Saturday, 19 May 2012

AUTHOR INTERVIEW - LON DEE




 What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Lon Dee. I was born in a small town in northern Utah, USA, surrounded by farms and empty fields where I loved to play and get hurt, and which is now a crowded city. After high school, I traveled back and forth between Utah and East Asia for several years until I ended up not far from where I started, near the big salty lake in Utah.
 
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I originally wanted to go into third-world development. I got a masters degree in that field and pictured myself living in little villages in underdeveloped areas of the world. But one day I remembered I had a wife and two young children, and thought it would be a tough life for her to raise them in an environment like that while I was out having fun. So I took a cubicle job that ended up being a very stable position that survived several recessions. In the end, I guess it wasn't a bad decision. Eventually, though, I realized I enjoyed writing, and have steered my career that direction.
 
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
In January, 2012, I concurrently released three new novels: "Amira, Immortal Daughter from Penglai," "Borneo Fever," and "The Power of Powers: Volume One of the Huaxia Journals."
Amira: A young immortal struggling in the mortal world of mythological China, battling dragons, bandits, and her own self image.

Borneo Fever: A drifter living in the jungles of Borneo is forced into a leadership role fighting against well-armed extremists.

The Power of Powers: Two teens find a powerful weapon on the fabled Silk Route and must stop a war between ancient rival dynasties.
 
Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
"The Power of Powers" was more difficult because it required extensive research into the history and culture of the time period (China in 1100 BC). I enjoy that type of research though—I have a degree in History, and specialized in Asian History. (That's another reason I wanted to write—there isn't a big demand for Asian History majors.)
 
What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I'm currently hard at work on Volume Two of the Huaxia Journals, which delves into a long-standing archeological mystery of ancient China—the whereabouts of a symbol of power that led many dynasties to domination and ruin.
 
What genre would you place your books into?
"Borneo Fever" is an action-packed thriller for an adult audience, though many teens enjoy it as well. "The Power of Powers" and "Amira" are both for the upper-middle grade and young adult reader that enjoys fantasy and mythology. But even middle-aged men have really enjoyed "Amira," and they're clearly not my target audience!
 
Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
I don't know that I have a favourite, but I'm really enjoying the research I'm doing for the Huaxia Journals series. And of course, being a series, I'm able to take a lot more time in each book to build the characters and setting over a longer time period. It's fun for me to discover how the two main characters are growing up and changing.
 
Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
Again, I'm not sure I have a favourite, but I like Master Mu in "The Power of Powers." He's not the main character, but is a central figure throughout the book—a crusty old man who doesn't mind offending people, but who really cares about the other characters that are close to him.
 
If you had to choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be? and why?
I've had people suggest that Logan Pierce in "Borneo Fever" is the "me" that I wish I was, or has the life I wish I had. I don't think that's really the case, but I do feel very much at home in unusual places like Logan's jungle village. When I was on a humanitarian project in Indonesia many years ago, our group stayed in a small mountain village with no running water or electricity. We slept on the ground surrounded by roosters that would wake us up at the crack of dawn. Many people, I'm sure, wouldn't like that kind of setting, but I'd give up my comfortable house any day to live in a place like that. (Don't tell my family that.)
 
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I started writing in junior high when I won a prize in a writing contest at school. After that, I entered the contest every year, and took first or second place most of the time. That made me think I might have some ability or talent. In reality, I think few people ever entered the contest so I won by default. In any case, though, I've enjoyed writing ever since then.
 
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I sit in my fancy office, which consists of a pillow and my half of the bed, and listen to a broken stereo that keeps turning on and off. I listen to everything from Tuvan throat music to Dropkick Murphys to Dream Theater, though I seldom listen to commercial pop music.
 
How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books? Who designed the Cover of your books?
I have a background in graphic design, so I was able to design my own covers for "The Power of Powers" and "Borneo Fever." But I'm obviously not as professional or artistic as most people. For "Amira," however, I commissioned a young artist named Ying Ding to do the artwork, and I think you'll agree her work is much better than mine!
For "The Power of Powers," I actually got a piece of dark rock and carved the characters on it using a carbide scriber. That was a lot of work and I don't know that it looks any better than if I'd just used Photoshop.
 
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I decide many of the character traits up front, but I find that the character kind of morphs into his or her own personality as I go.
 
What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
I enjoy going on outdoor trips with my wife and children. We've camped and hiked in most of the national parks that are within 800 miles of our house. I also like mountain biking, trail running, hiking, and other outdoor activities, though I'm currently nursing an injury from too much of that kind of punishment on my old body.
 
Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
I got the idea for "Borneo Fever" after a trip to Indonesia, though it's not based on any actual experience there. I also spent a semester abroad in college studying the Buddhist and Daoist funeral practices in Taiwan. I used a lot of the knowledge I garnered doing that when writing "The Power of Powers."
 
Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
A big influence for "Amira" wasn't a book author, but a movie creator: Hayao Miyazaki, whose anime movies rank among my favorites.
 
What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?
I have trouble picking out a favourite of anything because my tastes are so varied, but I think "The Grapes of Wrath" ranks very high. I've told my children that if they want to know why I am the way I am, they just need to read this book because it encompasses much of my world view.
 
What do you think about book trailers?
I enjoy watching book trailers, but like any marketing device, they're not always accurate. I made trailers for my three books: http://www.youtube.com/user/AuthorLonDee I don't know if they're any good, but they were fun to make.
 
Where can readers follow you?
Web: http://lon-dee.com
Twitter: @AuthorLonDee
Blog: http://thoughtlessstupor.blogspot.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/AuthorLonDee

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