Featured Author: Daniel Arenson November 28, 2010Posted by Jaidis in Featured Authors.
This weeks Featured Author spotlight is shining upon…Daniel Arenson!! Let’s jump right in and get to know more about him, his writing, and his book Flaming Dove!
Born in 1980, Daniel Arenson is an author of fantasy fiction, from epic to dark and surreal.
Like many writers, he began his career writing short stories. He sold his first story, “Worms Believe in God”, in 1998. Since then, dozens of his stories and poems have appeared in various magazines, among them Flesh & Blood, Chizine, and Orson Scott Card’s Strong Verse.
Without giving too much away, can you tell us what Flaming Dove is about?
The battle of Armageddon was finally fought…and ended with no clear victor. Upon the mountain, the armies of Hell and Heaven beat each other into a bloody, uneasy standstill, leaving the Earth in ruins. Armageddon should have ended with Heaven winning, ushering in an era of peace. That’s what the prophecies said. Instead, the two armies–one of angels, one of demons–hunker down in the scorched planet, lick their wounds, and gear up for a prolonged war with no end in sight.
In this chaos of warring armies and ruined landscapes, Laila doesn’t want to take sides. Her mother was an angel, her father a demon; she is outcast from both camps. And yet both armies need her, for with her mixed blood, Laila can become the ultimate spy…or ultimate soldier. As the armies of Heaven and Hell pursue her, Laila’s only war is within her heart–a struggle between her demonic and heavenly blood.
How long did it take you to write Flaming Dove?
Probably about three months for the rough draft, but much longer to revise.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
I’d like to quote David Dalglish, bestselling author of The Half-Orcs:
“It’s really very simple: if you want to read about angels tossing around godlight and demons lashing whips and shooting fire while super-powerful archangels and archdemons blow up half the world trying to crush each other…well, here you go.”
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was thirteen or fourteen, our English teacher gave us an assignment to write a short story, two or three pages long. I handed in a 40-page novella. My teacher asked me if I wanted to be a writer. On a whim, I answered “yes”.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I wrote Flaming Dove in longhand. That often surprises people.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Reading, of course. I also enjoy painting.
What does your family think of your writing?
My family is supportive and reads everything I write.
How many books have you written so far?
I also wrote the fantasy novel Firefly Island. Five Star Publishing, an imprint of Gale, released Firefly Island in hardcover in 2007. It’s about a slave girl who fights a cruel stone king made of stone.
You can learn more about Firefly Island on my website,
How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
I don’t think I celebrated selling Firefly Island in any particular way, but it was a strange feeling opening the cardboard box Five Star sent me and finding a bunch of books inside.
Which book was the most enjoyable for you to write? What about the least enjoyable?
Both my books were a blast to write. I had lots of fun writing them. I don’t think I’d write if I didn’t enjoy it.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a published author?
I don’t have one, single piece of advice. There are so many things to learn. I’ve collected quite a few writing tips onto my website. If you’re interested, please take a look:
Do you hear from your readers much?
I hang out a lot on KindleBoards.com and get to meet many great readers there. Readers will occasionally email me too. I love talking to my readers; their opinion is even more valuable to me than reviews by critics, fellow authors, friends, or family. I write for my readers.
What do you think makes a good story?
Conflict and drama. Good stories are about a character struggling to solve a problem. I’m not big on “slice of life” stories that don’t involve danger.
What genre do you find the most difficult to write in and why?
I stick to fantasy and some science fiction, and feel comfortable writing in these genres. I imagine that I would have no idea how to write a romance novel, say, or a western…and don’t attempt to.
Outlines? Are they needed or just a waste of time?
I outline. Not all writers do, but it works for me. My outlines aren’t always very detailed, but they give me a basic road map to follow. As I write, I sometimes discover new things about the story and characters. The final product is often different from the original outline. But I do like having that initial blueprint.
If you had it to do all over again, is there anything that you would change in any of your books?
No. My books reflect who I was, as an artist, when I wrote them. If there are clunky passages here and there, well, so be it. I’ll learn and improve for the next book. Generally, I’m not big on artists changing their old creations. I didn’t like, for example, how George Lucas revised Star Wars or how Steven Spielberg redid E.T. in CGI. At some point, you just have to say, “The story is done.” And you go create the next one.
Is there anything that you find challenging in your writing?
Promoting my novels can be a challenge. There are millions of books out there, and it’s hard to get the word out. I try to be active online, answer interviews, get great reviews, and reach as many readers as I can.
Do you ever experience writer’s block and if so, how to you overcome it?
No. If anything, there are too many stories I want to write, and not enough time to write them.
What is the last book you read?
Steven King’s “The Dark Tower” part three.
If you could take any book and rewrite it, putting your own twist on it, which book would it be and why?
I’d give “The War of the Worlds” a different ending. The humans would manage to defeat the aliens through ingenuity and courage. The aliens wouldn’t just catch colds and die on their own.
Is there anything you need in order to write? (ie music, silence, chocolate)
Coffee and music. I depend on both, and rarely write without them.
Night owl or Early bird?
I’d probably be a night owl, but in addition to writing novels, I have a day job (I’m a software developer) and wake up early to go to work. If the office didn’t force me to keep normal hours, I can see myself staying up all night to write. Nights are so peaceful and quiet; I love that about them.
If you could have dinner with 1 person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I’d love to have dinner with Shakespeare. I’d probably in such awe, though, that I’d barely touch my meal.
If you could travel into the past or future, where would you go and why?
I’d visit Tahiti before European colonialism. I hear it was pristine and beautiful.
What does the word success mean to you?
In the context of writing: Selling enough books to write full-time.
In the broader context of life: Finding a way to live the life you love, with family, friends, and time to devote to your passions.
If you had to compare yourself to an animal, which one would it be and why?
Since I write fantasy, I’d say a unicorn, dragon, or some other fantasy creature. That would definitely fit the type of books I write.
If you were written about on the front page of the newspaper, what would the headline be?
Well… I don’t know if the front page would normally print anything about my books. Maybe if I pulled some crazy publicity stunt, for example, barged into Oprah’s house demanding that she add my books to her book club. That might get me in the news.
If you had to have one word or phrase written on your forehead for an entire week, what would it be?
“Give me cookies.”
I’d love to thank Daniel for stopping by and being the Featured Author on my blog!
You can find Daniel Arenson’s important links below!
Get your own copy of Flaming Dove!