Today it is Adam, aka Wrustie, who graces our halls with his shadow. He shares his insights with us about what can be gained from reading and writing literature and what it is to identify with heroes and villains.
To find out about upcoming releases and take a trip behind the eyes of Wrustie visit him here
Follow WrustWrites on twitter. There will be the typical social media buttons here once I’ve been onto my desktop.
ULT: Hey Adam!
Thank you for agreeing to feature on Unchained Literature. Unchained Literature likes to explore how literature can support mental health and it’s clear from your website that this is a passion of yours too.
Typically I like to find out about when a person started writing and why, but I’ve already read about the illegible scribbles of your earlier years and what it was to grow up with a visual artist around.
Your website mentions fantasy and horror are your favourite genres to write. What do you think makes these genres stand out for you?
WRU: Yeah, so as you mentioned, I grew up with a visual artist, and to be honest he’s always been more drawn to the darker artists like Dave McKean and Giger, so I’ve always been around that darkness and horror vibe. I guess it was just natural for me to go that way, but really, I think horror draws such strong feelings when done well – that inexorable fear that builds and builds is just so forceful. I’ve always been imagining scary creatures and monsters, and maybe I have a sadistic desire to see my characters struggle a little bit with things I would run from. Growing up with a creative father figure, who is drawn to those things, I saw a lot from an early age. At the age of six(ish) I was obsessed with Alien and I still am. My real draw to fantasy is just escapism from depression and loneliness – I grew up in a pretty rough area with an over-protective mom, so I wasn’t really allowed to do much. Television was terrible then, so it wasn’t like you could get lost in a streaming service or really spend the time getting to know characters because you’d only get them for an hour or thirty minutes a week, so my real escapes were fantasy video games and books. Sit down, spend some time with virtual or imagined friends. I guess that sounds sad, but without company I’d have gone crazy… maybe I have. Have I?
ULT: There was already themed inspiration around you from a young age then and so it makes total sense that you might find comfort in slight macabre tales and also a whole lot of freedom in the adventures had betwixed zee pages.
Hard relate on writing to escape difficult feelings and experiences.
Not sad at all and your quirks seem to be your strengths in many ways as seen from the outside. Embrace your madness.
In previous interactions we had you mentioned growing up and writing characters as friends, are there any characters that come to mind immediately? what can you tell us about them and what they did for you?
WRU: God, imaginary friends. I thought we weren’t supposed to admit to having them. But yeah, less my own; more other people’s. I have made characters that I would potentially consider friends were they real, but I am not that unhinged. I’m not going to pop round to dinner with a character from my work in progress as if he’s capable of eating steak and chips, you know? But, when it’s someone else’s, I’m still not going to do that, but it’s easier to see them as real because they didn’t go through an intense creative process in my mind. They were ready-made when I crossed paths with them, just like real-life friends, so it’s easier to read a book or play a game or watch a show, and imagine those are real, and you’re a very real part of their journey. Over the years I’ve had incredible journeys with Arutha of Krondor from Raymond E. Feist, Kvothe from Patrick Rothfuss, Kylar Stern from Brent Weeks, the many faces and characters in Game of Thrones, etc., and it’s great because just like in real life, you meet personalities you like and personalities you don’t, and it feels authentic.
ULT: Another thing I noticed while mooching was that world building is another writing skill you enjoy developing. What makes world building special for you?
WRU: Yeah, world-building is such a massive part of the story. Sure, some books are set on Earth and are just as awesome, but for me, real escapism is elsewhere, you know? I think my real fascination with world-building began with Brian Jacques’ Redwall books, because it took me away from my every day, boring existence. Then, as I got older, I moved towards Raymond E. Feist and David Eddings, who are masterful world-builders. Even now, if I can get invested in a world, I’m automatically engrossed. I recently spent some time in Peter-Shaun Tyrell’s book, The Oath & Blood Price, which immediately had an engaging and fleshes out world, and it took me there. That’s a magic I need in books. I’ve spent so much time in other worlds it’d only be right to make my own for people to hopefully explore and love and find a haven in.
ULT: You seem to show a strong preference for meeting characters over writing them, is that an accurate deduction?
Or am I being a bit reductive there?
WRU: Not particularly – I’m invested in both but creating is different to simply enjoying someone else’s. I’m conscious that characters that I create will always be creations to me, very real ones, but still creations. I’ll never have the opportunity to get to know them in the way a reader does, because I’m creating them rather than accepting them as they are presented. They’re special to me, but I’ll always remember the process I went through creating them, which gives them a sense of unreality. Writer’s like to speak about their characters as if they’re real beings to them, and I’m not that way. I’m the architect, not the person who lives in the house.
ULT: Escapism both for others and for yourself is mentioned on your website too, do you feel that reading or writing literature offers you a greater sense of escapism?
WRU: Yeah, definitely. I mean, people read for different things; some read for enlightenment or advice, some read to find inspiration, some read nonfiction to learn, and some read for escapism. For me it’s to find a hole to disappear down. When I find a world to disappear into, I barely come up for breath. A book is like a holiday, and when you disappear into a good one you don’t feel present in your life, and there’s definitely a sense of magic in that. Real teleportation. Almost therapy.
ULT: Your sentiments of wanting to share your worlds to provide others a similar escape is very commendable.
I’m sure with how well read you are that you are primed to create beautiful and deadly scapes and much between.
Do you have a world you’ve written or theorised to be written that you might share with us?
WRU: Oh, man. Yeah, I’ve created several. None I’m ready to share just yet, but one is being fleshed out this week, and I’m confident in saying that it’s nothing like anything anyone will have experienced. It’s alien even to me and playing in it is really bringing some new creative inspiration.
ULT: Do you gain any other mental health benefits from writing?
WRU: For sure! Escapism is the best thing to combat depression for me personally. I spend a lot of time alone because that’s my nature, but escapism allows me to do that without becoming completely lonely because I’m with friends, on an adventure, or doing something extraordinary. And I can do all of that without being social. That’s pretty special. A special avenue for a lonely mind.
ULT: Now you’re speaking to my soul yes! To have experiences and to be lost in them with the characters without the social outage required to do anything even a fraction as cool in real life… the dream
WRU: Yeah, I feel that. I’m not the best with social life because I just find being around groups of people very loud and tiring, especially with all the medical issues and deafness, so when I get solitude where characters speak to me in text format I’m most happy.
ULT: I think for sure in what I’ve witnessed of your online presence and our earlier questions that I kind of sensed your want/need (delete as appropriate) to be immersed which very much leads my mind to fantasy, horror, crime, and the like genred fictions and as you’ve mentioned, the gloriously well crafted realms of those authors.
Would you say the characters you have written or read, or their adventures, have helped you to learn more about who you are and where you’ve been?
WRU: Oh, absolutely. Definitely some of the characters that I’ve had the chance to share in the journeys of over the years. Several as children. The classic hero tales of Martin the Warrior and the following characters brought to life by Brian Jacques were always a very personal message of support. In the way that Martin would appear as a spirit to guide Matthias on his quest to strength, he’d appear to offer support to me when I was lonely, or dealing with bullies, or whatever, so yes, I think Martin especially has a lot to answer for because I feel he’s at least partly responsible for my inability to suffer anything in silence, often to my detriment.
Other than that, there are characters I associate with strongly – Arutha conDoin from Raymond E. Feist’s books. I felt his personality strongly as someone prone to dark moods and brooding, but whereas when I was growing up I felt they were a negative thing, Arutha taught me that they don’t hinder other aspects such as bravery, passion, and commitment to the cause, and such moods can be channelled towards productivity, or used as a means to get things done.
There are also the characters you aspire to, much like the two mentioned, but more generally in fiction. I see dark, brooding characters in a way that most people would view Iron Man or Captain America – I love anti-heroes and characters that help despite dealing with mountains of personal mental issues, so I can be grabbed by anyone with any depth. I responded well to Dorian and Durzo Blint from Brent Weeks’ The Night Angel trilogy, and to Detective Josephus Miller in James S.A. Corey’s series, The Expanse.
With characters I’ve written myself I think it’s a bit more difficult because I often channel things from myself through to my characters, which is why I often like writing the antagonism – I think it would be quite easy for someone like myself, an empath, to fall to villainy or evil when they’re constantly beaten down by society, and it’s something I explore often in my writing.
ULT: That sounds like a great way to bring your characters to life and make them more real, to fill them with real emotions.
I think from this message that you have gained several good qualities – speaking up against adversity and taking strength from knowing one trait doesn’t cancel another, particularly.
Characters who face adversity and yet still do what they can to heal and rectify the world around them are, in my opinion, very real. It’s easy to lean into darkness and become lost in it but to be in darkness and reach for the light takes the effort of a good heart feeding good intentions. Which leads into what your final point is saying. Leaning into corruption becomes easier when surrounded by pessimism, ego-centric perceptions, and poor treatment especially for those who feel a lot and subconsciously take a lot from reading others.
ULT: When you write the antagonism are you gaining emotional release or developing awareness of how not to be by characters consequence?
WRU: Quite possibly, but I like to think of myself as more of a villain anyway. I always think they’re more interesting characters, so maybe it’s just vanity in that I want to be interesting. It can very much be a form of release, too. I think it’s natural as someone who suffers with depression and anxiety as well as a deep-seated resentment for society to potentially pour those things into my antagonists, because it gives them an angle, a reason, and a potential backstory. I’m not interested in evil for evil’s sake – there always has to be a reason that someone turned out that way, and those characters that you detest but actually kind of understand are the best, because they teach you about yourself. Like the school bully who does it because he’s bullied by his father at home, or the vengeful spurned individual ridiculed by society. There has to be something, and as someone with several bodily “malfunctions” like having to wear an eyepatch all day (like a villain) I’ve certainly felt that scorn from certain members of society, including the total disregard of the government, so I think I’m able to characterise those angers quite well, take them out of myself, and instil them in a fictional character.
ULT: Do you have any upcoming releases our readers can be excited about? It sounds like you will be bringing to life plenty for people to get their teeth into…
Well, I’ve been working on several things. Rarely am I able to focus on a single thing and really plough ahead and finish it. I’m a much more chaotic writer than most. I don’t feel that “writer’s guilt” when I don’t write every day, or even for a week or two; I just know that when I do, it’ll count. So, I’ve recently done some fairly successful non-fiction pieces regarding my own life and video gaming, the main being a piece entitled Dark Souls & Me; a deep-dive into how Dark Souls pulled me back from the edge and made me open up to accepting help. Other than that, I’m currently writing about two other video games and characters,and their crutch-like effect on me.
Other than that, I’m working on several pieces of fiction; one being my main novel of which I’ve released very little information on except for a short(ish) excerpt on my website; another being a Pokemon Horror where I’m working alongside a fantastic visual artist named J.R. Coffron, but again that’s another one that’s going to be a long ways down the road because we want it to really capture both the nostalgia and adventure of the original Pokemon shows and games, but couple it with a realistic sense of worldly evil, corruption, and grit… plus monsters. It’s very fun.
But, this year I am releasing a short story of around one hundred to one hundred and twenty pages on Amazon, which will be available on both Kindle and in paper. The book is entitled Murder the Crows, and it’s a dark satirical children’s tale aimed at adults, in which an isolated and lonely little girl keeps a dead body under her bed to keep her company. I hope you’ll keep your eye out for that.
As always, I’m available on Twitter and Instagram under @gravelordwrust and I’m under the same on Twitch! Can you tell I’m a little bit obsessed with Dark Souls at all? I hope not…
ULT: Fantastic! I will certainly be keeping an eye out. Thank you for being so open, I’m certain our readers will appreciate it.
To keep up to date with Wrusts releases or to find out more about what he is about jab the buttons below.