Metl: The Angel Weapon by Scott Wilson Blog Tour!
Metl: The Angel Weapon by Scott Wilson
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Thirteen-year-old Caden Aire spends his days working in the fields and his nights sleeping in a horse stable, all under the watch of Metl—Earth's mysterious and artificial second moon, a looming relic of humanity's lost era.
But Caden's simple life changes when one night, a fiery red X suddenly appears on Metl's surface, and the same red Xs start glowing on his palms.
Now Caden must find the only person who knows what's happening to him, but he doesn't have much time. Metl has started on an impact course with Earth, and to stop it, Caden will have to face both the unsettling truth about his world … and about himself.
Link to Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42390112-metl
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Scott Wilson works as a translator and editor for the Japanese news-entertainment website SoraNews24. He runs ScottWritesStuff, a creative writing livestream on Twitch, and in his free time can be found playing video games and Magic: The Gathering with friends. Metl: The ANGEL Weapon is his first novel. He lives in the Japanese countryside with his wife.
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What inspired you to write your first book?
I was doing an internship in Tokyo during one summer, coming home from a long day of making cold calls to Japanese businesses asking if they wanted to purchase my company's fringe benefits package, so their employees could, among other things, save 10 yen on cans of squid paste. I was crossing the street to my kitchen-table-sized apartment, exhausted and bored out of my mind, when suddenly I got a random idea for a book. It was all I could think about for the rest of the day, and the rest of the internship, and the next four years as I wrote it. Of course, being my first book, it was a hot garbage fire of a mess, but hey, I learned a lot and it started me on my journey.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I definitely do, but I'm not quite sure what it is. I do a creative writing livestream three times a week where myself and viewers write short stories together, so they've really gotten to know my writing style. During one of them, I shared the beginning of a Harry Potter fanfic I wrote when I was in middle school, and my viewers all said the same thing: "If I close my eyes and ignore the terrible parts, it definitely sounds like your writing." Not sure if I should be proud or ashamed of that.
How did you come up with the title?
Originally I was just going to call the book "Metl," after the name of Earth's artificial second moon in the story, but that felt a little too cryptic by itself. So my publisher and I decided to change it to "Metl: The ANGEL Weapon" instead. Not sure if it's a whole lot less cryptic, but it's definitely cooler!
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I'd love it if readers came away from Metl with a healthy sense of skepticism toward authority. We live in a world connected by technology, with the sum of human knowledge available at anyone's fingertips. And yet despite that, we're seeing more and more fear of progress/science every day, with the rise of everything from Flat Earthers to Anti-Vaxxers to climate change denial. I want my readers to critically analyze these groups, and others, and think about who really benefits from their way of thinking.
How much of the book is realistic?
Well, there's a part where a woman destroys an entire town with a water-weapon installed in her palms, there's a robotic spider with seven legs that can talk, and there's a giant metallic second moon in the sky with a glowing red X on it headed toward impact with Earth, so not super realistic? Also the main character's favorite food is bread dumpling soup, and for a thirteen-year-old boy that's pretty unrealistic.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Well, there was that one time I accidentally destroyed an entire town with my own water-weapon palms, so there's that!
What books have most influenced your life most?
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, Harry Potter by JK Rowling, and the manga One Piece by Eiichiro Oda. The Phantom Tollbooth was the first novel I remember reading, and I've read it every year since then, always finding something new in it. The Harry Potter series was essentially all I read in middle school and high school, just rotating through the books over and over again, so the style really baked itself into me. And One Piece is, simply put, the greatest story I've ever read. It may look like a silly pirate adventure aimed at young boys, but it's anything but. The incredible world building, conflict, stakes, and my personal favorite, the soul-crushing character backstories, have made One Piece the story that I admire the most.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Eiichiro Oda, the author/artist of One Piece. Ever since I first read it, I wanted to write my own version of One Piece one day, with characters going on an adventure in a crazy world. And that's exactly what I did with Metl: The ANGEL Weapon.
What book are you reading now?
I'm reading two books: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee and An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green. Pachinko follows the generational story of a family in early 1900s Japan-occupied Korea, and it is simultaneously heartbreaking and hopeful in ways I never knew possible. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is about a young woman who discovers a samurai statue in the middle of New York, makes a video on it, and goes viral. It has one of the most engrossing first chapters I've read in a long time. April May's voice is so strong and unique that you can't help but get sucked in and go along for the ride with her.
What are your current projects?
I just turned in the manuscript to Metl's sequel to my publisher, and I'm currently working on the third book in the series. Fingers crossed that I get to keep writing them!
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
That would have to be my writing coach Charlene Smith. I learned more about writing during a two-hour session with her than I had in my eight years of writing leading up to that point. She was one of the first to see Metl's opening chapter, and one of the first to tell me how bad it was. It was thanks to her feedback, suggestions, and support that the story exists in its current form today.
Do you see writing as a career?
I've visited at least three shines here in Japan and donated 10 yen at each, so we'll see. It's out of my hands now!
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
As of right now, no. But I'm sure that when I take a look at the physical book in my hands and read through it, I'll see at least fifteen things that I'm horrified made it to print.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Back in the year 2000, 13-year-old Scott had a big problem: the fifth Harry Potter book was taking too long to come out. So I was inspired to write my own fanfiction version of the Order of the Phoenix… and a fanfiction sixth book too… and half of a seventh, because when you don't have friends in middle school you have a lot of free time.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure! Here's the opening spread to Metl: The ANGEL Weapon, complete with the gorgeous illustration by Monika Viktoria:
Who designed the covers?
The cover was originally drawn by Monika Viktoria and then touched up digitally by Danielle Doolittle. I think both of them did an incredible job!
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I get caught up in the big-picture stuff so often—the overarching plots, backstories, and hidden motives—that I quite often forget to describe the little things as they are now. Thankfully I have an amazing wife and mother who are more than happy to tell me when I've neglected to say if a character is a man, woman, or cyclops.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part was probably finding the middle ground between giving away too much information and not enough information. There's a lot of mystery in the book, and I wanted there to be intrigue, but no so much that it frustrated the reader. Hopefully I found a decent balance!
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
If your goal is traditional publication, then writing the query letter and synopsis BEFORE you write the book is a great way to go about things. You can create an irresistible query, and then write the book that lives up to it. That's what I did with Metl, and it was the first of my six novels to get any sort of agent/publisher response.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write your query letter first! Or, if you've already started your book, write it now. You may discover that your story is lacking conflict, stakes, or something else that could hinder its chances of getting published. There's nothing worse than pouring months/years of your life into a book, only to be met with radio silence and rejections when it comes time to send it out to agents.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Don't forget to SMASH that "like" button and WHACK that subscribe lever and RING that notification bell and... oh wait, books aren't YouTube videos. Uh, just enjoy the book at your own pace then!
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
Caden, the main character, is a stable boy, so I learned a LOT about horses. Thankfully my wife grew up with horses and even knew a horse doctor I could ask questions to, but man, I feel like I should go on horse Jeopardy.
What genre do you consider your book(s)?
It's tough to pick a genre for Metl. It's kind of sci-fi, since it takes place in the future, but since all technology is illegal, there's not a ton of the usual sci-fi stuff. If I could use any genre I wanted though, I'd say "shonen," the Japanese genre of manga/anime that is aimed toward kids. "Shonen" stories usually have a starry-eyed protagonist who, over the course of the series, gets stronger, makes friends, and overcomes more and more powerful adversaries. Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, My Hero Academia, and more are all examples of "shonen," and I think an argument could be made for Metl too.
Do you ever experience writer's block?
I am not a great writer. I am constantly shocked and impressed by the writing ability of other authors and I wish I could write like them. But, to make up for that lack of skill, there is one thing I am extremely good at: making a schedule and sticking to it. I've never really experienced writer's block, because I force myself to write every day. Some days are certainly better/easier than others, but I've never had a blockage so bad that I've been unable to continue, and I feel pretty lucky about that.
Do you write an outline before every book you write?
Oh yes. I am a compulsive outliner. If I don't know the ending to a story, then I can't start writing it. That being said, I do like to leave some room for discovery as a I go along. There are a ton of cool things in Metl that weren't in the outline, but appeared out of necessity or as a spur-of-the-moment idea while writing.
Have you ever hated something you wrote?
When I first finished the sequel to Metl that I just sent out to my publisher, I hated it. It was a confusing, complicated mess, and I had no idea how to simplify it. It took a full month of yelling at the manuscript, apologizing to it, and banging my head against the wall to even just figure out what to do, then another two months to implement it. That process was miserable, but the outcome—a sequel that I now love—was completely worth it.
What is your favourite theme/genre to write about?
I love the speculative genre. Anything that takes something about our world, twists it a bit, and then explores the ripple effects has my immediate attention.
What are your expectations for the book?
I hope that the people who read it like it, and that I can continue to write more books in the Metl series!
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