Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Walter H. Hunt, science fiction and historical fiction writer with eight published novels (nine and ten come this year). He’s been a professional author since 2001. With a background in European history, he serves as the librarian for the Grand Lodge of Freemasons in Boston.
Thanks for being with us today, Walter. My first question for you is where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester –though they should totally check here first!)
Most bookstores, I’d hope, as well as online sources.
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
My website is http://www.walterhunt.com, currently being reworked, and I am active on Facebook.
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from Harmony in Light?
My work is in most cases historically-based, with strong characters and – hopefully – an entertaining narrative. I do not seek to shock or repel, but simply to tell an interesting story. It turns out that truth is often more interesting than fiction, and many of my readers are surprised to find out that there are many things I didn’t have to make up.
What kind of research went into writing this book? What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the book, but you loved discovering?
This book is set in Paris in 1885. I have dozens of sources and pages of notes – everything from information on how mail and packages are delivered to the menus for restaurants. I tried to get a feel for the city in that era. Incongruous or ahistorical detail throws the reader out of the book, so it’s important to get the little stuff right.
As for what didn’t make it into the book – lots of things. Readers don’t like to be inundated with details that are nothing more than the author showing off the stuff that (s)he found out.
What was the inspiration for Harmony in Light? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
Been waiting for this one for at least ten years. It’s the second in a series of books that deal with the idea that mesmerism – a fake “science” popular in the nineteenth century – actually works, and is practiced by a group of powerful individuals. I can’t remember where the original idea came from, but this book was actually written before the first one (Elements of Mind).
What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?
Keep writing. If you’ve got an idea for a book, write it; don’t let anyone tell you how, or in particular not to do it. It’s easy to get lost in the research, or to feel that you’re not getting anywhere, or to be obsessed with word counts or words-per-day. I’m not especially inclined toward extensive outlines, though I do a lot of research and take a lot of notes – I try to figure out where I’m going next, and I’m not afraid to back up and try again.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
I have a short story, _Unreclaimable Losses_, in Chuck Gannon’s anthology, published this month.
My collection of stories from Novaya Rossiya (the Pacific coast, except belonging to Tsarist Russia in the 19th century) will be out in August from Ring Of Fire Press under the title City By the Bay.
My Arcane America novel with Eric Flint, Council of Fire, will be published by Baen in November.
My next 1632 novel, 1636: The Atlantic Encounter, set in North America, will be published in Spring 2020.
What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?
I play board games and roleplaying games, and I’m a very active Freemason.
Thanks so much for being with us, Walter, and for coming to Annie’s for our book signing on May 18th.