Interview with author, Dylan Callens

TS.  A quirky, relatively new author who takes us into a sci-fi, dystopian world, with his new book, Interpretation

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing? (please provide a photo/s of your shed, room, closet, barn….)
Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

DC. I have a spot in basement. There is this lumpy old couch where I need to sit. It wrecks my back but I can’t help it – the words just flow there. It’s the center of calm for me, even if there is chaos all around. I’ve used the same space for so long that I’ve ruined the cushion but I just can’t give it up.

Q. Do you have any special rituals when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

DC  I typically need half an hour to look at dumb things on the internet. I might play a Twitter hashtag game or stare at Goodreads for a while. It doesn’t really matter what but I have to have that time to settle into the words.

Q. Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

DC. I am really good with a yo-yo. There was a time when I considered focusing on that instead of writing. I thought about entering the world of competitive yo-yoing. I know that sounds like a joke, but there is such a thing. Ultimately, I think I made the right choice to continue writing.

Q. Do you have a set time each day (or night) to write?

DC. Most of my new ideas are generated in the morning. When I’m working on a new project, I tend to get up between 4 and 4:30 AM to write. However, I can’t edit in the morning so that usually happens either sporadically throughout the day or in the evening, after about 7:30.

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

DC. When I first started writing I procrastinated a lot. When I reflect on why, I don’t think it was because I was lazy but because I was afraid that in the end, what I wrote wouldn’t be good enough. So, I put it off. When I finally finished my first project, Operation Cosmic Teapot, I discovered a few things. First, I spent about six years on a project that should have been done in less than one because I procrastinated. Second, I had a lot to learn about writing and marketing a book. Third, that despite the mistakes in the book, I’m pretty good at it. And fourth – most importantly – the only way I could have failed was not to finish it. I think that’s what important to overcome procrastination. To realize that the only way to fail on a project is to not do it. Even if the book only sells a copy of copies, you can learn from that experience and apply it to the next project.

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?

DC. I wish I could say that they came to me in a dream, or something profound like that, but they don’t. Sources of inspiration for characters come from all over the place. In earlier writing, I was inspired by philosophers and gods. In my new novel, Interpretation, the main character was sort of assembled together after I completed a Myers-Briggs personality test. That was a really fun exercise. I answered profile questions in a way that I wanted the character to respond to those situations. Once I understood his personality, I could understand his motivation throughout the novel. My next novel might be based on me – but that’s kind of a frightening thought.

Q. What first inspired you to write your stories?

DC. I’m greatly inspired by philosophy and psychology. While in university, I wrote a novel that underlined the principles of phenomenology. It was as good as it sounds. I completely trashed the manuscript. It is rotting away in a dump somewhere. (You’re welcome, humanity.)

The first novel that I completed arose from the same place, though. I was teaching Nietzsche’s madman parable in a philosophy course. That is the story where Nietzsche says, “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.” In the middle of that lesson, I kind of chuckled at an idea – what if Nietzsche was God’s boss and tried to fire him? I began outlining the story from there. It was an ‘ah-ha’ moment for me.


Don’t miss the conclusion to this Interview. Click here

MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?       June: Mehreen Ahmed.  July: Janet Macleod Trotter, author of Tea Planter’s Daughter and in August we say ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon.   September: Dylan Callens
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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