Hello everyone! I bring you my very first interview with an indie author! Her name is Diane Astle, author of Ben the Dragonborn. I had the pleasure of meeting her in a dragon group I moderate. I love helping and I wanted to help her with exposure of her children’s book, Ben the Dragonborn. The interview is right below this paragraph!
When did you first start writing Ben the Dragonborn?
It is hard to believe that I started writing Ben the Dragonborn 14 years ago. I had not yet read Harry Potter and I had never heard of Skyrim when I started to write. When I started I was not fulfilling a life-long dream. While I had thought it might be cool to write, I never thought I would, so I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about doing so. I had learning
disabilities in school and graduated from grade 12 by doing a trade program, so my writing skills were not great. However, life filled in some of the blanks and I was able to go to university and do a Psychology/Social work degree. A few years later I wanted a break from work and the only course remotely interesting was a writing course. So away I went for a five day residential program at a retreat center. On the way home the idea for Ben the Dragonborn came into my mind. I wrote sporadically, whenever time permitted. Ben the Dragonborn took me about 7 years to write, but has sat on my shelf for at least long.
When did you first fall in love with dragons?
I am not exactly sure when I fell in love with dragons; all I know is that I have always enjoyed books with dragons in them. Several years ago I was asked what kind of animal I would be if I could be an animal. I said dragon. It was the first time the Psychologist had ever heard that answer. But wouldn’t we all love to fly away from our problems and when all else fails breathe fire.
How has writing this book touched your life?
Sometimes in middle of the night I wake up from a particularly pleasant dream that is making me smile. I wake up and realize that I have dreaming about the characters in my book. I have become very fond of them. They have become friends. If no one were to buy my book I would still be happy that I wrote them into being.
What are you hoping for from your books fandom?
To tell you the truth I have never considered the possibility of a fandom. However, in the future if there is a fandom I would love for there to be fan created music, animations, games and conventions. It is interesting that the character of Ben that Sean Sherstone drew for the video looks very much like Japanese anime characters. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rB1UJbIzkZQ
What are your hopes for the book?
I have had several people exclaim that my book would make a fabulous movie after they read it. I will be lucky just to have my book read by a world-wide market. The possibility of it being made into a movie is almost non-existent. I certainly would be thrilled for it to become a graphic novel/comic book. It might also make a great video game.
As an aside my favorite graphic novel is Maus. My son bought me Guild Wars last Christmas. I think he was hoping for a playing partner: Perhaps next year when life slows down.
Do you plan on releasing a short story collection which takes place on your worlds?
My first goal is to finish the sequel I have started. When the sequel is finished, or if some great ideas come along that just won’t wait, then it is very possible that I will write some short stories. I have asked my son to consider writing some Six Worlds Stories. If one of us does they might be released free on the web site. www.benthedragonborn.com
Can you tell us more about the sequel?
I think it is no surprise to tell you that Ben discovers he has the ability to transform into a dragon. In the sequel Ben is having trouble transforming. It is decided to send him to his mother’s home world. He is to go to his grandfather, who will not be happy to discover that he has a half-breed grandson. When he arrives on Dragonia he will discover that the world is in turmoil. The Watcher is dead and the room of portals is missing. Plans are underway to attack those who are thought responsible.
Do you plan to reach out into other genres?
I could write several novels based on the Six Worlds I have imagined in Ben the Dragonborn. There is no end of characters that can be chosen to go through the portals to other worlds or come from other worlds to earth. Writing Six World Stories could keep me very busy for the next several years. However, I do have an idea for a historical novel that would be based on an ancestor who was an early abolitionist.
Do You Have Any Advice for Emerging Authors?
In truth I am an emerging author. Or at least I hope I am. The advice I have to give is to hire an editor. When my sequel is ready I will hire one. I did not do that with Ben the Dragonborn because I was hoping to save money and it actually cost me almost as much as I saved. Why should you hire an editor? There is a lot of competition out there for reading dollars, and if you want people to buy your book , read it and recommended it I think it needs to be the best it can be. Thankfully I had a friend with the courage to tell me there were lots of mistakes in my book and the love to return a copy with the mistakes corrected.
What is your favorite genre of movies? Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite genre of movies is of course fantasy. I loved the Lord of the Rings, Narnia and Harry Potter and the Hunger Games. I am looking forward to seeing the Divergent movie. The authors of the books that these movies were based on are among my favorite authors. However, I also really love Stephen Lawhead (The Endless Knot) and Terry Brooks (Children of Armageddon). I would love to see a movie based on their books.
What kind of music do you like?
I like a wide variety of music. Perhaps my favorite is blue grass. I also like world music. My favorite remembrance of living in an international community in Japan was the music that we shared from our own cultures. Another good memory is of a Sikh group coming to a church and leading us all in singing with sitars and drums.
What is the fondest memory you have?
I was horse crazy as a child. I read about horses and talked horses all the time. My mother told me I would never have a horse. I wept. About a year later my dad came home with a horse. I named her Rusty. I spent two years riding everywhere until my family moved and I had to sell her. So my fondest memory is of getting my very own horse. One of my sad memories is the day that she had to go, but it is not the saddest.
What is the most horrible memory you have?
I have had a lot of life experience. There are memories that I would not and could not share. Let’s just say that when people come to see me about a problem, I have often had first-hand experience. Perhaps the worst thing that I can share is my father coming to school to bring my lunch when I was in Grade 11. It was very kind of him and I loved him for caring enough about me to bring it; but he was falling down drunk. He could barely stand up when I took his arm and helped him walk the hallway of my High School. I held my head up high and took his arm because he was my dad and I loved him in spite of the fact that he was an alcoholic.
Does being alone in the world scare you?
The only time I have been alone in the world was when I was a pregnant teenager and hitchhiked out to Vancouver after leaving my parents a note. I was homeless for a short time. Then I lived alone on welfare in a rooming house for a while. I survived that experience. I am a lot older and wiser now. I have a family and a community that cares. And even if they should fail me, I will never be truly alone.
And here’s the book trailer for all you curious colts and fillies: http://youtu.be/rB1UJbIzkZQ
Thank you for reading this interview!