Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
D.L. Young, late 40s and holding!
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was raised in Dallas, Texas, and over the years I’ve lived in Miami and Mexico City. I currently reside in the hot, humid swamp known as Houston.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I attended university in Texas (North Texas for my undergraduate degree, Baylor for master’s), and I’ve spend the better part of my adult life working in the technology industry. I’m married with two kids and youth soccer dominates our weekends except during the brutally hot summer months, when thankfully there are no outside games. I love English football and I’m a Manchester United fan, though they’ve tested my loyalty over the past few years with their ups and downs. I’m English / Spanish bilingual and I speak a smattering of Portuguese (the Brazilian kind).
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
The final book in my Dark Republic trilogy came out last month. The novels are near-future thrillers that take place in a failed Texas secession. Think Mad Max set in Texas.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I remember writing fan fiction when I was around 8 or 9 (Speed Racer, The Movie!). That was probably my first foray into writing. The why? Who knows? I’ve always been a creative person, and I think if you’re bent this way you have a somewhat compulsive need to express it via whatever form of art you’re drawn to.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
You’re assuming I’ve already reached this point, haha! Like many writers, I struggle with “impostor syndrome,” where you feel as if you don’t really belong to some special club of talented authors you admire and respect. It’s like at any moment someone’s going to pop out from behind a curtain, point at you, and say, “You’re busted! We knew you weren’t a real writer all along!”
It’s complete crap, of course, and nothing more than insecurity. But it’s a good place to be, I believe, as it keeps you honest and humble and striving to create better art.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I’d been writing short fiction for several years, toiling away, when I finally had a few breakthrough sales and got nominated for some awards. One particular short story (The Reader) felt like something I could expand upon enough to make into a novel. And long story short, that’s what I did, and it eventually became the Dark Republic trilogy.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title is the main character, Soledad. In English, it translates to “loneliness,” and this reflects much of where the character starts the story, feeling alone in the world.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
My prose tends toward the simple and sparse, at least in the Dark Republic trilogy. I like repetition of words, phrases, and grammatical structures. There’s a poetry to that kind of thing, a symmetry I find pleasing both as a reader and an author.
As far as the genre, my books don’t fit squarely into any of the established, bookstore-aisle-identifiable genres. I call them “futuristic thrillers” or “near future thrillers,” but they generally get lumped into the “dystopian” and “post-apocalyptic” genres for marketing purposes. Being pigeonholed into those particular two categories can be a challenge since they’re very crowded and it can be difficult to stand out among the crowd.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
It’s mostly a work of imagination, though the themes are definitely sourced from my life and experience. A key them in Soledad is the nature of family and how a family is defined, and I drew a lot of inspiration from my own experience. I don’t generally like it when authors talk about the “meaning” of their work, so I’ll just leave it at that.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I wish!!! While I’d love to do this, the day job and kiddo soccer schedules leave me with little free time to travel for research. Google maps has been a good proxy tool, though!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Damon Freeman’s team at damonza.com. They are awesome to work with.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, but if I say what it is, it could spoil the read for someone, so I’m staying quiet! I believe a reader’s experience is unique and sacred. It’s not my place to interfere or try to influence that. I heard someone say once that when your book is published, it’s no longer really yours, and I suppose I agree with that.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam from my home state of Texas will be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come. She’s an amazing talent and as of this writing has only been published as a short fiction writer. Her novels will be amazing, mark my words.
Favorite writer? Hmmm, that’s a tough one. If pressed, I’d have to say Ernest Hemingway. More than anyone else’s, I think, his works mark a kind of dividing line in American literature. There’s everything before Hemingway, and everything after. The simple vocabulary and short sentences. The staccato repetition of words. The masterful economy in his prose is something I never tire of reading, especially in his short fiction. “The Undefeated” and “A Clean Well-Lighted Place” are two of my favorites.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
The Texas community of Science Fiction and Fantasy writers. It’s like having a very enthusiastic extended family. I’ve found fellow writers in my home state are very supportive of their peers.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, absolutely, and I take it as seriously as my (much better paying) day job.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Yes. I would have released my trilogy with less time between books. They came out a year apart and in the indie author world, that’s a lifetime.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Definitely. I learned that exercise is not enough to lose weight. You also have to change your eating habits. But something tells me that wasn’t where your question was directed. 😊
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Callie Hernandez would make a wonderful Soledad. Danny Trejo would be perfect as the heavy, El Flaco (book three’s title character).
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Persistence and patience may actually be more important than talent. I’ve seen so many would-be writers come and go over the years. They get connected to the writing scene, get excited about writing, then after a couple years fizzle out without having put out much of anything. As far as I can tell, this game is as much about endurance and persistence as anything else. To become a competent writer, you have to write…A LOT. You have to be willing to put out a lot of bad or mediocre stories and books before whatever talent you have really emerges. So many come to the race ready for a sprint, then abruptly leave the course, winded and disappointed, when they realize it’s actually a marathon.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thanks for reading my books and please leave a review on Amazon or wherever you purchased it! Lame, I know, but I’m contractually obligated to mention this at every opportunity.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
The original Akira manga. It’s one of my favorite movies of all time and I’m finally getting around to reading the source material. It’s completely engrossing!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No, but odds are it was something by Dr. Seuss. The first “grown up” novel I remember reading was Treasure Island.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Monty Python never fails to crack me up. The suffering of children always upsets me.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Muhammad Ali. He’s been my hero since I was a kid.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Nope. Writing is such a big commitment for me it takes up all potential hobby time. Not complaining, mind you. I’m totally fine with this arrangement.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m a director nerd. I’ll go see anything David Fincher or Wes Anderson puts out. Ditto Paul Thomas Anderson.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I love music, but don’t have any particular favorite styles. I tend to listen to pop stuff with heavy guitar. I love classic jazz (John Coltrane, etc.), but my family can’t stand it. They are SO wrong!
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Get in better shape. I’d have time to exercise, woo-hoo!!!
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Now there’s a happy question! One part of me says hunker down with my family and make sure they know how much I love them. Another part says get stoned and fuck madly. I tend to be sentimental when it comes to death, so probably the former.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Name, birth date, death date. That’s it. Simple, understated, humble.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Why, yes I do! https://dlyoungfiction.com/ has info about me, my schedule, my books as well as my (semi regular) blog.
.Amazon Authors page USA https://www.amazon.com/D.L.-Young/e/B00H1XSKIS/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1