Obviously, I’m not the only new SFF writer of the year.
Today I’m bringing you the first in a series of interviews with Science Fiction and Fantasy authors also debuting in 2019. Today we have Dan Stout, author of Titanshade, out March 12th from DAW books.
Dan, what’s the book about?
Titanshade is a fantasy noir thriller set in a world where magic is real and technology is at 1970s level.
Can you give us a teaser?
Our little car hugged the corners as I slalomed us through the early morning traffic. The nice thing about cop cars in Titanshade is that the boys in the shop keep them tuned nice and tight. I glided up to a stoplight and paused, waiting for the light to turn green.
Our destination lay straight ahead. But while I stared at the red light the thought of Talena’s photo and that small sticker remnant on the Do Not Disturb sign whirled in my mind.
When I took a sudden right turn, Ajax looked up from fiddling with the radio. “We taking the scenic route?”
“Just a quick stop before we talk to the candies.”
“Yeah? Where’s that?”
A heavily filtered bass line bounced from the Hasam’s speakers, followed by a trumpet’s trill. I slapped Ajax’s hand off the dial.
“No disco,” I said. “They can make us work together, but I am not listening to disco.”
What’s the story behind the title?
Titanshade is an oil boomtown, where a mix of greed and hard labor has allowed the residents to claw out a living in the midst of an arctic perma-freeze. So much of the story ties into the character of the streets and the citizens that there was never any doubt the book needed to be named after the city.
What is the most challenging part of your writing process, and why?
Drafting. I love brainstorming, and I love fixing the story once it’s built. But writing down the initial draft is like chewing glass.
What’s your writing routine?
I work in chunks of time, usually two blocks of 2 – 3 hours. I start early, so I’m usually done with writing by noon, and move to admin and marketing after that.
Do you have any writing quirks?
Oh man, so many! Maybe the strangest is that my first-draft characters almost always have names that start with the same letter (Steve and Sara and Sammie, etc.). I created the Mollenkampi naming convention in Titanshade as a private joke at my own expense.
What are you working on right now?
The sequel! It’s been tough but rewarding, as building a follow-up that can also stand on its own has meant learning a whole new set of skills. But it’s paying off, and I’m very excited to share the next chapter in the story.
What’s your favourite writing advice?
The struggle belongs to you, the finished product belongs to the reader.
Dan Stout lives in Columbus, Ohio, where he writes about fever dreams and half-glimpsed shapes in the shadows. His prize-winning fiction draws on travels throughout Europe, Asia, and the Pacific Rim as well as an employment history spanning everything from subpoena server to assistant well driller. Dan’s stories have appeared in publications such as The Saturday Evening Post, Nature, and Mad Scientist Journal. His debut novel Titanshade is a noir fantasy thriller, available from DAW Books. To say hello, visit him at www.DanStout.com.