Thanks to blogging and Twitter, I have made some great author friends. Several of these brave people have new books coming out this year and I want to get the word out! Exciting? Yes! To do my part, I am hosting weekly interviews so we can get to know them, and their books, better!
This week's interview features Daron Fraley, author of THE THORN.
K: Daron, thank you for being here! You know you are the second interview on this blog, but I have to add the distinction that you are the first interview of an author from my town, Cody, WY. I imagine it’s almost like coming home for you, am I right?
D: Almost! Except for the noticeable lack of a sixty-mile-per-hour breeze which musses up your hair as you lean forward into the gale while shielding your stinging eyes from the razor sharp airborne particulates. But since the wind doesn’t blow in Cody every hour of every day, I apologize for the exaggeration.
K: Apology accepted. We hear about the wind a lot from Cody natives, and yet after growing up in Eastern Washington, my husband and I still are puzzled. Cody wind has nothing on Eastern WA wind. Thank goodness. Here, let me turn this big fan on if it will help you feel more at home. (raises voice above sound of fan) Tell us a few things about yourself.
D: Gourmand. MacGyver. Computer geek. Recovering Early Morning Seminary teacher. Grandpa. Would rather be fishing. That pretty much sums it up.
K: Ah, MacGyver. What that man could do with a paper clip and a lighter. Those are all great things. Can I ask you what you miss most about the Cody area?
D: The wind? Uh… well, I miss the small town life. Cody is almost a metropolis by
standards, but I still miss it. Years ago I lived in Cowley, Wyoming (population 477), just about 45 minutes from Cody. When we left Cowley and moved to Brownsburg, Indiana, I commented to my wife one day on the way to church that I missed being able to wave to people I recognized in oncoming traffic. I was so homesick for the small town that I started waving to every approaching car anyway. I am sure there were some very confused people that day. Wyoming
K: One of the first things I noticed when we moved here was the waving. Lots of waving going on.
I feel so fortunate to “stumble” across new writers through the internet. I think David J. West introduced us because of the Cody connection, and then you introduced me to Tristi Pinkston, which was very cool of you. You’re kind of a computer networking guy. How do you think things like Twitter and blogs influence a writer?
D: For me, the jury is still out on Twitter. I enjoy the interactions with people, but it seems to be a difficult place to say anything of substance. Blogs are more comfortable. In fact, I can honestly say that without the blogs I started reading over two years ago, I would not be published today. Thank heavens for authors and agents and publishers who share the nuts and bolts of the craft! If a person wants to be published, my advice to them: Don’t submit your novel right away. Spend a month and read every publishing related blog you can find. Fix all the issues with your manuscript. Then submit. It worked for me.
K: There is an excitement from new authors that inspires. What inspired you to become a writer?
My Creative Writing teacher in High School got me started. She liked my writing and gave me great feedback on my poems and stories. That encouragement ignited a little flame that never stopped burning.
K: That burning can be persistent. Not like heartburn, though. It’s a pleasant, urgent little burn. What is your favorite part of the writing process? What was a surprise?
D: My favorite part is the creative process. No, wait. That is my second favorite part. My favorite part is actually having a reader say, “…it gave me chills.” Thanks, Krista!
K: Hey, you’re welcome. It’s true. Your story, “Angel’s Song” reminded me that we were a part of something wondrous. We forget that, I think.
D: My biggest surprise was to find out that although writers are weird (admit it, Krista! You are as weird as I am!), they are often very personable people who want to help other aspiring writers to succeed. Authors are real people. I am not sure why I was surprised by that. I suppose it is the whole
, red carpet thing. In my mind, authors are better than rock stars. It feels a little bit strange to be called “author” now. Hollywood
K: Strange AND weird. My oldest daughter calls me weird all the time. Water off a duck’s back (see, if I said that she would call me weird). Your new book, “The Thorn” is finally out. I ordered it this week, but tell us about it so I’m really ready to dig in when it gets here.
D: I categorize “The Thorn” as Speculative Fiction because it sits close to the Fantasy/Sci-Fi realm, but without the technology of Sci-Fi, and without the myth and magic typically found in Fantasy. The themes found in the book feel a lot like the Old Testament, but in the setting of being on a different planet. There are warring tribes. And the heir to the Danielite throne, Jonathan, finds himself struggling to cope with the horrors of war. He is joined by a friend, and another unlikely supporter, and the three of them attempt to do their part in stopping the unwarranted aggressions.
For male readers, there are battle scenes. For female readers, there is romance. For young readers, it is a clean read. I hope you like it!
K: A great combination! Where did you get the idea?
D: Have you ever stared up into the vast expanse above you and seen a shooting star, or the rings of Saturn through a telescope, or the blur of a nebula, and wondered why all that stuff is out there?
This quote, given in January of 2000, is what sparked the idea for this particular story:
"How many planets are there in the universe with people on them? We don’t know, but we are not alone in the universe! God is not the God of only one planet!
“I testify that Jesus is truly the Lord of the universe, “that by [Christ], and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God" D&C 76:24" — Neal A. Maxwell
K: Was it difficult writing a “parallel” existence for that particular time in religious history?
Well, no, not really. It is fiction after all. I tried to keep things simple enough that the story would be believable, and yet I did rely on my knowledge of scripture to make sure I didn’t intentionally contradict things in the written word. I think teaching Seminary and multiple years (every standard work more than once) of Gospel Doctrine class in Sunday School, certainly helped.
K: You know, we touched on the existence of other worlds and their connection to Jesus Christ in Relief Society last Sunday, and I mentioned your book as an example that people do wonder and explore that idea. Everyone was thrilled. Sister Clark says hello. She’ll be at the book signing once we figure out a venue in this amazingly cultured little gem of a western frontier. *shameless plug for Cody tourism* You might come in July?
D: Yes! I plan on being there in July. It is my 25th Reunion as a Cody High School graduate (note to self: next time refrain from saying “grandpa” or “25th reunion” in an interview). Arrangements are still underway. I will be sure to let you know as soon as Valor Publishing helps me with the details. Say hello to Sister Clark! I’ll be sure I hit the DQ when I am in town. I always do.
K: What would we do without DQ in the summertime? (Is that a song?) I’m turning off this fan. It is definitely NOT summertime here yet. (Shivers and quiets voice) Are you currently working on something new?
D: My current project is “Heaven’s Garden”, book two of “The Chronicles of Gan”. A sneak preview of chapter one is included in “The Thorn”.
K: Woohoo, a series. Where can we find your book?
D: Right now the book can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or my own website (link in the upper right corner). I hope to have my book available at area Costco stores, Walmart, Deseret Book, Seagull Book and Tape, and many others too. Next stop: Oprah. I better hurry before she quits.
K: So what you’re saying is that if I live in Utah, I shouldn’t be able to leave my house without tripping over your book. Any advice for aspiring authors?
D: Go to writers conferences. Read like crazy. Read many different genres to get ideas for improving different aspects of your writing. Attend a writers conference. Read blogs on publishing. NETWORK with authors, agents, publishers. Oh, did I mention, “go to writers conferences?” Then, never give up!
K: Final question: If you could be a character in any book, who would you be?
D: I suppose it’s a huge cliché to talk about The Lord of the Rings series. But I can’t help it. If I were to be any character, I would be Aragorn. Loyal. Strong. Wise. A king… Who wouldn’t want to be king (or a queen)?
K: Aragorn is one of my faves. Excellent choice. Well, thank you, Daron, for allowing us a peek at who you are and what you do.
D: Thank you for the thought provoking questions, Krista! Best wishes for you in your writing, your own book release next spring, and your family!
K: Thank you so much!
Places you can find Daron Fraley, Author of "The Chronicles of Gan: The Thorn":
Website and Blog: http://www.daronfraley.com
Follow on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DaronFraley
Follow on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3031982.Daron_D_Fraley
Follow on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Daron-D-Fraley-Author/258188354131