Ask the Author: Luke Dalton
What would you like readers to know about you?
Dichotomy, juxtaposition, oxymoron – these words all feel very relevant to me. I’m a sociable loner. A grounded dreamer. An existential dude on a zen-seeking path of spiritualistic, universal awakening who’s trying to secure his niche in this materialistic world.
I guess it’s all a perfect reflection of the ying-yang concept, which I admire the crap out of.
I’ve played guitar since I was 15 and absolutely love singing but I strayed from the musician’s path when life guided me to writing my debut novel, The Nightmare’s Truth. The poetry of music and the power of artistic connection is something I feel passionately about and seek to embody with my writing. Eloquence always fascinates me and I long to be the kind of person who people could listen to for hours on end – while also craving peace and solitude. Crazy, right?
I’m inspired by everything from superheroes to supernatural, from mythology to sci-fi as well as the challenges we face every day just trying to live the best lives we can while we search for happiness or meaning.
Books, comics, TV, movies, I’m pretty well enthralled and inspired by media and its power to connect us. More than connection alone though, I love the idea of edutainment; I know I’ve learned some profound lessons from the stories I’ve loved, from Marvel to Buffy and so many in between.
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
The Nightmare’s Truth is a character-driven work of speculative fiction with deep roots in the existential.
Emotionally-charged with a host of compelling characters, the story weaves supernatural thrills with profound discoveries and lessons, some subtle, others less so.
The surface-level story follows the journey of a musician struggling to balance his aspirations with his romantic intentions and, worst of all, visceral nightmares of a history he can’t possibly know so intimately. But the nightmares are only one half of the coin.
When his band release a song inspired by softer, equally muddling dreams tied with the nightmares, our protagonist, Ty, discovers the truth; he lived before this life.
Ty is a reincarnated warrior. But more than that. His former self was not human. With the appearance of the love of his past life, lured by the song, his origin and the meaning of the dreams is revealed. An apocalyptic prophecy looms with only one hope of being averted – a hope buried in his forgotten memories.
Drawn into an inescapable journey by his enchanting former lover, Ty abandons his life to uncover the mysteries locked in his mind, discover his true self, and keep those he loves from harm.
What has been your inspiration for writing it?
Honestly, I was in a bad place. Mentally. Emotionally. You name it.
I’d had so many ideas or fragments of ideas for stories build up over the years, always fantasy/horror based, usually featuring heroic themes, often apocalyptic. And then, one dark and lonely day, something clicked, the ideas slotted together. I saw the mosaic for what it was, sat down and started writing.
Writing this book, from first draft to final, was always a process of exploring mindset, hunting answers to existential questions profound enough to make the skin tingle, and understanding who I am and where I fit into this world. It was a fantasy dressed reflection of the journey I built myself upon.
I’ve also had a desire for many years now to return the vampire race to the justice they so rightly deserve. That’s not to say this is a vampire novel, though they are a main feature; no, this is a supernatural thriller and bloodsuckers are merely the tip of the spear.
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
God, there were so many!
For me it’s those emotionally powerful scenes, whether that’s in the form of dialogue, narrative or action. Two in particular spring to mind, but both absolutely fall under the umbrella of unforgivable spoilers. And I wouldn’t do that to you.
So I’ll highlight the intro scene instead. It’s not my ‘favourite’, per-say, but I am mighty proud of it.
(Minor spoilers only)
I always knew the story started with a dream sequence, but it took a few drafts to have the courage to really dive into it. Some say starting with action is a poor choice but the way TNT drops you in the thick of an intriguing historical battle, then rips you out and throws you into the present is hands-down the perfect start for this tale.
I’m so fond of those ancient scenes when they crop up throughout the story. The alternate history perspective is one which has always fascinated me and is so much fun to write! Writing my characters into that history, with my own spin… yeah, I think that’s a fair nod to a favoured part to write!
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
Anne Rice deserves most of the credit, certainly from an author’s perspective. Her vampire chronicles series were and still are huge influences. But I also feel Joss Whedon, specifically for the Buffy and Angel shows, deserves an equal share of the credit. At least in terms of getting me started.
The list of inspirations broadens from there as I dove into more books by outstanding authors during my writing process, like Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and Norse Mythology; Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series and the unforgettable joint venture with Gaiman that is Good Omens; Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher series; R.A Salvatore’s Drizzt saga… not to mention other writers for television or film.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
Write the story you want to read. To hell with anyone who tries to limit you with negativity.
Writing is a process unique to each author. We each have our own voice, thoughts and feelings, and that’s what you need to embrace. Don’t worry if what you write sucks right away, just get the words on the page and take all the time you need to refine them. Remember, from trees to skyscrapers there is so much development and foundation work going on beneath the surface, but in the end, all the world sees or remembers is the finished result. Unless, like me, you have old versions kicking around with various friends, then you’re doomed to forever cringe when you spot them ><
And read! It sounds like a given, but too many writers don’t read. Yes, you can and should take inspiration from all walks of life, from people you encounter to events worldwide and all forms of media, but this I promise; you will learn so much from reading the work of others.
Reading books is the only way you’re going to get a real flavour for what works between the pages, styles which resonate with you and guide the flow of your own prose. So read. Read read and read some more.
Oh, and drop the “aspiring writer” mindset. Even if you’ve only recently started. You’re a writer. Shout it to the heavens and be proud of your commitment. The words we use day-to-day have more power than you can imagine.
The Nightmare’s Truth is available on Amazon worldwide in paperback and ebook formats. Here are some links to a 3 chapter sample, a universal purchase link, and the book’s Goodreads page:
Free sample 👉 https://buff.ly/2EfWIFy Buy 👉 https://buff.ly/2UceLjl Goodreads 👉 https://buff.ly/2QNK8zc
You can find me as @Ldaltonauthor on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.