Ted Huntington makes his return to the literary world, with the unveiling of "Doug Maxwell", a new kind of supernatural superhero for the real world.
Huntington has had a successful business career, holding several marketing executive positions in the insurance and financial services worlds. However, he has never lost his passion to create unforgettable fictional characters. His first novel, the young adult science-fiction adventure, "Blast Off to Ecaps", originally published in 2007, tells the tale of a twelve-year-old genius whisked to a planet in a far-off galaxy that is the mirror image of Earth. Huntington followed up “Ecaps” with a sequel, "Blast Off to Earth". He is currently developing a follow-up to “Doug Maxwell,” about another unique supernatural superhero; and he is working on a screenplay adaptation of “Doug Maxwell.” Huntington also dabbles in poetry and is in the process of collaborating with other acclaimed poets on an anthology about “positivity.”
The New York native currently resides in Colorado. Huntington enjoys his Les Paul guitar, his fur-babies, and spending time with his human children, Katie, T.J., and Jenna, who he calls “his greatest creation.”
Interview with Ted Huntington
TTJ: When did you start writing?
Ted: I was quite young. In second grade I wrote a play called "Blast Off to Ecaps" that was performed by the class, fast-forward about 38 years, and I turned “Ecaps” into a young adult novel.
TTJ: What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?
Ted: Write and read – a lot! Read a variety of authors and styles. Absorb everything. And as Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” So, if you want to become a serious writer, you must put in the time, every day. In addition, find yourself good beta readers. Accept advice from those who see your work from their own perspective.
TTJ: What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Ted: First and foremost, the story is the key. It must be a story with a great beginning, middle, and end. It must be imaginative and original. Second, everything must connect and make sense. In other words, edit, edit, edit. My third rule is that you must create great characters – lovable, flawed heroes, and antagonists that the reader will detest. And personally, I like a story that flows smoothly. I do not enjoy looking up rare, complicated words and so many plot twists that you can’t remember which end is up.
TTJ: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Ted: I have always considered myself a writer. I have written the news when I was a broadcast journalist. I have written newsletters, articles, blogs, advertising copy, web content, presentations, and scripts when I was a marketing executive. Of course, I have written novels, poems, and short stories, as well. It is only recently that I considered myself a full-time novelist.
TTJ: What does success mean to you?
Ted: Success means one is admired and respected. That does not matter if it’s in the corporate world, as a parent, as an educator, or as an author. Sure, mass sales and financial freedom are cherries on the cake, if one is so fortunate to reach that level, but admiration and respect are the two main ingredients to success.
TTJ: When you’re writing an emotionally draining (or sexy, or sad, etc.) scene, how do you get in the mood?
Ted: There are elements of my real life in all my novels, so I put myself into any scene, at some level. The emotional scenes are no exception. I put myself into that moment. One scene that comes to mind is a sad scene in “Doug Maxwell” that has to do with Doug’s mother, Dawn. I was tearing up as I wrote that scene. Writing poems are even more personal to me, because all my poetry is a slice of my life, and they all come from an emotional experience.
TTJ: How do you handle literary criticism?
Ted: I have to put my ego aside when it comes to my stories. Everyone must be open to constructive advice, whether it’s regarding the story theme, character development, flow of the novel, etc. Of course, the final product is the author’s, but it is vital writers find trusted mentors who are willing to provide thoughtful, helpful advice.
TTJ: What was your favorite part, and your least favorite part, of the publishing journey?
Ted: I simply love creating a great character. It is akin to creating life – it is almost God-like. The least favorite part is sales. I love my stories, and I so want the world to love them too. Connecting my novels to the world is always a challenge.
TTJ: Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?
Ted: I am currently working on a poetry anthology with a few other poets. The theme is “positivity,” which I believe is the most important thing the world needs right now. I am writing the sequel to Doug Maxwell. The working title is Charlie Estrella, and that should be completed this fall.
TTJ: What books or authors have most influenced your own writing? And why?
Ted: The two authors who have inspired me most are Ernest Hemingway and Mitch Albom. I love how Hemingway could create such interesting tales, with minimal description. All of Mitch Albom’s books have such heart. I love how his stories all tug on your emotions.
TTJ: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? And Why?
Ted: I have written three-and-a-half novels: “Blast Off to Ecaps,” “Blast Off to Earth,” “Doug Maxwell,” and the book-in-progress, “Charlie Estrella.” I have a warm place in my heart for “Ecaps,” since that was my first novel, and it began as a play that I wrote as an eight-year-old.
TTJ: How do you do research for your books?
Ted: Research is on-going as I write. It is constant. Thank goodness for the Internet! There are some days when I spend most of my time researching certain elements of a book.
TTJ: Have any of your books been made into audiobooks? What are the challenges in producing an audio book?
Ted: My most recent novel, “Doug Maxwell,” is in the process of being re-published by Next Chapter Publications, and they will create an audio-book version. I had strongly considered an audio book for “Doug,” and thought about doing it myself. I have a broadcasting background, and I do a lot of book readings. (Btw... I have a little side business doing book readings for other authors.) But I needed to find the resources for the audio book production, so I am ecstatic that Next Chapter is handling that for me. I had submitted an audition request on ACX for audio book readers. The challenge was finding someone who could do different character voices, and who had the unique voice for the book. It was difficult to find the voice that worked best for the book.
TTJ: Tell us about your first published book? What was the journey like?
Ted: “Blast Off to Ecaps” just flowed. It took me just three weeks to write it. I have never had that experience since. There were some days when I would crank out 20 pages in one sitting. “Blast Off to Ecaps” and its sequel “Blast Off to Earth” are available on Lulu.com.
TTJ: Can you share with us something about your current book that isn’t in the blurb?
Ted: “Doug Maxwell” was inspired by Marvel comics and movies, which are popular and entertaining. But I started to think that they are all virtually the same story, with a different superhero costume. Doug Maxwell is a new kind of superhero – one who uses his mystical powers in a real-world setting, such as professional sports. I wondered how the world would react to a superhero athlete, and what challenges he would encounter.
TTJ: What is the key theme and/or message in the book?
Ted: The overall theme of “Doug Maxwell” is to find your true destiny. Find out what inspires you and what gifts you are meant to offer to the world. Do not get distracted by obstacles that prevent you from reaching your destiny.
TTJ: What do you hope your readers take away from this book?
Ted: I want readers to love Doug. He is a superhero, but he has real human flaws and faces such relenting opposition, that it is impossible not to root for him.
TTJ: What is the significance of the title?
Ted: I waffled back and forth between “The Storm” and “Doug Maxell.” In the end, I chose “Doug” because it reflects every man. It is a simple name and a simple title, and I hope that every man can relate to the struggles Doug faces to attain his destiny.
TTJ: What is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel?
Ted: Yes, a sequel is in the works, "Charlie Estrella". The recurring “characters” from "Doug Maxwell" are the Storm and the guardian angel who bestows the heroes with their supernatural gifts. I thought it would be interesting to create a series of stories, not based on one ongoing protagonist, but on the “thing” that impacts those main characters.
TTJ: Your story is set in rural Nebraska. Why did you choose that as the setting for your book?
Ted: Excellent question! I wanted Doug to come from humble beginnings in middle America. The mystical lake on the family farm had to be in a remote setting as well. I think it fits well for somebody who struggles with being a superhero who ends as such a famous superstar uncomfortable with fame. "Doug Maxwell" begins his life in rural Nebraska, and his exploits take him around the world. He is a two-sport superstar, dominating the worlds of baseball and football, and his travels take him to Greece, Germany, and Italy. It is truly an epic, worldwide adventure.
TTJ: If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?
Ted: That is an interesting question. My screenwriting partner and I have developed an adaptation of “Doug Maxwell,” which is currently getting some interest in Hollywood. I have imagined Patrick Schwarzenegger (Arnold’s boy) playing the title role, with Scarlett Johansson as his mother, Dawn, Bradley Cooper as his father, Bob, and Karen Gillan as his girlfriend, Mary Elizabeth.
Books by Ted Huntington
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