Interview with Ryan Kirk, Author of The Gate Beyond Oblivion

24 Mar 2020

What can you tell us about your new release, The Gate Beyond Oblivion?

The Gate Beyond Oblivion is a book that I’ve been waiting to write for years. It’s an enormous world on the cusp of a magical revolution. The story follows an injured warrior and a young thief who find themselves trapped in the middle of a war that has been raging unseen for decades. United by tragedy they must race to uncover the secrets at the heart of their empire.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I’m not sure I can point to any one inspiration. As a child and young man I consumed books from a wide variety of genres, from techno thrillers to science fiction and fantasy. Some of my earliest memories and keepsakes are these small (horrible) stories I wrote on the back of scrap paper my mother gave to me. They were essentially ridiculous action scenes copied from Saturday morning cartoons with perhaps a paragraph of exposition in between.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

That’s a tough one. This list is certainly not inclusive:

The Count of Monte Cristo
Snow Crash
Ender’s Game
Deadhouse Gates

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

That’s actually pretty easy – I’m currently the host of a podcast called The Storied Lives Podcast. The author I’m most looking forward to interviewing is Fonda Lee. I want to know her process for creating a deep and rich family dynamic among her characters in the Green Bone Saga.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

I’ll always love the first draft. There’s something magical about tackling the blank page and creating a world, characters, and stories. I’ve grown to love editing over the years, but the first draft will always be my favorite.

What is a typical day like for you?

I’m a full-time author and a work-from-home father with a young girl at home. I typically wake up pretty early (around 5 am) and write until the rest of the family is up (about 9). Then I put the work away and spend time with my three-year-old daughter. We’ll play and cook and read together until nap. Nap time gives me a little bit more time to do the administrative tasks of being a writer. After she wakes I put the work away for good and enjoy family time until bed.

What scene in The Gate Beyond Oblivion was your favorite to write?

I really enjoyed the final conflicts at the end of the book, but because I want to avoid spoilers, there are a few near the beginning I really enjoyed. The thief, Alena, begins the story comfortably living at home with her family. The scenes between her and her father, in particular, were a joy to write. (As a new parent, I’m completely captivated by father-daughter relationships in all forms of storytelling). They have a strong, healthy relationship that was fun to put on the page.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

Not particularly. I’ve been strongly influenced by Stoic philosophy, as well as a study of Zen over the years. I wouldn’t say I’m an adherent to either, but they’ve both shaped the way I look at the world.

Ryan Kirk is the author of the new book The Gate Beyond Oblivion.

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