About The Author
Dan lives Canterbury, Kent, UK. He picked up a love of Fantasy stories after reading The Lord of the Rings, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and numerous Roald Dahl novels. He is best known for his Draconica series, a Fantasy/Manga series that has been praised for its Anime style action, humour and illustrations. He has also had a short comic strip called Queller, which was published in an anthology for the comic Lighting Strike Presents . . . and has also been a judge for a book competition at his local school.
Dan also runs various websites dedicated to the world of Draconica, a blog and he occasionally reviews books. His other hobby is playing guitar in a band called Rage of Silence. He likes all kinds of music—but he mainly listens to rock and metal, rap, some pop music and also film and video game scores. He also loves Disney and Pixar movies—often finding himself singing along to the tunes, or crying manly tears!
He is also a slave to his cat, who takes up a lot of his time when he isn’t at work or writing!
1) Can you tell us a bit about your background? How did your background influence the genre you write in?
From an early age I always loved Fantasy tales. My parents would often read Roald Dahl and C.S. Lewis stories when I went to sleep. Then I became interested in Greek and Medieval mythology – I always enjoyed stories about heroes and monsters. But it was really after I read Lord of the Rings that I decided to write my own Fantasy tales. By then I was also a fan of board games and table-top battle games, I played a lot of Warhammer and Heroquest and the like. Oh, and I was also into comics – Marvel mostly but I did pretty much read anything I liked.
Later into my life – say around mid twenties or so, I started getting into Anime and Disney. In fact, those two things alone seem to have been the key parts in crafting my writing style. I like to write stories that are epic and elaborate, but don’t take themselves too seriously, so Anime and Disney helped with this.
2) Where and when did your writing journey begin?
One of my first experiences with writing was with a comic I did at my secondary school. It was called The Abbey School Avenger, and it was pretty much just me and my friends being superheroes – villains. Admittedly – most of the material I used was pretty much ripped off Power Rangers, but thankfully I’ve learned to craft my own story since then! XD
3) Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing?
As you probably guessed, J.R.R Tolkien, Roald Dahl and C.S. Lewis were great inspirations for me. Douglas Adams is my favourite author of all time – I love his creativity and sense of humour. A lot of what I guess you could say the “feminist” elements of my writing was inspired by Joss Whedon – who I think is an amazing writer. A lot of the Dark Fantasy elements I sometimes use in my stories are inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, Harlan Ellison and Alan Moore. For Anime style writing I really enjoy Hiromu Arakawa – who wrote Full Metal Alchemist.
Essentially, my writing style is kinda all of the above put in a blender, mixed around – adding my own flavouring and then putting down onto paper.
4) What does a typical day in your life look like? And how does your writing routine fit into your day?
I work a job as well as doing writing so I try to mix that around work. Usually I try to get in at least 2-3 hours of writing related work where possible, but on days off I try to get at least 6 hours in – although on my days off I hardly leave my computer. Aside from my books I also have an online Youtube series that I write, record and edit so I try to do that at least once a month.
5) How did you come up with the idea for your book, “Amanda Moonstone?”
As previously mentioned, I really like Disney and Pixar and had always wanted to do something in that same vein. At the time I was hearing a lot about Frozen and people were raving about the character of Elsa. Her character interested me, plus I also had this other idea that I wanted to write about for a long time. So I sat down, worked out ideas and put them together.
Luckily I didn’t need to worry too much about creating the world Amanda Moonstone is set in – I already had a Fantasy world ready! I have another series called Draconica – which is my main series – and I decided to place Amanda Moonstone in that world. I always planned for Draconica to be a “shared universe” type of thing so I thought it was a good way of expanding the world. All I had to do was get the characters down and that was it.
For that, I watched tons of Disney films and picked out what traits in characters I liked, then based my characters around that. Strangely enough, I think Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph and The Hunchback of Notre Dame played a huge part in the creation of Amanda Moonstone. And yes, I also did get to see Frozen as well – and to tell the truth the only thing I really liked about it was Elsa. Disney was my muse for this book.
6) What do you think sets your book apart from others current on the shelves?
I like to think that the story is a little more relatable than a lot of other Fantasy out there. Without giving too much away of the story, it’s less about the traditional “saving the world from evil” trope and more about Amanda trying to save herself from her own past and undo her mistakes. She has issues that I think a lot of people will be able to relate to – and some may even sympathise with. If you’re a fan of Elsa and Rapunzel then I like to think that you’ll latch onto Amanda almost straight away. She’s not necessarily a “good” girl – but she’s human, despite her magical powers.
7) Which character in your book is your favorite and how much of yourself is reflected in that character?
I try not to have favourites – but I guess that naturally happens. I think I have to say Amanda – mainly because of the incredible journey she goes through. She’s got so many layers and emotions to her that you sometimes like her, sometimes hate her – but you understand her motives. I like to think she’s the most detailed character I’ve ever written about.
Luthar is probably my favourite male character. Technically he’s an antagonist – but not through choice. I actually aim to expand his character a little more in future stories. I got plenty of ideas for him.
8) What are some of the difficulties when it comes to writing a book with a female protagonist as a male author?
Strange as this may seem, but I actually prefer creating female characters to male ones. It’s probably because I’ve often worked with a lot of strong females in the many jobs I’ve done over the years – but also because I love and respect women! J Thing is though, I personally don’t think that creating female protagonists should be THAT difficult for a male author. In fact, I always considered creating female characters no different to creating male characters.
The danger that I think some writers potentially fall into is creating what I call the “eye-candy” heroine. Now don’t get me wrong – I don’t think there is ANYTHING wrong with creating a sexy character. My Draconica series has its fair share of sexy characters after all. But I don’t think that you should ever create a character purely just for fanservice. I’ve seen too many characters in film, TV and even videogames whereby the females are portrayed as super-sexy but have no character whatsoever. Character should be the important feature – that way people can respect them for their personality as well as their looks – if they so choose to. And if you have to make your character sexy you have to ask yourself “How does this character feel about her looks?” Does she play up to them? Does she hate it? These are all sorts of things you need to consider – but there isn’t really a trick to it as such.
In short, creating female protagonists shouldn’t really be a problem – and it isn’t a problem for any decent writer. After all, women are people too!
9) Which scenes in your book did you have the most fun writing?
The scenes about Amanda’s past were probably the most moving for me to write. For some reason I enjoy writing scenes that tug at the heartstrings over anything else. Maybe it’s just because I enjoy a good cry now and then! (Does that hurt my masculinity in anyway admitting that?) XD
10) What do you hope for your readers to take away after reading your book?
The key line for the book is “No one is past redemption”. I like to think this books sets a precedent that even if you have a bad past, you can go beyond that and redeem yourself if you want it. Redemption is a running theme with a lot of my novels and it’s something that I believe in. I’m not religious, but I do believe in second chances and everyone should be able to have one, no matter their past.
11) What are your hopes for this book?
It would be a dream for me if it was made into a film. I’d love it to be done as a Pixar/Dreamworks animated film – but live action would do just as well. Realistically though, I’d just love people to read it and take something from it. I guess that’s the hope of all authors thought.
12) What do you have in store next for your readers?
I’m working on a second, third and then later fourth book in this same series. I intend to take the story down a slightly darker path, whilst keeping the whimsical nature of the story. For inspiration, I’ll be watching a lot of classic Disney movies and introduce a lot more characters to the series. And it will continue the same theme as set up in the first book – but again I’ll try not to say too much for spoilers.
Thank you so much for having me on your blog. Hope you enjoy the rest of the tour!
Amanda Website: http://moonstonefalls.weebly.com
Amanda Moonstone: The Missing Prince
Title: Amanda Moonstone: The Missing Prince
Author: Dan Wright
Genre: YA Fantasy
“No one is past redemption”
Threatened with eviction, Amanda Moonstone stumbles across a lost Prince, of which there is a reward for his safe return. Little does Amanda know is that this “reward” is actually a wicked plan created by the tyrannical King Kimera to keep his claim on the Royal Throne intact. However, finding the Prince may just be the key to undoing the one mistake that has haunted Amanda for over a year. Because being a sorceress comes with a terrible price…
From the shadows, a mysterious man in black watches every step Amanda takes. But what is his purpose? And what part does the insidious Blood gem (her most guarded of gems) have to play in Amanda’s future?