My name is Travis M. Riddle and I’m from Austin, Texas.
So far I mainly write fantasy, but I enjoy all genres so who knows what my next project might be? Right now you can grab my debut novel, a fantasy/adventure entitled “Wondrous.”
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Pretty much, yeah. I’ve been writing stuff since I was a little kid—stapling paper together, drawing my own covers, writing the stories and adding illustrations to them. The first little story I completed as a kid was “Samurai Joe,” which was a 100% rip-off of “Samurai Jack.”
Tell us about your book, and the story behind writing it
“Wondrous” is a story about a young boy named Miles who goes to bed in his Austin home and then wakes up in the middle of the woods in a strange fantasy world that’s embroiled in a civil war. So, not an ideal situation. The book is about him trying to navigate through this new world while looking for a way to get back home and grappling with some troubling memories from his past.
I wanted to write a book that was weird, exciting, and fun, but also had a lot of heart and depth to it. I drew on some experiences from my own childhood and the confusion I felt back then and tried to make some sense out of it, and I hope that readers both young and older can connect with that and glean something from Miles’s story.
What’s the biggest challenge about being a writer?
The initial idea process, for sure. There have been countless times when I’ve gotten what I thought to be a really good idea for a story, only to sit down and attempt to plan it out and realize there’s not much substance behind it. If I’m going to commit to writing an entire novel, I want it to really be about something, and pinpointing what that something might be isn’t usually very easy.
Do you have a specific writing space?
Not particularly. I don’t have a writing corner or a coffee shop or something where I sit down every day and do my thing. I just need a table or a desk and a chair with a back to it and I’m good to go. I can’t really get comfortable in bed and write.
What’s your number one piece of writing advice?
Don’t worry about whether your idea is “original,” because it probably isn’t. For the most part, whatever you come up with will have been done in some way at some point by someone else. What’s important is how you put your own spin on it and make it uniquely you.
What books do you currently have on your bedside table?
I’m a “one book at a time” kind of person. Right now I’m reading Borne by Jeff VanderMeer, which is proving to be a very strange and unique sci-fi story that I’m enjoying a lot. The character of Borne is so weird and great. I’m really glad I picked this up, since I’ve never read anything by VanderMeer before. I’m going to have to pick up his Southern Reach Trilogy pretty soon.
Who have been your biggest writing influences and why?
It’s hard to say, exactly. I wouldn’t say that a single author has specifically shaped my style, but I think that reading certain authors has shaped how I approach stories, and it’s always changing. Like in the past year I’ve read a lot of Stephen King—I’d never read any of his books before, and then in the past year and a half or so I read “IT,” the Dark Tower saga, and tons of other books—so I feel like King’s influence sort of seeped into the new book I wrote over the past few months and am currently editing. Not anything huge, but his approach to plotting and character-building and world-building influenced the way I approached those elements in this new work.
How do you market your writing?
Mainly through social media and Goodreads giveaways. Though there are a few podcasts I’m a fan of and am going to start looking into advertising with them. Reddit is also a good place to meet people who might be interested in your work; I mostly lurk right now but I’m starting to connect with the various reading and writing communities on there.
Lastly, something fun. What’s something our readers might not know about you?
But because of that, I think games have influenced my writing more than other authors. Not in my writing style, of course, but I feel like the visuals of my favorite games have had a big effect on my writing and world-building. The aforementioned latest book I’ve written, which is sadly not available yet, is sort of my take on a blend of Stephen King and Final Fantasy. One of my favorite games of all time is “Final Fantasy IX,” and I wanted to write a story that admittedly is very different from that game but still has the same kind of vibe.
By Travis M. Riddle
Miles went to sleep tucked tightly in bed in his Austin apartment and woke up in the middle of a damp, dark forest in the kingdom of Rompu, a land being torn apart by a civil war between its king and queen.
Miles has few companions in this vast kingdom, which is filled with fantastical animals and flora yet sprinkled with familiar items like digital clocks and vinyl records. As he searches for a way to return home, he discovers that certain memories trigger magical abilities: he can shoot fireballs from his palms, heal with nothing but a touch, and more. But as he struggles to make sense of this new world, his thoughts are punctuated by painful memories of his sick grandmother, quarreling parents, and an icy school therapist.
When Miles learns that a monstrous entity flying through the countryside and killing for sport was summoned from a portal to another realm, he believes this creature is the key to learning how to open another rift and return home. Tracking down this beast and mastering his newfound magical abilities may be the only way for Miles to help save Rompu and get back to his family in Texas.