Then I kept getting distracted by other parts of the world. Hopefully I’ll make it next year though, I just have to save up a bit more money…
BRP: What else should we know about New Zealanders?
AH: Well, I always say there’s three things NZ is famous for: the lord of the rings, rugby, and sheep. But as for New Zealander’s themselves? It’s tricky to describe, but I’d say that in general we are a country that don’t take ourselves too seriously (other than in the rugby 😉). We’re cheeky and tease each other far more than our cultures I’ve encountered (I’ve definitely inadvertently insulted a few English and German folk). But the funniest part of that is, it’s actually more of a sign of affection and trust for us. My cousin puts it best: if he’s giving you a hard time you’re good, if he’s quiet, you much be in trouble!
BRP: Why did you gravitate towards fantasy?
AH: I don’t think I ever really gravitated towards fantasy – it’s always been my favorite both to read and write. In middle school I was devouring Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights trilogy and writing a month long story about a man lost in the Bermuda Triangle (my teacher found it amusing to see how I’d twist the writing prompt each week to fit my story line).
Having said that, I also have a soft spot for science fiction. In fact, I already have an idea for my next line of books, and it will draw heavily on my knowledge of genetics and biology from my undergraduate studies. But that’s a ways down the track yet!
BRP: Thanks Aaron, for visiting with us today.