Monday, March 11, 2019

MARCH SPOTLIGHT: Q&A with Douglas S. Pierce

Welcome back to the blog everybody!! This week's blog is all about Q&A with special guest Author Douglas S. Pierce!! Today, we are sitting down with Douglas and asking him a few questions just so you all, like me, can get to know him a bit more!!

You can follow Douglas at 

Now for the interview

Q: Most of my favorite authors are indie or self-pubbed, what made you decide to go that route?

A:  There were a couple of reasons to go that route with The Maiden’s Song. First, the length. When I tried querying literary agents, one of the most common responses I got was that my book was too long. Literary agents who represented fantasy novels weren’t interested in looking at a 240,000 word book!
But the other reason was that I was trying some things with this book that I had never seen done before. The sonic markers — the various repetitive sounds that I use like ‘kerplunk’ and ‘tha-throom’ —that I use to set the tone and pacing of the story was something that I think a traditional publisher would have cut, among other things, like my extensive use of flashbacks and dream sequences. These are all critical elements to how this particular story needed to be told, and I didn’t want to face the choice of cutting these elements or not getting published!

Q: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

A: I think the most surprising thing I learned in writing this book was how important it was to really get up inside of the heads of each character I wrote for. This was the first book where I’ve tried writing from a female perspective when I wrote for Seldy. It was really important for me to be as authentic I could in trying to represent the thoughts, feelings, and ideas of young woman who was raised as a human, but who has supernatural abilities and talents.

Q: Which of your characters are you most like? Least like?

A: Well, I think there is undoubtedly aspects of who I am in every character. The characters I am most like are Mouse and Tra’al. I am like Mouse in that I am not by nature a confrontational person. I try to find alternatives to confronting people who have upset me or who are trying to upset me that don’t involve violence or direct confrontation. I am like Tra’al in my sense of humor — it can border of me being seen as a bit of an old I reign that in when necessary, but really enjoy being around folks who appreciate it.

As far as the character I am least like. I would say that is Klard. He has a lot of self-hatred and he directs that outward in ways that end up hurting other people because it is how he was taught to handle disappointment and anger. There are some elements of who he is that I recognize within myself, especially when I was younger. But I would like to think that I have worked through those things as I have matured.

Q: Do you have a particular writing habit??

A: Well, I work during the regular workweek for a government agency, so most of my writing and editing is confined to weekends, holidays, and other days off that I take from work. So, when I have a day where I can focus on writing, I tend to leave the house and go to the local public library for large blocks of time. When the library isn’t open, I would often write at a coffee shop or the local McDonald’s.
Whenever I do sit down to write, I will often go back and read through the previous day’s output, editing a bit as I go and just getting a feel for exactly where I left off. And then, during my writing blocks, if I finish a scene that will require me too switch perspectives to move forward, I will often take a break and change locations. That helps me to switch the mindsets and prepare for the next scene.

Q: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?  

A: I don’t know that I have any one mentor. In terms of the writing craft itself, I have learned bits and pieces from so many awesome authors, from the legendary greats like Tolkien and CS Lewis, to more recent greats like Rowling, George RR Martin, and Patrick Rothfuss.
In terms of how to make it as a successful independent author, however, I am really learning a lot from so many of the authors I met and have come to admire from attending Once Upon a Book, starting of course, with Stacey Rourke — she and Rue Volley are true inspirations, and I am trying to learn everything I can from seeing how they produce such quality work and then market themselves and their work.

Q: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

A: To be honest, I have been so focused on getting The Maiden’s Song done and then out there (it has taken more than 6 years!) that I haven’t had as much time as I would really like to explore the writing of other authors. I am very intrigued by Victoria Flynn’s work, and can’t wait to have a chance to dig into her books, as well as Rue’s 13 Ways to Midnight Series. I’m really intrigued by what I have seen of Stacey’s new book, Apocalypse 5.

Q: What is the hardest part of your writing?

A:  For me the hardest part is paring back my prose. I’m a naturally verbose writer who loves to include all sorts of description and to tell about all of the neat history I’ve worked out for my world and describe all of the cultures. I’ve had to make a very conscious effort to NOT do that, and to avoid all of the ‘telling’ that is my natural inclination. There is so much backstory to The Maiden’s Song, and I had to find an appropriate balance and different ways to show it instead of telling the reader about it.
Another challenge I face is having to cut out parts that I really, really love. There are so many passages and scenes that I end up cutting out entirely.

Q: Do you have any advice for other writers?

A:  The first piece of advice is pretty cliche, but it is really important. The only way to get better at writing is to write. Write often. It will be rough when you start, because very, very many people are naturally good at it. You have to write in order to find your voice and your flow. And a lot of what you write will not be good enough! But don’t be discouraged. Start and then finish the stories that you need to tell.

The second piece of advice is related to this—seek out and receive, I mean really receive all of the feedback you can on your writing. Get your stories out to people that you trust to give you good advice, people who will be honest with you. I had a fairly large cadre of people who read The Maiden’s Song before it was ever published, some of them reading multiple versions of the story. Without their input, their criticism (both positive and negative), the story wouldn’t be nearly as good as it ended up becoming.

Q: Describe yourself in three words.

A:  Dedicated. Focused. Kind.

Q: I know characters are like children but if you could chose, who’s your favorite from your books?

A:  It really is hard to choose. I’m in love with both Seldy and Rondel for different reasons, and it really is hard to choose one or the other. So I will pick Tra’al, the old orc prisoner. I love his world-weary attitude, his self-deprecating and bawdy sense of humor, and his desire to make sure that both Seldy and Rondel become who they need to be. I also really love writing for Shadowfang, the wolf.   

Q: Any song or songs that could basically sum up the overall mood of your writing?
A:  The album that was truly inspirational for developing this world and the characters inside of it is Linkin Park’s A Thousand Burning Suns. It has a post-apocalyptic feel and ambiance to it that really got me excited for writing in this setting.

Q: Do you plot out your books or just freely write them and let the characters tell you what to do next?

A:  I have certain very rough plot points that I use as milestones to guide my way. As much as I have tried to plot things out in advance, my characters do kind of take over and guide the story. At times, it feels like the story already exists, and I am just kind of peeling back layers of an onion to reveal it. The outer layers are sort of the early interpretations of the story, with each layer that gets peeled away allowing me to get closer and closer to the story as it's supposed to be told.

Q: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider the biggest influence in your writing?

A: Patrick Rothfuss. His work is amazing, and I would love to be compared favorably to him.

Q: What are your current projects? Can you share a little of your current work with us?

A:  I am currently working on the sequel to The Maiden’s Song. It is The Guardian’s Quest (Book Two of the Seeds of Hope). Where The Maiden’s Song is at its core, Seldy’s story, The Guardian’s Quest is Rondel’s story — where he truly comes to learn what it means to be her Guardian and whether or not he is cut out for the difficult tasks ahead.

I am also working on editing and revising a book I previously released in 2012, Omega Rising, An Agent Rusty Bones Novel. That book is a unique take on a zombie novel, where the hero is the zombie. It is truly special to me because it was the first book I ever wrote to completion. I self published through, but I have pulled it from that platform because their books just became outrageously expensive to purchase. Rusty Bones is the FBI’s first Undead Special Agent. I am looking to get a new cover shoot done, for this and the sequel before I re-release it on Amazon or through somewhere like Ingram-Spark.

Douglas, thank you so much for stopping by and allowing us to get to know you are bit better!! I have really enjoyed sitting down and talking with you today!!

If you are interested in finding out more about The Maiden's Song, you can check it out on Amazon and purchase your copy today!!


Also if you want to keep up with Douglas, make sure to like and follow him on Facebook*Instagram*Patreon.

Make sure to mark your calendars and join Douglas, an awesome line-up of other Authors and myself for a Facebook Event on April 6, 2019 from 4pm-10pm EST!!

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