I met Dale through Facebook. He'd put up a status that his book was just released. I reached out for an interview, and he accepted.
Dale is in the thick of things for his first novel. Of course he is excited that his book has been published. He's made it past the initial struggles there, but now his attention must turn to sales. Go Dale! Promote yourself like a madman. I believe in you.
Below are the questions I asked him:
1. What was it like growing up in rural Mansfield? Did you get many character ideas from the college students there?
Mansfield is a small New England town and home to the main campus of UCONN. I grew up across the street from a small general store and the town has lots of old family run farms. Whether it's home or a small rural town in N.C., I use places I know. It's in real places I find people to draw from. My main character David was actually drawn from my own son.
2. Why are you drawn to the genre you write?
Dragons are the essence of power and magic in fantasy writing. Plus they can fly and breath fire, sounds like a winner to me.
4. Describe The Chronicles of Irindia in 5 words:
A wild, mysterious, magical ride.
5. Many writers who create alternate worlds do so to escape the one they grew up in. Is this the case for you?
I do admit, I've always had a fairly good imagination and sometimes writing is a good outlet for stress and anxiety. Having a bad day? Wipe out a small army.
6. Do you have a critique group? Is so, how has it helped you? If no, why?
Family. My wife and daughter are not shy about letting me know what works and what doesn't, plus I've submitted small snippets to writing groups where I can get unbiased critiques. Sometimes I get ideas or what not to do's.
7. Do you belong to any associations for writers like SCBWI?
8. Have you taken any writers classes that you would recommend to newbie writers?
Most of what I know is through trial and error and simply reading other books. I took a creative writing class in high school and that's about it.
9. What time do you get up and what do you eat for breakfast?
I work late so I usually get up between 8 and 9. Most mornings it's coffee and toast.
10. What authors are you reading right now?
Right now I'm between books, but I tend to be a binge reader. When I find an author I really like a read everything I can.
Last real binge I went on was Robert Ludlum, and then I went right to Eric Lustbader. I am admittedly behind on my Clancey though, just because the writing takes up so much time. Maybe he'll be next.
11. What one word best describes you?
This project has been an ongoing ordeal for the last three years but I knew I had to finish it.
12. How many rejections did you get before you got published?
I got more than a couple when I was writing short stories for magazines and realized I couldn't fit what I wanted to say in a twenty page format, so I went to novels.
This is my first outing and e-publishing eliminates the need for the formal submission process. Of course the risks are higher and it takes a lot more work.
13. What do you think about the world of publishing today? Will e-readers replace books?
Desktop publishing and publishing through places like Lulu and Amazon have thrown open the doors of publishing to anyone with the courage to go it alone, as it were. It's more work because you don't have an in house editing or art department, so you have to take whatever help you can get.
As for e-readers, I hope not. They have their conveniences yes, but I like holding a book in hand and turning real pages
14. What is the funniest thing you've been asked about your writing?
In a fight between the wizard in my story and Harry Potter, who would win? Mine of course.
15. Have you traveled to any schools yet? If so, how did that go?If no, when will you start and where would you like to speak?
Not yet, but if, and when I do I'd like to go home and maybe speak to my high school.
16. Why write?
As an artist, I use paints and pencil. Writing is an extension of that. The materials are different, a laptop instead of a sketch pad, but it gives me the ability to tell more of a story than I can with a sketch or canvas
17. Ever wanted to give up and quit? If yes, what kept you going? If no, why?
More than once I thought about giving up, but I have to see how this story ends.
18. How can my blog readers help you to become an even bigger success?
Their critique and constructive criticism is always helpful. An author needs people to buy their books and pass the word if it's something they like, so the more people that can give me input the better.
19. What words of advice would you give a newbie writer?
Writers write. Don't give up no matter how hard it is or what others think. Take a break if you run into trouble, but keep at it. I have three other books going in case I get stuck on one. And above all, write for yourself first, write stories you would like to read if you were browsing a store or a library.
20. Do you have an agent? If yes, why? If no, will you query one now?
Right now I don't, but when I do I'll have to face the prospect of the dreaded query letter. I think I'll have an easier time getting an agent if I have something behind me. But then my wife is damn sharp, and she's done as much as she can to make this possible so far.
21. How hard or easy was it for you to write your first query letter?
I was writing a short story and the letter itself was harder than the story.
When it gets tough, walk away, leave it alone and do something else. Like I said before, I have other books in the works that have no connection to Irindia. Sometimes you just have to turn your mind off even if only for an hour or so. Sometimes I find solutions during that twilight between being awake and asleep so I'll take a nap. I usually do this when I realize I'm trying to force out the answer.