Interview number 10! Let’s not focus on the fact that it took eight months for me to interview 10 indie authors. Let’s just celebrate the win!
Today I am pleased to introduce you to Daley Downing, author of YA fantasy! I read Daley’s first book, Masters and Beginners last year and really enjoyed it. In a day and age when all YA fantasy seems to follow the same formula, Daley’s work is truly original. For those of you who haven’t read it, it had a Harry Potter meets Warehouse 13 feel with biblical mythology. One of my favorite elements of the book was the family. The parents are present in the kids’ lives. And even though the kids don’t always make the right choices, they work through it as a family. Now, let’s talk to the author!
If you could live in Middle Earth, Narnia, or the Star Wars Universe, which would you choose and why?
DD: Middle Earth! Hobbits, elves, and dragons! What more do you need? 🙂
Please summarize your writing journey for us, so we can be inspired!
DD: It’s been a long one! About 20 years ago (yes, literally – I’m old), I started trying to piece together plot ideas, characterizations, and historical research for settings and cultures. For a while, I tried submitting short stories and novel pitches to agents and magazines and writing contests, but I didn’t get very far that way. Most of what I wrote years ago will never see the light of day. But a few ideas I came up with about 10 years ago finally made their way into The Order of the Twelve Tribes series. Last year I won NaNoWriMo with the fifth or so draft of what eventually became Volume 1. Then I decided to self-publish. The moral of the story is, never give up! Keep writing, keep honing the craft, and your own style.
(See, wasn’t that inspiring?! I’m inspired)
Do you have any published works?
(Those last two are on my TBR!)
If you had to be known for one thing as a writer, what would it be and why?
DD: I’d like to be thought of as an author who encourages people to think about what’s really important in life, how we treat others, and how we approach our choices — but you won’t catch on to all that deep stuff until after you’ve had a great time reading a fun and poignant story.
Can you tell us about a specific time when a story influenced your life?
DD: The first time I read A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens – the powerful message not only of redemption but also about how the decisions we make can affect others. Also, the first time I finished Mort by Terry Pratchett – basically the same stuff, but it was presented very differently, and even from the point of view of Death himself (it doesn’t get much cooler than that).
(That does sound cool! I really need to read Terry Pratchett PRONTO!)
Tell us a bit about your latest project.
DD: It’s called How To Be A Savage, and (without revealing any spoilers), it’s about autistic superheroes – avoiding a lot of the superhero genre tropes (like wearing uncomfortable spandex suits and thinking your identity will be safe by covering one half of your face from people who already know you).
What tropes/themes/characters would you like to see more of in fiction?
DD: Definitely more accurate representation of ASD (autism spectrum disorder) and mental health, more of male-female relationships that don’t turn into angsty teen-esque romances, more dragons that fly and breathe fire (like in ye olden days), and more clean humor.
(I agree with all of these! Indie authors take notes!)
Have you read any good indie books lately that you’d like to recommend?
What are three tools that you use as an indie author that others may find helpful?
DD: I’m rather old school (I still use Microsoft Word), but Photoshop has made a huge difference on the types of covers we can create, and personally, I find being a Goodreads author to be absolutely great for marketing and connecting with readers.
(All great tools!)
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?