Author Interview with D. Emery Bunn

Posted: September 16, 2014 in Author Interview
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 Darkness Concealed

I recently sat down with indie author D. Emery Bunn to talk about his forthcoming dark fantasy novel, “Darkness Concealed,” due out on September 23rd, 2014.The book is currently available for preorder on Amazon, Kobo, and Google. My review of the book will follow later this week.

 

  1. What would you say your biggest influences were in writing “Darkness Concealed”?

First off, TV Tropes. I was addicted to that website for several years, and read constantly about tropes, examples of them, and the like. Darkness Concealed is covered in cases of me subverting, averting, or poking fun at the standard tropes of fantasy. Without an acute awareness of them, the story likely wouldn’t be written the way it was.

Second, a love of world-building crafted from delving into J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth mythos. I won’t even try to say that Telthan, the world of the book, sprang into my head fully formed. I built it over time, adding more details and explanations for everything that goes on. The result is a mystery I can keep on chipping away at, because the answers are buried that deep.

Third, a genuine desire to not write the same sort of heroic characters that epic fantasy has relied on since Frodo and Sam punk’d Sauron. I realize that the vast majority of the heroic cast have relatable flaws, but too often they start heroic, or quickly warm to the idea of being heroes.

Darkness Concealed is not about heroes who want to be heroes, or are even aware they are capable of such. It’s about deeply flawed people who by circumstance and willpower find themselves morphed into people they never thought they could be.

  1. What was the most challenging part of the writing process for you? (Yes, I include editing as part of that process).

 

Writing the second draft. The weirdest, and toughest, part of my writing process is knowing that my first draft is so crappy that throwing it out and remembering what worked is the only thing to do. The second draft is a from-scratch rewrite, taking the same overall story and characters in a different, more solid direction. The first draft of Darkness Concealed bears almost no relation to the second (and subsequent) drafts.

  1. How important were the names for your characters? What inspired you to name your characters what you did? Do you have any naming resources you would recommend to other authors?

Every name was important in its own way. Caleb was originally named Isaac (changed due to possible confusion with Ivan), because I wanted a Biblical name that was reminiscent of the original dreamer Joseph, without copping his name outright.

Ivan I named because I wanted him to be the well-studied professor character. Slavic work ethic is very high, and wanting to delve into all the nuance of the Darkening like he does fits the character. Essentially, the name elicits the connotation I want the reader to feel.

Alexandra I named because I wanted to be able to chop most of her name off when she abruptly changes her life path within the first couple of chapters. That, and a little note that as much as she and Liz don’t get along, on some level they do.

Liz was always just…Liz. She’s the sassy, don’t-care-about-your-rules character, and it fit that she would have a long normal name (Elizabeth) that she couldn’t stand hearing at all. The name fit so well that I never considered for a moment of changing it.

  1. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Both. I’ll have a basic idea of the characters and major plot points, and write in that direction. For the first draft, it’s feeling my way around. For the second, it’s adding a more razor focus to what aspects of the first draft worked, and which didn’t.

For the most part, I let my subconscious do the thinking. I write, and as I do, the words that need to show up on the page show up. I don’t know how they happen, but it’s completely surprised on far too many occasions for me to not take its power seriously.

  1. If there is one thing you could take back from the process or do over, what would it be?

Waiting so long between the first draft (November 2012) and second (November 2013). While the second draft turned out just fine, there was a lot of flailing the first couple of days of NaNoWriMo 2013 where I wasn’t sure how I was going to write this thing. I then proceeded to write over 50% more than the previous year (100k vs. 60k), and actually finished the book. Weird worries.

  1. Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

Homosexuality. On a personal level, I don’t understand the attraction. But beyond that, the topic is so politically charged that there are no options other than fully affirming gay rights in every way, or fully denying them. I can’t answer “correctly” in either case, and I’d rather not stake my reputation on a topic that I don’t understand in the first place.

  1. Do you have any strange writing practices?

I constantly rewrite, even on late drafts. Other people try to massage a sentence to make its cadence fit. I just rewrite the entire paragraph, delete the now-extraneous old stuff, and move on. Every time the result is stronger than what was there, so I keep doing it.

  1. What is one piece of writing advice you’d like to give other writers?

Write because you love it, not because it can make you money. Writing is really hard, especially revision, and there’s no guarantee that enough people will notice at first. It takes a lot of initial investment, chiefly of time, before it starts paying off. I’m saying this before the first check has even rolled in, because of all the work I’ve done this past year to release this book.

  1. What is your favorite monster or villain of all time?

A tie between Melkor/Morgoth and Sauron. They weren’t just evil. They were titanic forces of directed corruption, committed to seeing their will imposed upon the world, even as everyone was willing to struggle against them to prevent it.

  1. Are you working on any projects now? What is it?

I’m going to get back to the second draft of my novella Nikolay, based in my cyberpunk dystopia/utopia setting called Normalization. I dropped it at the halfway point when my mental state changed from the very happy/hopeful cadence of the novella to the more dark and sorrowful needs of Darkness Concealed.

And come November, I’m going to do the first draft of Darkness Revealed, the sequel.

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