Today I am welcoming Daniel Meyer into the Indie Spotlight.
Daniel Meyer tried his hand at a few careers, but fearing they were too realistic and achievable, he became a fantasy writer instead. Now he spends his days writing stories about magic and explosions. He is a lover of Eighties rock, an occasional kilt-wearer, and a supporter of raccoons. He lives in Missouri, where, as ever, he’s working on his next novel.
Welcome to my blog, Daniel!
What made you decide to publish your books independently? What was your path to publication?
I can remember three specific things that pushed me in that direction. One was a Reddit post by Michael J. Sullivan describing how it could make more financial sense to go indie as opposed to trad. A second was reading about L.J. Smith, author of The Vampire Diaries, being fired from her own series by her publishers. A third was an offhand remark by Bernard Cornwell in which he stated that his publishers had the final say on his book titles.
Overall, it was kind of a gradual process in which I found myself leaning toward indie publishing more and more, until eventually, I knew that was what I wanted. Basically, I just wanted more control over the process, and I have no regrets. And these days, an indie author is capable of gathering just as much of a fanbase as a trad author, at least in the fantasy scene.
My path to publication wasn’t overly long, in the grand scheme of things, but it was still rather circuitous. (Good grief, only a writer would work the phrase ‘rather circuitous’ into a conversation.) I had so many ideas for stories that I basically couldn’t resist the temptation to turn them into books any longer, so I decided to take the plunge and become a writer. First, I concentrated on getting all my ideas down on paper, and then I spent months waffling over which one I should write first. I finally settled on what would become Credible Threats, book one of the Sam Adams series, though it wasn’t called that back then. I sat down to write it and enthusiastically bashed out a bunch of words, and quickly realized that I didn’t have anywhere near enough material. What was intended to be a full-length novel turned out to be a thirty-thousand-word short story. Oops.
So, I went back and forth between Sam Adams and a few other ideas for maybe three plus years, until finally I felt like I’d done all I could do with it and found my wonderful editor, Sarah Chorn, who helped me whip it into shape.
Then, I had to do the behind-the-scenes stuff, like cover art (thanks to Luke Tarzian,) setting up my website (ugh,) stuff like that. It was pretty overwhelming, but eventually the book released on November 15 of last year.
What made you decide to write in your specific genre rather than other genres? Have you ever written in other genres?
I guess it was because fantasy automatically makes everything cooler. Solving a murder? Throw in magic. Fighting a battle? Throw in magic. Planning a heist? Magic. And so on. (In that sense, any sort of story could become a fantasy story if you add magic. Something to ponder.) Writing SFF automatically introduces all these exciting possibilities to your story. You have the freedom to let your imagination just run amok. When you can write a story about dragons and ghosts and spaceships, it’s like… why wouldn’t you?
And I have written in other genres, albeit still under the SFF umbrella. (Hooray, an excuse to ramble about my trunk novels!) Very early in my writerly career, I made an attempt to write a space opera; it suffered from the same lack of material that Sam Adams did, but unlike Sam Adams, I never revisited it. I’m not sure why; there was definitely some stuff there that I liked. Maybe I just wanted to move on to other things. I also took a couple stabs (thank you, I’ll be here all week) at writing horror novels. They were called Dead End and The Prom, respectively, and I remember feeling very proud of them because that was when my drafts started getting longer, more like proper novels. I’d like to revisit them at some point, and write new and improved versions now that I have more experience, but I’m not sure when I’ll find the time.
Oh yeah, and then there was my attempt at a vampire novel that I’m still not quite sure what to do with. That was my last ‘trunk novel’ before I devoted all my energy to finishing Credible Threats.
I’ll branch out eventually; I’ll write other subgenres of fantasy, as well as science fiction, horror, and so on, but I’ll probably stay under that broad SFF umbrella I mentioned.
Do you only read the genre that you write?
No; I branch out into other stuff. Last year, for instance, I actually didn’t read a ton of fantasy; not good when you’re a fantasy writer. That’ll change this year, though. When I’m not reading fantasy, I like science fiction and historical fiction. I really like nonfiction as well; basically any era from the Bronze Age to the Old West is interesting to me, but particularly the Middle Ages.
What are you currently reading? Watching on TV? Is there a type of music you listen to for inspiration?
My current read is The Exploits and Adventures of Brigadier Gerard by Arthur Conan Doyle and I’ve been enjoying it so far. TV wise, I’ve been watching House of the Dragon and just eating it up with a spoon. (It’s giving me further inspiration, as if it were needed, to finally buckle down and write my own epic fantasy. Stay tuned…) And there’s plenty of other stuff I’m working my way through or looking forward to getting back to: Locke and Key, The Umbrella Academy, Into the Badlands, Twelve Monkeys, Babylon 5, The Mandalorian, Frasier, Dollhouse, Andor, The Peripheral, on and on… (Haha I love watching TV.)
I absolutely listen to music for inspiration! There’s not a particular type, it’s all over the map. I listen to lots of movie soundtracks, which are great for providing inspiration. The action-packed stuff is obviously a big help, but writing Credible Threats, I also occasionally listened to music from Body Heat and Chinatown for some noirish vibes. They provided the soundtrack for one scene in particular in which Sam Adams meets with another character, Alexandra Tyler, a local heiress who has some information he needs. That scene was sort of my riff on the old ‘femme fatale walks into PI’s office with a case’ trope. There’s always been a bit of a noirish undercurrent to the Sam Adams books: venal rich people who run the city, cops on the take, gangsters, and a sarcastic, oft-beaten up hero who’s constantly in over his head.
There were other, more random songs as well. I listened to “Heat of the Night” by Bryan Adams, for instance, because it always made me imagine Sam Adams skulking around the streets of his hometown of Williamsport. “Disconnected” by Face to Face was something I listened to when I needed the right vibe for the high school scenes. And Sam has “I’m the Only One” by Melissa Etheridge as his ringtone, so now I always associate that song with the books. No doubt there are more I’ve forgotten.
Plus, whenever Sam was up in his feels, I could always count on the soundtrack from The Vampire Diaries to get me in the right frame of mind. Musical spoiler: “Poison and Wine” by The Civil Wars was what I listened to when writing the final scene of book two. (Speaking of book two, “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins will be making a slightly goofy appearance.)
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
While I’m by no means the first person to suggest this, I think the number one thing is to get your writing time carved out. For instance, I would write when I got home from work, but whenever you do it, the important thing is to get into that groove where you can write regularly. And it’s easier said than done and will probably take a long time before you can manage, but once you get into the habit, it makes a big difference and you start making some real progress on your WIP. You’ll see things going from the idea stage to reality and it’ll feel great.
What are you working on right now and what can we look forward to seeing from you next?
I’m currently working on Sam Adams Book Two: Rising Shadows. It’ll pick up about six weeks after the end of Credible Threats, and Sam will have to deal with a new threat that comes to town while another lurks closer to home. He’s gonna have to ally with some people he has good reason not to trust, and try to figure out how to stab them in the back before they do the same to him. And it’ll get very complicated and very dangerous. I’m still working on it, but it’s coming along nicely.
I also want to write an epic fantasy series called The Voice in the Mist. It’s a bit tough to wrangle because I have to figure out where to work it into my schedule along with Sam Adams Three, to say nothing of the fact that it’ll easily be the longest thing I’ve written so far, but I’m impatient to get to it, so it’s a pretty high priority. It’ll most likely be the first thing I publish that’s not a Sam Adams novel. And lots more, someday!
Thank you so much for joining me on my blog today – I wish you every success with your books!
Sam Adams, sixteen-year-old wizard, has zero interest in saving the world—but staying out of the line of fire isn’t an option for wizards.
When a new designer drug hits the streets, giving ordinary humans magical powers and leaving a trail of bodies in its wake, it threatens to turn his city of Williamsport’s long-simmering conflict between the haves and the have-nots into a full-scale war.
The only one with the skills to protect the city, Sam finds himself thrust into a conspiracy far darker and more dangerous than he ever imagined, with tentacles stretching into the criminal underworld and the wealthy elite—and into the spirit world. Fighting for his life, surrounded by enemies, Sam has to dig deeper than ever before to keep Williamsport from going up in flames.
But even magic has its limits.
One thought on “Indie Spotlight – Daniel Meyer”
Thank you for sharing, Daniel!
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