Fiction Fest: Gathering intel from ‘The Gathering’ author, Randy Lindsay

Randy LindsayRandy Lindsay’s debut novel, “The Gathering: End’s Beginning,” was released in January, but that doesn’t mean we won’t share some Fiction Fest love with him just because it’s February.

Lindsay is a native of Arizona. From an early age, his mind traveled in new and unusual directions. His preoccupation with “what if” eventually led him to write speculative fiction. According to his wife everything is a story to Randy. And it is. Although “The Gathering” is his first novel, Randy has been published in a variety of science-fiction and fantasy magazines. He lives in Mesa, Ariz., with his wife and five of his nine children. If you want to find out more you can check him out at RandyLindsay.net.

We’re grateful to Lindsay for taking time to field a few questions in our Fiction Fest hot seat.

How did “The Gathering” come to life?

I like stories about the apocalypse and I normally write fantasy and science-fiction, but I wanted to do something a little more meaningful. After spending some time thinking, and praying, about it I decided to write a story about the turbulent times leading up to the Second Coming [of Jesus Christ]. This is a topic that is frequently on my mind and I felt that if I could leave my readers with a positive message that would stick with them through the events ahead, then I would have accomplished my goal of writing a story with real substance and meaning.

If readers were to take away only one thing from “The Gathering,” what would you want it to be?

Hope. I want my readers to walk away from my story thinking, “If the Williams family can make it through all of that then so can my family.”

What’s your writing routine like?

My daily routine is to rewrite the last few paragraphs I wrote the day before. This warms my mind up and gets it back on track where I left off.

However, if you meant my routine for writing a novel then it starts with an idea. That usually means I’m doing something totally unrelated to writing and I go, “What if?” The initial excitement over the idea is enough to fuel my efforts in deciding the basic premise and setting as well as who the story should be about. I make sure I have the beginning and end firmly in mind. From there, I plot out the entire book and then I write chapter one.

'The Gathering: End's Beginning" by Randy Lindsay.
‘The Gathering: End’s Beginning” by Randy Lindsay.

What’s next in “The Gathering” series?

All the people who have told me to get busy writing the next book will be happy to know that I have started writing “The Fall.” The second book in the series picks up about six months after “The Gathering” ends and jumps right into the thick of the action.

Which band/performer gets your creative juices flowing?

It depends on the character and story I’m working on. I try to match the music to the mood I want in the scene I’m currently writing. If I wanted to instill an off-beat spooky feel to an espionage scene I might loop “Pressure” by Billy Joel for a couple of hourse. For a sense of light-hearted wackiness I’d most likely listen to Weird Al all day.

We love Weird Al! Are the characters in your book based on real-life people?

No. I make them up as I go along. Part of the fun is to see who they really are as I write the story.

What shows qualify as “must-see” TV in your home?

Well, “Castle” of course. But we also love: “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Face Off,” “Elementary,” “Psych,” and my personal favorite–“Top Chef.” As a general rule, shows that are quirky and different tend to catch my family’s attention.

What book, besides your own, is the best you’ve read in the past year?

“Ender’s Game.” I reread it after watching the movie. What a great story and Orson Scott Card did a masterful job of telling it.

What’s the most joy writing has brought you?

Every time I finish a story, whether it be a short story or a novel, I feel a tremendous joy in having created it.

What advice would you like to offer aspiring novelists?

Write – A LOT. Read – A LOT. Study the craft by either taking classes at your local community college or reading a few of the better books on writing. Then join, or start, a writing group that can help you find the flaws in your writing. If you get the chance, sit down with an author and ask them the three things they would do differently if they had known then what they know now.

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