Wayne Thomas Batson is the Bestselling author of nine adventure
novels including the fantasy epic Door Within Trilogy, the pirate duo Isle
of Swords and Isle of Fire, and the epic Dark
Sea Annals. A middle school Reading
and English teacher for 22 years, Batson loves to challenge—and be challenged
by—his students. So, when he began writing stories to supplement the school
district’s curriculum, it was his students who taught their teacher a lesson.
Batson’s students were so taken by one of the stories that, over a thirteen
year span, they pushed him to make it into a full-length novel. You can find Wayne at:
about your latest release, please.
Errant King is about a world that has lost its way, a place where too many have
opened doors to evil and the global consequences.
scale, The Errant King is about a boy and a girl. Ariana lost her
parents in the infamous Grey Hour Raids. Now, all she wants to do is make a
name for herself in her village or leave home for a new way of life. Lochlan is
the High King of the known world, but all he wants a chance for someone—anyone—to really know him without the
your worldview seep into the story?
of both. Generally, the plot and characters come first, but as I get to know
the people in the story and better understand the challenges they face, I start
to see thematic threads emerging. Once I recognize where that theme is (or
could be) heading, I do seek to create places where the theme can be woven in.
That said, I’ve heard from readers about themes in my books that I never even
knew were there. They just sort of “become” because of who God has made me to
mechanics, themes—all of
honor God with quality and lead readers to ask the big questions of life. If
readers are impressed with the quality of the story and they ask those big
convinced God will meet them halfway.
kids? Boys or girls?
information. But early on, my books were selling better in the secular market
than they were in the Christian market. I’m not sure if that’s still true. But I don’t write just for “anyone.” Books like The Hobbit had such
a huge impact on me as a kid that I want to do my level best to write stories
that will thrill readers today…without violating consciences.
read, and why should they read it?
cheated. I put several books in. But really, I think all kids should be exposed
to a world that is more black and white, where honor matters. I also fully
believe that Tolkien’s
books, with their lush description and world-building, will “wake” something up in readers, a
longing for a faraway world. It is the yearning for what C.S. Lewis calls “that mysterious something” that we’re all after but that this
earth can never fully satisfy.
long for heaven after spending time in the Shire.
How can I make an editor fall for a story?
scenario that the reader hasn’t seen before but is an obvious problem. A
character wakes up…six
feet underground or a train enters a tunnel but doesn’t come out of the other side.
Something that makes the reader sit up straight and utter that famous Keanu
approach where you not only bring an interesting person to life in short order,
but you also dump that person into any one of a thousand worst case scenarios.
his wife; his daughter is dating a biker, and the office just called claiming
responsible for a huge account failing.
do it FAST. First line, first paragraph, first page. Spend a month just on
those. Make them spectacular. You have got to be noticed out of a sea of other
stories. Do it right away, or the editor may not even read on.
against bikers, Wayne?
advice. We do have to find a way to stand out.
What do you think is most important–conflict, characters, or voice/prose?
But why not just excel at all three. You’ll have a much wider audience that way.
That said, the stories that really endure are the ones with at least one
Well, when you put it that way…it all
sounds so simple.
Scrivener that lets me use pushpin note cards to fully plot my stories,
complete with art files, sound FX, pretty much anything I want. I spend about a
month outlining each novel. For me, that’s the only way I can do it. Otherwise, I
get lost in my own plot’s
twists and turns.
hard-won wisdom. What do you know now that you wish you knew five years ago?
business of publishing. I’m grateful for the contracts I’ve gotten. But having sold
close to half a million books, you’d think I would have earned enough to write full
time, but not so.
The royalty percentages are scandalously low. Thank God that’s changing now with the advent
of eBooks. It won’t be
publishing houses will need to begin raising royalty rates or their authors
will jump to eBooks.
now that you wish you still didn’t know?
that writing professionally can trigger. I’m a full time teacher at a public middle
school. I’m a
husband, as well as a father of four. I’m a writer busy with several deadlines a
year. And no matter what I spend my time doing, something always feels
neglected. It can be very stressful and discouraging.
publishing with general market publisher?
That said, I’m not
sure I’ll ever
sign with another print publisher. I’m under contract for seven books in the Dark Sea series.
But aside from those, I plan to do the rest of my books as self pubbed.
success, because writing has to be satisfying or it’s not worth doing. So, what is your favorite part
of writing novels for teens?
tend to dress in full medieval gear and speak in English/Scottish accents, all
the while reading the stories with all manner of drama.
Bible passage that shows the direction you want to go with your writing?
our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;
books? Do they give you fodder for the books?
see me as Dad. And yes, they are always targets for future characters.