Rule of Thirds by Aidan Wayne
Cover Artist: Jennifer Vance
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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Aidan Wayne today on tour for their new release Rule of Thirds. Welcome, Aidan.
~Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Aidan Wayne~
Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write? Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?
Research plays such a huge role, it’s ridiculous. I do enjoy it, but I tend to fall into what I call “the black hole of research.” And for something like Rule of Thirds, wherein my main character, Jason, has crippling PTSD that’s pretty important. But I also am in the middle of a story about a Broadway star. I figured I wouldn’t have to worry too much about research for that. Wrong! I ended up basically mapping out the entire theatre district of New York to make sure I knew where everything was (eateries, parks, urgent care) in reference to where my characters lived. Of course, I also had to find them apartments and make sure that the rents made sense to the location.
On that note though, I’ve had some really neat things come from my need to research topics. For a story where the main character owns an apple orchard, I called up orchards to ask questions about production, cost, etc. I ended up getting on the phone with a 95-year old apple farmer who had planted his trees with his father before WWII. One of the coolest experiences I’ve had as a writer.
Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?
That’s a tricky question. I was big into a lot of varied genres. I loved fantasy (Terry Pratchett, Tamora Pierce), historical fiction (L.M. Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott), and nonfiction (basically every well-written thing I could get my hands on). But I think that a good link-up is that all of my very favorite books are character-driven. They have solid personalities and stand out as people. In his Discworld books, Terry Pratchett has a number of characters that re-appear as main characters or side characters as the book requires and they’re always interesting and thoroughly themselves. Even the nonfiction books had good narrators. I love that. And yes, I think the influence has carried over into how I write what I do. For me, characters come first. The plot? They might be saving the world but it’s just as likely that the entire story is simply one person teaching the other how to properly cultivate a tomato plant.
I like this tomato idea actually. Hm.
Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?
I’m not a fan of the term Mary Sue or Gary Stu. It first got started in fandom, where people (usually female writers) made self-inserts to interact with characters they like, often as love interests. It was a way for them to play and explore in a world that had already been created, but with a character they’d created themselves. Because so many writers made their characters “unique” (looks-wise, having special skills, etc), coupled with the fact that the character was a love interest, these characters (and thus, often, the authors themselves) ended up garnering a lot of ridicule.
But what’s wrong with writing wish-fulfillment? What’s wrong with creating a character based on your own experiences? Maybe with your own desires and fears? What’s wrong with putting those characters into whatever setting you choose and playing? Creating someone that will love them?
Nothing, in my opinion.
Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?
YES. Yes, yes, so much yes. I’m one of those people that needs a happy or hopeful ending to be satisfied. If I’m going to read an entire story about these characters and watch them grow and change and learn and struggle–If I’ve dedicated my time to caring about them and rooting for them–The last thing I want is for the story to end with them miserable.
How do you choose your covers? (curious on my part)
I’ve been very lucky in that every cover artist I’ve worked with has been willing to take my notes and suggestions. I start by answering some questions about what I want the cover to look like: colors, tone, possible scenery, etc. Then I get a mock-up or three and usually we go from there. Sometimes I’m really pleased with the first choice, or only have a slight adjustment I’d like made, such as changing a font. Sometimes it’s a little more difficult. For Rule of Thirds, I went to a stock photo site myself to find images I thought might work for what I wanted. My very patient cover artist, Jennifer Vance, put up with a lot from me.
Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work? Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it? Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?
I started and stopped my novella Loud and Clear a bunch of times. It is literally a book about communication, and I kept getting stuck on what I wanted my characters to say, even if I knew how they’d say it. I’m glad I ended up with what I did, though. It was one of the first books I’ve ever had published so it’s definitely a little rough around the edges, but I think it really showcases what I believe in writing; communication, consent, and diversity.
Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it? Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.
I’ve never written while drunk, but I have written while Ridiculously Overtired. Those are usually times when I’ll come back to a story with sentences such as “the big was very large.” But once in a while I’ll come back to a scene and –wow, I’ll look at it a bit uncertain that it came from my own brain but very pleased that it did. You know, once I edit out all the typos.
With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain? To get away? To move past? To wide our knowledge? Why do you write?
I once wrote a story because, and I quote, “I am angry and upset.” It was about a trans man starting his own transition and learning more of himself, how he was able to interact with the world and other people, getting a found family, and, eventually, a boyfriend too.
I also once wrote a story because I thought of a title so good it needed a story to go with it. (A cupid and a succubus fall in love whoops. Making Love. I’m very proud of myself.)
Mostly I write because I like happiness, and figuring out the various ways I can get it to manifest. To make me, my readers, and my characters happy.
And shoving in as much wordplay into the titles as I can possibly get.
A traumatic past doesn’t have to mean not having a future.
When Jason Diovardi, military elite, is removed from active duty after failing too many psych evals, he has only one goal in mind: get back into the field. It’s all he knows and all he thinks he’s good for, which is why he grudgingly accepts two live-in AI Companions to help him begin to recover from his severe PTSD. Chase and Shade are a matched pair, and Jason hopes they’ll keep each other distracted enough to leave him alone so he can go through the motions and be cleared for fieldwork.
Jason doesn’t expect to actually get better, and the progress he makes with his patient and caring Companions sneaks up on him—and so do unexpected feelings between the three of them. Now Jason might even be able to admit to being happy. But has he healed enough to allow himself to accept what Chase and Shade are offering?
Hope. Love. A reason to live.
About the Author ~Aidan Wayne
Aidan Wayne has been a jeweler, paralegal, neurofeedback technician, and martial arts instructor; and that’s not even the whole list. They’ve been in constant motion since before they were born (pity Aidan’s mom)—and being born didn’t change anything. When not moving, Aidan is usually writing, so things tend to balance out. They primarily write character-driven stories with happy endings, because, dammit, queer people deserve happy endings too.
Aidan lives with altogether too many houseplants on the seventh floor of an apartment building. The building has an elevator, but Aidan refuses to acknowledge its existence.
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