What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Daniel M. Fife, I was born in Muncie Indiana, and currently reside in Muncie Indiana.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I did not always want to be a writer. Although I spent many hours of my youth writing short stories, my aspirations initially were geared toward joining the military and becoming a fighter pilot. However, an unfortunate case of color blindness kept me from this desire. Thus, I went to college and obtained a degree in psychology and then my masters in counseling psychology.
When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
I first considered myself a writer during my first year of undergraduate studies in college. I had read hundreds of fantasy books and I figured if they could do it, why couldn’t I. So I made a deal with myself to write at least one page per day, which eventually, over time, turned into a book.
Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
After a year of buying for attention from various publishing houses as well as agents, I finally simply decided to self-publish my work. Which is a process in and of itself, a process that is still going on and will probably be continuing for some time?
Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
Yes, as I said before, I hold a masters degree in Counseling Psychology and I currently work full time as a counselor at a local private practice.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say? The name of my latest book is Light & Dark: The Awakening of the Mageknight. If I had to write a very short summary, it would probably go like this. The work is about a young boy in the beginnings of his eight grade year, struggling with the common stresses of a boy his age when he discovers an underlying world of magic, dragons, and an age old conflict of evil.
Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
I am self-published at this time. Being your own boss has its privileges.
Do you have a "lucky charm" or "lucky routine" you follow when waiting for your book to be accepted by a publisher?
Being self-published affords me the opportunity to not worry about such things.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
It took me about two years to complete Light & Dark: The Awakening of the Mageknight. This is partly due to working full time since its conception. I imagine that follow up titles will take just as long given the fact that at this time I must dedicate most of my time to working as a counselor.
Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
I have currently written the equivalent of three books. My first endeavor was a High Fantasy novel entitled The God of Nothing, which is still complete in rough draft form. The follow up title in that same series, The Goddess of Silva, is currently sitting at the halfway point. About three years ago, I switched gears to Young Adult Fantasy and began writing Light & Dark: The Awakening of the Mageknight with every indication to return to the first series after I finish the follow up titles to Light & Dark.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I fully intent to keep writing on the current series, Light & Dark. Currently, I am about a third of the way through the second book in the series, Light & Dark: The Black Bonded.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series? Yes, Light & Dark: The Black Bonded will be the second book in the Light & Dark series, following Light & Dark: The Awakening of the Mageknight
What genre would you place your books into?
Light & Dark easily falls into the Young Adult Urban Fantasy genre.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
Other than the fact that I have always liked fantasy in general, I began writing Light & Dark simply as an ode to my friends in school. However, it quickly took on a life of its own.
Do you have a favorite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favorite?
At this time, my favorite would probably be Light & Dark: The Awakening of the Mageknight. It is my favorite because the characters are so close to my heart.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? and why are they your favorite?
My favorite character would mostly be Sabrina Drake, who is the supporting character in Light & Dark: The Awakening of the Mageknight. I adore this character because she tends to be unpredictable while projecting several weaknesses that have a way of playing to her strengths.
If you had to choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be? and why?
If I can be completely honest, the main character in Light & Dark: The Awakening of the Mageknight is loosely based off myself as a thirteen year old.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I have been writing for about ten years now and my main inspiration came from a large selection of fantasy authors, mainly Raymond E. Feist, which I read religiously in high school.
Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration?
I tend to draw from several inspirations in the form of books I have read, movies, cartoons, anime, and from the dark pits of my own imagination.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I have found that I have to write first thing in the morning with complete and utter quiet. Any other time simply becomes too distracting.
Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
My best friend is always the first to read anything I read. Friends since grade school, he always gives me a fair and honest critique.
Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Yes, I do. I just recently bought about a hundred copies of Light & Dark: The Awakening of the Mageknight just for such an occasion.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Yes, I do. I take reviews very seriously and strive to accept them as they are written, negative and positive alike, so that I can incorporate the necessary changes and continue to improve in my writing.
What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
I was told that my idea simply did not work and would never amount to anything. However, since being self-published, Light & Dark: The Awakening of the Mageknight has not had less than a four star review.
Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
Never, everyone is welcome to their own opinion and should have the right to express it.
How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
Coming up with a good title is a challenge, but generally I know the title before I begin writing the book. The cover is much more of a challenge, especially if you are designing it yourself, which I did. I had to do a substantial amount of research into using the appropriate programs for digital design. The symbol used on Light & Dark: The Awakening of the Mageknight as well as the symbol for the main fraction in the book, the Light, began as a doodle to represent my own personal take on a ying-yang.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
The title always comes first. It is the baseline and foundation of the book.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
My character names often times originate from life, but also from pencil and paper gaming, like Dungeons & Dragons.
Are character names and place names decided after there creation? or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
Honestly, in my style, it can kind of happen either way. Sometimes I know who and where a character will be and sometimes they just kind of surprise me.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I usually establish a baseline for a character in terms of traits and then allow the character to shine on their own as a continue writing.
Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
Both, I always know where I want the characters to end up and the high points in between. However, filling those gaps is usually up to the characters, not me.
How do you market/promote your books?
Ahh that is a tough one, because marketing is a tough road. Well, I am currently marketing my book by participating in this interview. I have tried promoting through adds on Facebook.com and through google.com with limited success. Mainly, I try to utilize all the social networking and sending review copies out to reviewers and bloggers. It is a staggering process.
What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
I believe that good book must contain a seamless flow and be populated with inviting characters that carry you through their story. I have strived to incorporate this philosophy into my own work.
Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
Yes, writers block my old friend. I often find myself staring at some distant focus for no real reason what so ever. I am pretty sure I suffered from ADHD as a child and probably still do. As a counselor that works with many children that struggle with just such attention problems, I am able to snap myself out of the trance and simply power through.
What do you do to unwind and relax?Do you have a hobby?
Of course, I have many. I enjoy watching television, such shows as Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, and The Walking Dead. I keep my hand and eye coordination sharp with video games like Skyrim, Call of Duty, and Demon Souls. I watch anime like Bleach, Naruto, and Dragon Ball Z. I meet with friend on a bi-weekly basis to participate in Dungeons & Dragons. I enjoy sports like bowling, basketball, and football. I try to stay in shape and do a lot of weight training at the local gym.
Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
Yes, Light & Dark: The Awakening of the Mageknight is loosely based on my thirteen-year old self and some of my friends.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
I try to incorporate the greater good in all my writing. Simply saying that one should do things because they are the right thing to do, not because you will be rewarded or punished.
Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
Yes, as a child in middle school as well as high school, I read any and every Raymond E. Feist book I could get my hands on.
Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback?
Hardback is always my weapon of choice.
What is your favourite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
My favorite book of all time is Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I think I have read it at least ten times. I like Ender’s Game mainly because I identified with the main character when I read it at a young age and it just kind of stuck.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
I think some movies transfer well, but there are many that do not. For instance, Timeline by Michael Crichton was a horrible adaptation because several characters and scenes disappeared. Another adaptation that horrid was Eragon by Christopher Paolini. Again, too many things were changed or just left out. If I could say anything to the director it would simply be that the initial audience found the work enjoyable for a reason, why change it and dilute it.
What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I am currently reading The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan in hardback. It was given to me by a co-worker and I have not exactly started reading it yet. But, I hear it is good.
Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
I hope not, there really is nothing like holding an actual book in your hands. But, I did not answer the question. I don’t think so, yet, they are definitely on the rise.
Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
I think that they are for the most part. I work with a lot of younger children and school and focusing tend to be the main concerns. I think teachers are just as encouraging as ever and I think in some aspects the technology craze has helped kids find an easier medium for reading.
Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
I did both. I have always enjoyed reading and I have always enjoyed writing. I am pretty sure that I will continue to do so.
Did you have a favourite author as a child?
Yes, my favorite author was always Raymond E. Fiest.
Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it?
I would have to say a series from childhood, which was Magician by Raymond E. Feist. Wow, is this interview to promote myself or Feist;)
Do you have a favourite genre of book?
Of course, I love Fantasy in any angle, be it Young Adult, High Fantasy, Urban, or whatever. Anything that has to do with swords, magic, and mythical beasts.
Unfortunately, magic and mythical beasts are not exactly common in the real world.
Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
I tried to read The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey once. I was younger and I haven’t gone back to try again. But, if I remember right the reason I could not get into it was that there were simply too many characters to keep track of. Again, that was some time ago and that book may be just simply amazing if I would read it now, but as a child I simply could not get into it.
Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? And why should we watch out for them?
I am sorry to say that I simply do not have time to look into much these days with promoting my own work and all. But, I will keep an eye out the deeper I get into this jungle that is self-publishing.
Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be?
Honestly, at this point in time I am satisfied with what I have wrought. I think there are always ways to improve upon anything, but that there is a line in which it simply becomes obsessive.
What do you think about book trailers?
That I would like one, but do not have the time to research how to make one or have enough money to pay someone to create one for me.
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Stick with it and simply write because you enjoy writing. Yes, there is money to be gained, fame to be had, and frustration to be felt. But, keep in mind the reason you began writing, for yourself and your readers.
Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
I do not and I never would. I am who I am and I want others to acknowledge me as such, whether I sink or swim I will never be ashamed for anyone to know it was me.
If you could invite three favorite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
I would invite Raymond E. Feist of course, Orson Scott Card, and George R. R. Martin.
Where can readers follow you?
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Light-Dark-The-Awakening-Mageknight/dp/0985324708/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336756448&sr=8-1
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Light-Dark-The-Awakening-Mageknight/dp/0985324708/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336756448&sr=8-1
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0985324708/sr=8-2/qid=1342271435/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me=&qid=1342271435&seller=&sr=8-2