I love fantasy. I’ve been reading about wizards and dragons and stuff for almost as long as I’ve been reading books. I started with the Hobbit back in elementary school, moved through the rest of the Lord of the Rings, scooped up Anne McCaffrey’s Pern novels, and then got into the Dragonlance trilogy, R.A. Salvatore, etc. Those old TSR books got me interested in Dungeons & Dragons, and that got me started on video games like Wizardry and Ultima, and of course those games drove me to read more fantasy. By that point, the neurons in my brain responsible for fun were essentially stuck in a giant feedback loop, and I’ve been stuck here ever since.
I write fantasy humor because I love it, and because I think both fantasy and humor give an author a inconspicuous route to talk about serious issues; they’re back doors that let us get past the political and cultural walls people put up. A book tackling issues like socioeconomic disparity in America head on sounds preachy (or at least it would if I wrote it). A book about the socioeconomic disparity caused by the professional heroics industry and its institutional prejudices against Orcs and Goblins seems like much more fun.
What do you find most challenging about the writing process, and how do you deal with it?
Time management. I find that motivation to write and free time rarely coincide these days, so in order to be productive I have to be strict with myself. I get up ridiculously early every morning and have a fairly rigid writing routine. Even then, when a scene is challenging or just not coming together, things can go slow.
When and where do you do your writing?
I have a three-season porch, but as this is New England it winds up being more of a one-and-a-half season porch. I like to write out there in the morning with a mug of coffee and watch rabbits slowly defoliate my ornamental tree. In the winter (and most of fall, and three quarters of spring), I have an easy chair in a side room. Wherever I’m sitting, my writing starts at 4AM and ends when the kids wake up. Toddlers have very little patience for Daddy’s writing routine.
What have you learned about promoting your books?
That the battle is won one reader at a time. Everyone who picks up your book, reads it, and likes it is a victory. Everyone who writes you a review is a triumph. The big authors with giant publishing houses can count readers by the hundred thousands and judge success at that scale, but as a new indie author, you can’t. You have to fight for every reader.
What are you most proud of as a writer?
When I walk into our local bookstore and see copies of my book on the shelf, I get a little surge of pride. Even better is walking in and seeing that they’re down to one copy.
If you could have dinner with any writer, living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about?
It’d certainly be Sir Terry Pratchett, who is my biggest influence. I’d like to tell him all he ways his writing has shaped my life, and ask him about the experiences that led him to write his books. But I get nervous and tongue-tied when I’m around famous people, so I’d probably just end up quietly eating my soup and mumbling awkward compliments.
J. Zachary Pike was once a basement-dwelling fantasy gamer, but over time he metamorphosed into a basement-dwelling fantasy writer. He has written and directed several award-winning shorts, including Zelig Award winner "The Toll" and "Endurance Challenge: Mordred's Isle" starring Billy West.
The author is hosting an AWESOME giveaway during his tour:
Win A Kindle Paperwhite with a digital copy of Orconomics: A Satire –