Name: Daniel Peyton
Age: Old Enough
Where are you from: Stillwater, Oklahoma
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc :
I am an author and artist who loves to pen fantasy and sci-fi. I spent over 12 years as a professional performer in an Okinawan dance and music school, travelling all over the USA to participate in events and showcases. Back in 2004 I joined the Embroiderers Guild of America and have been an active member since day one (now they have me editing the newsletter). In 2008 I was honored by the Sigma Alpha Iota with a distinguished membership. I started writing in the 4th and fell in love with penning novels in the 9th grade. In 2007 I ventured into the vast ocean of publishing by writing my first novel I would submit to publishers. My work has been published through two different publishers as well as a few self-published titles. I also have had short fiction featured in smaller online e-zines.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I just finished up a appearance at a Comic-Con in Knoxville Tennessee representing my fantasy work, especially my newest book Legacy of Dragonwand part 1.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
As I said before, I began writing in the fourth grade when my teacher encouraged the class to have free-write time. I started with little poems and tongue twisters, but soon graduated into storytelling. I wrote little stories for several years, as well as poems. I won a nation wide PTA contest with a poem about a tornado that came dangerously close to my home church. In the ninth grade my English teacher decided to also have free-write time and I tried my hand at writing a full novel. It was a Star Trek fan fiction, but it was a full length novel and was a taste of what I would soon love to write.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I wrote that first Star Trek novel in the ninth grade, my teacher brought it home to grade. She accidentally mixed it in with some papers her mother was grade. Her mother was an English teacher at OSU, she also taught a creative writing class. She assumed this story was from one of her students and spent months looking for him. I thought my book lost, back then I only had that one hard copy. I finally got it back with a very nice note on it from her mother about how well it was written and that I should continue to write. It was then that I truly felt like a writer. My work got judged on its own merit and passed. Oh, it was full of technical mistakes and the story development was amateurish, but it was a starting place.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
For years I spent all my time writing Star Trek fictions, I was afraid of trying to create my own world and felt comfortable writing in established canon. My mother pushed me to try harder and create from my own imagination. I tried and was surprised at how much fun it was creating something from absolutely nothing.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Not really. I supposed you could pick out my work against others because, like all authors, I have my own voice. But, I work hard to push each individual story to be original in as many was as possible…even in style.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I let the title emerge from the story. I often start with something simple so that I can put it down on the file in the computer. I have yet to stick with the original title I start a story with. When I get near the end I will have an idea that is birthed from the story. With Legacy of Dragonwand, I was two thirds through when the title struck me. It has a deep meaning for the story as a whole and the reader might not see it until much later in the book. Its mysterious and attractive from the start, but changes in meaning when you realize what the legacy really is. A recent work, Electric Coronation, is my first piece I wrote that started with a title that I ended with. I loved the title, its strange and yet interesting…at least to me. I think it holds a unique appeal to certain audiences. It is the anomaly in my work when it comes to title development.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not necessarily. I write for pleasure and I want the readers to read for pleasure. My work is clean and heroic. The only profound message within Legacy of Dragonwand comes from the relationship between Crystal and her parents. In the story she has two sets of parents, her real parents were taken away and wrongly imprisoned with all the other wizards four years ago. We meet her and her two adopted parents. They love her unconditionally and do everything her natural parents would. The deepest message that could be taken from it is that adopted parents can be just as loving as natural parents. Sometimes, in fantasy, adopted parents aren’t presented in such a good light.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Strangely, even in a fantasy novel like this, you find a lot of reality. Particularly the relationships between people and the day-to-day experiences. Food. I love to incorporate food into my stories in such a way that the reader wants to eat it. It isn’t fantastically magical, just delicious. I love to cook and could be called a foodie. So, I bring small bits of that into the scenes in which food is present.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
There are several books. First and foremost for me, How Much for Just the Planet by John M. Ford. It is a strange, funny, wild Star Trek novel that I read as a young kid that inspired me to write. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis is a series that inspired me recently. I’ll admit that I hadn’t read it in years…perhaps even decades. I picked it up a while back and read the whole series cover to cover. It gave me an insight into writing fantasy that helped me see my own work better. C.S. Lewis didn’t dwell too much on the battle scenes and I struggled with that myself. Seeing how he approached them in a YA fiction made me rethink my own writing. Mine is still more intense than his, but I have refined it through study.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Chayil Champio and Cris Pasqueralle are two newer authors that have only just truly hit the scene that could prove to be movers and shakers in the industry within the next few years. As for a favorite…Charles Dickens, hands down. His work is monumental in the world of literature for good reason. I love to read A Christmas Carol each year, in its original form.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Hollywood. While I love reading, movies were my original inspiration for telling stories. I fell in love with fantasy and science fiction not by reading it, but watching it. I grew up on a steady diet of Star Trek and Star Wars, Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Dune, Tek War, Babylon 5, Stargate, The Fifth Element, and many more. Seeing the fantastic come to life planted a seed deep in me.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. But, I talk to fairies and Vulcans when no one is around, so I can believe in anything.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Perhaps only one thing, the spells. I wanted something unique and departed from the well-known Harry Potter styles of spells, so I went with ancient Nordic wording for my spells. They aren’t hard to read, since they will seem like gibberish to the reader. But, my fondest desire is to move these books onto the big screen, unfortunately pronouncing the spells might prove to be…awkward at best. Not sure what I would do differently, perhaps even inventing my own words.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
As I said earlier, between Hollywood and reading, telling stories was something that I loved from an early age. Even before I considered writing them down, I would enjoy making up adventures with my friends and telling the story around it.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Editing. I don’t hate editing, it’s just tedious. The more I edit a work, the more I feel that it needs more. Not that I suddenly become aware of how bad it is, in fact I do see that it improves with each layer of editing. But, it becomes a never ending spiral. I start to question the work more and say “is this perfect yet?” Someone has to peel it out of my hands and say, “Stop! Submit this!”
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I am beginning to travel more. I just finished at a convention in Knoxville. I plan on doing more of those in the near future as well as other book signings and events.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I designed all the covers for my self-published books. My publisher takes care of the books they have.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Vernacular. I want the speakers in the stories to sound real, and sometimes that can prove to be hard. I tend to write very stiff and it comes across. I often have to go back and fix their speaking so that it sounds real.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That 130,000 words is too long for a single novel. I have learned a lot recently about size for novels, novellas, and short stories. All have certain boundaries that mark when you crossed from one to another. Nothing is set in stone and someone may think a novel is too short, while another might think a novella is far too long. But, there are some reasonable boundaries by which traditional publishing sees each one. I start writing and then when I am done I see how many words I have achieved. Now I have a better idea about how to section it off.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead?
For Legacy of Dragonwand there is a team of characters that drive the story. The main lead, Markus, I don’t really know. But, there is a character named Treb that is Crystals adopted father, and his description suits Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson pretty well. That was not my intention when I first created him, but as I have seen more of The Rock in movies, I can see him playing Treb really well.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Be critical about publishing. Choose your editors, agents, and publishers wisely. There are many wolves out there that seek to abuse naivety in new authors. Even if they are flashing a shiny new contract in front of your face, take a step back and do a little research before accepting. You’ll find that many authors who have been burned by the wolves are not silent, a quick Google search will filled with their stories and they will be your best guide.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I write to entertain. I don’t expect to change society with a piece of my literature, but I do expect to provide an escape into the fantastic when you open my book.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Star Wars: The Approaching Storm by Alan Dean Foster
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Not really. My earliest novel that I finished, I think, was How Much for Just the Planet…but I can’t be positive.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Laugh, classic television. The Dick Van Dyke show as well as I Love Lucy, I still laugh at those. Cry; four years ago I lost a dear friend to cancer. I watched her go through it and nearly beat it, only to succumb in the end. It was the first time I truly experienced the world of cancer in any way. It touched me and broke my heart.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
George Washington Carver. He is a hero of mine in history. He faced amazing opposition in his life and yet he changed the world by never stopping. His devotion to what he loved touched those around him and every generation afterward.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
“There’s one last book” just to drive people crazy looking for it.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I have two that occupy a lot of my free time. Art and Embroidery. I have been stitching since age 5 and love it. Now that I have been in EGA for twelve years I have expanded my skills to include many new styles of surface embroidery. Being a stitcher inspired The Crystal Needle series of books. I also love to draw. I use this hobby to help my writing. I draw my characters for my books. I have been commissioned to draw characters for other peoples work as well. I drew the face of a dragon that plays a key role in Legacy of Dragonwand. It is very popular and I sold prints of it at my recent event. That picture drew people to the table, which was cool.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
As I mentioned before, classic TV as well as Star Trek are both shows that I can always watch. Current television…not much really. As for movies, I like Pixar/Dreamworks films, I like the Marvel movies as well as the recent Hobbit series.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music?
Chinese, Japanese, Tex-Mex. For color, blue. Music, Gershwin to Pentatonix, I love music in general.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Acting. I spent the better part of the early 2000’s training and working toward a film career. I did stage plays, took classes, researched all the possibilities. I really wanted to do the background acting, the non-important roles in stuff. I never wanted to be the central star, just that guy you see in everything, but you can’t remember his name. But, living out in the far end of East Tennessee, the odds of success weren’t good. Besides, all through that, I kept writing. Without realizing it, my future had planned itself.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Yes, I do. I took a year off of updating my blog, but I got back into it recently. In fact, at this time, I am currently posting a fan fiction for a Star Wars book I wrote last year. Free fiction…yay!
You can find my other books here at my Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Daniel-Peyton/e/B006C986D6/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
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