Jason Hough is a former 3D artist and game designer. Writing fiction became a hobby for him in 2007, and quickly turned into an obsession. He started writing THE DARWIN ELEVATOR in 2008 as a NaNoWriMo project, and kept refining the manuscript until 2011, when it sold to Del Rey along with a contract for two sequels. The book released on July 30th in the US, and reached the New York Times Bestseller list the following week.
Henry: A three-book deal with Del Rey from a previously unpublished author? Damn! How did I meet Jason, you ask? Standing in line next to him waiting to meet Orson Scott Card.
How did you get your start as an author?
In the beginning, 2003 or so, writing was a way to fill the creative void in my life that had resulted from leaving the game industry. Years passed without much progress, though, until I discovered NaNoWriMo and decided to give it a try. The approach of writing for quantity over quality at the outset really worked well for me, and pretty soon I found myself with a complete first draft of THE DARWIN ELEVATOR. I knew it wasn't ready, though, so I sought the help of a freelance editor, worked on it based on his feedback for another year, and then finally submitted to an agent. After a revised first chapter she agreed to take me on as a client, and about ten months later (after another round of revisions) we submitted it to publishers, and I had the great fortune to receive multiple offers.
Henry: In addition to being a skillful writer and nice guy, Jason was apparently born lucky. His agent, Sara Megibow, is a delightful lady and a very good agent.
Tell us about your latest book.
Most recently published was THE PLAGUE FORGE, the third book in the Dire Earth Cycle. It concludes the story told in that trilogy, while also opening the door for a whole new adventure in that universe.
Henry: And by “opening the door for a whole new adventure”, can we expect more from Jason? Yes. Yes we can.
What do you hope readers will get from reading that book?
I hope they'll find a satisfactory conclusion to the main storyline, but still feel eager to read more. As for the series itself, I hope people enjoy the books the way I intended: as fun, accessible science fiction.
Henry: Mission accomplished. I gave THE DARWIN ELEVATOR five stars.
What aspect of writing do you find most challenging?
For me it's simply putting in the work, day after day. That's the only way I know to get to the end, but it can be incredibly rough to write on days when you're not feeling good about yourself or the story. The only option is to power through it, because skipping days just leads to a giant, stress-inducing backlog.
Henry: This is known as the “eating the elephant one bite at a time” approach.