Book Nerd Interview
He has published a number of poems and short stories over the years, while working on and reworking some of his many novels. The Call of Agon is his first published novel.
Dean also works as a journalist, primarily in the field of technology. He has written for TechEye, Thinq, V3, The Inquirer, and VR-Zone.
Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
Yes, when I was 11 years old. Before that I was doing bits and pieces, but it was at 11 that I started my first novel. For my 12th birthday I got a PC, and the guy in the store offered a choice between a gaming system or a computer with Microsoft Word. I wanted the latter, which, in retrospect, is an odd choice for a kid, but it certainly helped my writing.
Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Stories serve multiple purposes. At a basic level they are great entertainment, which is essential for living a happy and healthy life, but on a deeper level stories help us explore issues that are otherwise difficult to address. On one hand a good book helps us escape our troubles, and on the other hand it can help us face up to those troubles by bringing real issues to the fore, often in a more manageable way, since the problems are experienced vicariously through the eyes of another.
Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
That's a very difficult question to answer. It's like asking a child what is their favourite toy. Just as the stuffed bear or robot will invariably take offence at not being chosen, I could not possibly limit my choice on this. I can say the following, however, and that is that I like variety. So I like the classics, and I like more modern, language-defying works. Perhaps the most interesting books to me are those that are slightly strange (which is perhaps why the fantasy genre appeals to me) and use words to really drive home the story, or accentuate the characters. The Gormenghast trilogy is a good example. I can hear the other books on my shelves rattle with envy now.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
I am not sure if anyone ever told me this, but it's still the best advice I'd personally give to an aspiring writer: persevere. Like most things in life, those who are successful are not necessarily the most talented, but rather the ones who did not give up. Persevere through the toil of writing and editing, and persevere through the arduous task of getting published, and then through gaining and maintaining an audience. Persistence and discipline are the keywords to success.
In your new novel; The Call of Agon, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?
The Call of Agon is about the last remaining people in the bloodline of the dead god Telm, who imprisoned the Beast Agon in the Underworld. Ifferon is one of these, inheriting an heirloom of a Scroll bearing Telm's dying words, which were captured by a magical race and channelled into the runes upon the parchment. It was these words which sealed Agon's doom, and so this relic is seen as one of the few remain defences against the threat of the Beast gaining freedom once again. Only a Child of Telm can use them, for words without authority are powerless, but Ifferon wants no part to play in the games of the gods. He hides away in a monastery to avoid his fate, but he is forced on a terrifying journey when Agon's forces find his hiding place. He is a cleric without faith, perhaps, but also now a cleric without a choice but to finally act.
For those who are unfamiliar with Ifferon, how would you introduce him?
Ifferon was once a greater adventurer, back in the days when adventure was something that all sought out, for it was a tamer kind of thing to what he now faces. There was glory to be found, not death. He has the blood of the god Telm in him, and a powerful heirloom, and yet he feels no strength of gods, nor, indeed, strength of men. As he embarks on his journey, reminded constantly of the greater man he used to be, and as he is constantly surrounded by people more heroic than he ever was, he cannot help but wonder if the people of Iraldas are misplacing their faith in him. Or perhaps they are just pretending to believe, just as he was pretending to believe as he went about his monastic life—because the alternative, the acknowledgement of the truth of what sits beneath the world in wait, is much too horrible to consider.
What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I am currently working on Book Two of The Children of Telm, entitled The Road to Rebirth. It follows on from exactly where Book One left off, but I cannot really reveal anything about it without spoiling major parts of the first novel. I have also planned a few more novels and series, and I plan to submit some short stories and poems to various publications and anthologies. There's never a shortage of ideas—just a shortage of time.
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Perhaps the most enjoyable character for me to write is Herr'Don, as he is so boisterous and over-the-top (on the exterior, of course), so I would probably select him. As for who he could meet, that is a much harder choice. I do wonder what he and Death from Terry Pratchett's novels would be like spending the night at a tavern.
What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?
I've spent a large chunk of my adult life as a journalist, so I've been writing professionally for years now. Perhaps the most memorable “bit job,” as it were, was when I worked in a local cinema. It was a reasonably enjoyable experience, not least of all because I got to see many of the latest releases for free. Of course, I also got to see the ending of films over and over again, and grow to loath the cinema soundtrack.
Who was your first girlfriend?
As a gay man, I cannot say I have a whole lot of experience with women. When I was in my teens I did try to fit in and pursue girls, but things generally never worked out. In hindsight I would have had a more enjoyable time, perhaps, had I accepted my sexuality earlier, but then with homophobia as it is, it could have made growing up even harder. Since you might be inclined to ask about boyfriends, see below.
Tell me about your first kiss
I am not really the kiss-and-tell type.
I am not really the kiss-and-tell type.
What would be harder for you, to tell someone you love them or that you do not love them back?
Tough question. I think I would find it easier to admit to someone I did not love them, as I have less of an issue with honesty than with expressing affection.
When was the last time you cried?
I tear up often when I watch TV or films, generally because I can really put myself into the mindset of the character. I find the cinema experience to be a good amplifier to this emotional reaction, as everyone there is focusing on the same content. The “mob mentality” carries over to any communal activity and can enhance the more positive aspects of people coming together, such as in the enjoyment of entertainment. Joy and sorrow are ultimately interlinked.
What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
The 90's, when I was a teenager. Despite some difficulties, which are perhaps dwarfed by the experiences of others, I do not regret my own experiences, because they are what made me what I am today. There is also the added benefit of the fact that the later decades contain all the advances and knowledge of the previous ones. I certainly do not think I would have enjoyed growing up during World War I or World War II, and while the Victorian era has a certain allure, a large part of that is probably due to the prism of history.
What is your greatest adventure?
Presuming you mean “so far,” having not yet glimpsed what is to come, that would probably be the few weeks I spent in South Korea training in martial arts. It was a very rewarding experience on multiple levels, not least of all being able to see and experience another culture.
Where can readers stalk you?
Of course, the more dedicated stalkers should already have all this information.
THE LAST LINE. THE LAST WORDS. THE LAST CHANCE.
Ifferon is one of the last in the bloodline of the dead god Telm, who mated with mortal women, and who imprisoned the Beast Agon in the Underworld. Armed with a connection to the estranged gods in the Overworld and a scroll bearing Telm's powerful dying words, he is tasked with ensuring the god's vital legacy: that Agon remain vanquished.
Fear forces Ifferon to abandon his duty, but terror restores his quest when the forces of Agon find his hideaway in an isolated coastal monastery. Weighed down by the worries of the world, but lifted up by the companions he encounters along the way, Ifferon embarks on a journey that encompasses the struggles of many peoples, the siege of many lands, and discoveries that could bring hope to some—or doom to all.