Wednesday, October 12, 2016

INTERVIEW with OLIVER DAHL, author of THE DREAMERS

Before Oliver Dahl had finished middle school, he'd already landed on the list of Idaho's Top 50 Authors (2011). He has written three novels, The Dreamers, The Nightmarers, and Lies, and he has recently started his own business, Avant-Card Contact Compiling. We're pleased to have Oliver Dahl with us at the Book Pound today!

How has your writing changed over the years? Do you write differently now than you did when you wrote The Dreamers?
Definitely! The Dreamers came out when I was 13, and pretty quickly had two books follow it up. In writing both of those books, (along with the seemingly overwhelming amount of research papers, essays, and short stories for school) I was able to simply practice writing even more. The more I write, and the more I read, the stronger my writing gets. Between The Dreamers and even just its sequel, you can really see the growth in  my writing ability. I have a hard time reading The Dreamers, actually, because I see so much I'd word differently and so on, but I hear most authors actually have that problem with their books, too.

I used to be very strict in terms of my writing process, too. I was very particular about writing everything in order one scene to the next. I was not strict about making myself write, so with the exception of NaNoWriMo, I only really wrote when inspiration/motivation hit me. With my current WIP, all of this went out the window. I started writing it linearly and got writer's block. Neither inspiration nor motivation struck me, and so it sat dormant for months. I decided to change what I do, and skipped ahead in the book to where I had better planned out. Then I made myself write every day. If all I can write is a sentence, I count it. That way, it's kind of become habitual, and is always getting a little closer to being done. It's been a good change!

NaNoWriMo is coming up again soon. Can you tell us about your involvement with NaNoWriMo in
the past? Are you going to do it again?
NaNoWriMo is very close to my heart! I've done it to some extent every year since 2010, the year I wrote my first book, The Dreamers. A few years later, I used NaNoWriMo to write the initial draft of my latest book, Lies. NaNo is just a fantastic way to motivate yourself to get a first draft started. That's often the hardest part. It makes you abandon any sense of perfectionism that would otherwise slow you down, gives you a huge boost in the writing process, and ends up being a lot of fun. This year, I probably won't do NaNo in the traditional sense. The first draft of my next book should be done before NaNo starts, but I will definitely spend the month of November working on the second draft, editing, and starting the publishing process.

What is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process?
I love coming up with ideas! Having some plotbunny, setting, or scene dawn on you is really cool. It's easy to get excited about those kinds of things, and it makes you want to go write it immediately! Any time you overcome writer's block is immensely satisfying. I think one of my (many) all time favorite things about the writing process is that moment when you read over something you've already written and are just really impressed.

And I actually love the self-publishing process as a whole! To me, it's so fun to prepare something I've worked hard on and am proud of to be read by others! I love working on the book cover, writing the summaries, and holding the culmination of it all in your hands at long last. That's a special moment.

What is your least favorite part?
In writing, I really hate when I've written something and I think it's great and then I realize none of it will work because of a better idea of where the story needs to go. So I copy and paste those parts of the book into a "deleted scenes" word document that's more of a graveyard of abandoned ideas. (All for the best, though!)

What's coming up next for you as an author?
Well, I've already alluded to my next book a little bit. My first two books are middle grade scifi/fantasy, my third is YA historical fiction, and this one is more contemporary YA literature--in the same vein as The Perks of Being A Wallflower and John Green's books. Those were all big inspirations for this next book of mine. It's current placeholder name is "Imperfect Road" but that title hasn't grown on me at all, so it's definitely going to be changed. I'm hoping for a late 2016/very early 2017 release but we'll see how things go!

Is there anything else you'd like to tell Book Pound readers?
A: Part of what's fun about writing is that I'm on a quest to write a book that I know I would enjoy reading. Seeing that you're reading a book blog, it seems that we already have a lot in common--so you might enjoy my books, too.

You can learn more about them at www.oliverdahl.com/my-booksOh! And come say hi on my Instagram and/or Twitter @OliverWDahl! :)

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