Author Spotlight: Aaron M. Wilson
Friday February 10th, 2012

Today we are starting a feature called "Author Spotlight." This will be an ongoing interview series that will allow us to delve a little deeper into the lives of our authors. You'll get to know them a little better, and so will we.
We wanted to start with someone who is both unique and talented. He has a pretty fascinating life, and it was really good to get to know him a little bit. Today we are starting with Aaron M. Wilson.
Let's get to the questions

Did you always want to be an author?
Aaron: An "author," no. I have always been a writer. My parents are finally getting around to cleaning out the junk room, where they’ve stored childhood mementos, to create a workout room. Instead of tossing everything, as I’ve suggested, I’ve been getting boxes of reviews, stories, and poems that I wrote as far back as kindergarten. Yikes!

What did you go to school for?
Aaron: I earned my dual undergraduate degree in Creative Writing and Rhetoric and Discourse with a minor in Environmental Studies, from Beloit College in Beloit, WI. All of my writing instructors and mentors, including those at Hamline University, where I earned my MFA in Writing, suggested that we write what we know. Thus, I’m always expanding what I know. My writing is heavily slanted towards environmental activism, using what I’ve learned from my minor.

I noticed that you write about bikes and bike mechanics in a number of your stories, is that a personal interest of yours?
Aaron: I love bikes and biking. When the weather is good, I bike everywhere. I used to bike to work more often that I do now: 23 miles round trip. I feel that bikes and bike mechanics make great characters, especially environmental activists. I just don’t see humanity being able to continue its love affair with the automobile. Bikes are the answer.

Have you ever worked as a bike mechanic?
Aaron: I wish. I know the basics. I interviewed with a couple of places, but because of my education and natural affinity for sales and management, they wanted me out front with customers instead of in back with the grease. It is still a dream of mine. I would like to find a small town with a bike mechanic need and open my own shop.

In What’s For Dinner? (from Cifiscape Vol. I) you talk about organic food, and environmental catastrophe, do you have an interest in environmentalism, living green, and/or organic food?
Aaron: Yes, I don’t want to be one of those parents that has to answer their child’s question, “What were you thinking? Why is the earth such a mess? And why didn’t you do anything about it?” I want to respect the needs of future generations. The myth around organic foods is that they are healthier for you. That is marketing hype. The purpose of organic agriculture is to respect and replenish the earth, attempting to work with natural systems rather than against those systems. We need to respect natural systems or risk a societal collapse. However, in order to respect those systems and honor mother earth, we should eat as low to the ground as possible: vegetables, or as Michael Pollen puts it, “Mostly Plants.”

What was your inspiration behind The Skin Scholarship?
Aaron: Thanks for asking. The recession, mostly. However, I work in higher education as an adjunct instructor, and I see what students have to do in order to pay for school. Tuition is too high. Combine student’s plight over rising costs of education with the predatory sex trade, bingo, you’ve got The Skin Scholarship. However, in this instance, I think that reality is worse. There are amateur porn sites that pay college students to create sex videos, and those sites pay well.

How is it being a dad and an author?
Aaron: Nora is now four-months old. As the full-time (or as we call it, day-time) care provider, I do not have time to write. Thus, I am taking a writing hiatus. Once I came to the conclusion that Nora is my priority, my life became simpler. When she is older and a more independent nap-taker, I’ll resume a more regular writing regiment.

Do you ever think about what your daughter will think of your writing when she’s grown up?
Aaron: I think that it is a parental fallacy to expect children to take an interest or appreciate their creative work. I hope that she likes it. However, I write for me first and adults second. So, it might be awhile before she sees any of it.

Does that change the subject matter that you would talk about in your stories?
Aaron: No. I don’t write for her. I might write something for her in the future. I’m not going to put limitations on my creativity, but I do everything else for other people. Writing is for me.

Are you working on anything new?
Aaron: Yes. I’ve put my novel on hold. The plan is to write several linked stories to create a novel in the world of The Skin Scholarship. I’ve finished the first section that follows the downfall of Jonah (the main character in The Skin Scholarship), and I’m on to the second character's story.

Any more short stories coming out?
Aaron: The Bike Mechanic is still in serial with eFiction Magazine. Right now, that is all that I have in the cooker.

Do you listen to music when writing or editing, and if so what do you listen to?
I listen to The Crystal Method. I listen to them exclusively. I own all of their work, and I owe most of what I’ve written to their trance educing rhythms and club mixes.