Welcome to my blog. Let’s get rolling.
What are your hobbies away from the computer?
You know the writing advice, write what you know? I followed that adage in several instances in my debut YA urban fantasy, Dragons Walk Among Us. Like Allison Lee, the novel’s protagonist, I’m an avid shutterbug. I mostly photograph nature scenes–my current obsession is photographing birds–and my son’s soccer games.
Is your writing style planned or freestyle?
I’m defin itely a planner. I’m a member of a writing group called The Puget Sound Writers Guild (http://www.pugetsoundwritersguild.org), which puts a big emphasis on the planning process. My personal approach is to develop a concept for the novel–think of a one to two-page outline of the plot. I expand this into a scene-by-scene outline, which I try to keep reasonably high-level but it can get pretty detailed if I’m not careful. I find the advantage of this process is it allows me to write the rough draft fairly quickly. For example, I took Dragons Walk Among Us from concept to rough draft in about six months. For me, at least, that’s a pretty good clip.
Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?
I have traveled to the locations and photographed them! Dragons Walk Among Us takes place in the Pacific Northwest, including wilderness locations such as beaches along the Olympic Peninsula and Mount Rainier National Park. Hopefully, readers who have visited these locations find my descriptions capture their essence.
What was your biggest surprise in the editing/revision process?
When I first started writing, I absolutely dreaded the idea of editing a rough draft. That’s probably because those early works were little better than chicken scratch. As a more experienced writer, I no longer fear the revision process. In fact, I enjoy it. It’s fulfilling to finish editing those tens of thousands of words and realize how much the story has improved.
Describe a normal writing day (or period, if you have other employment obligations).
I’m a member of #5amwritersclub. The more writing I can get done in the wee hours of the morning before the boys wake up, the better. The little lads relish making their presence felt.
What’s your dream vacation destination?
Gosh. I do enjoy traveling. I have family in Southeast Asia, so that destination is always high on the list. In fact, I plan to have a portion of the sequel to Dragons Walk Among Us take place there. The photographer in me, however, dreams of visiting Iceland’s primordial landscapes.
In what genre do you read?
I read all kinds of speculative fiction–fantasy, science fiction, and some horror. I’m a big believer in reading extensively in the genre you write, so I’m always looking to read young adult fantasy and science fiction. Thrillers, suspense, and popular science–I really enjoy Neil deGrasse Tyson’s books–round out most of my reading. I enjoy listening to audiobooks while taking walks, so I find the Libby app, which allows me to check out audiobooks from the local library, invaluable.
Shutterbug Allison Lee is trying to survive high school while suffering the popular girl’s abuse. Her life is often abysmal, but at least her green hair is savage. Her talent for photography is recognized by the school paper and the judges of a photo contest.
While visiting her friend Joe, a homeless vet, Allison’s life irrevocably changes after an attack leaves her blind. All her dreams as a photojournalist are dashed as she realizes she’ll never see again. Despair sets in, until she is offered an experimental procedure to restore her vision. But there are side effects, or are they hallucinations? She now sees dragons accompanying some of the people she meets. Can she trust her eyes, or has the procedure affected her more than she can see?
I march across the dark swath of wet grass interspersed with towering Douglas fir toward the lamplight in the distance. Obscured by the surrounding shrubbery next to the base of a conifer is a blue tarp. I press my free hand against the brown bag, feeling the warmth radiating from the container of broth. Good. I’d hate for the soup to be cold.
A gust of wind pushes me sideways. From somewhere overhead comes a loud crack like the bone of some gargantuan creature snapping. A widowmaker thumps to the earth. Gasping, I nearly drop the soup and freeze in place. Overhead, the trees sway in the wind, branches creaking and groaning. I scamper toward the encampment.
About half a dozen tents surround the base of the tall conifer. A wide man with hunched shoulders moves around the camp. I smile. It’s Joe.
Dan has wanted to write novels since first reading Frank Herbert’s Dune at the age of eleven. A native of the Pacific Northwest, he often goes hiking with his family through mist-shrouded forests and along alpine trails with expansive views.
Dragons Walk Among Us is his debut novel. He plans to keep writing fantasy and science-fiction for many years.