Interview with Wayne Thomas Batson

(First in a series of interviews with the Motiv8 Fantasy Fiction Tour authors.)


Wayne Thomas Batson ( is a middle school teacher and author. He has written five novels, three in the fantasy genre and two about pirates. Recently, Mr. Batson took time out of his busy schedule to do an e-mail interview with Incredibooks.

Incredibooks: Have you always liked writing, or was it an acquired taste?

Wayne Thomas Batson: I probably took to writing in high school. I was a student assistant one year, helping the Chemistry teacher grade papers and set up labs, but it gave me a lot of time on my hands. I started writing poetry and song lyrics. It was kind of therapeutic writing for me because I was always one of those kids who thought about a lot of deep things. I also co-wrote a humorous editorial column in the school newspaper. It was called Pat & Bat, and we took on everything from Cabbage Patch Dolls to slothful police forces.   

IB: What were some of your favorite books growing up?


IB: When you were younger, did you ever imagine that you would become an author?

WTB: I had no idea. I would have laughed and said, yeah right. 

IB: What inspired you to become a writer?

WTB: I owe it to God first because there’s nothing of worth that I am or have that He did not give me. But my students were the driving human force in my writing. I wrote a short story for them because they challenged me to do the assignment I had given them. They loved that 17 page story and over the years were relentless in encouraging me (okay, threatening me) to write more. If it weren’t for my students, I don’t think I’d be an author today. 

IB: Why did you choose fantasy to work with instead of some other genre?

WTB: Easy. I’m at home there. I think somewhere in my genetic make-up I am part Hobbit. I so long for a peaceful life full of good friends and good cheer and all things green and growing. And I’ve always loved the heroic element of fantasy where even a regular guy can do something spectacular. 

IB: How do you make your characters seem like real people instead of just figures who move the plot along?

WTB: Give them flaws. Give them quirks. Let them do what they want to do not just what you (the author) wants them to do.

IB: Where do you get your characters’ names?

WTB: That’s an essay question for me. I am very, very determined to have just the right names for my characters. I often spend hours on one character’s name. I’ll look in other languages: Olde English, Saxon, Norse, Greek, Celtic, etc. and search for word parts that bring a certain image to mind. Then, I’ll mix and match parts until I’m convinced a certain character could have no other name but the one I’ve given them. I know, I’m OCD that way. 

IB: Who is your favorite character from all of your books so far, and why?

WTB: Difficult question. But if you dangled me over hot coals until I divulged a name, I’d have to say Captain Valithor from The Door Within Trilogy. He is such a wonderful mixture of English field marshall and teddy bear. Plus, he can really wield a sword. 

IB: Have you ever incorporated yourself or anyone you know into one of your books?

WTB: Any writer worth his/her salt does this, consciously or unconsciously to an extent. I didn’t understand this as I wrote, but Aidan, Robby, and Antoinette in The Door Within became a kind of representation of me in three phases of my Christian life: despair, cautiously optimistic, and well-versed & confident. Cat in Isle of Swords deals with identity issues that I’ve struggled with over the years. 

IB: How do you work allegory or Christian themes into your books without it being blatantly obvious or sounding preachy or clichéd?

WTB: Well, I try to tell a good story. I think a well-plotted story eliminates the preachy nature that some allegory might otherwise reveal. Often a story concept comes about because of something I’ve learned or discovered or maybe even from a worship song at church. So themes and allegories are important to me, but I must have a strong plot and real characters to carry it. A novel cannot be a Bible tract dressed up as a story. Readers don’t want that and will be offended. 

IB: Do you ever write something that you love, only to look at it later and discover it’s not as good as you thought?

WTB: Daily. When I’m in the middle of a scene, I’m seeing the mental movie and thrilled to death that I’ve written something spectacular. Then, I’ll read it the next day and wonder who screwed up my manuscript while I was sleeping.

IB: What is a typical writing day like for you? For example, where do you write? Do you always write at the same time of day? Do you listen to music when writing? If so, what?

WTB: I don’t have one. I’m a full time middle school Reading Teacher and a father of four active kids. I don’t have a set writing time. I wish I could, but this isn’t the season in life for that for me. I write when I can, mostly at night. 

IB: (We originally thought that this question applied only to Donita K. Paul and L. B. Graham.) You just finished a series. Are you enjoying starting afresh, or has it been difficult getting started on something completely new?

WTB: Actually, I just finished a series as well, uh, if you can consider two books a series. And I am really enjoying a new project. I’m getting back to fantasy and having a blast with a new concept.

IB: What are you currently working on?

WTB: Top secret. But it’s WAY cool. 

IB: In round numbers, how many books do you think you’ll sign during the Motiv8 Fantasy Fiction Tour?

WTB: Hard to guess. I suspect that we’ll have a much bigger turn out as all of our fan bases have grown exponentially since the last tour. And this time we’ll have the added draw of four new authors. I’m going to guess about 25 books per event, perhaps 300-400 total, maybe.

IB: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer curious fans! We are looking forward to the tour!

WTB: My pleasure. Thanks, Incredibooks for doing this great feature.

Next time, we’ll be interviewing Bryan Davis, so check back soon!

2 Responses to “Interview with Wayne Thomas Batson”

  1. Whoo, that was very well put-together and quite interesting! Good job to IB and WTB!

  2. I might mention that you and others helped us come up with these questions over in the forum… :-)

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