By Sean Tuohy
In a marketplace crowded with countless ebook authors, one name stands out: A.G. Riddle, author of the award winning and best-selling The Atlantis Gene series. The well-crafted series explores the origins of mankind and is filled with great detailed research and edge of your seat action scenes. In my opinion, its is one of the best original ebook series currently on the market.
I sat down with Riddle and talked about the origins of his writing career and his future plans.
Sean Tuohy: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
A.G. Riddle: I didn't grow up wanting to be a writer. I had a reasonably successful business career and was looking for my real calling in life. I thought that could be writing, but I didn't realize it until I finished my first draft of The Atlantis Gene. It was an amazing feeling—finishing and being proud of what I'd created (it's not a perfect novel by any means, but it was the best I could produce at the time, and that's how I measure success).
ST: Who were some of your early influences?
AGR: I loved sci-fi as a kid. I would watch and read about anything I could get my hands on. "Star Trek," "The X-Files," "Star Wars."
ST: What is your writing process? Do you have any pre- or post-writing rituals?
AGR: If I'm in the thick of writing, I usually read the previous few chapters and consult my outline, then get started. If I'm in the research phase, I look at the background and see what I need to fill in; it's a little more methodical then.
ST: How did you get started publishing? Was it through the traditional publishing road or did you go the ebook platform?
AGR: Ebook only. I really wanted to get my work out there to see what folks thought. I hadn't told anyone I was writing a novel except my mother and girlfriend. When the book became popular in the summer of 2013, I considered taking a traditional publishing contract, but I decided that I didn't want to give up the freedom of self-publishing.
ST: The Atlantis Gene is one of best and original thriller series to come down the pike in years. Where did the story come from? Had it been brewing in you for years or did it just come to you?
AGR: First, thanks! I spent almost two years researching and writing The Atlantis Gene. I started with a mystery that had always intrigued me: 70,000 years ago, the human race almost went extinct. From there, I did a lot of research and wrote a ton of background, pulling together several topics of interest for me (everything from Nazi conspiracies to Atlantis to autism research).
ST: The third part of your Atlantis series, The Atlantis World, will be coming out shortly; did you always know that this was going to be a series?
AGR: I had written the long-arc of a series, but I didn't know how many books it would be (or if anyone would turn out to read them). I had already started on the second book when The Atlantis Gene came out, otherwise I never would have been able to write and release the trilogy so quickly.
ST: Unlike so many thriller novels your series has well-crafted characters, do you believe having strong characters is the back bone to a solid thriller?
AGR: I do. I have to admit, I'm a sucker for a high-concept, plot-driven story, but what I really love is a character-driven story with some big ideas at the center. That's what I try to write.
ST: What is next for you as a writer, a new series or maybe a stand alone novel?
AGR: A new series. I've been working on it a while, and I still have a lot of work to do. And, I'll have a few announcements soon regarding the Atlantis/Origin mystery series.
ST: What advice would you give to up and coming writers?
AGR: Don't let anyone else define success for you. Figure out what you want from writing, then set your own goals (and adjust them based on what you learn).
Success to you might mean writing the book you want to write. Or it could mean earning enough money to take your spouse out to dinner once a month. Or making some list. Or selling X number of copies.
Take some time to figure out what's really important to you, and when you do, don't listen to anyone else. Success isn't a one-size-fits-all in the business of writing.
ST: Can you tell us one random fact about yourself?
AGR: I grew up in a small town in North Carolina with only one stop light.