Ask the Author: E.J. Dawson
What would you like readers to know about you?
I’m here to tell a story, light-hearted, fast-paced, intense, dark and amusing, each story has its own poignant moments and while I enjoy torturing my characters, I promise I love giving them their hard-won victories too. We’re all fighting little battles every day and sometimes it’s not the ones that stop the world, but the ones that stop our world that matters most.
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
I write sci-fi fantasy predominately but love to dabble in romance and paranormal. As such my sci-fi action Queen of Spades trilogy is about Ayla and her dark gift of seeing when everyone will die, but she’s been frozen for three millennia and while she remembers who she is, she has no memory of how she got there. On the other hand, I have Letitia in Behind the Veil, who can read the veil between life and death and gives closure to grieving families, but when a man comes to her to save his niece, she’ll need to choose between self-preservation and insanity. I write weak female protagonists whose illusions of what makes them strong or weak isn’t all it appears and their self-discovery is part of the story.
What has been your inspiration for writing it?
I wrote Queen of Spades rather angrily after being told that I should just write romance to make money which was not only insulting as a scifi/fantasy author, but demeaning to those who are successful at it. Queen of Spades was a chance to have all the elements of a romance but that is not what the story is about, it’s about Ayla’s journey across eons of time and why she was imprisoned. With Behind the Veil, I’d always loved my mother’s gothic/older romances, Nine Coaches Waiting, books by M. M. Kaye, Kerry Greenwood, and Georgette Heyer. But I loved my horror and gothic ghosts and so I combined my two loves in that story.
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
For me the best part is the start, even if you aren’t sure where it will end up, it’s such a point of possibility. As someone who only plans very loosely, I’m often pleasantly surprised at some of the places I end up. For example, in Queen of Spades; Darkening, there is a diving scene with Ayla and a sentient alien life form that’s kind of like an octopus with an empathetic ability. They share a torment that can’t be expressed with words and after Ayla learns what was done to her in the past, she finds solace in the alien’s understanding.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve written since I was little, stories about princesses without the prince, but I became dedicated a few years ago when I thought I couldn’t have children. One of the things I always wanted to emulate in my writing was Sir Terry Pratchett’s ability to make you laugh, but also to have quite dark themes in the stories, ones that left you lingering well after you’d finished reading them.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
If there is a story inside you, write it down. Just start, and don’t stop until you get to the end. Don’t get caught up in if its good or bad or makes sense. All you have to do the first time around is get it out. The rest is editing. Forget how the words could be, and just write what they are. Polishing comes after.