ZACHRY WHEELER

Science Fiction Novelist
Zeedub Selfies: Sparks, Parks, and Chasing Dragons
Posted on May 10, 2020
Category: Zeedub Selfies
Zachry Wheeler, Science Fiction Novelist

Zeedub Selfies is an ongoing series where I talk to myself like a reclusive weirdo. Which, in truth, I am. I developed a simple tool for authors to hone their interview skills with random questions, which ended up being way more fun than intended. Thus, I thought it would be amusing to record my own answers from time to time.

Do you pen down revelations and ideas as you get them, right then and there?

Sometimes. I have a running list of thoughts and ideas that I keep on my phone. On the flip side, I also think that if an idea is worth pursing, then you’ll remember it. I used to get up and out of bed to write them down, but not anymore. Nowadays, the only sparks that get me up are snappy lines of dialogue.

Did any of your books get rejected by agents/publishers?

Yes, my first two novels (Transient and Max and the Multiverse) got over a hundred rejections each. It sucked, but I did get a lot of valuable feedback, some of which resulted in a full rewrite. I eventually snagged some interest from a few boutique agencies, but after weighing the pros and cons, I decided to go the indie route.

Did any of your literary teachers predict that you would be a published writer one day?

Haha, goodness no. Even I didn’t think that. I was more into math and computers, so that was my focus going into college. I graduated with a BSBA in Computer Information Systems and went to work as a programmer. My reading life was devoted to nonfiction and the only writing I did was for wikis and user manuals. I loved sci-fi shows and movies, but I didn’t delve into the literary side until well into my adult life.

What do you do in your free time?

I like to watch the Premier League and play World of Warcraft (often at the same time). I also enjoy hiking around the parks and trails of New Mexico, which offer a never-ending supply of breathtaking scenery. It’s a great mental reset and something I always look forward to.


Hiking through the Sandia foothills in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Do you have a library at home?

I have small bookcase that serves as a mini library, but at this point, I have fully embraced the convenience of ebooks. My wife and I move so much that owning physical books became too much of a burden. The only ones I keep are signed copies and special editions.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Yes, and many have been found, much to my delight. My favorite is in The Mortal Vestige, which only one reader has uncovered thus far.

Do your novels carry a message?

No, and I really dislike books that do. My goal is to tell a compelling story without the burden of a lecture. There may be a vague theme or a driving notion, but I will always leave it up to the reader to decipher it for themselves. I cannot stand when fiction gets preachy.

Does your day job ever get in the way of your writing?

All the time. Most authors would love to write full-time, but are hamstrung by day jobs. I am luckier than most, in that I work from home as a programmer. It’s easy for me to flesh out an idea during lunch or click over into writing mode when the work day ends. But I still yearn for the freedom of full-time writing.

How would you feel if no one showed up at your book signing?

Indifferent. Sounds like a typical book signing.

What do you love most about the writing process?

The isolation. I’m on the introverted side of the social spectrum, so writing is the perfect hobby for me. I love diving into my own world for hours on end, thinking up new and interesting ways for characters to interact. And when it all comes together in a finished manuscript, that feeling of accomplishment is second to none. I am always chasing that dragon.