Interview: David Niall Wilson

I love it when an author goes above and beyond to get new readers. Such is the case with David Niall Wilson, who is doing a virtual tour for his book Vintage Soul. In the following interview, David says he writes because it’s fun. Did you get that? Writing should be fun! I know you’re going to enjoy the rest of what he says.

Your website is subtitled, “Glimpses into an overactive mind” and I can’t think of a better way to put it! You’ve got a lot of stuff on there – tell us about it all. What are your interests and where do you write?

It would take more than a single interview to cover all of my interests, I’m afraid. I love history, music, writing, reading, am addicted to various television programs, electronics and television. I’m involved in screenwriting with one script optioned currently and near to being in pre-production. I love urban fantasy (as the current novel Vintage Soul would indicate) and that includes movies, television series, novels, and my own writing. I play guitar (as do two of my boys) and have written a few songs along the way. I keep busy. Also wouldn’t want to forget animals. We have two Pekingese fluff balls, and I spend an inordinate amount of time on line creating lolcats.

Tell us about Vintage Soul. What do you hope readers take away from it?

Vintage Soul, in its most basic form, is written with no other purpose in mind than to entertain. I wrote a lot of novels for White Wolf, the RPG company back in the day. Their “World of Darkness” was populated with magic, incredible powers, and a lot of rules. As much fun as I had writing Dark Ages Vampires novels for them, there was always the nagging feeling that the rules of their world were holding things back. Enter Vintage Soul.

I started this book with the idea that I’d finally write an urban fantasy style novel without someone else’s rules hanging over my head. I also used a plot that I’d proposed to White Wolf and that they weren’t interested in. That is why the novel starts with a beautiful 300 year old vampire being kidnapped.

I also like the idea of Donovan DeChance being the “librarian” of the occult and arcane. He’s a book / manuscript / spell collector. He’s been archiving the magical texts of the centuries on a computer system and protecting things that are too old, powerful, or dangerous to be roaming the world. He’s called in when the balance of the universe is in question. In other words, he’s a lot of fun. He has an Egyptian Mau (a spotted cat) as a familiar and his love interest, Amethyst, is a geomancer with a vast knowledge of crystals and “earth” magic. The cities’ banking system is controlled by ancient vampires. It’ an interesting world.

I hope readers will come away from it with a smile, and with the desire to find out what happens in book two of the series, “Heart of a Dragon.”

I noticed that you’re putting together a virtual tour for this book. How has it gone and what are some of the steps you’ve taken to promote the book?

It would be more accurate to say that I am “trying” to put together a virtual tour, though it has started to happen. I searched Urban Fantasy and picked up what seemed to be all the top sites. I contacted folks like yourself, and I have heard back from almost everyone. I sent out a pile of electronic ARC copies, and a few of the remaining trade paperbacks. There are no new reviews yet, but as of today I have guest-blogged at Sidhe Vicious Reviews where there is a book giveaway involved:

http://sidhevicious.wordpress.com/2010/02/07/david-niall-wilson-guest-blog-giveaway/

I also have a review coming up at: http://urbanfantasyreader.blogspot.com/2010/02/in-my-mailbox-21.html

Next (I guess) is this interview, and there are more to come. I’ll keep posting about them in my own blog: http://www.davidniallwilson.com.

Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?

Well, everyone hopes that the next book will be the one to break them into the big time. I have written a second book in the DeChance Chronicles – it’s currently in revision. I will be revising an older vampire novel of mine later this year, and I have a horror novel, Maelstrom, that will come out sometime in the future from Bad Moon Books.

I’m spending a little more time screenwriting. My script KILLER GREEN was optioned last year, and there is now an attached director, as well as some acting talent. I’m excited about that, and I want to be sure I have material ready when THEY ask me what’s next, or “what else you got?”

I still want to spend time on some more serious books. I have a couple in mind, in particular an urban fantasy thriller in collaboration with another author that involves Unicorn horns and a library that never existed. Along those lines, the novel I wrote with Steve Savile last year, “Hallowed Ground,” is being marketed, and a serious goal for this year is to see that one find a home and start the long, arduous journey toward print.

I hope to finish revising and writing at least three novels and a couple of screenplays this year, and to build my new digital publishing company into something bigger than it is currently. I’ve been putting out of print books and stories up for digital download, as well as work from a few other authors. I even have a new, never before released novel in digital in the store. You can find all of that at http://www.macabreink.com/store.

What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?

That’s an oddly worded question, and so, not easy to answer. [Editors note: Yes, I ask it this way because not every book we love is interesting! Plus it’s a way to make writers think. Bwa hahaha.] Interesting? I would have to say, probably, “Holy Blood, Holy Grail,” where I learned the first of the many tidbits I know about The Knights Templar. I don’t know if I believe in all of the things the book suggests to be true, but they certainly made me think, and that’s important. Books that make me think are my favorites.

Favorite authors?

I have a lot of favorites, but I’ll try to keep this within reason. Peter Straub, Stephen King, Anne Rice (the older works), Poppy Z. Brite (though she isn’t writing currently) Caitlin Kiernan, Justine Musk, Kathe Koja (when she wrote dark fantasy), Jim Butcher, China Mieville, Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker. I like a lot of other authors in a lot of genres, but I think – since the point of such a question is to get an idea of style and taste – that this should suffice.

In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?

That varies too wildly to give a good, solid answer to. I guess a writer who is creating, content, and motivated. Someone who still has goals, still cares about the work, and hasn’t grown jaded through either too much success or too little. It can’t be measured in numbers – one amazing book would beat a thousand mediocre sales in my book, but maybe not for someone else. Just like in life, where I’m happy there are people who don’t mind being plumbers – there are all kinds of writers, and there is a need for a wide variety, so the bottom line is that a successful writer is happy.

Advice for other writers?

I get questions like this all the time. Writers and readers alike want to know what advice I can give on writing. Here goes. I see people writing and reading and posting and worrying over how to write. What most of them mean is how do I write like “so and so” and get the things they’ve gotten, the readership they’ve earned, and the money? You don’t catch too many successful authors asking others what to write, or how to do things. If you write to markets instead of writing what you need to write, you’re “repressing,” and everyone knows that’s not healthy. One of the stumbling blocks of my career is the diversity of my fiction. My last collection has a foreword by best-selling author Brian Hodge in which he calls this my strength – the fact that I write what moves me at the moment, and don’t follow trends.

Some will say – if that’s true, why do you write Stargate, or a series like The DeChance Chronicles. My answer is, because they were fun to write. Because I like the characters and the stories, and I enjoyed the process of bringing them to life. I know as well as anyone it won’t be my life’s work, or the thing that sets me apart from other authors and wins me fame. It’s not always about that. In fact, it’s never really about that. It’s about stories and words, craft and dreams. It’s about hard work and endless pounding of your fingers on the keyboard. It’s about bugging the crap out of everyone you know with “what if” scenarios and questions about plots and methods and facts.

If you really have to force yourself to write, you either need to let go of whatever false motivation is blocking you, or consider that you may be better suited to reading. To write, and write well, you have to be busy with it all the time. You can’t afford to write “when the muse hits,” or to pussy-foot around projects that itch at the back of your mind while you try to emulate someone else’s success formula. Don’t try to fool yourself into thinking you can write about what others want you to until you get famous and then you’ll get to do what you want. Either it won’t work, or, possibly worse, it WILL work, and all they will want you to write is what you did to get their attention. John Grisham’s finest novel, in my opinion, is A Painted House. It is not the one he will be remembered for, and it’s one of his only books not to become a movie. He made a name for himself doing a particular thing, and he’s pretty much stuck with it if he intends to stay at the top of the best-seller lists. It’s a shame, because I feel that there is something much more powerful waiting to get out.

I love to talk, particularly through my fingertips. Write what hurts. Write what you can’t let go of. Write the things you’re afraid people will read and see deep inside you. If you don’t do this, you are copping out, and you are falling short of the glory that is you. The best stories you can tell are the ones you feel most powerfully. The ones that hurt are always powerful. The ones that touch you deeply enough to bring tears to your eyes, or choke you up – the ones you start and have to step back from for a while before going on? Those are the keepers. The rest is craft and study, words and learning. It’s all about getting back to the stories that really matter and making your mark. AND it’s all about writing, thinking about writing, dreaming about writing….it’s not just a month a year, it’s every month of every year.

Writing is a way of life.

Where can we learn more about you?

My website: http://www.davidniallwilson.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/davidniallwilson and Twitter.

I’m pretty accessible, and I love to talk about writing.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Just a thank you for having me in your blog, and a sincere hope your reads will give Vintage Soul a try, or will pick up some of my other work. I hope DeChance will be around for a very, very long time.

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