Roy Huff is a Hawaii-based author, research scientist, and teacher. At a young age, he struggled in a family plagued by severe poverty and mental illness. After high school, he moved to the islands and hasn’t looked back. He’s since earned five degrees, worked on projects forecasting Kilauea volcanic emissions, and trained on geostationary satellites for NASA's GOES-R Proving Ground. He stumbled into writing, but what he didn’t stumble into is his love for all things science fiction and fantasy. Later, he contributed a series of fiction and non-fiction books as well as widely shared posts on how to design life on your terms. Despite his challenging youth, he embraces optimism, science, and creativity. He still dreams of traveling into space and circumnavigating the globe. But until then, he makes Hawaii his home, where he creates new worlds with the stroke of a pen. And he hopes you’ll come along for the amazing ride. As our Author of the Day, he tells us about the fourth book in his Everville series, The Fall of Brackenbone.
Please give us a short introduction to what Everville is about.
An ordinary college student discovers there are more worlds than his own. As he struggles to learn the truth about himself, he’s forced to confront very real creatures and forces that could doom all realms. But he can’t face them alone.
What inspired you to write about a wild journey through portals into multiple universes?
An English teacher assigned a creative writing paper while I was working concurrently on my fourth and fifth degrees. She required us to share the paper for in-class peer-review, and one student mentioned she’d like to read an entire book on Everville. That gave me the initial idea, and I ran with it.
You have worked on projects involving volcanoes and satellites. How has this influenced your writing?
Science informs my science fiction, but it also always me to reflect on the boundaries between what’s real and what’s not. Magic separates fantasy from science fiction, but I also believe a deep understand of reality allows for more complex world-building.
Tell us more about the magical realm of Everville.
There are magical beings and creatures that tap into the universe’s entropy. It acts as its own form of magic. There are realms within Everville, like nations on a globe, and worlds around Everville, like planets in a solar system. But they are also connected through time, space, and magic. There are creatures, like giants, orcs, and the Fron. They have conflicting motivations. But the struggle between realms is really the dividing line that influences the motivations of each realm and whether they help or hamper forward motion and Owen’s plight.
Did you plan from the start to make this into a series? How do the books in the series tie in with each other?
I wasn’t sure initially, but when I kicked the writing into high gear and decided on a completion date, that was the moment I opted for the series.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I’m not sure how secret they are, but I’ve worked as a research scientist, which involves a ton of complex skills. I like to sing and even entered a few competitions (Hawaii Stars). I like to walk on my hands, although I tend not to do that in public so people don’t question my sanity.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
The short answer is no. I’ve always been an academic, even as a child. So academic writing was something I enjoyed. I’ve always liked reading and loved any form of speculative fiction in nearly any format. But It wasn’t until my early thirties that writing was something I took seriously. To those dreamers out there, it’s never too late. Just look at Grandma Moses.
Does writing about surreal worlds and enigmatic scenes present any particular problems?
One has to walk the line between providing vivid imagery and adequate pacing. Fantasy is usually slower than science fiction, mainly because of the imagery and world-building required. But you don’t want to get lost in a single image. At the same time, you want to construct a world where the reader can lose themselves. It is fantasy after all.
Do you have a favorite line from a book, and can you explain what that line means to you?
That’s a bit like asking my favorite book or favorite food. But the optimist in me loves, “We dream in our waking moments, and walk in our sleep.” — The Scarlet Letter. It’s powerful to want to be awake and to have dreams and visions that propel you forward. It’s an interesting contradiction to love both escape and reality. But why not let one’s escape inspire one’s reality? That could be sleep, a vacation, meditation, or just reading and relaxation. And hopefully, one believes the dream can become a reality. That’s the whole point.
Is there an underlying message you wish to relay about basic human nature through your characters?
I have an optimistic vision of the future. I look at the arc of human history, and I see less poverty, disease, violence, and more peace & tolerance. It may not always seem like it, but statistics are clear. Because of that, I like happy endings. I like to plant seeds of hope and improvement.
If you could transport yourself into a book, which one would you choose and why? What would your story be?
I’d go with A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle or Stardust by Neil Gaiman. Either is good for getting completely lost and avoiding all adult responsibility. Which let’s face it, isn’t that the point of a lot of fiction, especially fantasy? Of course, I’d like the opportunity to come back to the real world because I wouldn’t want to lose my sense of connection to those I love or purpose in the real world.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I have a miracle morning. I try to get up at 4 AM and sleep before 9 PM. My writing time is usually between 4 to 6:30 AM. Editing, nonfiction, and marketing I usually complete in the PM. That goes out the window when I travel.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve finished the first draft and will likely publish the final book in the Everville series Spring 2021. Additionally, I’m diving into science fiction. I have Seven Rules of Time Travel scheduled for release July 2nd, 2020, and the following month, I’m hoping to release my first space opera.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
My website is a great place to start https://www.royhuff.net I’m also available on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @realroyhuff