Meet the Author: R. M. Huffman

Do you wonder what life was like for Old Testament folk like Adam and Eve? I always wondered what they did all day long when they lived for hundreds of years. If you stand with creationism then you don’t always have your views represented in mainstream bookstores. Quite frankly, I haven’t run across a lot of great literature that inspires me when it comes to exploring what life may have been like during the time before The Flood until now.

I recently had the chance to read Leviathan (my friend Meredith’s husband Mark Huffman’s newest book). I really enjoyed it because it’s very different from what I normally read. As someone who’s an aspiring writer I wanted to visit with Mark and pick his brain about his writing process. I thought y’all might like to get in on this. Enjoy!Leviathan cover

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

I’m an anesthesiologist in the Dallas area, and my wife and I have four awesome kids, ages 7 to tiny baby.R. M. Huffman

How did you become interested in writing? What is your heart behind your writing projects? What other kinds of projects do you enjoy?

I’ve always been an avid reader, but my creative outlet, up to a few years ago, was drawing (I did freelance illustration and concept art in medical school and a little afterwards). When I had the idea for the book that ended up being LEVIATHAN, I sort of just started putting down words to see what happened, so it wasn’t as much my becoming interested in writing as it was that writing was the only means I had to get my thoughts into story form.

With LEVIATHAN, and the next two books in the Antediluvian Legacy series, I wanted to write a story based on Biblical text that didn’t seem, like so much Christian fiction I’ve read, corny and preachy. The brief descriptions of the pre-flood world in Genesis – angels and humans procreating, nine-hundred-year lifespans, half-angel giants – provided a perfect, virtually-unexplored setting for a fantasy-style epic that could stay totally true to the Scriptural text. As far as other projects: I’ve written some short stories about a vampire doctor which greatly entertained me, and I have a couple ongoing drawing projects, including providing the pencil illustrations included in LEVIATHAN.

You’re an anesthesiologist. How in the WORLD do you find time to write?

I can’t take naps! At least once a week during residency I was home during the day post-call, which meant I was too tired to actually go out and do anything, but I couldn’t actually sleep. Sitting on the couch and writing on my laptop turned out to be a relaxing, happy-medium activity, and eventually I did enough of it that it became an entire book.

Tell us about your journey with this book. How did you decide on this particular project? What obstacles did you have to overcome? What, if any, surprises came along the way? Was anything easier than you thought it would be? What were the major milestones in bringing it to completion?

Honestly, I’m still a little surprised an actual book came out of the process. This story is the only reason I wanted to write at all, so it isn’t like I had to choose among ideas. I started out with all my major plot points in my head, so my only major obstacle was finding time among my “real life” responsibilities to put them on paper and connect them all. Finishing the first draft was the biggest milestone, I think, but from there to having a published novel took just as much time and probably as much work, although spread out among other people. The only thing that truly surprised me about writing was how I discovered to get past writer’s block: KEEP WRITING. It’s almost as if the characters can figure out what happens next if you let them.

I was impressed with your vocabulary. I was glad to have the electronic copy because I had to look up SO many words. I liked it though, because the book was about such an old, old story and the language supported that feel. Did you already know all those words or did you need some inspiration?

I’ve always had a pretty extensive vocabulary, but it certainly expanded while I was doing research for the book, primarily in the areas of various cultural mythologies and extinct fauna. My vocabulary comes mostly from reading, mostly from books like mine, so maybe this book will embiggen* other people’s mental word banks too.

*not a real word, but I’m pretty sure authors are allowed to make them up

And where did you come up with all your characters’ names?

That’s a tough job, actually. I didn’t care to do what I often see authors in this genre do to create original “fantasy” names, which seems to be either 1) use unpronounceable consonant combinations and a lot of silent “h”s (Dvorkh!) or 2) add lots of apostrophes (Dv’o’rkh!). I had two starting places that helped, besides the characters taken directly from Genesis. Extrabiblical books like the Book of Jubilees and the Book of Enoch mention members of Noah’s extended family and names of fallen angels, so I used many of those straight-up, and once I had enough examples of that type of name, I feel like I was able to craft “Biblical-sounding” names that would fit properly into a story set in pre-flood Genesis. I also based some names off mythology – sort of a fictional version of (real-life example) “Thor” has been traced back to “Thrace,” which has been traced to “Tiras,” a close descendant of Noah.

What do you want to inspire in your readers with Leviathan?

An appreciation for the trustworthiness of Biblical history and a desire to go back to all the Sunday School stories – Noah, Joseph, Joshua, Samson, David – and read the Biblical accounts. Game of Thrones has nothing on a straight-up reading of the life of David, and it’s actually true history.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

First: just write! Your book will never get done if you don’t, but it will eventually if you do, even if it’s just a bit at a time. Persevere! Second: write something that entertains you, because the chances are decent that you (and maybe a few family members) will be the only one who’ll read it (although with Amazon and the ease of self-publishing, that’s less true now than it’s ever been). If you write what you want to, you’ll be much more inclined to finish a book that can be let out into the world to find its audience.

If you, like I am, are intrigued by this topic, please click on the links provided and order yourself and 50 of your closest friends a copy! 😉 Mark has written some other short stories that are pretty entertaining, if I do say so myself. Read Leviathan and give me your thoughts below in the comments section. Blessings!

Leviathan by Huffman, R. M.

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