I'd like to say that I'm really excited to publish an Email interview that I had with Darrell Pitt! Author of "The Steampunk Detective" and "Diary of a Teenage Superhero", Darrell graciously took some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions I had for him. Thanks Darrell, much appreciated! With that said here's the interview...
1.) What authors/works influenced you in your younger days? More specifically, which of these do you credit with motivating you as a reader, and later, as an author?
Stephen King was an early influence. You can’t beat his first books – The Shining, The Stand, Carrie etc. He really is ‘The King’.
Richard Matheson was another strong influence. I loved his work on ‘The Twilight Zone’, and in movies like ‘Duel’, his short story collections and novels such as ‘The Incredible Shrinking Man’ and ‘I am Legend’. He wrote a very particular style of story – the single protagonist against the world, and I think my own work reflects that.
Later, I became a big fan of comic books such as ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘Watchmen’. I’m so glad that the comic medium is receiving the respect it has so long deserved. It’s a much underrated art form.
(2.) Do any of these overtly influence your personal writing style?
Interestingly, some of my earliest reading was an old series called ‘Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators’. These were a boy’s series similar to the Hardy Boys, but far better written. I read and re-read these books as a boy. When I look at my current books, I can see ghostly reflections of that old series. Maybe children’s/YA authors really do relive their childhood through their writing...
(3.) How long have you wanted to be a writer, and when did you decide that you were ready to publish your work?
Succeeding as an author is a long, difficult route. I wanted to be a writer from the age of twelve, but life got in the way. Life, and the fact that becoming a successful author is near impossible.
I had written three books by the time I decided to self-publish ‘The Steampunk Detective’. My first unpublished novel was a pile of doggie-doo, the second was markedly better, but it still wasn’t quite right. When I finished writing ‘The Steampunk Detective’, I felt I had written something that was truly good. It read very much like something you would buy in a shop – and that’s a good sign.
(4.) How was your experience e-publishing, and do you recommend that route to other aspiring authors?
Self-publishing gives authors a foot in the door they never previously had. They can work at building a career as a self-published author, or they can use the book sales to leverage a book deal with a traditional publisher. It’s opening up opportunities for writers and that’s a good thing.
Whether people choose to self-publish or not is up to them. There’s a lot of reasons why people write. Some just want to write their novel and put it out into the world. That’s fine. Others want to build a career. It’s completely up to the writer – which is a good thing.
(5.) Out of your existing works, which is your favorite, and why?
I’ll always have a soft spot for ‘The Steampunk Detective’ as it was my first real novel. Having said that, I really love ‘Diary of a Teenage Superhero’. It’s a relentless action adventure story with a ‘high concept’ idea behind it. I’ve been contacted by two producers, interested in turning it into a movie, but nothing has eventuated yet. If you know Steven Spielberg, tell him about it!
(6.) Are there any genres that you have not yet written in, but would like to?
Probably crime. I think some of the best writing is happening in crime. There are too many good authors to list, but Australian writer Michael Robotham is excellent as is Henning Mankell and Lawrence Block, Harlen Coben...ah, like I say, there’s too many to list.
(7.) How smoothly does your personal writing process go? Is it fairly structured for you, or more random in nature?
I’m a goal-oriented kind of guy. I need goals to operate by, otherwise I’d just stare at the ceiling all day. When writing a first draft, I set the goal of 2,000 words a day. When I’m editing, I set myself the task of twenty pages a day. I have a chapter by chapter breakdown that I follow, but I don’t have a lot of detail in each chapter. I usually know how it starts and how it ends – but I have to make up the stuff in between.
(8.) "The Steampunk Detective" is getting a re-release as "The Firebird Mystery". Very hearty congratulations! Can you talk a bit about the story, release date, working with the publisher, and any other pertinent information you might wish to share?
I think steampunk is a great genre and I’ve always loved Sherlock Holmes. Bringing together those two ideas resulted in ‘The Steampunk Detective’.
Ignatius Doyle is a quirky detective looking for an assistant. Jack Mason is an orphaned boy who has grown up in a circus. They join together with Scarlet Bell to investigate a centuries-old mystery involving an organisation known as The Phoenix Society.
Since signing an 8 book publishing deal with Text Publishing, the book has been re-edited and expanded. It is being released as the first Jack Mason Adventure, a book called ‘The Firebird Mystery’ and it is due out on the 26th of February. The sequel, ‘The Secret Abyss’ is coming out in July with the third book scheduled for November, 2014. Here’s the link on Amazon:
My editor at Text Publishing has been Michael Heyward and I’m very fortunate to be working with such an experienced person. There’s a lot of excitement around the release of the book, so I’m looking forward to the big day!
(9.) What are you working on currently, and what's a tentative schedule, if you can share?
I’m editing the second Jack Mason adventure at the moment and will shortly begin the edit of number three in the series.
In my spare time, I’m working on another book – but that’s a secret project. I expect to be working on the re-release of the Teen Superhero books in the next few months. Exciting times!
(10.) In my opinion, your stories would translate very well into graphic novels/ comic series. Have you thought about this at all, and if the opportunity came up, would you be open to working in this medium?
I think comic book art is a wonderful merging of writing and art. I’d love to work with a good artist and publisher to produce some comic stories.
(11.) A random question to round things out. If you could have any artist to do covers/interiors, who would it be? (I have really liked the artwork on your releases to date.)
Boy, that’s a good question! There are so many good artists out there! I like Frank Miller, Alex Ross and so many other comic artists. Then there are so many of those ‘old time’ artists like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko who helped to invent the medium. There’s Bernie Wrightson, Will Eisner... okay, I’m out of control now.
I think the trick is to make the art work with the words. Sometimes good writing can be let down by poor art and visa versa. I think the two have to work hand-in-hand.
Thanks for the opportunity to answer your questions! It’s been a blast!
Here's some links to Darrell's sites, if you want to learn more, or just swing by and say hello!