Thursday, December 2, 2010

Interview with Daniel Carter - Sci-Fi Author


Daniel's book winners are:

Amanda, Brandy, and Cindy

Congratulations to all of you!
    

       We’re on location today at the lake’s edge just down from the log cabin behind us and as Daniel Carter puts it, we’re smack dab in the middle of Oklahoma! This is going to be very informal as we sit around the picnic tables with the smell of the warm, crackling bonfire, sending some of its warmth our way. We have plenty of hot chocolate and for those who want to warm up a little more, we have bottles of Irish Crème just for you to add to your coffee or hot chocolate! The duck family has also ventured out for our visit!


Deanna: Daniel, thank you so much for inviting us to the lake today! In many places it’s snowing already but not here in our little world. At least not today.

Daniel:  Deanna, I want to thank you for doing this interview with me here at Lake Elim. 

Deanna:  Tell us a bit about YOU that our readers might not know.

Daniel:  Hmmm good question. Well, for starters I’m related to Daniel Webster (yes the dictionary guy). He’s a very distant uncle to me I believe. I’m a hopeless romantic and cry at movies almost as much as my wife. One of my all time favorite movies is Children of a Lesser God.  The first and only woman I’ve kissed is my wife Margo. I went tubing down the Esopus River once…… once.  I lost my shorts going down a water slide in front of a couple dozen people at Action Park in New Jersey. And last but certainly not least, the toughest performance as an actor came when I was about to go on stage in front of a couple thousand people playing the role of Peter in an Easter play and I was told my wife was just in a car accident and on her way to the hospital in an ambulance.

Deanna:  Wow, that would be hard to continue the performance after hearing that bit of news. Dan, what made you want to become a writer?

Daniel: Having interviewed a few authors myself, I’ve asked this same question and the usual answer I receive is that they have always wanted to write since they were little. I don’t fall into this category. My desire growing up was movies. Mainly because I grew up in a home with an abusive father and my mother’s only escape was to take us kids to the movies. This is what got me interested in doing theatre as a teenager. I wanted to be an actor and even had plans to go to college to study. Although I can say that as a teenager my best friend and I would often try and write screenplays for movies, I can’t say I had a passion for writing. I was too extroverted of a personality to sit at a keyboard for hours getting lost in thought and creativity. There are several factors that played a role in me becoming a writer. First were screenplays and skits. There was always a need for short plays or skits in the churches I grew up in. Second was due to health issues. Because of a severe case of sleep apnea, which I only found out about a few years ago, my health kept deteriorating and thus (I love that word) I was unable to perform and act like I truly wanted to. It wasn’t until three years ago that I got my sleep apnea under control (At the age of 38. You do the math. LOL) that my mind felt clear enough to actually pursue any sort of acting or writing.
        I made mention to my wife about a story idea that I had been playing around with in my head. She felt passionate about me writing it. Now, I had never written a full length novel before so I was a bit skeptical. I knew what I would need to do in order to write the story at the level I wanted it to be. So I embarked in early 2007 to teach myself how to write and thus (there's that word again) started my first draft of The Unwanted. A little over a year later which included four rewrites and several important critiques from people I trusted to give me the truth, I had something I was proud of. From there it became a matter of finding a publisher which I did in 2008 with OakTara. They picked me up and two years later my book was a reality. Praise God! During which time I’ve finished Children of Anak book 2 of The Unwanted Trilogy and have started book 3. A long answer I know but it sounded better than “One day I decided to write a book after talking to my wife.”

Deanna:  Do you write under a pen name?

Daniel:  Shouldn’t that term be type name now…hehehe…sorry. To answer your question, no, my full name is Daniel Leigh Carter; Leigh being named after my grandfather on my mother’s side of the family. Daniel was given to me because my father was a huge Yankee fan. So I was named after Danny Kater the first baseman of the Yankees when I was born in 1969.

Deanna:  As authors, we love all of our characters. Is there a certain type of character that is easier to write than another?

Daniel:  Another great question. Hmmm, let me think for a second, I’d have to say that I find it easiest to write the antagonists. In my case that would be Tibon Agha. My nature, that I fight with often, is to be sarcastic and judgmental. I find it real easy to let these thoughts flow when writing the bad guys. It’s the characteristics in me that I hate that I’m allowed to let out and not fight. It’s very therapeutic actually.


Deanna:  It’s good you find your writing a bit therapy for you! Do you read in the same genre that you write in?

Daniel:  Yes and no. I have a tendency to read more fantasy than sci-fi but I do read both. My books are more Urban Fantasy/Sci-fi. I’m currently reading Mind Games by Carolyn Crane and it’s the first Urban Fantasy that I’ve actually read. So far so good but I’m only through a few chapters. The Unwanted could actually fall more into this genre than hardcore Science Fiction.


Deanna:  Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.

Daniel:  Well half my day is spent trying to promote my first book. I’m blogging, interviewing other authors and bloggers, doing book reviews, sending out press releases…ect.  That is usually done during the morning if I can. Once my mind is fully functional, this happens around 1 or 2 pm, I have been working on cover art and Photoshop techniques. I’m finding that this sparks my imagination as I envision scenes from my stories and try to put them down into a photo. Once I have that out of my system I start with outlining upcoming chapters and trying to reconcile in my head what that is going to look like. I get into my characters head just like I was going to be acting them out myself. Once I have that connection and understanding I’m ready to write for a couple hours. Hopefully I can get at least a rough chapter done, sometimes 2. One rule I try to follow is to end my writing time knowing where I am going next. I don’t like writing all my thoughts out at once because I find myself fighting writer’s block when I don’t have a place to start off.

Deanna:  Most of us have pretty vivid imaginations when it comes to story lines. Where do your story ideas come from?

Daniel:  Let me get the obvious out of the way first. All writers draw upon what they know and the life they live. Having said that I have some very specific ideas that I wanted to draw upon. I'll save the most important for last. My desire when I started writing my trilogy was to write a hero story that was grounded in a plausible reality. I've had my book compared to an X-men type story a few times but it's not a superhero story. What I wanted was to put regular people into a fantastical situation and then work out practically what that would look like. The five children that are saved in the first book are all characteristics of my personality. So I drew from my own experiences and emotions to write them. So that is what I drew upon for the characters.
        Now as for the actual plot of the story, this is the more important part, I drew upon The Bible. Genesis chapter six to be exact. This scripture talks about a subject that few pastors or theologians are willing to tackle. Ever since I was a teenager I've found this passage both disturbing and fascinating at the same time. It speaks of the Son's of God (fallen angels) mating with the Daughters of Man. Their offspring were called the Nephilim. These beings were, as The Bible puts it, the men of renown. They were powerful and god like. I love Chuck Missler who teaches on this subject. I had not stumbled across his teachings until after I had written my first book but found that a lot of what my research had brought to light he had been teaching on for years. There is a lot to do with manipulation of genetics and spiritual forces as well as hyper-dimensions. Most of this research comes out in books 2 and 3 but hopefully I've given you some insight into where my imagination and ideas for my stories come from.

Deanna:  Tell us the history of this cabin by the lake.

Daniel:  This cabin is owned by Uncle Leigh from my book. This two story log cabin has been in Leigh's family for over 80 years now along with the Barrus Ranch which is where this is located, smack dab in the middle of Oklahoma. As you can see by the addition to the left side of the cabin they had to build onto it for Sampson. Being over ten feet tall makes it a bit hard to fit him in with the rest of the family but they find ways to manage for the most part. Going back to the history, Leigh inherited all of the ranch once his brother died on the missions field. That was about thirty six years ago leaving his sister-in-law Anna and his two year old niece Janet in a tough place. Leigh and his wife Jenny had them move in with them on the ranch. This cabin was one of their getaway places as Janet grew up on the ranch. Many memories were created here and sadly forgotten for a long time after Janet's mother and aunt died in a car accident. It wasn't till several years later that anyone had visited this cabin and that was only to hide the five children from being killed. Now it's the family’s home. There's a lot more history here but it would take writing a book to tell it all.

Deanna:  Would you introduce us to the family members?

Daniel:  Sure. Well I've already mentioned Uncle Leigh who is an older man in his late fifties who runs a cattle ranch. His only living family, his niece Janet, had moved away after yet again having someone close to her die. Her husband was in a plane accident only a couple years into their marriage. She moved away from Oklahoma to live in Poughkeepsie New York. She couldn't take being around the memories anymore, which ironically, is what allowed her to save the five children from being murdered. The children's names are Marcus who is named after Janet's late husband, Anna who's named after her mother, Zack was named after Janet's fellow nurse Michelle's grandfather, Angie who is named after Michelle's aunt who raised her and last but certainly not least is Sampson who was appropriately named because of his strength even as an infant.


Deanna:  Which of the five children do you relate the most with and why?

Daniel:  Hmmm, I'd have to think about that for a second since all five of them are an extension of my own personality. I'd have to say Marcus would be the one child I can most relate to. His struggles with being over aggressive and battle with controlling his temper make him relatable to me. As a child growing up in a home with an abusive father I've had to deal with anger issues all my life. I've done a lot of healing over the years and have been able to forgive my father but I still struggle with many of the scars. Although Marcus is going through the same struggles except for different reasons, I still relate to him probably the most.

Deanna: Which of the children do you least relate to?

Daniel:  I would have to say Zack. He's kind of a show off and extremely athletic. His over developed nervous system causes him to absorb electrical energy. I can't really say that I've had any experience with that. lol But I can say that having come from acting when I was younger, I can be a bit of a show off at times.

Deanna:  Where can our readers find you?

Daniel:  here are my web links:

Deanna: Readers, Daniel is offering a signed copy to one lucky commenter! Leave your comments and questions for Dan and he will draw a winner Sunday! Good luck everyone!
       Daniel, thank you so much for being my guest today and spending time with our readers! Best of luck with The Unwanted!

Daniel:  Thank you for having me and I'd like to thank all those who read the interview, whether you leave a comment or not!