Author Interview – Adam Dreece, Author of “The Man of Cloud 9”
Adam Dreece is an international best-selling young adult author. He kicked off his indie author career with his steampunk meets fairy tale series, The Yellow Hoods, which struck a chord with kids 9-15 and adults. After four books in the series, the former software architect of 20 years created two new worlds with his post-apocalyptic fantasy book The Wizard Killer – Season One, and his science fiction novel, The Man of Cloud 9. The first two novels in The Yellow Hoods series, as well as The Wizard Killer, have been finalists for Book of the Year awards from the Independent Author’s Network.
When he’s not working on his next book, Adam can be found giving talks at schools, libraries, associations, as well as comic-con type events like CalgaryExpo and FanExpoCanada.
Along the way, Adam has faced many challenges, including working around his Dyslexia (reading and writing disorder) and needing to be ruthless with his time and energy in the face of his severe asthma and chronic abdominal scar pain. He’s become an inspiration to some, and a symbol of tenacious hard work to others.
He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his wife and children. He is an active online mentor at adamdreece.com and is a busy public speaker, panelist, and author in Canada and the Pacific Northwest.
1. Tell us more about you and what ignited your passion for words.
There is no great feeling for me than bringing a world that you created into being, to be able to be shared with others. For decades, I’d binge write every, sharing my stories with a few friends, but doing nothing with it. The writer ‘friends’ I had around me always discouraged me. I focused on my software career.
In 2009, I had an appendix situation went bad, my life was turned upside down. I lived with horrible pain for 15 months. A surgery reduced the level of pain to be manageable, and then I was hit with severe asthma. I turned to writing to work through those emotions, and committed myself to becoming an author ‘for real.’
After spending three years writing a memoir, I decided I wasn’t going to be ‘that guy.’ So, I decided to start working on a first fiction novel and got completely blocked until my daughter came along and gave me a now legendary nudge.
That nudge broke my mental dam and out poured The Yellow Hoods series, book after book.
When I was a software architect, I would take ideas and reshape them into projects or features, and often I was praised for making complex ideas accessible. Now, as an author, I take my own ideas and weave complexity and mythology under simple surface concepts, and love it.
2. What type of books are you writing? Can you tell us more about it or where we can find it if already published?
Since 2014, I’ve published seven books and have two more coming out in April 2017. My books capture three different sides of me:
The Yellow Hoods is my poignant yet cheeky steampunk meets fairy tale series. It’s written to be accessible to kids as young as nine but is layered in complexity and storytelling, which is why half my audience is adult. Set in its own world where fairy tales are real, where there’s a secret society called the Tub that’s lead by a butcher, baker, and candlestick maker, readers get to follow a fun array of characters of all ages. Intensity has built up significantly over the series, and it all comes to a dramatic conclusion in April with the release of Book 5 – The Day the Sky Fell.
The Man of Cloud 9 is my cerebral science fiction book. Set seventy years in the future and centered around a brilliant young man who when his parents die, commits himself to two ideas. One leads to him creating a revolutionary technology and founding the biggest company in history, and the other leads to his undoing. It came out in September 2016.
The last side of me is captured in my post-apocalyptic fantasy series, The Wizard Killer. It’s action and adrenaline and action. Written as a first person serial, Season One (as I call the first book) was an experiment in style and form. It’s the first time I’ve ever received a six star review. Season Two comes out in April 2017.
All of my books are available in print and eBook at Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Indigo, and other great book retailers.
3. Would you mind sharing a high, a low or something special you experienced writing these books?
During the writing of Book 4 of The Yellow Hoods, Beauties of the Beast, I’d slipped into a depression. I wasn’t getting much sleep, I was taking care of my three kids, we had financial stress, and trying to go full-tilt on the indie author front. I was burning the candle at both ends and thrown it in the oven.
My beta-readers’ feedback was that the book, which was supposed to have a lighter tone compared to the dark Book 3, had an even darker tone to it. I cleaned it up, got it to where it was supposed to, and then botched the launch (compared to what I’d done for Book 3).
Rather than beat myself up, I decided to take a break from the series and write other things. Over the course of two years, I’d written four novels and a mini-book, so I figured my fans should be able to hold on.
So I took a year and wrote The Man of Cloud 9 and The Wizard Killer, and it was very much the break I needed. By the time I sat down to write Book 5 of The Yellow Hoods, I was excited and in a much better headspace.
As authors, we’re often juggling a lot of different asks of our lives, particularly if we’re prolific. The greatest advice I ever received was to remember it’s not a sprint, or even a marathon, it’s a quest. It’s okay to rest at times, as long as you get back up and keep going. Don’t worry about what others are thinking or doing.
4. Are you working on anything new? At which stage are you with this new project?
Right now I’m finishing up Season 2 of The Wizard Killer, while my editor completes her work on Book 5 of The Yellow Hoods. Both books are scheduled for release in April this year, which is going to make it a fun time.
Book 5 of The Yellow Hoods, The Day the Sky Fell, will end the series in its current incarnation and open the door to a suite of short stories, stand-alone novels, and new series. I have been waiting for this moment since finishing the first book.
The Wizard Killer – Season 2 will be laying the groundwork for Season 3 and more. I’m hoping to have Season 3 out for the fall.
Also on my ambitious calendar for the fall, is the first installment of an entirely new serial, my fantasy space-opera called Tilruna (probably Tilruna: Escape). Best described as Battlestar Galactica meets Lord of the Rings, it’ll be bringing that sense of epic adventure from The Yellow Hoods, with the pulse-pounding beats of The Wizard Killer.
5. What advice would you give a new writer?
Be fearless. There are so many times when we can get in our own way. Fear that the story isn’t perfect, fear of getting reactions from people who could help us, fear of putting the book out in the wild, and fear of promoting the book and failing.
When I had a rough-looking man in his mid-twenties approach me at one of my signings, I had no idea what I was in for. He said that he loved my books, and I was skeptical. I asked him where he’d read them, and he said at the local cancer center. He shared with me how they helped get him through chemo, and how much they meant to him. He felt bad that he didn’t have any money to buy the books, and I told him that the story he’d just shared with me was worth a lot more.
You can’t earn stories like that if you don’t learn to be fearless.
6. Besides writing, what do you enjoy most? Can you tell us something about what you do outside of writing?
When I’m not writing, and not doing book signings, talking at events or schools, and not at a comic-con, I’m usually at home with my family. I’ve got three young kids and a loving wife, and they are the bedrock of my life. I’ve been pushing myself to socialize more, and that’s coming along. Recently, I held a birthday party for myself, the first one in about seven years, and I was surprised at the number of people who came. I’m one of those people who doesn’t keep track of the people that I support, and when they show up to support me, I’m humbled.
Connect with Adam Dreece!
Signed copies available at TheYellowHoods.com/Store