Friday, December 16, 2016

Felix Hartmann: Author of Dark Age, on Writing His Debut Novel

Felix Hartmann talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about his book, Dark Age.

“The best way to make somebody think, to expand their paradigm, is by telling them a story and then making them immersed in it, and then they start to question.” ~Felix Hartmann

Felix is an immigrant who came to the United States in 2008, and even before then, in his native Germany, he loved writing stories as a child, recalling that he rewrote J. R. R. Tolkien’s works as a child and had been writing stories since then. He started writing Dark Age in 2012, originally as a video game which he would create in conjunction with his programmer brother, and it was influenced by the Arab Spring that took place in that year. As Felix continued to develop the story, he got more and more involved in it, so much so that his storymaking ran far ahead of his brother’s capacity to develop it. Felix counts Shakespeare, George Orwell, T. A. Barron (who replied to an e-mail Felix sent him) and Mary Shelley as his literary influences.

Felix is attracted to books that make him think, hence is being attracted to the kind of literature that others would call “dark,” as he doesn’t believe in stories where the good guy is all good and where the evil guy is all evil, but are rather complex individuals whose flaws and strengths show why they are who they are. Felix remarks that dark themes enable a more complex and thorough investigation of humans as they are, enabling him to challenge the reader’s paradigms, rather than the somewhat shallow treatment they would get in a sunny kind of storyline, and also points out that, in all his reviews to date, nobody has commented that Dark Age is “just like (this book).”

Where writing the book is concerned, Felix began with a bare outline and then let the story grow based on that outline, giving an interaction with some villagers in his book as an example, as that scene wasn’t included in his original outline. He mentions that the first draft is likely not to be the way the story will finally turn out to be, and that authors should know the beginning, know the end and then think two or three steps ahead. He says that he did at least a dozen rounds of editing and that the edits should revolve around the needs of the story.

Felix doesn’t believe that one should have just one passion, but should have several, and it shows in his life in that, in addition to being passionate about writing, he is also presently in his last year as a college student and is setting up his own company. He also remarks that writing a novel in his second language was a good way to practice English, noting that his first draft had a lot of errors in it, where the English language is concerned. He also notes that English is the best market to write a book in, noting that he has readers in places like Japan and Africa. He encourages writers to go ahead and put their books out in the world and remarks that, had he put out Dark Age two years previously, he would have gotten good feedback that would enable him to bring out a better second book that much sooner. Felix decries the attitude that reading should only be done in school, pointing out that reading books enables the expansion of the mind.

Felix Hartmann’s website for his book, Dark Age, is

Purchase from Amazon: Dark Age by Felix Hatrmann

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