Hugh Howey Talks to The Down Deep About Wool and Fan Moments

Today is the big day! The day Wool is released simultaneously in hardback and paperback in the United States. Did you pre-order your copy yet?

I have to admit it’s crazy to remember that I first picked up Wool when it had under 500 reviews, and now it’s passed 3,800 and will surely pick up hundreds more with the book’s wide release.

To coincide with Wool’s big day, The Down Deep sent some questions in to Hugh, which he graciously answered for us.

You just spent some time over in the UK and Europe. What was the biggest highlight of that trip for you?

There were quite a few awesome moments. Seeing posters of my book on the tube, seeing a guy on the flight back from Dublin reading a copy of WOOL, meeting awesome fans like radio host Rick O’Shea, spending time with the Random House team . . . but one moment really stood out. And that was getting off the plane, checking into the hotel, and then walking straight to Foyle’s — a famous bookstore in London — and walking through the door with my wife on the phone while I saw my book on store shelves for the very first time. It very nearly moved me to tears, both the realization of a dream and also being so far away from home when it happened.

What are you most looking forward to in your upcoming book tour? What are you most nervous about?

I’m most looking forward to meeting readers, shaking hands, signing copies of books (especially the occasional oldie they might bring in, the Plagiarist or Molly Fyde book). I’m most dreading the airports and airplanes. Twelve flights in the next two weeks seems inhumane, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

What’s the craziest thing a fan has ever said to you during a meet-up or random encounter?

I had a guy stand up during a Q&A in Wales and say that he has read thousands of books in his life and WOOL is his absolute favorite. That blew me away. I’ve also heard of people naming their pets after a character from the book, which is very flattering.

What are your personal favorites in the science fiction genre?

The FOUNDATION saga. Neal Stephenson’s DIAMOND AGE. BATTLEFIELD EARTH. Card’s ENDER’S GAME. DUNE. Mostly the classics.

When you traveled to California to talk about the Wool movie, what was your biggest personal fan boy moment?

Meeting Danny Glover (and getting my picture taken with him!). I grew up with his films. Talking with him in the flesh was awesome.

In your recent WSJ interview, it was mentioned that the idea of re-naming Wool came up. While we agree that would have been a bad idea, did any of the new title suggestions seem like they would have worked well if you went back in time to before you published Wool 1?

Sure. If I could go back in time, I might have called the first book SILO or DUST or any of a number of things. But I can’t imagine repeating the success I’ve had. It has all been serendipitous. Perhaps the quirky title is one of the reasons so many people have picked up this work.

You seem to have fulfilled so many of your dreams. Do you now have new dreams?

I have old ones unfulfilled. I want to sail around the world. And I will.

You’ve mentioned that Wool was a story that had been in your head for a while. Do you have any stories like that rattling around right now that give you that same writing itch that Wool did?

Oh, yes. I have one called INVARIABLE that’s actually my very oldest story idea. I’m dying to get this one written. Maybe in 2015.

You do such an incredible job of making the reader invested in every character, even for those that only have brief appearances in the book. As a writer, how do you approach your characters and make them so compelling?

It’s hard to describe. I just see them in my head. I can hear them. I feel their exhaustion or their merriment, and I make sure I describe this, that I capture the essence of what they’re feeling. I don’t know why or how it works. It just feels natural.

Wool is already in the top 50 on Amazon just 3 days before release. If it hits the top 10 or #1, how are you going to top your ballet dance?

Oh, no! It’s #13 right now. I hope it falls. Please fall. The dance videos are never a good thing.

I think my next video will be of me performing a front flip. I’ll take out insurance, first.

We want to thank Mr. Howey for taking the time to answer our questions!

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