Read Part One here.
Read Part Two here.
Read Part Three here.
Airship Ambassador: What do you consider your first real writing experience?
Scott Wilke: Good question! Truthfully, even though I’ve been writing since I was a kid, I consider my first “real” writing experience to be in my last year of college. I was working on a short-film screenplay at the time and I learned of a film festival coming up at the end of the year that was having a screenplay contest. It was a national competition and was going to be judged by established film professionals. I spent the better part of three or four months crafting the screenplay. It was a story about a robot and a technophobic detective. You could say I have a theme in my writing! The screenplay ended up coming in fifth in the nation. So, as far as a first real writing experience, I was pretty fortunate!
AA: Wow, congratulations! That’s quite the achievement! After being fifth in the nation, how have you and your work grown and changed since then?
SW: I think nowadays I take more time developing my villains. In my earlier stories, my villains were all very one-dimensional. They were typical power-hungry types with no real depth. I realized over time that often it is the villain that carries the story. A good villain will make you hate him/her while simultaneously understanding them and in some ways sympathizing with them. Omega, although he’s a robot, has an extensive history and I think people will be able to empathize with him in certain ways. I love when stories make me feel conflicted and I hope I can do the same for my readers!
AA: I would agree that for today’s audience, and their expectations of stories and storytelling, there’s much more interest in seeing well-rounded characters, with substantive motivation and rationale. Is there a story you would like to write but haven’t, yet?
SW: I’ve got a couple that I plan to write once I’m done telling Everett Forge’s story. One is a space opera and another is a war story that is like God of War mixed with Gears of War.
AA: If you weren’t an author, what else would you be doing now?
SW: Something creative. I’ve always been drawn to creative ventures. My mind is constantly going. I’m constantly doodling. Had I not been so into writing in school, I think I would have focused more on drawing, which was my other passion as a kid. So, maybe I would have become an artist? Who knows.
AA: Most of the authors I’ve talked with have some type of day job and that writing is their other job. What has that situation been for you?
SW: I mean, without my day job I couldn’t make comics. Even though I go to Kickstarter to help me fund the art, all other costs I cover myself; i.e. printing, posters, promotion, etc. I couldn’t do that without a paycheck. I’m also fortunate enough to work with a great group of people who are extremely supportive of my creative endeavors. They constantly show interest in what I’m doing and check in to see progress. So, yeah, I’m pretty lucky!
AA: that’s a more common refrain I hear these days – the day job feeds the body, the night job feeds the soul. It’s a shame that not everyone can say both jobs do both things. In the time left between job, family, and writing, what other interests do you have?
SW: Video games and history. I love playing video games, like right now I’m pretty obsessed with Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I’m literally cutting down my sleeping time to like 4 hours a night just so I can play. When I’m not doing that, I’m reading up on history or watching history videos on the internet. I especially love local history.
AA: Oh gosh, 4 hours of sleep. how much caffeine do drink during the day? How do those games and history influence your work?
SW: My love for history spawned my love for alternate history. In school, during history class, I would always think to myself… “What if insert event here happened instead? How different would the future be?” I love exploring that avalanche effect.
AA: What is on your to-be read or watched pile right now?
SW: There are a ton of indie comics that I have yet to get around to. That’s pretty much all I read lately. I do still love DC Comics, but I find a lot more entertainment these days from independent titles. So much more thought and passion are put into those projects. You can really feel it coming off the page.
AA: I grew up reading a lot of DC, too, but there is something really engaging about independent works. They seem to take more work and effort to come about, and if they are short runs, they have to be good to find any kind of audience. Are there people you consider an inspiration, role model, or other motivating influence?
SW: There are a ton of indie comic creators that I really look up to. Too many to name them all to be honest. I follow a lot of their work pretty closely and have been for the past few years. There is one comic creator I’ve been following for well over 10 years now. His name is James Farr. He created one of my favorite animated series/comics, Xombie. He was a real inspiration in that the road to tell his story was not an easy one. But, even though it took him a few years to complete his work, he never gave up. I try to remember that as I see the long treacherous road still ahead of me.
AA: What is the best advice you’ve been given?
SW: My mom has always told me, “Don’t ever feel sorry for yourself.” There have been a lot of times I’ve gotten down on myself as a writer…after rejection letters, negative reviews, and failed Kickstarters. Whenever that feeling starts to creep into my head, I remember what my mom told me. Feeling sorry for yourself doesn’t fix anything. It just leaves you stewing in your own pity. Get up, dust yourself off, and keep going.
AA: Your mom definitely spoke the truth. Three quick-fire random questions – what is your favorite candy bar, current song, and documentary?
SW: Oh man, uh Snickers, I don’t really listen to current music (I’m an 80’s guy), and any documentary about the Titanic.
AA: Ahhh, I love 80s music, too. Those were the days! Any final thoughts to share with our readers
SW: Thanks for reading this interview and I definitely hope you check out my comic, The Legend of Everett Forge! It’s a fast-paced Steampunk Western with tons of action and a lot of heart!
Thanks, Scott! We look forward to future releases!
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