Thursday, April 2, 2020

Dan Stout Author Interview


Photo Content from Dan Stout

Dan Stout lives in Columbus, Ohio, where he writes about fever dreams and half-glimpsed shapes in the shadows. His prize-winning fiction draws on travels throughout Europe, Asia, and the Pacific Rim as well as an employment history spanning everything from subpoena server to assistant well driller. Dan's stories have appeared in publications such as The Saturday Evening Post, Nature, and Intergalactic Medicine Show. His debut novel Titanshade is a noir fantasy thriller available from DAW Books. To say hello, visit him at www.DanStout.com.

        
  


Greatest thing you learned at school.
In all honesty, it was simply learning how to learn, and time management. In high school I learned how to research a topic and structure my time in order to achieve a series of small goals, culminating in a completed project. Those skills transfer to pretty much any task and are things that I still use on a daily basis.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I was pretty young when I realized that some people got to write for a living. I took creative writing classes at a number of levels in school, and I got a lot of practice writing cool imagery, but I never really understood what a story was.

In 2011 my father passed away and I wrote a eulogy for his funeral service. It was obviously an emotional event, but as more and more people told me how much the eulogy connected with them, it became clear that I’d managed to convey my feelings in an effective way. And when the priest asked my permission to use the eulogy at other funerals I realized that for the first time I’d stumbled into telling a capital-S Story. I went back and figured out what I’d done right, and that was my step toward being a real storyteller.

So I often think of my dad and that day as I work on new projects. It’s my way of both thanking him and of touching base with the fundamentals of craft.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Without a doubt it’s hearing from people who’ve read the book and connected with it in some way. I’m a big believer in the idea that writing is for the author, but the actual telling of the story is a collaboration. Every reader brings their own viewpoint and interpretation of the text, and that’s as essential to the creative event as anything I do.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
Well, I’m in the middle of Book 3 in the Carter Archives and I’m absolutely loving it! I’m extremely proud of Titan’s Day, but writing it was difficult because I didn’t anticipate how a sequel would require a whole new set of skills. Once I was able to take those lessons and internalize them, it’s made writing Book 3 a chance to recapture the fun of writing.

Other than that, I’m working on several projects that I hope will see the light of day in the coming year, though I don’t want to say too much about them before the big reveals!
If you could work for anyone you choose, who would it be?
Which of your characters do you feel has grown the most since book 1 and in what way have they changed?

Your Journey to Publication
I mentioned that I began writing seriously after my dad passed away. A few years after that I changed jobs to be home more often, and then my new employer went out of business. We’d just taken in a foster child, and I needed to keep money coming in, so I took the first job I could find: third shift stock clerk at Toys “R” Us. I spent my days hunting for a long-term job, and every night from 9 PM to 6 AM I unboxed Transformers and Monster High figures while listening to podcasts about writing and storytelling and craft. At the end of the shift I went home and tried to put what I was learning into practice before falling asleep.

In the middle of that I got an email from Nat Sobel telling me that he’d read one of my short stories and thought that I might be able to write a novel. Up until then I’d never seriously considered writing a novel. But I decided to do whatever it took to learn how to write one. I ended up picking up more work, and supplementing it with freelance writing, until the novel I was working on eventually turned into Titanshade.

What is the first job you have had?
Oh, man… I’ve had a lot of jobs! I remember being hired as a little kid to hang political flyers on doors, and I was a caddy at a golf club for one uncomfortable day that ended with everyone involved agreeing it’d be best if I never came back.

But I think the job I remember most as a kid was when I was maybe 12 or 13. I worked at some kind of festival, and they ended up sticking me near the parking lot exit, next to a giant painted arrow pointing toward the street. My job was to literally stand next to that sign and point at it. It ended up being a lot of fun because the drivers passing by thought it was hysterical, and I got a chance to play up my inner performer by adding a few dance moves and flair to my presentation.

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
You may think this is cheesy, but my first thought every day is, How lucky am I? I wake up and the first person I see is the love of my life, and I get to tell stories all day long. I can’t even tell you what an incredible gift that is, and I am grateful for it every single day.

What is your most memorable travel experience?
I used to travel quite a bit. I once spent six months driving around the US in a Dodge Shadow, visiting old friends and camping at state and national parks. I remember getting to Goblins late at night, and waking up to find that several inches of snow had covered the entire park. Spending the morning in the hush of the snow, surrounded by white-shrouded rock formations was beautiful and eerie.

Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew?
Ha! Yes, I am actually one of those idiots who always feels the need to interject himself whenever he sees someone who needs help. Mostly this manifests in pretty mild ways, like helping people push their car out of snowdrifts during the winter. But it also means that I occasionally find myself breaking up fights or emmeshed in tense situations in parks, bars, and other weird locations. I know that the smart thing is to back off and call the authorities, but I can’t help it—for whatever reason, it’s deeply ingrained in me to try to help.



The second book in the acclaimed Carter Archives noir fantasy series returns to the gritty town of Titanshade, where danger lurks around every corner.

The city of Titanshade pulses with nervous energy. The discovery of new riches beneath its snowfields has given residents hope for prosperity, but it also means the arrival of federal troops, along with assurances that they are only there to "stabilize the situation".

Newcomers flood the streets, dreaming of finding their fortunes, while in the backrooms and beer halls of the city, a populist resistance gains support, its leaders' true motives hidden behind nativist slogans. And in an alley, a gruesome discovery: the mutilated body of a young woman, a recent immigrant so little-regarded that not even her lovers bothered to learn her name. But in death, she's found a champion.

Detective Carter single-mindedly pursues the killer as he navigates political pressures and resists becoming a pawn in the struggles tipping the city toward anarchy. But when more innocent lives are lost and time runs short, he's forced to decide if justice is worth sparking all-out war in the streets during the biggest celebration of the year: Titan's Day.

Praise for TITANSHADE

"Take a little Mickey Spillane, some Dashiell Hammett, a bit of Raymond Chandler, and mix it with Phillip K. Dick's Blade Runner; add a taste of C. J. Box, and Craig Johnson, and you've got a masterpiece of a first novel. I hate to call any novel a work of genius, but Stout's Titanshade taps all the right keys." —W. Michael Gear, New York Times bestselling author

"Debut author Stout combines a pitch-perfect noir tone and a richly detailed world full of human, amphibian, and less-identifiable characters in this instantly gripping fantastical mystery.... Stout handles this complex mystery with ease, invoking the best elements of classic noir mysteries, while fearlessly making this world, with its retro style and multilayered mythology, all his own." —Publishers Weekly (starred)

"Titanshade is entirely unique: it’s a gritty noir murder mystery on an alien world with multiple species, a strange form of sorcery, a powerful religion, and large-scale political intrigue. And it’s set in the 1970s, with pay phones, 8-track tapes, racial tensions, and arguments about disco music. What’s amazing is how good it is at being all of these: the genuinely compelling mystery lives in a hugely original sf world and an immersive historical milieu." —ALA Booklist (starred)

“Dan Stout’s debut novel is flawless. Titanshade is set in an original, gritty fantasy world, like enough to ours to take you by the throat as the detective noir plot roars along, yet filled with intriguing other beings and moments of remarkable magic. Highly recommended.” —Julie E. Czerneda, author of The Gossamer Mage

"If you like rollicking detective stories with some action-adventure and alien culture to overlay the mystery, you should give this one a look. I can almost guarantee it won't be what you expect." —SFRevu

"All in all, the book grows on the reader, slowly at first, but then with the speed of a rabid kudzu vine egged on by supervillainess Poison Ivy. By the end of the book Titanshade satisfies well enough to make you start over at the beginning to see what you missed." —New York Journal of Books

"Titanshade was a wonderful blend of magical realism, police procedural, and thriller." —Genre Minx

"This is a solid debut, giving us a fascinating new world, some fun characters who feel real, and a story which, I guarantee will keep you turning pages into the wee hours." —Sci-Fi and Fantasy Reviews

You can purchase Titan’s Day at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you DAN STOUT for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Titan's Day (The Carter Archives #2) by Dan Stout.
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4 comments:

  1. "How far away from your birthplace do you live now?" Pretty far away, but not incredibly far away!

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  2. I was born in Covington, Ky and now live in Independence, KY so I am about 12 miles away, having lived in Toledo, Ohio for many years and then in Summerville, South Carolina for 6 years, coming full circle back to Kentucky after my husband died in 2016

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  3. I actually live about 2 hours from my birthplace.

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  4. I live about 550 miles away from my birthplace

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