When and why did you begin writing?
I have always been a writer when I think about it, ever since I was asked to produce stories as homework in school (it was probably the only time that I never struggled to make the word count!). I would sit on the school bus, daydreaming about characters and plots. I never grew out of it and so now I try to do something constructive with my daydreams.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have written many things throughout my life, though I have finished very few. I finally finished drafting a novel in 2009 whilst I was on operational deployment to Afghanistan. Basically, I ran out of books to read and so I decided to create my own (I still haven’t released this particular work but it was the birth of my Knights of Elyssa concept).
Are you a full-time or part-time writer and how does that affect your writing?
I am a part-time author. This means that there is a lot less time in my day for writing. The unfortunate thing is a lot of the time when the day is done and I finally settle behind the laptop to write I find that the inspiration is gone. It just means that I probably work slower than a full time author.
What are some day jobs you have held?
I joined the British Army straight out of school at 16, and I am still serving now. It is the only job I have ever known. Within the Household Cavalry regiment of the British Army, I have been a ceremonial dutyman, an armoured reconnaissance driver, an armoured reconnaissance gunner and a radio signaler.
Do you work to an outline or plot sketch, or do you prefer to let a general idea guide your writing?
I do both. I scribble away in my notebook every single idea that I have for the novel and attempt to order them into an outline. Once I start writing, I often let ideas take me off-piste, and sometimes I have to change the original outline.
How do you feel about indie/alternative vs. conventional publishing?
Indie publishing is wonderful. Thousands of writers that would never have put pen to paper are sharing their stories with the world. Of course, there are a lot of rusty coppers to sift through, but when I discover a gem I think to myself that I may never have been able to read it were it not for indie publishing. Indie books for me are like a treasure hunt: you know you are taking a risk. I also feel more forgiving of a book’s flaws if it is indie published. Of course, it will never take over conventional, in no small part due to the fact that an indie author needs to promote, market, write, edit and most probably work a full-time job.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Write. It doesn’t matter what you write, just do it. Otherwise, you will become another person that talks about what they would have done. The more you write, the better you will get. If you ask for a critique, get your gum-shield in and listen to all the negative without being emotional or disheartened. I will take constructive criticism over a friend telling me “amazing” any day.
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
I am writing the next installment in my series, Knights of Elyssa. The series is a fantasy world that focuses on an order that protects the world from demons. They are almost fanatical in the pursuit of their goal; necessary evils are commonplace. For those that have read the previous two short stories, my next work is Keepers of Peace which will follow on from the others. It will be larger in both size and scale, it will give more insight into the world and the order of Elyssa, which is something that quite a few readers have been asking for. Without risking spoilers, I can’t really say anymore.
How can you connect with D.S?