A.D. Wills is the author of Para(Normal) Society and The Keeper’s Codex. Wills loves all things Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and everything else that stretches the imagination. In between writing, playing video games, and watching anime, he’s usually on Twitter, having some fun with memes, and other ramblings.
Hi A.D.! So first, congratulations on releasing The Keeper’s Codex! This is your second book. The first was Para(Normal) Society, which I very much enjoyed and I'm looking forward to starting The Keeper’s Codex this week.
So to begin, what did you like most about writing The Keeper’s Codex?
It sounds super cheesy, but the sense of adventure I got when writing it really fueled me. It just made me feel really happy being able to write everything I’ve ever wanted into one book.
I can’t wait to read about the giant oasis turtle you mentioned on Twitter the other day. Can we expect other fantastical elements from The Keeper’s Codex?
Yes! So that was another one of my favorite parts, letting myself kind of run wild with these places. Out of what’s shown in book one, there’s a giant flower city, a sky garden, a geyser city in the middle of a giant crater, and the oasis turtle you mentioned! I hint at some other places throughout, but they don’t appear just yet. Also, I had to have an underwater city, so there’s one of those!
What was it like writing your second book?
So it’s funny, this was actually the first book I started writing, until I decided to run with the idea for (Para)Normal Society. But I took everything I learned from that whole experience, and everyone I’ve been lucky enough to meet and connect with, and put it into this book which made this much easier. They were both very different experiences though, being in different genres, but this one being more my thing with fantasy. It felt really nice getting back to what I’m most comfortable writing.
What was the most challenging thing about writing this book?
Balancing different POVs across a big world, and trying to keep them all related, and important to what’s going on was really tricky for me. I actually had to cut out a whole character POV who I really liked because they didn’t have any link whatsoever to anyone else, not in book 1 at least. Also, figuring out what order the chapters go in. I wrote a bunch of this book out of order, so it was a bit challenging lining everything up in the proper timeline. That one’s on me, but hey, it was still hard!
So you tweeted the other day that you are halfway through the sequel’s rough draft - that’s amazing btw - anything you want to share about that?
So this one definitely gets a little darker, and you’re going to get a couple of new POV characters, including the one I cut out from book one. Oh, and the mage city of Belgdar is a huge focal point, but I can’t say why! I also get to explore more about the Divines, and really start getting into who they are, but I’m going to stop myself there before I let something slip, since I’m notoriously bad at doing that. But overall, more adventure, new POVs, and a bunch of reveals.
Who is one of your favorite characters from one of your books and why?
This is super tough, and also mildly predictable since he’s one of the main characters, but Caden. My ‘gauge’ of that is finding myself with a big dumb smile plastered across my face any time I’m writing one of his POV chapters. I think it’s because he has a lot of the qualities I admire in someone. Loyal, innocent, determined no matter the odds, and does anything for his friends. It’s always a ton of fun writing him. I have to mention, I really love writing Yana in my first book too!
What inspires you as an author?
Finding those new ideas to chase that I never even thought would be there in the first place. Nothing else really inspires me more than finding that idea to get lost in, and feel possessed by, like I just have to write it all out.
Where have some of your best ideas come from?
Usually they come from completely out of nowhere, or something totally unrelated to my genre. It’s funny, for some reason anytime I try to 'refuel' my inspiration tank by watching something fantasy related, it almost never works. But read or watch something like a thriller? My mind will suddenly click with something for whatever reason. The whole idea for this book and series came to me while I was watching Avatar (the movie) with friends, even when this really has nothing to do with Avatar!
I know you’re a fan of anime, do you find this influences your work?
Big time. Anime is probably my biggest source of inspiration. More specifically, One Piece, and Hunter x Hunter have influenced my work in the way that they inspired me to let loose with my world. Both of their worlds are so out there and wild. Seeing them almost gave me permission to do what I want with my world, and not worry about the rules for everyone else. Not to mention, they do a fantastic job with the theme of friendship, something I really love to have in all my work.
Is gaming something that inspires your work too?
Definitely! Mostly from my childhood, like Shadow of the Colossus. I remember thinking back then how vast the world felt, and how cool it was seeing these giant colossi roaming around. The old Pokemon games, Yellow in particular, inspired me when I was really young too. It’s that same sense of wonder those games back then made me feel, and made my mind run wild with all these different speculations that led me to wondering if I could just make my own stuff up.
What are some of your favorite tropes?
I really enjoy the power of friendship, and I’ll always be a sucker for it almost no matter what. It needs to get really cheesy for me to not automatically approve of it! I also love a good old mentor character who’s secretly really strong. Enemies to lovers is another one I’ll always get excited about, I can’t lie, something about it always hits!
I know it’s the most over-asked question, but I’m curious and so I’m going to ask it: plotter or pantser?
Hmm, I know it’s a little wishy-washy of me to say both, but honestly, it is! I usually have a beginning, an end, and a core meaning and idea to build around, while I fill everything else in during the first draft. Sometimes, I have no idea where I’m going with these ideas, but I still have those roughly plotted out tracks to get back onto when I veer too far.
I was surprised to learn you're from Canada. I had thought maybe Florida – So what is the deal with the flamingos?
I’m not even so sure myself! I’ve always found them charming, and funny. The way they stand on one leg like that, being bright pink with that big curved beak, what’s not to love!? They’ve got to be a top ten most dazzling bird! Something about them has always drawn me to them for some reason.
What’s next for you?
Right now, finish the first draft of my sequel to TKC, and go from there. I also have an entirely new WIP I’m sitting on that I need to figure out what I want to do with. And somewhere in there I’m going to write the sequel to (Para)Normal Society. There’s also this pirate WIP too... but I’ll stay on track with TKC for now!
Thank you so much, A.D.! I appreciate you taking the time to share a bit about you and your work. And congratulations again on your recent book release!