Sunday, 22 July 2018

Interview with D.N. Pillay

Earlier this week I featured The Anmorian Legends by D.N. Pillay. Today the author has dropped in to answer a few questions.

Dhesan Neil Pillay is 28 years old and a medical doctor working in paediatrics in South Africa. Both his parents were teachers and he grew up surrounded by books.

Hi Dhesan, welcome to Just Books.
Would you like to start by telling us when you started writing for publication and what made you decide to put your work out there to be read by others?
I started the first drafts of The Anmorian Legends: Wrath of the Exiled in the ninth grade and rewrote it several times before settling on what would become the first iteration of the final version in the tenth grade. For two years after that I considered my work to just be a hobby and did not think too seriously about publishing. In my twelfth grade, I wrote a creative short story for an English assignment and my teacher’s comments gave me the encouragement to believe that perhaps my writing would be interesting to others as well.

What gets your creative juices flowing?
A good cup of coffee! The sound of the sea also has an inspiring effect, but less so than the smell of coffee.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given?
When you’re unsure what to write, just keep writing. Don’t think of the ideas, try to let them flow. You can always go back later and beat the rough draft into shape but only if you get out of your own way first.

The best thing about being an author is….
Being able to create a world or universe to inhabit and then being able to share the experience of exploring that world with others.

Tell us about your writing routine; what’s a typical writing day for you?
Before I start writing out the story, I plan the entire sequence of events from start through to end. This gives me a rough road map as to where things will go but I am still flexible to adapting as I go along. When it comes to writing out the chapters, because of my working times, I use two segments in the day. The first is early in the morning with a cup of tea and just reviewing my story map notes. Then in the evening I’ll make a cup of coffee and select a playlist that mirrors the mood and environment I want to create.

Tell us about the covers for Wrath of the Exiled and Legacy of the Sentinels and how they came about.
I designed the cover for Wrath of the Exiled. My plan was through the story to look at the villain as this paragon of evil whose name evoked fear, however, the truth of his existence was far more terrifying than most understood. Since the first title was to introduce the world Rezaaran inhabits and that he must protect, plus the villain he must vanquish to fulfil his purpose, it felt fitting to include him on the cover. Furthermore, I opted for a simple style with contrasting colours so that it would stand out on a shelf. I drew inspiration from Avatar for the look and it illustrates Thaedis before he casts a spell.

Legacy of the Sentinels focussed on the Sentinels in their conquest against Thaedis and his forces as a unified force. This amazing cover was designed by the very talented Larry Wilson and we decided on a cover that could display our unique characters as well as visually show the fantasy/sci-fi elements of the story.

Would you give us an insight into your main character, please? What makes him special?
I think what makes Rezaaran Valhara special beside his incredible magical ability, is that he does not think of himself as being special, more so in the second book. He learns humility through some harsh lessons and the fact that he is a growing hero who matures through each experience instead of being a sparkling knight in armour makes him more relatable.

What do you like to do when you're not writing or working?
I enjoy spending time with my fiancé at the beach, watching movies, online gaming and playing soccer.

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Professionally, nothing is harder than telling a parent their child has died despite your best efforts. Each time this happens feels like it is the hardest thing to do until the next time that it happens. Personally, learning to paint has to be the hardest thing I have ever tried to do.

Your book is being made into a movie, which star would you cast as Rezaaran?
Raymond Ablack, Raza Jaffery or Riz Ahmed.

What is your favourite book and why?
This is a bit of a tough one but I think I’ll give it to Sphere by Michael Crichton. The way the story is narrated is such a gripping thriller that you are hooked and can’t stop reading, but the concept that it is our imagination is our greatest strength, by allowing us to imagine beyond our present circumstance that allowed us to evolve as the supreme species of the planet, as well as the source of our greatest fears. I found the read incredibly fascinating!

Quick fire round:

  • Are you right- or left-handed?

  • What do you have in your pockets?
A pen.

  • What words and/or phrases do you use very frequently?
I tend to use the word ‘just’ exceedingly often in conversation and am sometimes aware that I may be using it too often.

  • Are you generally introverted or extroverted?

  • Name three things you consider yourself to be very good at:
  • 30 seconds, the trivia game.

  • Remembering peoples’ names

  • Identifying songs after hearing a few seconds of the track

  • Thank you for joining us today, Dhesan. Is there anything else you’d like to share with us before you go?
    Thank you for this interview opportunity. If any readers would like to get in touch with me and learn more about my writing they can check out these links:

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