Dionykles looks like a great start to a great science fiction/fantasy novel.  Any plans for a follow up or series?

Right now, I’m working on something. I’m kind of superstitious. I don’t like talking about novels I haven’t written yet. When I do that, they tend not to get done, haha. But, all things being considered, I would like Dionykles to be a three book series.

I’m also working on a vlog for National Novel Writing Month. I post a video every day that gives tips to help people write their novel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLXWJeM6T7c

What do you think makes a great story?
I really believe in a quote the film director Christopher Nolan said where he believed that a quality film, or in this case, a quality novel, is one where “whoever wrote it thinks it’s the greatest novel in the world”. There should be an enthusiasm in a novel, as well as an emotional truth. Even if you’re someone who believes in nihilism, that theme should be prevalent throughout your work.

What inspired you when writing Dionykles?
It’s very interesting, Dionykles was an idea I have had since Middle School. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. As you get older, and you get away from being the kid in school complaining about books to the guy who writes them, I really wanted to write a book that kids in Middle School and High School would enjoy. I remember classmates reading Black Hawk Down and Killing Pablo. Looking back, it sounds crazy, and I don’t think I want kids reading that, but I wanted to write a type of novel that a kid who didn’t like reading would enjoy. I think a part of the school system can ruin a good book if you’re not careful. It’s sort of why the book cover looks like the cover of a video game (laughs)

What are your ambitions for your writing career?  Full time?  Part time?
On top of being a writer, I’m also a voiceover artist. I play the character Jerry in a series called Asshole Cloud, that’s created by the very talented KushPaws. It’s about this cloud that’s mean to everybody. It rains on people. And I’m the main guy it rains on. It’s mature content, in an Adult Swim kind of way. Everyone talks about how we need more talented women in the creative industries, but I think we really need to shed some light on the ones we already have. KushPaws is amazing. Check out Asshole Cloud: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofGNFNH_TxU

When did you decide to become a writer?
Personally, I think so much of wanting to be a writer is having the right collection of people you meet when you’re growing up. Whether it’s those kids you wrote a Poke’Rap parody with in the third grade, the monster story you wrote in the fourth grade, your friends in the fifth grade carrying a Dungeons & Dragons Manual and telling you about what nerve gas does to the body, or having long conversations with your friends about how you wish Space Marines were a bigger plot element of Alien 3. All of that is creativity. And that’s where I like to go back to in my writing. Especially when I’m writing for younger audiences and people who are way older than me who don’t even know what a Super Nintendo is are telling me “what kids are actually like”.  Everything now feels very, very orchestrated. Art by committee. You can feel it. I kind of want to get away from that.

When writing Dionykles did anything stand out as particularly challenging?
The most difficult thing is dealing with the story you’ve fantasized in your head and actually deal with it. Every goal in life has difficult realities you have to deal with. That’s the difference between people who actually do it and the liars. I had some cues I did when writing was hard. I made a photo collage for every 1000 words in my novel. They say a picture is a thousand words, so you should use that to your advantage. I also made little notecards and put an “X” on it every time I wrote 500 words.

It might seem silly, but it’s like lifting your last rep at the gym. Whatever goofy thing you need to do that can help you get it in is worth it, even if it looks goofy on the outside.

Lawrence Kasdan, the screenwriter for The Empire Strikes Back had a famous quote where he said “I write what I see”. When things get hard, that’s what I get back to.
How did you come up with the story of Dionykles?
Dionykles was a sort of petri dish of things I was interested in as a kid. I like the God Dionysus, and I liked certain parts of Herakles that no one really talks about. And I was watching a lot of Dragonball Z as a kid, so I wanted to fuse them like Gotenks. I changed the story considerably since then, but I kept the name.

I also was influenced by history. There was this real life Roman Emperor named Elagabalus who would invite the most obese men of Rome into his banquets and have his servants carry them. He would have put broken glass and poison in the food at these banquets.

It was such an interesting thing I never really saw put in film or book. The character Queen Dior in my book was inspired by Boudicca. I always thought it would be interesting to have someone like Boudicca fight Elagabalus. But I didn’t want to be constricted by the rules of history. People can get really crazy when you write about it. And I love world building anyway, so I had a lot of fun with Stoneterra and the Gods that live there.

And in the middle of this, you have Dionykles, who, after being raised as a shepherd, realizes he’s a God, he has all these powers, and he finds out the truth about where he came from. And there’s anger. There’s anger because he doesn’t belong. There’s anger because he found out the Gods killed his mother. And the corrupt king in the steppe is turning a blind eye to village women being kidnapped by bandits, and Dionykles’s stepsister is kidnapped. It’s truly a him against the world story.  

What do you like to do when not writing?
If I’m not writing, I’m either recording voiceovers or working on some new creative project. I always find things to do.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Right now, they can check out my vlog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLXWJeM6T7c  
They can also check out my blog: reddkaiman.blogspot.com
I’m also active on Twitter: Twitter.com/reddkaiman


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