Feb 9, 2015

Interview with Dean

When did you realize that you wanted to become a writer?

Since around age 11, when I wrote my first novel. It wasn't particularly good, and I'm glad it hasn't been published, but it was essential experience for my later work. I had a love of language, reading and writing since well before then, however.

Is being an Author all you dreamed of, or did it just happen? The best and worst thing about it?

I wouldn't say it's all I've ever dreamed of (when I was very young, I wanted to be Batman), but it was something I wanted to be since I was a child.

The best thing about writing is getting to create entire new worlds, characters and stories. The worst thing is forcing myself to write when I'm not in the mood, which is essential if anything is to be completed.

What was the very first thing you ever wrote?

Ever? I'm not sure I even remember back that far. The first thing of significance that I wrote was a short screenplay that became the basis of the novel I wrote when I was 11, entitled The Power Source. It was somewhat inspired by Star Wars, and was a mix of fantasy and science fiction.

What made you create (your book)?  How did it come to you?

The basic idea for my latest book, Hopebreaker, came from me pondering how smuggling contraceptives, a big issue in Ireland in the 1970s, would work in a fantasy setting. Just like computer programming, where an If requires a Then, the What if? of this story led to me adding in demons that control the birth channels, an oppressive regime, a rebellious faction, and then, of course, a smuggler caught in the middle of it all.

Who is your literary hero?

I enjoy the works of many authors and poets, but if forced to choose, Charles Dickens would definitely be high on my list. He not only crafted interesting stories and memorable characters; he used English in a very beautiful and evocative way. I most enjoy books that play with language in a masterful way, allowing me to reread them just for how well they written.

How much of your characters are based on your traits or someone you know personally?

I don't consciously base characters on myself or others, but there's always going to be some influence there. I think some people try to over-analyse fiction, trying to read into it every event of an author's life, when the author may simply have intended to tell a good tale, or maybe comment on entirely different matters.

Describe your main character in six words.

In Hopebreaker, Jacob is: rebellious, stubborn, covetous, cheeky, playful, witty.

Describe the world you’ve created in six words.

Altadas is: dystopian, bleak, war-torn, dying, controlled, iron-rich.

What scene was your favorite to write?

That's a hard one, as I enjoyed writing a lot of the scenes, but probably the “Lights Out” scene, where Jacob and company roll out in landships (an older term for tanks) under the cover of darkness, and there's a really tense moment where they have to douse all the lights and try to avoid being seen, before all hell breaks loose.

What scene was the hardest for you to write?

I find the most difficult parts of a novel to write are often the interconnecting scenes between all the major moments of the story. I don't write in order, and I keep each chapter in an individual document. So I might have Chapters 1, 4, 8, 12, and 16 done, and I have to fill in the gaps. Typically I end up with scenes complete in every chapter, but gaps between those that need to be filled. That can sometimes be a chore, as they're often less exciting, but are necessary for bridging the other events.

What are you working on now?

I'm finishing up some final bits and pieces of the sequel, Lifemaker, and plotting out the future books in the series. Lifemaker releases at the end of March.

Goals? Accomplishments? Improvements?

My writing goals for this year are to release three novels, three short stories, three box sets (including previous material), and one audiobook. Ambitious, but achievable. I am always aiming to improve my writing with each new book.

What is on your nightstand?

An alarm clock, often a book or two, and a pile of random junk that I tidied up a few weeks before, only to find piling up again.

Are there any authors or books you recommend?

I don't think enough people read the classics nowadays. Since I've been delving into steampunk fiction lately, I've been catching up on Jules Verne's work, which is often seen as proto-steampunk, and certainly worth reading.

What's your favorite thing to do when you're not writing?


Gaming. I really enjoy strategy and RPG games on the PC, and find them a great way to unwind. Lately I've been enjoying the games from Amplitude Studios, all three of which I highly recommend.