Hey Deston, how’s life? How’s our new reality treating you?
I’m doing okay! There’s a lot to get used to but everything is going to work out eventually!
Yep I hear that. So I wanted to start from the beginning. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? And how did that lead to your first published novel?
I’ve been wanting to be a writer for a long time, ever since I was a kid. It only really surfaced as a potential career in the last few years though. It took a lot of hardship to get where I wanted to be, but after a bunch of rejections I decided to take matters in my own hand and self publish. It’s been a wild ride.
Oh cool…so you attempted to agent querying trad route first?
I did! I thought that I would at least try it first. I learned a lot and met a lot of people. A lot of agents was interested but they weren’t really willing to take the risk on a new author. So I decided to take the risk myself.
So what has your experience been with self publishing so far? And tell us a bit about your first novel Tavern.
It’s been a great experience. It’s a lot of work on the marketing half but it’s been a good experience. The hardest part is getting over the stereotype of self published novels being poor quality when that’s not true. I still have a lot to learn on that aspect.
Tavern is a high fantasy novel following an orc tavern owner and spymaster trying to stop a plot that threatens to destroy his city. It has a dungeons and dragons mixed with a bit of classic fantasy feel. It’s meant for readers who likes those classic fantasy tropes with a dash of modern inspiration.
Awesome..Orcs are severely misrepresented and have gotten a bad rap. What made you decide to focus on an Orc protagonist?
That’s the very reason why I chose an orc protagonist. I wanted to create a world where its only fantasy races yet there’s still some things each race must learn about each other. I also wanted to remove the natural bias people have for their own race going into this world. Also, I just like orcs. They are one of my favorite fantasy races and often they are seen so badly that I wanted to change up the script and have them as a race that are gaining respect from the other races after their bloody history with themselves.
Well I know we had both read James Jakins’ Jack Bloodfist series, another example of an Orc Protagonist.
It’s one of my favorite series! James does an amazing job and his character is one of the coolest orcs I’ve ever seen!
Definitely! Changing direction a bit, I know you also write Sci-Fi. Which genre have you enjoyed writing most? Tell us a bit about your newest novel, Dusk Mountain Blues.
Fantasy is always my first love. It’s what I grew up with and what I still feel I work the best in. But, scifi is also really fun to work with! I decided to get into scifi though to broaden my horizons and give people an alternate way to read some of my works.
Dusk Mountain Blues is a space opera western following three generation of moonshining hillbillies fighting off colonizers. It’s a fun read about family, heartbreak, and general shooty-shooty bang bang!
Sounds awesome! What were some of the biggest influences on your writing? I’m talking, books, TV, film etc?
World of Warcraft, Dungeons and Dragons, Elder Scrolls, Brandon Sanderson, Game of Thrones (the books), Robert Jordan (relatively recently), Final Fantasy, Dragon Age, Mass Effect. Just a little bit of everything. I consume a lot of media!
Nice…they say that’s the best way to be informed as a writer. I’ve only started writing for publication purposes, but my books have ended up being sort of a love letter to so much of the media I’ve consumed.
It really happens! Before you know it, you realize how much media has put an impression on you as an author or creator!
Totally. Now I’m curious…As an indie author, how important is reader interaction to you, and how do you most like to connect with your readers?
It’s important to have reader interaction for me. I love the idea of getting a comment or a review from my readers. It’s an amazing experience. Whether it’s through my email, reddit, twitter, or facebook, I’m always ready to hear from my readers.
Excellent, do you write with an audience in mind, or do you really write for yourself and hope people dig it?
I mostly write with myself in mind first. If I don’t want to read it, how could I expect anyone else to. But yes, I do have a general audience in mind. People like me usually, gamers and fantasy/scifi geeks around their 20-40s. That tends to be my demographic.
Which leads me to this question. Can you recommend some of your favorite recent work to our audience that pretty much is made up of that core demographic?
I think if people enjoy me they are going to enjoy First of Shadows by Deck Matthews, Mercenary Code by Emmet Moss, and Orcblood Legacy by Bernard Bertram.
So what’s next for you? Any sequels planned or are you working on more standalone work? When can we expect to see something new?
Duke’s Brand is coming up soon. It’s a sequel to Tavern but follows another PoV character! Also I have Dusk Ocean Blues raring to go as well. You can expect something new by the end of this year or early next year!
That’s brilliant! so I ask this question to every author I interview…if you could offer one piece of advice to new and aspiring authors, what would it be ?
Finish that first draft. No matter what. It could be the worst thing that you’ve ever written, it’s important to start and finish that first draft. And no matter what you do, it’s never going to be perfect at the end. You’re gonna find things that are going to be wrong. Don’t sweat it. Just improve and keep writing.
Sage like wisdom. I’ve gone over my first novella 100 times and every time I think it’s perfect, something screams out and I’m like “how did I miss that?”
Yes! It’s infuriating!
Well, Deston, it’s been a pleasure talking to you.
Dusk Mountain Blues: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B085LQJH3K