Author Interview with Oliver Dahl
March 30, 2014 § 1 Comment
I have had the privilege of working with Oliver Dahl, up and coming author of three published works. Below is an exclusive interview in which he answers some questions many readers and writers have asked.
1. When did you first, without hesitation, call yourself a writer?
Without hesitation, I would say when I received a proof copy of my first book. Seeing something I’ve worked at for so long in its final form is quite rewarding. In retrospect, the real moment I became a writer–or anyone becomes a writer, really, is… when we start writing!
2. Which character in Lies do you identify with most?
That’s a difficult question. None of the characters have truly desirable or commendable traits. They’re all pretty awful people, but I might have to say Mary Warren. She was kind of a band-wagoner, pretending to be cursed just for the attention, not to try and save her friends like Ann was doing. But then she realized what she was doing was wrong, and tried to change. She was able to acknowledge her own faults and end her charades, but it didn’t end up paying off for her.
3. What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I want to keep writing! Whether that’s short stories (as I will likely start putting out a few of these here and there) or full-length novels like Beneath, (www.oliverdahl.com/beneath) I want to keep writing, keep improving, and keep putting stuff out there that others will enjoy.
4. What unpublished works have you written?
I’ve already mentioned Beneath. It’s still in the writing process, currently under 60,000 words and maybe a third to a half of the way done. My very first book that I wrote, “The Skeleton Curse” of my “Stone Chronicles” series has been sitting dormant for a few years, now.
5. Do you ever plan on pursuing publishing them?
Yes! I’m hoping to rewrite the entire thing (again) and send that to a traditional publisher, actually. I will likely do the same with Beneath. I’m going to start trying to submit manuscripts to these publishers not to stray from self-publishing, but to continue to grow my readership.
6. Do you enjoy any other kind of writing (besides novels)?
I’ve started venturing a little bit into the world of short stories. Occasionally, I will just spew words in nonsensical order and consider that poetry, haha.
7. What draws you to the sci-fi/fantasy and historical fiction genres?
I really like including fantasy and science fiction elements in an otherwise normal and realistic setting. I always liked reading books like Harry Potter, The Underland Chronicles, and Fablehaven, which all do the same thing. There’s the normal world, and then out of nowhere there’s magical creatures and hidden worlds. I love how they’re presented in a way where you can almost believe these places and things exist. It’s like being able to control the world. I can write about a character walking to work, and then there’s a dragon perched on the building next to him. Or maybe he falls down “the rabbit hole.” I love the endless possibilities. (And it’s a lot of fun, I might add).
8. What is your least favorite part of the writing process?
Editing, without a doubt. I can usually write fairly quickly, tens of thousands of words a month if I’m on top of it. But editing takes SOO long. My Dad and I go through it before anyone else does, and currently we’re still doing it the old fashioned way with printed out pages and a pencil. Adding those changes is a lot of work, and makes me appreciate Track Changes later on in the editing process. I’m in a love/hate relationship with how important editing is. I hate doing it, but it makes the story so much better.
9. Any tips on how to get through writer’s block? What works for you?
Some advice I’ve heard that always stuck with me is to write down a list of things that wouldn’t happen next in the story. Or write down a list of every possible thing that could happen. And then think of something that isn’t on that list. Unfortunately, that can be harder than getting through writer’s block! In that case, I usually just… write. I can completely change the story, or veer off in a totally unexpected direction. But I can worry about that later when I go through and edit.
10. Did you ever consider a pen name? If so, what was it and why did you decide against using one?
I haven’t, actually. Though I was recently told that F. Scott Fitzgerald changed his name to hide his relation to Francis Scott Key, the writer of the Star Spangled Banner. So maybe O.W. Fitzgerald would be cool. :)
11. What is your favorite quote?
Recently it has been, “Are you what you want to be?” (It’s the title of one of the tracks off Foster the People’s newest album Supermodel). I saw it and it just struck a chord. It makes me want to go do what it takes to be what I want to be. And if the answer of that question is no, what am I doing wrong? What do I need to change in order to achieve that?
12. What is your favorite book and why?
Any reader you ask this question to will likely groan in frustration as they try to imagine their bookshelves at home and pick a favorite book out of the many that reside there. That’s a really hard question. I really love the Pendragon Series by DJ Machale. He does a fantastic job with world building and creating imagery. I also really enjoyed Suzanne Collins’ Underland Chronicles, which I actually prefer over her Hunger Games Trilogy.
13. What does your noveling playlist look like?
Lots of Two Steps From Hell and movie soundtracks. Everything from Pirates of the Caribbean to TRON. It depends on the mood of what I’m writing. I also love listening to The Piano Guys while I write. In general, my favorite genre, though, would be Alternative Rock.
14. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write! Write! That’s really the first step. That’s when you become a writer! If you want to write a novel, write a novel. Just do it. (Nike’s on to something, folks). Write a horrible first draft. Don’t worry about anything the first time you write something, just get it down on paper. Once you’ve reached that checkpoint, then you can worry about making it good, polishing it up, and finding the real meat of the story before writing it again–this time, better.
15. Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Can’t say there is. I’d love if readers would visit my website, http://www.oliverdahl.com. I’d be thrilled if you picked up a copy of “Lies,” (or any of my books!) and… I hope to hear from you!
Thanks for having me!
READ MY REVIEW OF LIES HERE