Monday, September 20, 2010

Interview with fantasy author David Dalglish

David Dalglish is the author of The Half-Orc series of epic fantasy novels, of which three of the eventual five novels are now available, as well as other writings. His most recently released novel, A Dance of Cloaks, is now available from Amazon.

Watching the Amazon books rankings, especially the Kindle and Fantasy rankings, will reveal David's name and his e-books often among the top books on those lists.

After seeing his name there for some time, I contacted David and asked if he would be interested in an e-mail interview. He was, and I thank him for it. What follows is that interview.

Because of your Half-Orcs series, you've kind of come to be known as the half-orcs guy, at least in some circles. So, one has to wonder, why half-orcs? What is it about half-orcs that drove you to write about them?

I wish I could give you some wonderfully interesting and philosophical answer, but instead I’ll just tell you the truth. The two main half-orcs, Harruq and Qurrah, were characters from a MUD (multi-user text dungeon with a heavy emphasis on role-playing) a friend and I played. I loved the characters, but wanted to tell a story without any confines of the game. It’s been a rather fun process, and there’s some benefits to having these half-orcs. Their dichotomy of elf/orc really plays up their conflict between wrong and right. That, and it stands out when I put it in the title. Come on, who doesn’t want to take a look at a book about some stupid half-orcs?

Your latest e-book release, A Dance of Cloaks, is now available. Can you tell us a little about it? Is it part of a series? What makes it different from your Half-Orc books?

I wanted to put out a standalone novel for those a little hesitant to start a series, so that’s where A Dance of Cloaks came from. My original intent was to tell the childhood story of one of my main characters introduced in the second Half-Orc book. It’s of a young boy, Aaron, son of the most feared assassin alive, who has trained his whole life to be his heir. There’s several interweaving storylines, but overall it focuses on Aaron’s gradual rebellion against the person he’s being crafted into by his father.

Dance has some significant differences with the other Half-Orc books. I basically read A Game of Thrones (by George R. R. Martin) for the first time right beforehand, and was given such a humbling look at how to make a truly believable, livable Fantasy world. I looked at my little world of Dezrel and went, “Hrmph.” So there’s more storylines, various intertwined factions, and magic is far more toned down. I think I go half the book before I even have someone cast a spell, whereas in the Half-Orcs I’ve got multiple characters flinging around spells that can level half a city block.

For those wanting a bit more literary writing style, stronger world-building, and a lot of relatable, normal characters, A Dance of Cloaks is it. Those wanting a more hack n’ slash feel, well, there’s still my good ol’ Half-Orcs.

Do you write only fantasy? Or do you have interests in other genres?

Amusingly enough, my first ever sale was a horror short story. My second was a humorous science fiction short. So I very much am interested in other genres, and I’ll dabble in them, but generally only with short stories. When it comes to novels, and telling lengthy stories, Fantasy is what I most enjoy.

I hope to have a collection coming out soon, a real stretch for me in that it has no magic, no sci-fi elements, just regular people struggling against a cataclysmic natural event. But I think most of my readers are quite content for me to keep cranking out elves, swords, and magic. Honestly, I’m okay with that.

Do you consider writing a hobby, something to do for fun, or is it something you would like to make your full-time job? In other words, do you have the writers' dream of only having to write for a living?

This is it. I am living my dream. I set a goal, an amount I’d need to be able to survive on my writing alone, with just a bit of extra income from substitute teaching and whatnot. Just a few days ago, I received my Apple numbers. Combined with Amazon, I’ve reached my goal in August. Unbelievable. I can’t think of a better job, and I really want to thank every single reader who has helped me live this magical roller coaster ride.

What are some of your influences? Favorite books, authors, movies, music, etc?

I devoured R. A. Salvatore’s Drizzt series while in high school. I think I’ve read the Dark Elf Trilogy at least four times. His influence on me is fairly obvious to anyone who has read his work. George R. R. Martin has been another, who I only recently discovered and wished I had read far, far sooner. Stephen King’s another, especially his whole-hearted devotion to letting the story be the boss.

Oh, and Christopher Nolan. I could watch Heath Ledger’s Joker for hours.

You're a family man, married with a child. What does your family think of your writing?

My wife is easily the most supportive person I have. A few of my characters are so clearly her to those that know us (Aurelia when she’s being supportive, Tessanna when she’s being playful). My daughter is only two and a half, so I don’t have to worry about what she thinks yet. We’ve discussed when we’ll actually let her read my books. Considering they have violence, rape, sex, murder and rough language, my wife thinks about sixteen, seventeen. I say thirty-five. Methinks I won’t be the one to win this argument.


Charles Gramlich said...

I haven't read any of these books but they sound interesting. David, Great title on your latest release.

Ty Johnston said...

Yeah, there's something very Steven Erikson about the title of the newest book.

And that's a good thing, in my opinion.

Moses Siregar III said...

Been meaning to finish reading this one and I just did. Good job, guys.

I do want to read Dance of Cloaks now. I like what I've read of the Half-Orcs, but the new one sounds more like my typical read.