Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Dan Stout Interview - Titanshade

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


Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born in Toledo, Ohio, and I currently live in Columbus. It’s only a couple hours away, but I got here by a circuitous route that involved living and working all over the place, including a couple stints overseas.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life in writing?
The one universal rule about writing is this: There is NO universal rule about writing.

It’s a great idea to find out what works for other writers, but don’t make the mistake of assuming those same habits will work for you. Keep trying different schedules, genres, voices, work places… whatever you can change, keep changing it until you find something that works. Once you find that system that works, keep doing it that until it no longer works. Then start the search over again.

Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that writing was not just a hobby.
I did NaNoWriMo around 2012, and it was far and away the most I’d ever written up until then. I typed out my 50,000th word a little before midnight on November 30, and it was one of the most satisfying moments of my life. The rush and a sense of satisfaction that came along with finishing that challenge was unbelievable. After that day, I was hooked on storytelling.

What was your unforgettable moment while writing TITANSHADE?
Finishing the first draft. That’s usually the magic moment for me. Finishing a story is intensely emotional, and always leaves me feeling raw and elated. Then all the fun revising begins. (And I don’t mean that sarcastically—I find revising much easier than drafting.)

Your new book is TITANSHADE; can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?
It’s a noir thriller, set in a post-industrial fantasy world. It’s about a fading oil boomtown and the murder investigation that might find justice, or might bring the whole city down in flames.

Are there authors that you’re excited to engage/work with?
I don’t have any specific authors in mind, but this is definitely something I want to do at some point. I’m collaborative by nature, so the solitary aspect of writing can get to me a little bit.

Doing a collaborative project is a major goal for me, whether that’s comics, tie-in fiction, or a serialized narrative.

What part of Carter did you enjoy writing the most?
Carter’s method of investigation essentially boils down to annoying whoever he’s talking to until they do something stupid and give up more information than intended. This makes him massively fun to write as he essentially is just an irritant for more powerful characters.

Unfortunately for him, he takes this same approach to most everyone he meets, which doesn’t do his social life any favors.

What book would you recommend for others to read?
If anyone interested in post-industrial fantasies, there’s a number of other authors working within the subgenre. My personal favorites are probably Max Gladstone, Fonda Lee, and Lara Elena Donnelly. Donnelly’s Amberlough is a brilliant book combining the high intrigue of spies with the drama of cabaret in a secondary world. Her writing is amazing, and I can’t praise the book highly enough.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
Right now I’m fully focused on the world of Titanshade. I’m polishing up the sequel which comes out next year, and I’ve also been developing some shorter fiction to explore other aspects of the world. I’m particularly excited about a heist story that takes place in one of the other nations, and a short story featuring Carter that lets me dive into a traditional Titanshade ghost story.

Which character have you enjoyed getting to know while writing TITANSHADE?
This is a tough one because the book is the first in the series, so all the characters are new to me. Writing some of the secondary characters was really interesting, because I had to find ways to bring them to life without giving them the same amount of space on the page that Carter and his companions get. So I really enjoyed the challenge of writing the other cops who aren’t major characters, and the people on the streets of Titanshade who appear briefly before fading back into the crowd.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Well, this may be a cheat because she’s not from Titanshade… but I’d like to introduce my middle-grade noir protagonist Seraphina Vasquez to Encyclopedia Brown. I think they’d make a hilarious duo, because he’d notice some small detail, but Sera would just shrug and get with the business of breaking up an illicit Pokemon card game.

What is the weirdest thing anyone ever asked in a survey?
I don’t know I’ve ever been asked anything weird, but I have ended up having pretty interesting conversations with the people who call for phone surveys. Columbus is a big city for product research, and that often gives me an in for asking about their job, their lives, and so on.

So maybe it’s the survey takers who end up telling stories about this weird guy they talked to in Ohio…

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be?
I’d start taking writing seriously way earlier. I’m glad that I’ve done so many different things and had so many experiences, but nothing compares to writing. I wake up each day excited to dive into a new story and find new ways to put words to thoughts and feelings, and share them with others.

What is your most memorable travel experience?
While I was hitch-hiking in Vietnam I ran into a couple of guys I had to make a quick getaway from. I ended up running from the road through the dark and stumbling over a low concrete wall. I stayed where I was until dawn, when I woke to find everything shrouded in a thick fog. I heard an approaching bell, and I froze, not sure what was headed my way. The clanging got closer and closer, until a herd of water buffalo emerged from the fog, the bells around their necks ringing with every step. I followed them through the fog, which was lifting just enough for me see that I’d spent the night in a cemetery.

What was your favorite childhood television program?
The Incredible Hulk, with Lou Ferrigno and Bill Bixby. I loved that show, and I was young enough that the Hulk was still a little frightening.

Where can readers find you?
I’m on all the usual social media spots, but the easiest way to get a hold of me or find out what I’m up to is on my website:

This noir fantasy thriller from a debut author introduces the gritty town of Titanshade, where danger lurks around every corner.

Carter's a homicide cop in Titanshade, an oil boomtown where 8-tracks are state of the art, disco rules the radio, and all the best sorcerers wear designer labels. It's also a metropolis teetering on the edge of disaster. As its oil reserves run dry, the city's future hangs on a possible investment from the reclusive amphibians known as Squibs.

But now negotiations have been derailed by the horrific murder of a Squib diplomat. The pressure's never been higher to make a quick arrest, even as Carter's investigation leads him into conflict with the city's elite. Undermined by corrupt coworkers and falsified evidence, and with a suspect list that includes power-hungry politicians, oil magnates, and mad scientists, Carter must find the killer before the investigation turns into a witch-hunt and those closest to him pay the ultimate price on the filthy streets of Titanshade.


“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)

“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

You can purchase Titanshade at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you DAN STOUT for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Titanshade by Dan Stout. 


  1. The first thing I think of is: hurry and take the puppy out!

  2. "What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?" "Why can't I get more sleep?"

  3. Gee, do I have to go to work today?