Ryan: Mitch, thanks so much for joining us as a feature on Worldhoppers.
You’re our first LitRPG author and I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that some of your influence came directly from video games (RPG’s, MMORPGS) – which ones stand out in your head as influential. Personally, I played Everquest for years and all that time spent in Norrath rubs off in one way, shape, or form in my writing. Do you have a fictional world like that?
Mitch: Arguably, I had two games initially in my head when I first started plotting out Wild Worlds. First and foremost is Final Fantasy XI, the first MMORPG I ever played. That game helped my flesh out some of the mechanics in the Wild Worlds lore, such a dual-classes. I had a Galkan Monk (dual-classed with Black Mage once I leveled up enough). Later on, I played World of Warcraft (at this point, who hasn’t played that?). Specifically, I jumped in heavily during the Legion expansion. There, I played a Pandaren Monk (starting to see a pattern here?). That experience formed what started the first book: me desperately leeching off the knowledge and abilities of my far more talented friends as they dragged my useless bear butt through Azeroth. That inspired the initial draft of the Wild Worlds: Crash Course, with Uriel trying to teach Bairn the ropes on leveling up.
Outside of MMORPGs, I pulled ideas from just about every other RPG (and some other game genres) I’ve gotten my mitts on: Chrono Trigger, Pokemon, Digimon, and Dragon Quest Monsters…heck, you could probably even see inspiration from games like Street Fighter II and/or Soul Caliber if you squint hard enough! That’s not even getting into tabletop inspiration like Dungeons and Dragons or Warhammer 40,000…
Ryan: Wild Worlds is your ongoing LitRPG series – with book two just published this past November. I know I always love to hear it straight from the author rather than the book blurb – for readers who are new to Wild Worlds, what should they expect?
Mitch: I think readers with a background in RPG gaming—especially tabletop games—will find the series itching a scratch in-between gaming sessions. At the same time, I strived to make Wild Worlds inviting to people that aren’t well-versed in gaming tropes such as stats, leveling up, and more. I want Wild Worlds to be my love letter to sci-fi/fantasy adventuring stories, filled with plenty of action, adventures, and what I hope passes for humor and compelling scenes. Overall, I want my readers to have fun.
In the end, what they should really expect the greatest sci-fi/fantasy series written by a bearded guy named Mitch Larkins, ever.
Ryan: You answered some great questions on your Goodreads page about how you deal with writers block, inspiration, and other writing advice you have for aspiring authors (I’ll leave the link at the bottom of the Q&A) – what is the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?
Mitch: Geez…The best piece of advice?! I think asking me which of my children is my favorite is an easier question to answer (Hint: whichever of you rascals find this interview first. Maybe.). I’m going to cheat and give you two:
“Write what you love. Write a story that you’d want to read.” At the end of the day, you have to love writing, especially your own. Trust me, I totally understand the self-deprecating and self-loathing all writers/artists go through, but you can never lose the spark for the worlds or characters you’re creating.
“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts, but you have to start somewhere.” The most important thing is to write, write, and write! Don’t talk to people about what you WANT to write. Just WRITE it. Talking about it just tricks you into thinking you’re accomplishing something! It’s a brain trick! Get that pen to paper! Or the pencil to paper! Or the keyboard! Whichever! Start and finish that manuscript!
Ryan: Beyond the Wild Worlds series we know you have a love for fantasy. Talk to us about what’s next for Mitch Larkins. More Wild Worlds? Something else?
Mitch: Definitely more Wild Worlds. I have a ton of ideas for the series. In fact, I’m working on Wild Worlds 3 and 4 at the same time. Also–because I apparently hate sleeping or being sane–I’m trying to juggle another more straight forward fantasy story while revising yet another manuscript that I finished last year. That’s not even getting into the half a dozen other, half-finished manuscripts sitting around, begging for my attention…
Ryan: I always finish our interviews with ‘what are you watching/reading/playing’. What is entertaining your creative brain right now? Personally, after finishing The Witcher I’m on to The Expanse, season 4.
Mitch: I’ve been meaning to jump into The Expanse! I keep hearing great things about it. Aside from Paw Patrol (thanks, daughter!), I’m honestly not watching much right now. I am currently obsessed with Dragon Ball FighterZ, Stardew Valley, and Roombo (a Roomba that kills intruders into its owners’ home?! Brilliant!), playing the latter two on the Nintendo Switch.
As for reading…well, there’s several answers for that, too. Keith C. Blackmore’s Majestic 311—a Weird Western/horror novel starring cowboy outlaws and a creepy ghost train, how can anyone say no to that?! I have the second volume of Sandy Mitchell’s Ciaphas Cain series collection in my to-read pile as well that I’ve been meaning to get to forever. Then there’s the Overlord series by Kugane Maruyama—the book series that inspired me to start writing Wild Worlds. Volume 12 of that will be coming out next month (That’s Feb. 2020, for all you future-people reading this)!
To Check out Mitch’s Q&A on his Goodreads page follow this link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/17808844.Mitch_Larkins/questions