Friday, May 11, 2012

Interview with author and Dr. Who fan Darren Pearce

photo by Katrina Hepburn
1.) Darren, you have quite the mixed bag of writing credits. Novels, short stories, ghost writing, gaming, you've done a little bit of everything. How did you come to have such an eclectic writing career?

I always wanted to be a writer, from a very early age. I’d write very short stories when I was knee-high to a grasshopper, and I’d read a lot. So when the internet broadened and forums became really popular, I’d spend a lot of time making up fan-fiction about Surreal Software’s Drakan game and later on the Equilibrium movie. Great film by the way!

One day I had a message asking if I could help Surreal Software with a homebrew project, as a writer. It was to do with an f2p MMO (even back then) set in the Drakan world. So I jumped at the project, it fell through eventually but it was a cool ride whilst it lasted.

It opened a couple of doors though and I started to do little bits of writing here and there, news for a website called Games Xtreme and then reviews, as well as the odd article here and there. One of my former students who now worked at Particle Systems on the game I-War 2 gave me an email one day and it was a writing opportunity for a company called Dark Quest Games – that began the whole thing, I wrote a short submission and Dark Quest liked it a lot. Neal Levin has been a good friend of mine ever since and it’s thanks to James Moore (my former student and good friend) and Neal that my writing career took off really.

I’ve done a lot since then, worked on computer games, ghost-written a novel that reached 800 pages, worked on my own novel, a lot of short stories and been published a few times in the last couple of years. I also get to work on the Doctor Who RPG which is frankly a blast, and Cubicle 7 is fantastic to work with in that regard.

I’ve also done work on both Lone Wolf Choose Your Own Adventure book bonus adventures (Book 8 and 17) as well as the old and new Lone Wolf RPG from Mongoose Publishing, so yeah, all in all it’s been a mad eclectic writing career for me!

2.) You are also the creator of the webcomic The Chronicles of Wyrden, based upon your novel Fate's Hand. How did the webcomic come about?

Ah, good old Fate’s Hand. That book has been revised a few times since I first started it and that’s why it’s never actually been out into the public eye. Though through Monumental Works Group you can get a taste in Dreams in Shadow! (Not-so subtle plug eh?) – The webcomic on the other hand sprung from a desire to tell a story in the same universe as Fate’s Hand with some of the same characters, in a different format. It was really a case of ‘could I do this?’ because writing for a visual audience is vastly different from writing for a book audience. So one day we sat down and said – let’s do this, created a bunch of pages, I got some balloons from the net and we just threw ourselves at the project.

I’m lucky though, I am married to a very talented artist (Gillian otherwise known as Hellion) and cartographer and we’ve both learned some really cool lessons in the comic art over the four years that Wyrden has been trucking along at Drunk Duck etc. I’ve been able to learn the way comic stories are told and put together and you can see the change in the layout, writing and art from about Chapter 3 of Wyrden.

I also wanted to tell more stories with characters that I had grown attached to. It’s an interesting world and I love industrial dark fantasy a lot, I wouldn’t say that Wyrden is really steampunk but there are influences there – it’s more Renaissance than Victorian and the world is pretty much a dystopia. I had been watching a lot of Equilibrium when I came up with the place, so ... yeah; I borrowed some of the elements from that too.

3.) What do you hope the future holds for you as a writer?

I definitely want Fate’s Hand to be published, and I’m working on that right now – getting it into a state where I can really make it shine. I’ve learned a lot recently about the whole writing process and having a few rejections really helps sharpen the literary min I think. I also want to get it out there and dedicate it to my mom who passed away on Feb 03rd this year; she was a big inspiration and pushed me to become who I am today.

I would like to write a Doctor Who novel one day, as well as do more work on the Doctor Who RPG itself. I’ve got a couple of adventures in the pipeline for that and more stuff to come – including the Hartnell (Doctor #1) era setting which was a great project to work on. Working more with Monumental Works Group on other collaborative projects is a must too; Dreams in Shadow was great to contribute to.

I would also like to do more short stories. I love working for anthologies because those stories push your creative processes to different and sometimes new directions.

Lastly of course, more RPG work is always good and I have a lot of that I can’t talk about yet but soon; soon I can let the cat out of the bag!

4.) What is your favorite fruit?

Hmm. I would have to say strawberries!

5.) You are rumored to be a big Dr. Who fan. Which Doctor is your favorite, and why?

I am a massive Doctor Who fan! I have always loved the show and I’d have to say out of all the Doctors, Tom Baker (Doctor #4) is my #1 favourite Doctor of all time. With Matt Smith (#11) coming a very close second. I have a soft spot for all of them and really love Doctor Who a great deal.

6.) There is a knock at your front door. You open it to find a somewhat frantic gentleman dressed in clothing that's a bit out of style, perhaps a little fancy yet was fashionable during its era. Behind him is an old fashioned blue police call box. The gentleman grabs you by the hand and says, "We need you! You're the only one who can save the universe!" What do you do?

I would have to follow, I mean when the Doctor calls you to arms then there’s no use in trying to fight it. It would be a dangerous, wonderful and pretty exciting thing to travel with that guy. Apart from the whole ‘constant death’ kind of deal due to all of the enemies the Doctor has and so on. I would still go with him because to see Time and Space laid out before you like that, to be able to go anywhere and any-when? That is the core of being a writer right there!

For more on Darren Pearce, check out his ...
Amazon page
Amazon (UK) page


Charles Gramlich said...

Exactly how you get your name out there and get your feet in the door. Great interview.

Darren Pearce said...


EdwardLorn said...

I'm a Tennant fanboy, myself. Matt Smith and Tom Baker will certainly do in a pinch, though. ;)