American novelist Hugh Howey is not only an accomplished writer, he’s also a savvy self-publisher. The science-fiction writer will meet with fans at the upcoming Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIBE), which runs from Feb. 5 to Feb. 10.
Howey will be in town to sign copies of the novels in his popular WOOL series of novels, including the latest volume titled Dust. And he says he hopes to climb Taipei 101 during his 4-day visit here.
Originally self-published, the first novel in the series went mainstream when a major publisher picked it up for release after Howey used social media platforms to push the book uphill. There’s currently an option on the table for a movie deal with Hollywood.
“We’ve signed 31 foreign translation deals to date. The movie hasn’t been greenlit yet, but a screenplay has been written, and producers Ridley Scott and Steve Zaillian have optioned the rights with a major film studio attached ... But I’ll believe it’s real when I’m in the theater with a bucket of popcorn in my lap,” Howey told the Taipei Times by e-mail.
WOOL has been translated into Chinese for the Taiwanese market and the book has sold well, according to Gray Tan (譚光磊), a literary agent who was instrumental in bringing the book here in translation.
Howey met Tan in the usual way — by serendipity and a connection.
“Gray Tan has worked with my literary agent on other projects,” he said. “To have someone who has translated great works of fiction like The Game of Thrones, representing my work in Taiwan is a huge honor.”
When asked if this would be his first trip to Taiwan, Howey said: “First time. And I can’t wait to try the food.”
Tan says sci-fi novels are not big sellers in Taiwan, despite the fact that sci-fi movies starring top Hollywood stars do very well.
Howey’s novels have been presented to Taiwanese readers not as sci-fi books but just very good reads, without any emphasis on the sci-fi theme, and the books have resonated with readers that way, Tan said.
Howey says he is excited to meet his Taiwanese fans, adding that it “blows my mind” that his books have received brisk sales in Taiwan.
WRITING DOWN THE BONES
Regarding advice for writers in Taiwan, he said that the best advice one can give any writer is to spend more time writing.
“It’s important to read a lot, to observe the world around us, to come up with amazing stories and tell them with all our heart. If you find yourself getting out of bed early in the morning before you go to work, because you have to get another chapter into your novel, there’s a chance you’re writing something special. These are the stories we should all seek out,” he said.
Asked how he felt about WOOL helping to make sci-fi more acceptable as a literary genre in Taiwan, Howey said: “If that ends up being the case, it would be an incredible honor. I have to give a lot of credit to the fantastic translation and the work my publisher in Taiwan has put into this project. It’s all been quite amazing.”
For complete details about the Taipei International Book Exhibition, go to: tibe.org.tw (Chinese and English)