1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
I didn’t get into writing until quite late, mid-twenties. I’ve always had a busy imagination, and I’m far better at getting lost in my own thoughts than living in the moment, but for most of my life I’d been quite content to let reading, watching movies, and playing video games be my outlet, fuelling the creative process I suppose. And then in my teens I started playing in rock bands which was a major distraction for me, but when I knocked that on the head for good, I suppose I needed a new creative outlet to fixate on, I just didn’t expect it to be taking a crack at being a novelist.
I think I must have spent too many years thinking about What If… scenarios, and fantasising about monsters and survival and grand good versus evil conflicts that it forced me to give it a shot; that and the fact that I was getting supremely disinterested in my final year at university. So what better way to shrug off some dull dissertation than diving head-first into your own creator-owned world?
2) What inspired you to write your book?
Whilst I have written several other books, Hourglass was inevitable. The first story I ever wrote was a total unfocused scattershot of things I love: world-conquering demons, plucky and colourful heroes, super hero-sized punch-ups in urban-city demolishing combat scenes, gangsters, and so forth.
Being my training wheel days I just went with it, not looking back, and loving every second of it. Now whilst I shudder to imagine the quality of that story’s plot, there are still lots of things from that world which I love, and Clyde and Kev, the protagonists from Hourglass, are just two of them. So Hourglass was my chance to wipe that old slate clean, take these two characters and build a new world around them.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
Besides a rollicking good time (ha-ha, I hope!) I’d like the readers to try and stay positive with their attitude towards death. I know how grandiose and bleak that sounds, but I mean it in an uplifting way. Clyde and Kev are two characters on either side of the mortal spectrum, each carrying their own weight and existential woes, but on their journey they begin to understand just how little they know about life and death, and the greater universal mysteries behind it all. So I’d like readers, regardless of their faith (or lack of) to accept that no mortal in this world knows what comes next. As a species, the majority of our oceans remain a mystery to us.
The vastness of outer space is also a mystery, as is the human brain, and a great many other things, so who can say what truly happens in death? Could be there’s nothing. Could be we get forced into an egg and spoon race against leprechauns. Who can say? And to me, that brings a kind of peace. But personally, if I had a choice I’d like to kick supernatural arse with Hourglass.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
As I mentioned, returning to the urban fantasy genre was unavoidable for me. Although I love horror, as it was Robert McCammon, Stephen King, Clive Barker etc. who opened the door for me into the joys of reading, my imagination tends to lean just as heavily into the explosive and the fantastical as it does the macabre and the spooky.
I love big theatrical conflict and throw-down fights, which doesn’t always mix well with pure horror because of the genre’s need for their protagonists to be physically outmatched by the evil threat; although there are exceptions, of course. But basically, the one overarching goal for me as a writer has always been to create my own big, bustling world of characters. One where I can take them on an epic episodic adventure, building them, breaking them down, testing them, and just generally indulging in my god complex… all writers have one.
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
This is a tough question! I’d either ask Ace if he thinks listening to ‘80’s metal and hard rock is conducive to pounding monsters heads-in?, or I’d ask Clyde if living a comic-book-esque lifestyle is actually any fun or is just plain stressful?
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I’m very lean when it comes to social media. All I use is Twitter (@DJauthor85). But the BookBub Partner site has been very useful to me in the past by attracting readers with my ad campaigns.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
To any aspiring or newbie authors I’d say that you need to write for yourself first and foremost. If you strike oil and become a huge success, that’s awesome, but if that’s the only reason you’re doing this then I’d say stick to scratching off lottery tickets instead. Success is the dream, the fantasy, but the joy of creating and sharing with readers is what sustains the soul.
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
As for upcoming works, I have just completed the third draft of a horror novel called Heathens, set in my hometown of Liverpool, which I’ll be shopping around soon. And I’m waiting to hear the fate of a pretty bizarre high-school horror novel called Fable, which I actually wrote just prior to my first published novel in 2018, but it’s been stuck in backlog hell with the small horror print. One way or another, even if I stay on the indie route I’ll get one or both of them out in 2021. And of course I’ll be continuing the adventures of Clyde and Kev in New York City from February 2021. I can’t wait for that!
About the Author
Daniel James is the recipient of a Kirkus Reviews (starred review) for his action-packed urban fantasy novel, Hourglass, and the Literary Titan Gold Book award for his vengeance-fueled crime novel, Pigs.
An author of horror, fantasy, and fast-paced thrillers, he first began writing as a hobby to distract himself from the mundanity of completing his dissertation at Liverpool Hope University. When not writing, he loves reading genre fiction novels and comic books, watching movies, and listening to music (he also used to play bass in a few local rock bands).