Interview with author, Dylan Callens (conclusion)

Q. What comes first to you? The Characters or the Situation?

DC. In Interpretation, the situation came first. That wasn’t the case in previous stories, but for this novel it was. I was on a bus listening to students talk about science fiction movies and I began to word-doodle a dystopian world. After that, I started reading about weird psychological experiments and came across the work of Dr. Jose Delgado. He did a great deal of research on mind control devices. From there, I started to wonder about the extreme ends of such an experiment. And that is the central situation in the novel.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

DC. Oh yes, absolutely. I get so lost, in fact, that if I read my work a day later, it’s like reading someone else’s work. I can only recall the ideas that I put on the page and to see what I’ve written, the specific words that I’ve strung together, it’s like I was never there. Sometimes that’s a good thing but sometimes I’m mystified at what I was trying to get at. That’s why I have a great editor.

Q. Who or what is your “Muse” at the moment?

DC. Right now, you’re my muse, Trish. These are great questions.

Q. Do you have a new book coming out soon? If so tell us about it.

DC. Yes, my new novel, Interpretation, was just released on August 1st. It’s about hope in the most desperate of times. It’s my ode to dystopian classics like Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World with a very modern take. I’ve used Ray Kurzweil’s predictions about our technological progress, as well as Dr. Jose Delgado’s psychological experiments to create a world that I think forces us to consider our own humanity.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

DC. I think I started to take it seriously three years ago. After making slow progress on my first novel, I started to see that it could be finished. I only had a few chapters left so I pushed forward to finish it. After another year of editing, it was released.

Q. How long after that were you published?

DC. I self-published that novel in December 2015. Since then, I’ve written a collection of Fairy Tales, been in two anthologies, and I’m releasing my second novel. I’ve also started a small publishing company in that time as well. So, the last two years have been very busy.

Q. What makes a writer great?

DC. That’s difficult to answer. I think there are so many ways for a writer to be great. It could be something like the imagery Joseph Ferguson uses to tell his stories. Or the beautiful complexity found in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. There are so many things that can make a writer great.

Q. and the all important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?

DC. Wow – to answer that question fully would require several pages of explanation. And I don’t think there’s a normal process for me. While I have certain rituals in terms of when and where I write, I don’t really have a straight forward process. I might research some stuff then outline. And then write a chapter, then outline some more. And do more research in the middle of writing a chapter. Then I might toy with a cover idea for a little while. I really wish I had a better answer but I’m not organized enough to have a definite process.

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

DC. I’m heavily influenced by my education in philosophy more than anything. My life experiences work their way into my writing in various ways but my imagination plays a bigger role. I’ve always been someone that sits around and thinks so I think that drives my storytelling more than any real experiences.

Q. Have you or do you want to write in another genre`?

DC. I have written satire and parody in the past. Interpretation is dystopian science fiction, which isn’t something that I thought that I would do. If I continue the current project that I have in mind for my next novel, I will get into literary fiction. I know that career-wise, it would be smart to stay within one genre but I don’t have the focus to do that. My stories aren’t genre specific.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

DC. In Interpretation, there are inkblots at the top of each chapter. My kids made those inkblots specifically for the novel. We had a blast making them and I’d just like readers to know that. So, if you something strange in the blot, just remember: my kids did that to you.

Did you miss Part I?

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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?     In August we say ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon.   September: Dylan Callens and October’s author is Donna Kauffman.
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