This week we had a chat with self-professed "gigantic nerd", our author (and friend!), D. Bishop, to discover what got him writing in the first place and why he's "not a reader"...
Who are you? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi, I'm Danny!
The first thing you should probably know about me is that I'm a gigantic nerd! I'm really into gaming, TV shows, movies and anything comic book related! I'm a huge lover of all things fantasy and I do also love a good horror too! I'm a collector of fantasy swords and pop vinyl figures as well as other expensive figures from pop culture. I spend a lot of time at places like Forbidden Planet, Comic Con and Eurogamer events. I probably spend way too much money on tattoos, but I feel like I'm too far gone to be saved at this point, I'm addicted, haha!
My favorite place would have to be a waterpark and if I could, I would live in one!
I also have a wonderful fiancée who I've been together with now for almost 3 years. We're due to be married in May 2021 and are also planning to have our first child next year as well! When I'm not writing, you will most likely find me at either a cinema or playing video games at home.
What first inspired you to start writing?
I remember watching The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe one night in bed and loving the film, that world and those characters so much. I remember thinking as I was watching the battle in the film that I wanted to create a world with great characters that others could love as much as I loved this. That lead to the next morning where I began brainstorming ideas for something called 'The Sky Princess' - which later became Legends of Amaré: Ventus.
What made you want to work with Rowanvale and be published?
Rowanvale followed me on Twitter one day while I was looking for a publisher and I looked at their website after seeing the notification. As I looked through everything on the website, all the friendly faces and all the information presented, I took the next logical step and got in contact about publishing my books with them.
Since then, I've got to know the team really well and have even made friends with one or two of them along the way! It would feel wrong putting my books out without Rowanvale at this point!
When you’re not writing, what are you reading?
This is going to make me sound like the worst writer in the world and probably turn some other writers and readers off me completely, but I have to be honest: I dont atcually read books outside of my own works! I know, I know! It's really bad, but I've never been a reader!
The only books I ever read fully were the Narnia books and even with them, I'd much rather watch the films over reading the books. I've always struggled to see other writers' visions and imagine things that dont directly come from my own head and I think because of that, I struggle to immerse myself in a book. As well as that, my brain is constantly running at one hundred miles per hour and to read anything, I have to have complete silence or I cant concentrate enough to read - even then, my own thoughts can distract me.
I take all my inspiration for my writing from real life experiences, movies, TV shows and video games, which some people have been able to see in my writing. But even if everyone has now tuned out, I will say this in my defence(!): I think having not read others' works, and writing after being inspired by different media instead, gives me a unique voice in the writing community and makes my style different from the run of the mill. As well as this, I've never had any complaints about my stories and everyone that has read them so far has loved my characters, world and story. So I must be doing something right! Haha!
Which work are you most proud of?
This is a difficult question, because it would be easy to say Legends of Amaré: Ventus because it was my first book but, though I am proud of it, it's not my best work of the three.
Saying that, it would be just as easy to say Legends of Amaré: Mortus because it wraps up nine years of writing in such a great way in my mind.
However, I have to say I'm most proud of Legends of Amaré: Animus. In the middle book, I got the chance to really explore mental health with my characters, take the LGBT side of my books further, as well as make deeper character relationships and play with the morality of the 'good' characters. I have a love of horror and dark fantasy especially and, though every book in the Legends of Amaré trilogy has dark elements, I think Animus really stands out for me as a dark book, even down to the cover. I just love it so much! It's also the book that my favourite character, Selina Sapphire, got introduced, so there's that too!
What’s your best advice for handling writer's block?
I do one of two things: I either go away from it for a period of time and then come back when I feel ready; or I re-read everything up until that point and when I reach it again, I often find I can continue as if the block was never there in the first place.
What’s one thing you always have with you when you’re writing?
Some kind of snack, most likely either Marylands cookies or a block of Dairy Milk.
What is the one book you would take with you if you were stuck on a desert island?
Probably the last book in my trilogy, Legends of Amaré: Mortus. It just has so much sass and big events. I wouldn't want to be stuck with someone else's characters to keep me company, I'd definitely want the company of my own.
What is the best part about being an independently published author?
There isn't any pressure to meet writing deadlines. I can write as quickly or as slowly as I like and know that when it's finally finished, I can publish as and when I want to without anyone breathing down my neck because they're waiting for the next book from me - except perhaps my mum, haha!
What’s next for you?
The world of Amaré isnt going anywhere anytime soon! I have a number of side books planned that take place outside of the main trilogy: one containing all the big events throughout Amaré's history; a few anthology stories; a prequel all about King Aden's life before, during and after his royal trials; and a sequel to Legends of Amaré: Mortus.
I'm currently putting together an idea for a story set 30 years after the events of the final book in the main trilogy, with a middle aged cast of characters that follows the next ruler exploring a new part of Amaré that is yet to be discovered!