06 April, 2020

#Interview with @esoteric_austin, #Author of Wild, Dark Times

About the Author:

Austin Case received a Master’s Degree from the University of Amsterdam in Western Esotericism and Mysticism. His academic knowledge of the occult and other peripheral phenomena has given him a unique take on fantasy and other speculative fiction.

Austin Case on the Web:
Website * Facebook * Twitter

Interview with Austin Case

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?

I enjoyed writing as a child. However, I don’t think I really started to pursue writing seriously until after I finished grad school. I had been mostly reading academic texts but I returned to fiction with American Gods by Neil Gaiman. That work really inspired me to try my hand at writing fiction.

What inspires you to write?

I studied esotericism and mysticism academically and that provided lots of seed ideas for writing. Since magic, mysticism, secret societies, and other arcane miscellanea are all common features of my scholarly background, I learned quite a bit about subjects ideal for fantasy, horror, and other speculative writing.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?

My current work in progress is an adaptation of The Epic of Gilgamesh. As an undergrad, I took classes on how to translate ancient Akkadian. Some of our assignments involved translating the text and during this time I noticed interesting parallels with how celebrities in our current culture are deified in ways not unlike the ancient Mesopotamian gods were. That was the foundation of what eventually became what I’m working on now.

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?

Hmm…not exactly tucked away. I’ve got some poems and stories I’ve written that haven’t been published. I think they have potential (maybe with some re-working) but I don’t feel ashamed. Not to say I didn’t write some real crap in high school. But I’m pretty sure I burned those all a long time ago.

Tell us about your writing process.

I tend to create a skeletal framework of whatever I’m working on before I begin. I refer to that as I move ahead, but the process itself is pretty organic. I do my best to get out a first draft —though still inevitably pore over sections for early edits.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?

In my published book Wild, Dark Times, I think my favorite scene is where Elizabeth talks with Veer alone. They discuss the nature of life and responsibility and how best to live a life in a world full of terror and chaos. It’s a short scene that can fly under the radar in a book full of drugs and monsters, but I think this scene really is the heart of the whole book.

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?

Oh, they all did. I think that’s pretty normal when writing any fictional characters. Eddy is definitely an idealized version of me and my id though.

What is your most interesting writing quirk?

I think the sections I write that are stream-of-consciousness. Pretty much all of my poems are written this way and lots of scenes in WDTs are as well. I do come back after to edit for coherence and flow, but often, much of what was originally written remains unchanged.

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?

If you’re a writer, it’s important to read extensively. I mentioned Gaiman earlier being a favorite. I also love Catherynne Valente and V. E. Schwab. Lev Grosman’s The Magicians’ series was a huge influence on me.

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?

If someone thinks something you’ve written is wrong in some way, they’re almost always right but the specific suggestion they offer to change it is almost always wrong. The truth often lies somewhere in the middle.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?

Stay persistent. Anyone can be a writer. Truly. But you have to keep writing and submitting and editing. Enduring the failures is the mark of a successful writer.

About the Book:
Check out the Book on Amazon
It's the summer of 2012 and Elizabeth Megalos is a disillusioned art-school grad getting by as a bank teller in St. Louis. One evening, she’s attacked by a possessed coworker and saved by a mysterious, wise-cracking sorcerer named Eddy. He drags Elizabeth and Hugh—a skeptical scholar of the occult—to Europe, where he introduces them to his three magical celebrity friends. Once there, Eddy explains the group's mission: preventing a Demiurge—a creature out of Gnostic Christian mythology—from fulfilling the visions of doom in the Book of Revelation. The Demiurge has been drawing power from the misguided beliefs in the Mayan apocalypse and is set to start the destruction on Dec. 21st, 2012. Through ritual magic and a series of psychedelic experiences, the group learns that Elizabeth is the key to taking down the Demiurge, though she can't imagine how she will be the one to stop Armageddon.