It’s about that time again! Today, we’d like to introduce you to Dean F. Wilson, author of the steampunk series, The Great Iron War, the epic fantasy trilogy, The Children of Telm, and The Memory Magus stories, The Leech of Love and The Haze. We hope you enjoy getting to know a bit about Dean and his writing.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and how your books came about.
Born and bred in Dublin, Ireland. I started writing when I was a child, writing my first (unpublished) novel when I was 11. Writing has always been my dream job (well, aside from being Batman, of course). I explain later how some of my books came about, so I won’t repeat it here.
2. How does your career as a journalist reconcile with your epic fantasy and steampunk writing? Does it help or hinder you?
Journalism has helped me be more “conservative” with words, and improve the clarity of my writing. Otherwise, there is very little overlap, as there is not much room to be creative with journalism, especially as a news reporter. To me, facts are what’s important there. In many ways, I’ve had to keep each compartmentalised, as they are very different styles.
3. How do/did you generate ideas for your books?
I’m inspired by everything around me, from everyday life and people, to history, to other fiction, TV, movies, and more. The Great Iron War series is partially inspired by my interest in World War I and II, and also the smuggling of contraceptives in Ireland in the early ’70s. I asked “what if?” (the quintessential question of speculative fiction), with an eye to see what contraceptive smuggling might look like in a fantasy setting. This led to the idea of contraceptive amulets used to stop people giving birth to demons, and grew into a much larger story from there.
4. Can you describe your writing process? When and where do you do most of your writing? What kind of technology do you use to create and compose?
I write mostly on my PC in my home office, though I do jot down ideas with pen and paper (I got a Samsung Note II with the plan to write ideas on that, but I found that pen and paper was quicker and more productive).
I use OpenOffice, and I keep each chapter of a book in a separate file. This helps in multiple ways: 1) it’s easier to organise; 2) it helps give a sense of “completion” on a more regular basis (important to help motivate); and 3) it reduces the risk of corrupted files ruining the entire project. I regularly backup files, in multiple ways. I learned early on the risk of losing stuff.
I tend to write out of order, jumping from the start to the end, to the middle, and back and forth, and anywhere in between. The reason for this is because I usually plan points A and Z, and a few key letters in between, but let the rest fill in naturally. This allows the characters to surprise me (and therefore the readers), and produces a nice balance between telling the story and letting it tell itself.
4. What were the major barriers you overcame to complete your book project, if any?
I am a perfectionist by nature, so I found that with my first novel (The Call of Agon) I was holding myself back by constantly revising it, to the point that I thought I would never release it. That one was roughly 12 years in the making, off and on, and part of that time was learning my craft and developing my style. Over time I learned to accept that there is a place where a book is ready to go. This is not to say that I’ve stopped revising, as that’s really an important process, but I’m more productive in how I do it, and I don’t let the revision process hold up the entire publication.
5. Do you have any other books or short stories readers should know about?
I have two series, The Children of Telm and The Great Iron War, the latter of which is still in the works. I also have two short stories (The Memory Magus stories) that act as a kind of bridge between the two worlds of my novels.
6. Are you planning more writing projects and if so, will you stick with the same theme?
I am planning many more novels. There are three due this year, which will finish the main Great Iron War series. There are also two standalone prequels planned for that, and room for several more. Further ahead, I may also venture into another genre, such as spy thrillers, though I will likely do that under another pen name.
7. What are you reading now? Who is your favorite author? In your opinion, what constitutes good writing or conversely, bad writing?
I’m currently reading Tolkien’s The Fall of Arthur. I find it difficult to choose a favourite author, as I like variety in reading. I’ve enjoyed the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Pratchett, Philip K. Dick, Neil Gaiman, Charles Dickens, W.B. Yeats, and William Shakespeare, but that list is by no means exhaustive.
I think what constitutes good writing depends on the genre, aim, and audience. Good writing in journalism or a science journal is a very different thing to poetry or fiction, and even within the fiction genre there can be stark differences between, for example, the more floral style common (and, to some degree, expected) in epic fantasy compared to the more technical style seen in hard science-fiction, or the more bare-bones style of the action-driven thriller genre.
To me, good writing in fiction effectively communicates the story, captures the characters, moves me emotionally, and leaves me thinking. The best writing also makes the words into something more, allowing me to reread it and savour it just for the language alone.
8. What advice can you give to first time authors?
Perseverance is important in all walks of life, and this is doubly so for writing. You need perseverance to finish a novel, and then you need a lot more of it to endure the submission and rejection process, and a lot more again to engage in the extensive marketing cycle afterwards. People give up too easily, and while there are examples of a select few who “got lucky,” any analysis of the field as a whole will show that the vast majority got to where they are by keeping going, through thick and thin, letting nothing, not even themselves, hold them back.
We’d like to thank Dean for taking the time to talk to us. We highly encourage you to give Dean’s books a read. If you’d like to find out more about him, you can check out his website at: http://deanfwilson.com/
or find him on Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Dean-F.-Wilson/e/B007O05FEU/ref=
Anne, Nancy, and Eric