Please welcome my special guest, debut fantasy YA author D.W. Raleigh! His novel, Shiloh’s True Nature, has just been published by Hobbes End Publishing.
D.W. Raleigh was born in the Delaware Valley and has spent most of his life in that region. He has attended multiple colleges and universities collecting several degrees, including an M.A. in Philosophy. After toiling away for many years in various unfulfilling jobs, he began to realize that what he really wanted to do was write. Scribbling down ideas and little short stories he eventually came up with something he wanted to share with the world. Thus, Shiloh’s True Nature was born. D.W. currently resides in Newark, Delaware with his longtime love, Judy, and their two cats, Lovie and Cheepie.
In this interview, the author talks about his inspiration for the book, his creative process, writer’s anxiety, and the meaning of success, among other things.
Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Shiloh’s True Nature. What was your inspiration for it?
A: Several years ago, I was compiling a list of mythological concepts I found interesting in hopes it would inspire me to write something. In my research, I came across two books from the late Joseph Campbell; The Power Of Myth & The Hero With A Thousand Faces. These works really inspired me and provided a blueprint for successful storytelling.
Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist.
A: Shiloh Williams is highly inquisitive…in good and bad ways. His thirst for knowledge and an understanding of his environment is admirable. However, he also finds himself in dangerous situations because of his need to know.
Q: What was your creative process like during the writing of this book and how long did it take you to complete it? Did you face any bumps along the way?
A: I think it took a couple of years to outline and then another couple to write and refine it. I don’t really know how others construct their novels, but I have a very specific building process. I create a short outline with the basic story structure. I then continue adding things until I am able to form chapters. The process goes on and on until the entire book is completely outlined. In the case of STN, it went on until the outline was about 50,000 words. So, when I sat down to write the book, I converted the 50,000 word outline into a 90-100,000 word novel.
A: I do so by keeping that goal in mind. As I was outlining the book, I made sure each chapter had specific, relevant goals and ended in such a way as to make the reader want to continue reading. Was I successful? I think so, but only time will tell.
Q: Do you experience anxiety before sitting down to write? If yes, how do you handle it?
A: No, I don’t experience anxiety…it’s more like what you feel like when you were a kid and had to do your homework. It’s just hard to get started sometimes…you know you need to do it and you want to, but there are so many other things you could be doing. I usually combat the feeling by reading the last few paragraphs of what I last wrote. By the time I get to where I left off, I’m where I need to be mentally.
Q: What is your writing schedule like and how do you balance it with your other work and family time?
A: I have no set writing schedule. I write when the mood strikes. Otherwise, if I force myself, I end up not liking what I’ve written.
Q: How do you define success?
A: The minimum definition of success for me will be to make a living from my writing. I am proud of the fact that I’ve created something that has been published…and I certainly won’t consider it or myself a failure if it doesn’t sell millions of copies, but it would be nice if it did.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers whose spouses or partners don’t support their dreams of becoming an author?
A: It’s tough to deal with a negative situation like a lack of support. I mean, you have to follow your dreams, but you also have to weigh your priorities and be realistic. For example, if you and your significant other have a two person business and you decide to abandon that commitment to pursue an author’s life, you’re being irresponsible. On the other hand, if you’re not in that type of commitment and your significant other doesn’t support you, I think you need to seriously examine your relationship. Ask yourself, or better yet ask your significant other, how they would feel if you didn’t support their endeavors.
Q: George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Do you agree?
A: No, I do not agree. Given Orwell’s works, particularly Animal Farm and 1984, I could see him saying such a thing. However, he makes the process sound more arduous than pleasurable. I am driven to write, but it provides me with tremendous satisfaction. I’m happy when I put together a great paragraph or chapter…I’m elated when the work takes the shape I intended. There’s no darkness, or compulsion, or negativity of any sort for me.
Q: Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Shiloh’s True Nature
Author: D.W. Raleigh
Publisher: Hobbes End Publishing
When 12 year-old farm boy Shiloh Williams is sent to stay with his estranged grandfather, he discovers a mysterious new world inhabited by ‘Movers’. The Movers live in symbiotic harmony with one another, except one extremely powerful Mover who has stolen the town’s most precious artifact, the Eternal Flame. Shiloh investigates his supernatural surroundings, makes new friends, and begins to think of the town as home. However, just as soon as he starts to fit in, he realizes his newfound happiness is about to come to an abrupt end. One decision and one extreme consequence are all that remain.