Interview With Author S. A. Hicklen
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
As for my novel, it’s not my first rodeo. Indeed, I have written half a dozen books before this one.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Glitch, a two-part novel, is the first I decided to publish. The first part is called Glitch: a Precarious Duo. And the second part is called Glitch: The Future is Unwritten.
Ask for the impetus behind the story.
There’s a lot of inspiration behind it. Such as the Starkweather incident that happened in the late 1950s. The movies Vanishing Point (1971) and Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974). Brooke Shields’ Calvin Klein jeans commercials of the late ’70s.
And the e-girl phenomenon that you currently see all over Instagram.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
What authors, or books have influenced you?
As a little pup, I always enjoyed good storytelling but never thought I could do it myself. And yet, despite being exposed to the classics by Conan Doyle, Wells, Dickens, or contemporaries like Norman Mailer, Philip Roth, and Vonnegut, George Lucas finally pushed me over the top.
Once I saw his film THX 1138, followed by the first Star Wars film, I decided that if he could do it, I could do it too. And although I was still in grade school, I was undeterred.
And despite my disadvantaged upbringing, living in the poor ghettos of Los Angeles, I never gave up. And while my family didn’t encourage my writing, they didn’t impede me either.
Indeed, someone a lot smarter than me once said, “If you want to learn how to write, you have to read.” And I abide by that opinion.
Thus I read voraciously; whether newspapers or magazines, I read everything. And over time, I taught myself how to write. No English literature or creative writing courses at some junior college for me.
I went to the University of Hard Knocks and graduated with a master’s degree in perseverance.
I had a lot of drama in my life and a few scrapes with John Law. And yet, despite that, I never gave up writing.
Indeed, another brilliant fella once said, “Show me a failed writer, and I’ll show you someone who gave up writing.” And I abide by that statement.
And despite writing being a struggle for me, I never once thought of giving up. Instead, I leapfrogged over every obstacle that was thrown in my path. Whether it be financial setbacks, technical issues, family drama, and a few deaths, I kept going.
And after almost 40 years, I finally became a published author.
And I would be the first to say I do have regrets. But usually of a personal nature, not professional.
But as someone a lot smarter than me once said, “As long as you’re a part of the living world, it’s never too late to fulfill your dreams. It’s only when you’re dead that it’s too late.”
What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on a multi-part saga that I colloquially refer to as “my Star Wars” that I hope I’ll live long enough to finish. No joke.
Especially when I look at George RR Martin and his magnum opus. That Bluetooth brother has been working on his monstrosity since Bush 41 and is not finished yet. And when you consider that Martin is well into his seventies and still has two more books of a seven-part book series to finish, I don’t know if he’s going to make it.
God willing, I will live long enough to finish mine.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Well, I’m the wrong person to ask such a question. I’m in no Oprah Winfrey or Donald Trump; thus, when it comes to self-promotion, I’m a total virgin at this.
That said, I’ve been taking my cues from Dale L Roberts. Not only is Roberts a self-published author, but he has gone out of his way to create a YouTube channel and a regular website where he discusses all the ins and outs of self-publishing from concept, writing, the actual publishing part, and finally, marketing and promoting.
And since the brother sounds like he knows what he’s talking about, I’ve followed his advice.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Anyone who is out there struggling with their writing, just don’t give up.
A long time ago, I met this screenwriter at a baseball game, and we got to talking. And he told me that there were people that had known in the business who had long ago walked away because they didn’t have it in them to make it a career.
And then he told me that every day he writes something. It doesn’t matter if it’s part of a project or not. And then he told me why. He said that the more you write, the better you get at it. And you’ll become more skillful over time. And I took that advice to heart.
And one more thing. A few short years ago, I met former literary agent Mark Malatesta, now an author coach. And we had a great conversation. And he told me a dirty little secret about the book business. When he was an agent, the agencies he worked for would only consider books from first-time authors if they were between 60 and 80,000 words. And then he told me why. The belief was that if a book was less than 60,000 words, not much was happening; thus, it was dull and won’t sell. But if a book was longer than 80,000 words, then these agents thought that the Book was likely meandering and thus would be boring and won’t sell.
Therefore anything between 60 and 80,000 words was considered the sweet spot, or the Goldilocks length. Not too long, not too short, just right.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
A long time ago, Anthony Quinn once said, “Who is the bigger fool? The fool, or the fool who follows him.” And I abide by that statement.
Thus, always try to be a leader, never a follower. Following someone else’s lead is easy; being a true Pathfinder is hard.
And it doesn’t have to be something on a macro scale, such as the leader of a nation or a corporate boss. It could be as minute as following your heart and not getting involved in sketchy things.
And avoid getting caught up in fads. Or, as my mom once told me, “Do you want to jump off the cliff just because the cool kids are doing it?” Or in other words, if you’re involved in something outside your wheelhouse, your gut tells you you shouldn’t be doing this. Then you should listen to your gut.
What are you reading now?
Heavy Metal magazine, and the Los Angeles Times. Although, I only read the Times for the comics and some articles. I avoid the opinion section and the columns. They are just too woke and weird for me.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Hopefully, finishing all the books that are swirling around in my head before I drop dead.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
I will probably bring a solar-powered satellite phone so I can call the Coast Guard or the US Navy.
And while waiting for the cavalry to show up, I’ll probably catch up with some of the Heavy Metal mags I allowed to sit around too long collecting dust.
Or I’ll probably be jotting down notes for any ideas for my stories that might pop up in my head.
That’s because I’ve already read all the good stuff, whether it be Shakespeare, Sheridan Le Fanu, Joseph Conrad, Charles Schulz, and Bill Watterson.
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