Arden Hunter interview
When did your love of books begin?
When I was a kid my dad would get a monthly scifi and fantasy book catalogue through the mail and he always let me choose one book - if I gave him the puppy-dog eyes, maybe two books. He helped me to see books and stories as gifts and things to be appreciated and I'll always be grateful for that. When I got older my mum would take me to a second-hand book stall in the local outdoor market and my pocket-money could get me access into all sorts of amazing worlds so my genres widened. I must have gone through dozens of books a year and they never once tried to limit what I chose to read.
When did you start to have the wish to become an author?
I never really thought it was possible until recently. When I was young I used to write stories but I didn't ever think anyone would want to read them; I was so in awe of Terry Pratchett, John Keats, Anne McCaffrey, Sylvia Plath, Shakespeare... these were surely not 'normal people' and I was just a normal person. I did however always have that quite wish to one day write a book and try to get it published. I always assumed it would be a novel, but it turns out, I'm a poet! I will try with a novel sometime in the future though.
How have you found the process for becoming an author?
It is so fun, if you have reasonable expectations. When I started sending out submissions to literary magazines of my poems, short stories and visual pieces, I already knew the rejections/declines were going to outweigh the acceptances. I learned a lot just with the first five or so - how to format submissions to follow guidelines, how to identify places to submit to, how to source all the information I needed about deadlines, layouts, wait times... and after that initial research period. I was off! I sent out over two hundred submissions in six months and have eighty accepted, including three full collections to be published as books.
What would you say to those wanting to become an author?
Don't take rejection too hard (easier said than done), and be nice to people (just as easy as it sounds). There are some bitter people out there who don't seem to enjoy the process at all, so avoid those once they show themselves. Get involved in the writing community on social media, read what other people publish, congratulate them on their successes and tell them what you enjoyed. People have asked me what my 'secret' is and it literally is just three things: 1) write/create things you like, not what you think someone else will like, 2) when something gets declined send it straight back out on a new submission, and 3) take an interest in and be nice to other people. That's it!
Tell us about your book/books:
What do you love about the writing/reading community?
Overall they are so supportive of each other. We all want to see the others succeed! Everyone I interact with has been friendly, helpful, willing to share what they have learned and discovered and asking nothing in return. Anyone who gets petty and competitive doesn't last very long, which I think shows just how strong the drive towards positive engagement and interactions is in the community.
If you could say anything to your readers what would it be?
Support independent publishing! There are some astonishingly good books being put out in all genres by small presses who just do not have the marketing power of the 'big 5' publishers. Investigate indie presses, buy their books, and leave reviews. Reviews not only help us with the algorithms that sadly run online life these days, they also put massive smiles on our faces. That's all most of us want, really. We just want someone to say, 'Hey I saw that thing you made. I liked it, I thought it was good, you should keep doing this thing you like doing.'
Where can people connect with you?
You can find me on Twitter @hunterarden, Instagram @thegardenofarden, my website ardenhunter.com and you can email me at email@example.com. I run a free online poetry/flash reading twice a month and a free online generative writing workshop twice a month as well - if you'd like to know more about those and/or join in, just send me a message on Twitter or email me.