Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Interview with Aaron Dennis

My guest today is Aaron Dennis, the author of the Lokians science fiction series, the wonderful fantasy adventure- The Adventures of Larson and Garrett, and The Dragon of Time.

Aaron, would you like to kick off by telling us a little about yourself and your background?
Not much to tell, really. I started writing professionally back in 2011. I’ve been honing my craft for a few years now, and in 2015, while working on Gods and Dragons, the first book in the The Dragon of Time series, I hired Chuck Sambuchino to give me some feedback and editing tips. Together, we combed over the first 45 or so pages, and from there, I not only applied what he told me, but learned how to truly edit rather than proof or correct.
After the release of Gods and Dragons, I started a sort of mini-series called The Adventures of Larson and Garrett. There are ten of them out right now, they’re all fantasy, adventure, short stories based on my wasted, teenage years of playing Dungeons and Dragons; they’re totally original, of course, but the concept of Larson and Garrett is drawn from characters I and my buddy David made.
I’m also working on a few things at the moment. For starters, I’m writing the sequel to Gods and Dragons. The working title is Dragon Slayer. I’m also working on rewriting some stories that were originally released by an indie press. I recently got the rights back, and had no intention of releasing through them or their affiliates again, so there should be quite a bit happening over the next few years.

When and why did you decide to become a writer?
Like I said, 2011, but why? That’s always a difficult question to answer. I always end up saying the same thing, too; I have millions of stories, ideas, characters, concepts; they’re all floating around inside my mind grapes, and I gotta’ jam ‘em out, see? Before I “became a writer” I just sat there, thinking through entire stories from beginning to end.
One day, I thought I’d try to write them down. It didn’t work out too well, and I just moved on with my life. Then, some 10 years later, I tried again with a simpler concept, a short story about a feral girl, and thus Eudora was born, and since then, writing’s been pretty easy; I have stories to last me for the next 20 years. How people get writer’s block is beyond me. I have the opposite, I guess- writer’s freeway...?

Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m not really sure how to answer that. Do I have my own voice? Yes. Is it the same in every story? No. For instance, Cayneian, A Man from Blood, is a fantasy horror, and it’s very dark, so I chose dark imagery, archaic speech, and no comical interaction. However, throughout The Adventures of Larson and Garrett, the characters get silly, and it’s a lot closer to Hercules, The Legendary Journeys. The narrative varies from that of Cayneian, and from that of my other works. I think that anyone who reads my work can probably tell it’s mine, but I can’t say I have a style.

Tell us about your writing routine; what’s a typical writing day for you?
No routine. No typical day. I don’t believe in that mess. I write when I have something to put down. I spend my whole day thinking through my story, so when I’ve conceived something solid, I put it down. Now, quite often, in the middle of putting words to paper, screen? Paper... where was I?
Anyway, while writing what I was thinking, there are many times when my characters decide to go off on tangents, thus derailing the story, and forcing me to think from a fresh perspective, but this is not the kind of stuff that can be structured into a routine. I think routines breed boredom and stagnates the creative, reflecting pool.

What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

Let’s see... my latest book was Gods and Dragons, but my latest story, I think, was The Adventures of Larson and Garrett, A People Defiled, and that name is inspired by the fact that the evil Minister Parish has used his nefarious magick given to him by the daemon, Lagos, to influence the citizens of Glenmoor in order to start an uprising throughout the kingdom of Ruvonia.
Gods and Dragons, however, was named because it’s a story about dragons posing as gods, and then, of course, there are real gods in there, too.

Did you learn anything from writing your book?
Nope, nothing.

What is your favourite part or scene in the novel?
Which novel? It doesn’t matter; all scenes in all my books are my favorite. I love to read every word I’ve written; they’re a work of art. Through editing, I made sure that every word was the perfect word for that sentence, and that sentence was germane to the idea within the paragraph, and every paragraph drives the story forward.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Oh, yes, absolutely. I don’t think one can describe or portray something they’ve never experienced. I would never have written Gods and Dragons if I, myself, had never slain a dragon....

Which, if any, of your personality traits did you write into your characters?
Well, probably all of them, but not into the same character. Scar, from Gods and Dragons, probably gets his emotional flares from me, while say, Garrett, from Larson and Garrett, gets his dry humor from me.
When it comes to characters, all I do is choose two or three mannerisms and a few speech inflections, and then I allow them to develop on their own through either conversations or the narrative’s experience, so in the end, none of the characters are just like me; that would be silly.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
The names of the characters? I have no idea. I guess I pick a name that sounds cool, but that’s really only for the two or three key characters; everyone else’s name is spur of the moment. Fortha, the elf, and his brother, Shula- spur of the moment. Labolas Sulas, Captain of the Legion of Archers, sort of spurred... Labolas actually came from Glasya Labolas, but Sulas sounded like a good last name for him. Yoris, the orc- spur of the moment. Stephen Heisler was planned. Scar’s real name is Sarkany, and since the whole of Gods and Dragons was conceived from my love of dragons, I researched commonalities bewteen the dragons of cultures and times, and from them, I chose pertinent names.

Can you tell us anything about any of your current work(s)-in-progress? And what can we expect from you in the future?
I can tell you that Dragon Slayer will blow Gods and Dragons out of the water, but then, everything new one writes should be better than the last, right?

What is the thing you struggle with the most while writing?
I don’t struggle at all. Everything comes quite naturally: I think about my story, I think about my characters, I put it all down, and then I get away from it for a few months. Once I’ve sort of lost the thread of my original thoughts, it’s time to edit.
You see, if while I read my story, I come across some passages that don’t make sense, it means two things; one, it did make sense while I was in my own head, so there’s a way to make it make sense again, and two, if it doesn’t make sense at the time of editing then it wouldn’t make sense to readers, and that means I have to turn my words on a page into a story. There’s a huge difference, you know?

Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.
I’ve tried to read, but maybe this ties into why I became a writer. I don’t like what’s out there. I think The Lord of The Rings is boring as all get out. I think Fire and Ice or whatever it was that George Martin wrote and was turned into Game of Thrones reads like books for a 5th grader. Most of what’s out there is garbage, and I can understand why so few people read, but I think my work will turn things around.
When I do read, it’s non-fiction, and I’m a practitioner of the teachings provided by Carlos Castaneda; I didn’t just read his work, I embodied it and it has reshaped my life.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Well, I’m a nerd, so...playing video games.

If you were ever stranded on a deserted island what would you miss and which three books would you take along?
I’d probably miss girls, and I would take no books.

Thank you for stopping by, Aaron.

Find Aaron at Stories by Dennis.
All the buy links for Amazon, Smashwords, and B&N can be found on the site.
Lots of Aaron's work is free through Smashwords and B&N.

Check out The Dragon of Time on Google+

and The Adventures of Larson and Garrett on Google+

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