Fantasy author Larry Correia is a self-described gun nut and B-horror-movie freak. When he began his career as a writer (he also worked as an accountant and firearms instructor), he wanted to bring his two passions together. Despite the running joke among his friends and coworkers that most monster movies would be over during the opening credits if the characters were armed, Correia knew he could make it work. Beginning with Monster Hunter International (2007), Correia invented a world in which monsters are real, hungry, and must be hunted.
“When people ask me what kind of monsters I have in the series, my answer is, ‘all of them,'” says Correia, who lives in northern Utah. “I like to draw inspiration from a wide variety of sources, like classic movie monsters, fiction, myths, and folklore; sometimes it’s fun to just make up something weird and new, and give the monster new traits or abilities.”
Correia has authored many fantasy novels, including the Monster Hunter series and the Grimnoir Chronicle series. He has also won numerous awards including several Audies and the Locus Poll Award for Best Fantasy Novel.
Correia keeps a dedicated writing schedule, with the goal of writing 10,000 words a week. He averages about two books a year. “I treat writing like a regular job,” he says. “I start in the morning, sit at my desk, and work all day, pretty normal work hours. I don’t really do the whole muse/inspiration thing. If I get stuck, then I skip ahead to the next part, or I work on a different project.”
The latest book in the Monster Hunter series, Monster Hunter Files, is an anthology that includes stories set in Correia’s world but written by other authors such as Jim Butcher, Jessica Day George, and Mike Kupari. Coeditor Bryan Thomas Schmidt, who came up with the idea, helped Correia compile a list of authors who had expressed their love of the series, and then asked the authors if they’d like to contribute stories. “We got so many volunteers that we filled the entire roster in the first day,” Correia recalls.
Correia served as a kind of consultant to the other writers in the anthology: authors pitched their ideas and he provided guidance. “Sometimes the authors surprised me, because they came at the world from an angle I had never thought about before,” Correia explains. Butcher, for instance, wrote a story about a new character, a janitor, and came up with a type of creature that had never appeared in the series before.
Correia read through the rough drafts looking for character or continuity errors. “In a continuing series like this some topics already have a lot established, and others are fairly open,” Correia explains. “If I hadn’t written much about a particular item, writers had more creative freedom to explore it.”
Most books in the series are set in the present day, but Monster Hunter Files proposes that Monster Hunter International has opened its archives, so the stories are set in the past. Jonathan Maberry wrote about Agent Franks fighting the Nazis in WWII, John C. Wright tells a tale of British spies dealing with monsters during the Cold War, and Brad Torgersen recounts the supernatural adventures of Benjamin Franklin. “Writing for other periods is one of the best parts of being an author, because you really get to dig into real world history,” Correia says.
Next up in the series is Monster Hunter Memoirs: Saints, a collaboration with author John Ringo, which comes out next year. But the prolific author isn’t taking a break. Correia is also working on the sequel to his first epic fantasy novel, Son of the Black Sword. The new title is called House of Assassins and his first draft is due before Christmas.