Hey guys, back with a new isolation interview! I’ll have an SPFBO author interview ready for the weekend, but I’d like to bring back an old survivor of the Scar den in Deston Munden. Hope you guys enjoy!
First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you write?
Hello again! I’m Deston J. Munden, former SPFBO writer and now resident stuck in the house author. I’m a science fiction and fantasy author who is surviving all this craziness by stuffing his head full on Dungeons and Dragons characters and learning how to cook neat food. I’m the author of two series, Dargath Chronicles and Dusk Orbit Blues, both which are getting an audiobook real soon. It’s a pleasure to be back.
How do you develop your plots and characters?
I’ve been asked this quite a few times and I never feel like my answers are satisfactory, but nevertheless true. They just kinda come to me. There are small inciting events that makes me want to develop a character or a plot. It could just be me sitting and reading. It could just me be playing a game or roleplaying a completely unrelated character. From there, I put them on what I called the simmer mode. I slowly develop them in my head until they are ready for the drafting phase.
Tell the world about your current project!
Dargath is a fun, high fantasy world that I created a while back. It’s a world where everyone has magic and no one is truly human. I wanted to create a world where magic was a common stance and everyone has a degree of it that is unique to them. Also, I wanted a world where the reader doesn’t go in with the natural biasness of starting with a human. Yes, there are human-like races, but I wanted to have this mystical feeling to everything. The world is split into two continents, eight races, and plenty of subraces. It’s rich in history, politics, and turmoil while also having that classic dungeons and dragons type of feeling to the world. If that seems like your type of thing, try me out!
Who would you say is the main character of your latest novel? And tell me a little bit about them!
Ser Torlyek is the main character of the novel that is coming out later this year. I’ve been marketing him as Neville Longbottom meets Thor from the MCU and Steven Universe. He’s my first autistic main character who adores knights and honor beyond anything else. He’s also a complex character who has a deep backstory with his family. Duke’s Brand follows him as he comes to terms with who he is now as well as him making friends along the way. I hope that you guys enjoy him as much as I enjoyed writing him.
Have you been to any conventions? If so, tell me a little about them!
I’ve been to so many conventions! They are some of my favorite places to go for vacations. They are so lively and powerful, and you get to meet so many fellow nerds. My goal this year was to finally sell my books at a convention. Sadly, that didn’t happen. Now, I’m going through convention withdrawal. If you never gone to a convention before, I’ll honestly suggest that you try it out. There are so many cool things that you can find and you’ll meet so many cool people.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I realized that I wanted to be a writer when I was young. Luckily, none of my teachers tried to squash that love. Instead, they tried their hardest to cultivate the talent that they saw. I always wrote fan fictions and loved the creative writing assignments given to me. But, it wasn’t until after college where I realized this was a career I could do. Self-publishing opened an entirely new opportunity for me and ever since I’ve been pushing myself more and more to expand my dream into a reality.
If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?
Rome, hands down. There’s so much history there that I would love to explore and set a story within. I think it would be fun to explore the mythology and the people of rome and wrapping that up in a story that I would write.
What advice would you give new writers?
Finish. That. First. Draft. I’ve seen so many new writers get into what I call the world building loop or worse the first chapter loop. Its when a new writer keeps world building or writing the first chapter endlessly until the end of time. That is not how you’re going to improve. You’re going to have to finish that first draft at one point or another. Not to say pre-writing is not important, however, if you’re stuck on it you need to start on the first draft. As a new writer, learning how to finish a project is key.
What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the worldbuilding?
Too many. I usually get inspiration from history, cultures, food, architecture, generally whatever that I think would make my world feel richer and livelier. Each of the races are inspired somewhat after certain regions of our world albeit blended in such a way to better fit the region I’m going for. I’ve used things from Africa, the Middle East, Medieval Europe, Egypt, etc to make my world feel stronger and cohesive. It’s a fun experience as a history and culture nerd.
What inspires you to write?
I enjoy it. That’s the long and short of it all. Writing is a passion of mine. I love sitting down at the computer and letting my imagination go wild. There’s a magic to it all. I used to write after I finished my schoolwork in class just for fun. I didn’t realize that was weird until my teacher saw me doing it while everyone else was playing games on the computer. Writing is my creative outlet and without it I might burst.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The hardest part for me is keeping the pace with everything. There’s a lot that goes into be an author. Some days I just want to sit down and write, but I know I can’t do that all the time. There are days where I’m going to have to research, do my social media, and market the books I already have released. Managing my time has become quite difficult.
What is your routine when writing, if any? If you don’t follow a routine, why not?
My routine is usually 8-4 every weekday. If I don’t follow this schedule, I will and can work myself to death.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write in any of your books, and why?
This is spoiler territory. There’s a certain scene in Tavern that I really enjoy that has made people lose their marbles and I always laugh manically about when I get a message about it. Recently though, I’ve been getting a lot of “OMG” about a certain scene in the middle of Dusk Mountain Blues. It makes me giggle. I might be evil.
What these two scenes have in common is that I throw the reader for a loop. I love doing that.
Did you learn anything from writing your latest book? If so, what was it?
Writing Duke’s Brand and Dusk Ocean Blues taught me a lot how to condense my writing style a bit. Lately, I’ve been trying to hone my writing style a bit. I feel like writing these two books has helped that a lot going forward.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? A gardener or an architect?
I am definitely a pantser. I’m all about writing it and winging it until I get to the second draft.
If you had to give up either snacks and drinks during writing sessions, or music, which would you find more difficult to say goodbye to?
Definitely snacks. I can give up music if I had to, but snacks I need to survive. I can’t imagine how I’ll get through certain parts of my novel without snacking on some chips or some other ungodly unhealthy food or beverage.
Which is your favorite season to write in, and why?
Spring. There is something about the temperature and the outside environment that brings out the power in me.
It’s sometimes difficult to get into understanding the characters we write. How do you go about it?
It’s all about learning how that character ticks. The big thing I’ve realized about getting in the mindset of a character is knowing their motivation. A person drive and ambition tell a lot about the character as a whole and getting into the mindset of them. You gotta realize what they want to realize who they are. From there, I think, their personalities, dreams, relationships, etc becomes more apparent the more you write it.
What are your future project(s)?
Dusk Ocean Blues (Book 2 of Dusk Orbit Blues)
Undergrove (Book 3 of Dargath Chronicles)
Dusk Country Blues (Book 3 of Dusk Orbit Blues)
What is your favorite book ever written?
I’m pleading the fifth here. I enjoy all the books that I’ve written so far. There are parts where I feel like I’ve done better in this book while others in that one. So at the end the day, I can’t choose.
Who are your favorite authors?
Traditionally Published: Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, Michael J. Sullivan, Robert Jordan, Scott Lynch, Jonathan French, Brent Weeks, Sean Grisby, and Gareth L. Powell, Renee April.
Self Published: James Jakins, Emmet Moss, Deck Matthews, Andy Peloquin, Bernard Bertram, Garrett B. Robinson.
There’s probably a million more.
What makes a good villain?
A good motivation and a strong personality. I’m the type of person that enjoys a big personality in my villain over sheer fear and power they may possess. The villains that have a good time while also having depth speak out to me. Yes, I do enjoy the looming dark lord type villain as well, but if I can somehow get both I’m a happy camper.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Cooking! It’s my favorite past time other than video games and tabletop RPGs. I’m not as good as it as other people, but I’m trying my best and I’m learning every day!
If you couldn’t be an author, what ideal job would you like to do?
A chef! Like I said before, cooking is a fun hobby and being a chef/cook would be a fun job for me. I also like to bake, so a baker would be not too far behind. I just like working with food.
Coffee or Tea? Or (exult deep breath) what other drink do you prefer, if you like neither?
Tea! There are so many different types of teas and most which I can drink (because I can’t have a lot of caffeinated beverages). I prefer fruity teas, but I’m willing to try any of it.
You can travel to anywhere in the universe. Where would you go, and why?
Whew. I don’t know. I’ll probably want to try to find new planets to explore, specifically with new life.
Do you have any writing blogs you recommend?
No. I don’t have any writer blogs that I’ll recommend but check out the #writerblr tag on tumblr if you need any inspiration!
Do you have any writer friends you’d like to give a shoutout to?
Nicky Ball, Kathryn York, Hallie Fleischmann, Chris Barber, Dave Deickman, Emmet Moss, Bernard Bertram, and Deck Matthews to name a few!
Pick any three fiction characters. These are now your roadtrip crew. Where do you go and what do you do?
Clay Cooper from Kings of the Wyld, Matrim Couthon from Wheel of Time, and Wayne from The Alloy of Law.
We’re gonna go on a rock-star tour and we’re gonna cause some trouble.
What superpower would you most like?
Super Strength. I know that’s a simple power to want to have but it would just make my life a whole lot easier. Being able to pick up a lot of things would be amazing.
What are two of your favorite covers of all time? (Not your own.)
Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames
Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
It’s a very difficult time right now for the world. When quarantine and pandemic comes to an end, what is the first thing you would like to do?
Travel more and meet some of my online friends. My goal this year was to travel more, get out there, and meet some of the people that I’ve been talking to for ages. The quarantine and pandemic put that to a screeching halt. I want to go to more conventions, I want to see more places, and I want just enjoy life more. This whole situation made me realize that I haven’t been out nearly as much as I want to be.
Finally, what is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
Remember to follow me everywhere below and it was great coming back!