Today we have an interview with Ryan Dalton, author of Year of Lightning. Check him out, then make sure to join the giveaway below!
When did you first decide you wanted to write?
I’ve loved books and writing since the day I could read, but the determination to write came around when I was ten years old. A family friend published a sci-fi novel and I was totally blown away that we knew someone who’d actually written a book. As a younger kid I’d written little “books” in my school notepads. Until my friend, though, I’d never considered the fact that real people wrote the books I saw on bookstore shelves. When I realized that, it didn’t take long to realize that I wanted to be one of them. So I started writing poetry and short stories more frequently, and from that point on I never stopped wanting to write.
What is your favorite genre to read and/or write?
I have favorite books in every genre, but my heart belongs first to sci-fi and fantasy. We experience enough of normal life during our average day, so I love literature that transports me elsewhere. Whether it’s a place that’s dangerous and exotic, or that’s just a little bit off-center of our own universe, I love the adventure of discovering those differences. I like meeting people who can do extraordinary things, whether by inborn ability or uncommon effort. That’s what gets my adrenaline flowing.
Do you have a favorite author?
It’s impossible to pin down one all-time favorite, but here are a few that top my list:
Alexandre Dumas – The Count of Monte Cristo is my all-time favorite book
Isaac Asimov – especially the Foundation series
Nick Harkaway – I think The Gone-Away World will end up being considered one of the great books of our generation
Madeleine L’Engle – I credit her A Wrinkle in Time series with sparking my love for sci-fi books. It’s the first series of its kind that I can remember reading and loving as a kid.
Brandon Sanderson – His work strikes a wonderful balance between compelling characters and drama, heart-pounding action/adventure, and thoughtful and clever world-building. His story twists also manage to surprise me on a regular basis, which is so much fun. I especially love his Mistborn series, and he was able to complete The Wheel of Time masterfully.
What was it like writing The Year of Lightning?
I had an absolute blast writing this book, and I’m having an equally great time writing Book 2 of the trilogy. The Year of Lightning took me about two years to write. The idea started with a picture that popped into my head – an old abandoned house with no doors, only windows, and while teenage twins are walking by they see a face in the window. I loved the creepy feeling I got from that picture, so I started asking myself questions about it. Who was in the house and how did they get there? What were they doing? What else was happening? So massive lightning storms began breaking out all over town, and as the twins saw more of the person inside the house with no doors, the lightning storms also got worse. Since the twins were the only ones who realized what was happening, they took it upon themselves to investigate. I loved the combination of sci-fi and mystery, and I think the finished product is really fun.
Is there something you want to write about, that you haven’t yet?
I mainly write sci-fi, but it’s such a malleable genre and I want very much to explore its boundaries. I’m always jotting down new story ideas and many of them have a sci-fi element, but I wouldn’t necessarily classify them as solely sci-fi. Some are dramas with sci-fi, some are romances with sci-fi, others mysteries and still others fantasy. The Year of Lightning is very much a mystery, and elements of that mystery incorporate sci-fi ideas. I think it’s fun to test the limits of what “sci-fi” can actually mean and how it can blend with other genres.
What is one silly fact about you?
I sing. Mostly alone, but occasionally I can be convinced to do it in front of people. I took classical stage training for three years, so I totally love music and performing.
Do you have a favorite character you have written so far?
The most fun character to write in The Year of Lightning has been a guy named Fred Marshall. He’s a secondary character that starts out in a fairly ridiculous way. He’s over the top and boisterous and goofy without meaning to be, but as the story goes on we see his layers. There’s more to him than there appears to be at first, and it was super fun to write a character that has both comic relief and hidden depths.
Is your writing influenced by people in your life?
Most writers are sponges. We absorb our surroundings, whether people or events, and they all go into a big creative masher machine in our brains. You never know when or how something may contribute to the writing, so it pays to be aware and sometimes even stop to jot down random notes. I do this often enough that my family and friends no longer question it. They know what I’m doing and why.
Anything you want to say to the readers of my blog?
My YA sci-fi mystery novel, The Year of Lightning will be released on December 8, 2015. Here’s a brief plot description:
When 15-year-old twins Malcolm and Valentine Gilbert moved to a new town, they never imagined that the old house across the street could bring them so much trouble. Inside the old house, a secret machine with the power to pierce time has reawakened. Meanwhile, lightning storms are breaking out all over town. They’re getting worse every week, and seem to enjoy striking kids who just want to pass science class and mind their own business. When Malcolm and Valentine discover a connection between the house and the storms, their situation goes from mysterious to crazy-stupid dangerous. Someone is controlling the great machine, and their purpose is nearly complete. In a race against time, the twins must uncover the chilling plan, the mastermind behind it, and the force that’s driving the deadly storms. They’ll hunt a powerful enemy that threatens their town’s existence, and the only clues are written in the sky.
If that sounds like a fun read to you, then one of the best ways you can support new authors is to preorder their books. I’m including the Amazon link below, and I hope you love it!