We have a special treat today. Dan Peyton, author of several books, is in the house! Let’s get into the interview, shall we?
Where are you from:
Stillwater, Oklahoma originally. Currently I live in Morristown, Tennessee.
Tell us your latest news?
I am about to release Legacy of the Dragonwand part 1, a young adult fantasy adventure story.
When and why did you begin writing?
I started in the 4th grade. My teacher, Mrs. Rogers, encouraged the students to write some everyday. They didn’t have any specific task, just write. I fell in love with writing then and wanted to keep doing it.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In the 9th grade my English teacher did the same thing as my 4th grade teacher, she gave us free write time. We were to turn in what we wrote but I asked to be allowed to finish a book I had started. I had never actually tried writing a novel before so it was exciting. I turned it in way late, but the teacher let me. She lost it. I mean she actually took it home and could not find it. Time passed and she finally got it back and told me the story. Her mother was an professor at OSU and she took my book by mistake. She read it, graded it and then searched for the student who wrote it. It got a C….but for a 9th grader to get a C from a college professor is amazing. It also came back with a note attached that outlined some of the professors notes about what she liked and what she wanted to see improved. I was stunned….happily stunned to be exact. It was then that I knew that I could do it one day, I could be an author. But, first, I needed to be a writer and write, write, write.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book was a Star Trek novel. It was inspired by Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. However, what I wrote wasn’t fan fiction in the sense that I used other peoples characters, settings, and scenarios and just wrote my own telling. I created my own cast of characters, setting, situation….basically story. It was recognizably Star Trek, but it was my own series. (Which I have written several books into and the family loves.)
How did you come up with the title?
For my first book it was easy. Star Trek: 11th Fleet. It sort of was a prescribed title considering the genre it was written about.
For my newest book, Legacy of the Dragonwand, the title needed to tell a story in itself. I want the reader to see that title and ask “What is the legacy of the Dragonwand?” And, ultimately, “What is a Dragonwand?” which I hope will draw them into reading the book.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not really. I wrote the Dragonwand book to be a fun read that is clean and exciting.
Wonderful! It can be so hard to find clean books. How much of the book is realistic?
As much as can be in a fantasy. What I try to do is make the fantasy seem as real as possible. The people are real, their pain, love, happiness, excitement, sorrow, loneliness, humor,…..basically personalities are all real as you and me. They get hungry, they get tired, they grump and complain about silly things. They like certain foods and not others. A slap to their face hurts just like anyone else. Most importantly, they aren’t perfect.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Hardly. This story is entirely fabricated out of my own odd little mind.
What books have most influenced your life most?
How much for just the planet by John M. Ford.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Ashes of Eden by William Shatner
The Bible by…..God.
Okay, I know that that sounds like your average over the top Christian answer, but let me explain. First, I do believe in the Bible, but that isn’t what I’m talking about. Have you sat down and read it recently…I mean really looked into the narrative? Its exciting, hilarious, sad, fun. The political intrigue is fascinating, the romances real. There is so much meat in the narrative in the scriptures that you can develop some really well rounded characters using it.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
What are your current projects?
1: Legacy of the Dragonwand part 1 (Publishing)
2: Legacy of the Dragonwand part 2 (Prepping for near future publishing.)
3: Bark: the complete series (turning this into a physical novel.)
4: Wisdom Springs Eternal (working title right now) (Beta reading stage, about ready for submitting.)
5: Remnant (First Rough Draft just completed and set aside for the moment.)
6: The Crystal Needle 3: The Map (Second draft editing right now, hoping to have it prepped in time for Christmas 2015 release.)
7: A Series of Shorts (A collection of my short stories that I may or may not turn into a book soon…waiting to hear back from betas about that idea.)
8: Asking myself over and over “WHAT WAS I THINKING?!” After making that list. (Not a book, just a statement.)
Wow! You are one busy writer!! Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Social Media. Since I started getting in touch with other authors and indie publishers on Facebook I have learned so much about this. I have been able to get in touch with decently priced editors, some good beta readers, reviewers, bloggers, and just a lot of support that I didn’t know was out there. I have made a lot of virtual friends that I would love to meet one day.
Personal note: When I finally get as rich as Tolkien at this I am going to throw a giant convention for just all the author/publisher friends I have made on facebook and finally get to meet them all face to face. (It could happen.)
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Not really, it has always been a part of me. I always loved telling the stories, inventing the characters, imagining how things might have been. When I was a kid and played with the other kids I would be the one that gave a narrative to the playground game we made up. I never really connected that it was the author in my blood until later, but looking back it was always in there.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
The earth shaking bellow of a dragon caused Markus to jump to the ground in fear. Trembling all over, he cautiously lifted his head just as a golden dragon unleashed a volley of fire at an obsidian black dragon. The obsidian dragon shot back with a greenish hellfire. It was so great it exploded as far as Markus could see. He scrunched up his body in an attempt to avoid being burned alive.
Markus looked up again to find himself in the eye of a firestorm, greenish black fire was mixing with yellow and orange fire. The ground vibrated hard under his feet and the earsplitting screams of the dragons fighting was almost more than he could handle.
At once a huge black claw swooped down into the fires and scooped Markus up. The dark dragon held him so tight that he could barely breathe. The beast yelled out, “YOU HAVE LOST!!”
“HE WILL COME!” The golden dragon replied and then swooped over the fires and came up fast on the obsidian dragon. The golden dragon grabbed its foe by the tail then opened its maw to release a flurry of flames.
Markus struggled for air and clenched his eyes closed as the light orange fire washed over him. Oddly, the world went cold and the feel of the claws around his ribs left.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Getting the conversation perfect. I have been complemented on my conversation writing before, but I never seem to feel its good enough. I want the conversations between characters to flow so naturally that you hear them conversing. You feel like you are part of the discussion and could even throw in your own thoughts if it were just words on paper.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not yet. But, I plan on expanding myself soon. I want to start taking part in genre conventions and working to make sales in person to people. I have tried so failed attempts at book signings, but looking back I realized I didn’t set in the proper crowd for what I write.
Who designed the covers?
Me. I draw them, edit them, and post them.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Editing. Hands down. I am by far no expert, like many authors, and find it tedious working out the editing. I know it is needed, but it’s needed like a cast on a broken arm. It can be annoying and seem to take forever, but you are really happy you had it done after it’s all over.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I tried a new thing with Legacy of the Dragonwand, I wrote a few scenes that were beginning/middle/end of a internal story that had no breakaways to other scenarios. You get the picture of what happens to the characters from the time they get into a situation and through it without looking out at what the main villain is up to, or where distant good guys are. I worried about it, but the betas loved it and I think it makes the story that much more interesting.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
The best advice is to not listen to too much authoring advice. Grammar advice, structure advice, cover art advice, publishing advice, it is all good if the source is reliable. But, there are a lot of people, authors and non-authors, that want to tell you how and what to write when it comes to developing the story. Sometimes it can be a good suggestion and something to think about, but often it is one persons style that they think is better than everyone else’s. Or worse, it is a non-author who thinks they know your job better than you. Tell your story with your voice not somebody else’s. Even if that somebody else is Stephen King, you aren’t Stephen King, you are you and be the best you…you can be.
Do you remember the first book you read?
The man who loved clowns.
Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I am an accomplished embroiderer and member of the Embroiderers Guild of America. I perform on stage as a semi-professional dancer in several styles, including tap and jazz, but mostly Okinawan traditional and modern. I am a pencil artist. At times I sing with the church during specials and events. And I love to cook, which has become more of a job than a hobby.
Amazing! We love that you dance. What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
TV: Star Trek…obviously. Dr. Who. Phineas and Ferb. Castle. I Love Lucy. The Dick Van Dyke show.
Movies: Marvel Movies in general. The Hobbit Series. Harry Potter Series. Star Trek series. The Producers. (This list could go on and on and on. I used to work for Blockbuster, my movie collection is ridiculous.)
If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Dan, thank you so much for stopping by and answering some questions about YOU!! You are a fascinating man, and we are honored to know you. Everyone, take a look at the book trailer Dan made:
K.R. and T.L.