I am delighted to host sci fi/fantasy author Dan Rice on my blog today. Dan’s debut novel, Dragons Walk Among Us was published on July 19 by The Wild Rose Press, and—great news!—he’s already hard at work on the sequel. Read on to learn about Dragons’ intriguing premise, Dan’s success as a short-story writer, the one item he won’t go to Mars without, and more.
Welcome, Dan! Tell us a little bit about Dragons Walk Among Us.
It's the story of Allison Lee, a teenage girl whose world is turned upside down after she’s blinded by an unprovoked attack. An experimental surgery restores her eyesight. After having her vision restored, she's not sure if she can believe what she sees.
Who is Alison Lee? What makes her tick?
Allison is a typical teenager trying to survive high school...at least until she is blinded. She spends her days hanging out with her friends, slogging through homework, and doing photography.
How did you get interested in the sci fi/fantasy genre?
I've been interested in science fiction and fantasy for as long as I can remember. I recall enjoying Lord of the Rings and Dune growing up.
You've had an impressive number of stories published in magazines. Which is your favorite, and what's it about?
I don't know. I like something about all of them, I suppose. If I had to choose just one, I'd say “The Wall.” It's written from the perspective of a teenage girl, so I guess it was a test case for creating Allison Lee, the protagonist of Dragons Walk Among Us.
“The Wall” is a dystopian yarn about a family trying to escape a fascist United States for Mexico. Among the numerous problems they face is a wall built along the US-Mexico border meant to keep the Americans inside America.
What are you working on now?
Right now, I'm working on the sequel to Dragons Walk Among Us. I'm about 85 percent of the way through the rough draft. I'll finish it up, fingers crossed, in early September. Then the real work begins––editing, editing, editing.
How old were you when you wrote your first story?
I think I was in third grade. I went to some kind of writers' conference where I had to write a story. I believe I wrote a memoir about building a robot with my father at a science fair event. I recall the book included detailed diagrams of the actual factual robot.
Do you have a specific writing routine or process?
I write in the morning before everyone else is up!
Are you an outliner or a pantser?
I outline. I think a roadmap, at least, is essential. Of course, there can always be detours on the way.
Which element of novel-writing do you consider most challenging? (Plot, setting, characters, dialogue, etc.)
I think characterization is the most difficult aspect of writing for me.
What comes first, character or plot?
I probably find the characters most challenging because the plot always comes to me first.
What are you reading right now?
State Tectonics by Malka Older. I think her political sci-fi thrillers are timely and often thought-provoking.
What kinds of books do you like to read?
I think you should read in the genre you write, so I read quite a bit of young adult fantasy and sci-fi (adult too). I also enjoy thrillers, mystery, suspense, and popular science.
What's your favorite book of all time?
If I had to choose one, it would probably be Dune. I just listened to it on a road trip with my older son. He didn't appreciate it as I think he's still a little young for it, but I still enjoyed the hell out of it.
You're going to Mars with the first SpaceX group. The essentials will be provided, but you're allowed to bring one personal item. What will you bring?
I'd bring my iPhone because I can load it with photos of family and books to read.
You find a hundred-dollar bill in the gutter. What do you do with it?
Well, I'd probably use the money for promo––LOL!
If you didn't have to sleep, what would you do with those extra hours?
I'd spend more time writing.
Blurb for Dragons Walk Among Us
Shutterbug Allison Lee is trying to survive high school while suffering the popular girl's abuse. Her life is often abysmal, but at least her green hair is savage. Her talent for photography is recognized by the school paper and the judges of a photo contest.
While visiting her friend Joe, a homeless vet, Allison's life irrevocably changes after an attack leaves her blind. All her dreams as a photojournalist are dashed as she realizes she'll never see again. Despair sets in until she is offered an experimental procedure to restore her vision. But there are side effects, or are they hallucinations? She now sees dragons accompanying some of the people she meets. Can she trust her eyes, or has the procedure affected her more than she can see?
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