Shaun Hoilett has spent most of his time in the architectural design field where he has done work that spans from regular clients to well-known celebrities. In his efforts to design the cover for The REDHOUSE Project Mr. Hoilett has rekindled his love for art. He is the writer and illustrator of the movie-style graphic novel series ‘The Angel of Death,’ with the first volume entitled ‘Angelic Genesis.’ The first two chapters/issues are already available for sale on Amazon. To help our youths of today become the adults of tomorrow he has also published volume 1 of his TEENGUIDE SERIES, ‘Surviving The Family.’ This is available in both Spanish and English. He has also published ‘The President’s Men.’ ‘The President’s Men’ is a humorous non-partisan look at politics in Washington DC. Coming in September 2013 is the first volume of ‘The ICEMAN Chronicle Series. It is entitled ‘The Presidential Hit.’ Author Shaun Hoilett has merged his design talents with his artistic side and he looks forward to sharing his imagination with his readers. This is only the beginning! He was born in Jamaica and his ancestry (great-grand parents) spans to France and Ireland. He currently lives in Washington DC.
What inspires you to write?
My wife does. Everything I do, I do for her…this includes my creative endeavors. But I guess you would, more specifically, like to know what inspires my creative expressions within my literary body of work. I cannot truly say that there is one specific thing that does the trick. I can say that there are certain points in the day where I am more inspired. Early in the morning is one of those times that the ideas come rushing forth. In the shower is another occasion, and on such occasions I just simply have to hurry it up so I can get out and jot down the ideas before they disappear. There are a number of times I didn’t quite make it. Some of my characters are a compilation of individuals. They are extracted from my own personal experiences, as well as those of people with which I have interacted. Sometimes inspiration comes from my previous work. Take for example the 622 page novel from The Bolan Chronicles, The REDHOUSE Project. It was my initial intention to only do one series that revolved around the protagonist Frank Bolan. However during the course of composition, there were two additional characters from the book that had an X-factor, a panache …something that said they were more than simply ‘one-hit wonders.’ They deserved to have their own personal journey come to the light of day, so the two additional series, The Angel of Death and The Merchant of death were born. Inspiration can come from wherever and whenever…it only needs that right moment.
Tell us about your writing process.
Here are some specific things that I have found helpful for great storytelling: (1) Make an outline for your vision (2) Put modulation into your script—this is change of pace, slow down the action, inserting some depth in the material, allow time for emotion to build, then proceed along to the point of crescendo. (3) Be natural—you can get into trouble with this especially when dealing with publishing houses and agents. They are looking for grammatical perfect lingo, but real life is not that way. The best storytelling is one where the script reflects real life. So use this aspect of ‘naturalness’ carefully.(4) Grab the heart of the reader by giving them characters they actually care about. If a reader comes to care whether a character lives or dies, etc, then the heart strings of the reader will impel him or her to keep reading. This may even compensate for spotty writing and mediocre artwork. (5) Finally, make sure of your fluency. A lack of fluency in the flow of the story can kill reader’s interest. If your storytelling makes the reader have to think about where he or she is in the overall storyline then you are beginning to lose them. Each segment should connect and the reader should not have to think about where he or she might be. Of course there are limited exceptions. Remember rules are meant to be broken. Just make sure that when you break them, it is for a darn good reason. I am rule breaker…I just am. I like to convey the story in a manner similar to the way our everyday natural communication takes place. Some readers understandably may be bothered by it because they are reading from an intellectual level. I write and attempt to convey the story from an emotional level, and emotions by nature tend to break the laws of what is considered norm. I also try to write as simply as possible.
In doing my graphic novels, the format I use for the most part in the story development is to first do the script for several pages and then flush out the images to compliment it. Occasionally I get an idea in my mind for a visual background and then I will do that first, and eventually work it in within the story. I am working out the cobwebs out of my dormant art, but until then it is my hope the story-line will help carry the day. For me personally my best writing happens early morning or when showering. As you can see the latter is a problem. Typically I walk around with a little pad to scribble down ideas. I will compile a page and then muse over it for a couple days. Meditation leads to improved script and art. Great storytelling does not happen in one shot. Revisions based on meditative musings are the best ways to improve a person’s work. Editing your work may lead to a technical perfect manuscript from a grammatical standpoint but not necessarily to better storytelling. Editing does not put soul into your work.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
What advice would you give other writers?
Write something about a subject you enjoy. It is ok to find authors you love and try to imitate elements of their style…but don’t try to be them. There is only one them…don’t make your own uniqueness irrelevant by relinquishing your very essence into obscurity. There are readers out there who will enjoy you.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Researching ways to make a singular voice heard without the unwanted filters…if you know what i mean. Filters have their place, but even their own views are subjective, may be flawed. Just look at the many movies that have been bashed by critics, but enjoyed by the public.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
It will never end. Novels, Graphic art and cartooning will never die. It is part of human nature to create and express ourselves visually. For example in the graphic art arena, the format in which it is done (pencil on paper or computer) may change or the medium through which it is viewed (newspaper, paperback or on some kind of screen) may change, but the very core of visual expression will continue on as long as we walk the face of the earth.
What are some of the books that have contributed to you as a writer?
As a child growing up, I was a fan of Enid Blyton. I read just about every book she published. The Famous Five, The Magic Faraway Tree Series, The Wishing Chair Series. Then there was The Hardy Boys Series. Some of my favorite writes were Don Pendleton, Louis L’Amour.
What do you use?
What is your secret fantasy?
Ian Fleming wrote a number of his novels near my home, and I am a James Bond fan. My secret fantasy is to team up with Barbara Broccoli to do a companion movie series involving my character from “The ICEMAN Chronicle Series.” There is a cameo appearance in my novel ‘The Presidential Hit—Iceman Genesis’ which I did as homage to my neighbor Ian Fleming. A beta reader, after reading ‘The Presidential Hit,’ said: “Finally, America has its own James Bond.” It is my hope that every reader feels that way. So yeah, step aside ‘Jason Bourne, as well as every other previous contender as America’s premier spy…Roger Artwell has arrived. When hotspots flare up around the world, he is the man sent in to cool things down. He is the CIA’s Iceman.
So what’s up with all the artwork?
I gave up art some twenty years ago because of what was for me a traumatic experience during my childhood. I had drawn a couple issues of an original superhero comic series, and each was about thirty-plus pages of full color. They got stolen. I was so distraught at the loss of my labor of work that I vowed never to draw again. But when I was writing the novel ‘The Redhouse Project,’ I needed a cover and that pushed me into picking up the pencil once again. For the first time I am now drawing on computer. It is a new experience. SO not only am I trying to rekindle my artistic flair, but I am also learning to do so on a new medium. Its slow going, but I am seeing improvement with each new artwork. Frankly I am using everything as an excuse to doodle, hence all the artwork.
Speaking of comics, which ones are your favorites…and are you a Marvel of DC fan?
I’ve got a story for you about that. Years ago I had an original ‘Superman,’ comic. I was about 11 or 12 years old, when my mother needed to start a fire at the back of our property…can you see where I am going with this? Yep, that’s it! She used some of my comics to get the fire going, including my original Superman. So comics are a sore subject with me. I used to read The Mighty Avengers, Thor, Iron Man, Spiderman, Captain American. I never used to read X-Men. From DC I read, Superman, Batman and Robin, Flash, Wonder Woman (tongue drooling), The Super Friends, Aquaman, The Teen Titans and periodically The Green Lantern. I can say that I preferred Marvel over DC or vice versa. I enjoyed the heroes with which I connected in both universes. Marvel is now doing a good job in the film area, and I can’t wait to see DC get it together
What genres do you write?
Drama, Action Adventure
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print