Friday, December 30, 2011

10 Questions with Writer Dan Kind (@DanHKind)

This Author Spotlight features Dan H. Kind, writer of fantasy and speculative fiction, and author of the hilarious and irreverent novel THE FOUNTAIN OF EDEN.

1) How did you get into writing?

I read a lot, I have an overactive imagination, and I'd always wanted to write fiction. But after school I set this ambition aside, except for jotting down the occasional line of bad (and I mean horrible) poetry. Three years later, summer 2001, I attended a Phish show, a habit I retain to this day. During an insanely long Slave to the Traffic Light jam, it was as if the music opened up some unused part of my brain. Right then an idea hit me for a novel. A year later that idea was still stuck in my head and I thought, “It's now or never,” and began writing. Since then I've been hooked. Creating universes is highly addictive.

2) What do you like best (or least) about writing?

Least: that I have so little time to do it. Most: world-building, and when that little plot problem that's been bugging you for days or weeks or months pops up in your mind, solved, like a revelation.

3) What is your writing process? IE do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc?

I'm not big on outlining, unless you count the thousands of random notes jotted down in my notebook. These snippets often help me iron out the plot, but I don't bother with full outlines. If I did, I'd probably change so much during the actual writing process that writing the outline would have been pointless.

4) Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”

I love humorous fiction, especially with a fantastical twist. During my teenage years I read and reread Terry Pratchett's Discworld series and Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide. I'm a huge fan of Christopher Moore, Tom Robbins, Jasper Fforde, A. Lee Martinez. I've recently been reading Carl Hiaasen, Tim Dorsey, and Charles Portis. Anything that makes me chuckle inspires me. Also Joseph Campbell, who may be the most intelligent human being who ever lived. And Bodhidharma.

5) Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?

I believe, in that instance, inside. But I'm going with outside because it looks cleaner on the page. And if I say both “right” and “wrong” there's no way I can be “wrong,” “right?” (Or would that be “wrong”, “right”?) Damn trick questions always get me.

6) What’s your stance on the Oxford Comma?

I'm all for it. Sometimes it helps bring clarity to a sentence. But I try to use it only when all else fails. Oftentimes it's better to break a long sentence down into two.

7) What is your book THE FOUNTAIN OF EDEN about and how did it come to fruition?

It all started with a question: “What would happen if a microbrewery brewed a beer with water drawn from the Fountain of Youth and everyday folks around town started attaining Eternal Life?” My original answer was: “Well, just like in mythology, the gods would be pissed and wipe out humanity.” From there, the story evolved. I really had fun with the mythological aspects of the book, borrowing characters, creatures, themes, and motifs from American Indian, Buddhist, Greek, Hindu, modern mythology, and more. I like to call the novel an irreverent comic fantasy because, well, that's what it is. If you like reading any of those zany guys I mentioned in answer #4, you'll probably enjoy Fountain.

8) What’s your current writing project?

I'm working on a series of stand-alone sci-fi and horror shorts. This is my first venture into these genres, and it's been fun. It's also the first time I've killed off characters. But, alive or dead, what's the difference? A character has the distinct chance to live on forever in the reader's mind, whether they survive or perish on the page. I'm also completely rewriting my first, unpublished novel, a fantasy with one foot in the realm of speculative fiction called Eye of the Dome (yes, the one that appeared in a thought-bubble above a Phish show). I plan to have these projects finished in the next few months. I'm also in the early, research stage for a new novel called Alignment. It's about an isolated desert tribe that believes the daily rituals they perform keep the sun coming up and the Earth in alignment with the stars. Now, just to hack out a solid plot . . .

9) What book(s) are you currently reading?

I'm currently delving into a book of essays by Roshi Robert Aitken called The Morning Star. Reading Buddhist literature calms my mind and helps me put things into perspective, and Buddhist philosophy is a big influence on my writing. You'll find themes of non-duality and interdependence running throughout Fountain. But don't flip out! That doesn't mean it's filled with a bunch of philosophical verbiage. Story is #1. Always. As for fiction, I've been reading the works of fellow independent authors such as yourself, Cara Michaels, Christopher Bunn, Ania Ahlborn, and Edward A. Grainger, to name but a few. There's some real quality stuff out there in the indie world, on par with and often better than traditionally published books.

10) Who or what inspires your writing?

Life, the universe, everything, and nothing. But mainly my family.

Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where people can read your published stories, buy your book, etc.

*As a 'hair-of-the-dog' special, Fountain will be available for free on Amazon Jan. 1st and 2nd. What better way to recover from New Year's Eve than by reading a novel about beer?

Thanks for having me, Ryan. And thank you, all, for taking the time to read. See ya on the flip-side!

Goodreads Author Page:

Thanks, Dan!

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