Tell me a little about yourself, personally.
Well, my name is Daniel Aegan, as you know, and I’m a writer of speculative fiction. I do enjoy what I’ve come to call genre-mashing, usually injecting a heaping dose of dark humor into already established genres. I typically write in sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and anything that pops in my head.
But you ask for something personal, right? Other than writing, I work full time, keep up with my daughter’s everyday activities, coach softball, practice my boxing skills, read, play video games, and mow the lawn when it needs it.
I’m your typical dork, too. I’m into Marvel comics and the MCU, anime, and did I mention video games already? There’s that. I do so much reading too, and I’m really into puzzle games. Trivia is up my alley too. Lately I’ve been trying to make more friends to share all this with.
I don’t know what else to share here. I feel like I’m filling out a dating profile.
What is the name of the book or books you have published?
My first release was Blood Drive, a vampiric action-comedy that features two vampires with a van of stolen donor blood. I got the idea during an actual blood drive, thinking what would happen if vampires decided to rob the Red Cross. I tossed in a gun-toting gay priest, a redneck werewolf, and a couple of Soprano wannabe mobsters, and I had myself a full novel!
My second book is due out on October seventeenth. This one is called Lost Women of the Admiral Inn. It’s my take on a ghost story. This one features eight ghosts of dead prostitutes haunting a Hamilton, Ontario hotel. As you can probably tell, it’s another dark comedy. I had a lot of fun writing it, centering the action around the five would-be exorcists trying to take on the whore ghosts one at a time in a single night. I think anyone who is brave enough to read it will have fun with it as well.
Where can they be found?
Blood Drive is on Amazon now in paperback and for Kindle. As I stated before, Lost Women will be out in mid-October. Just in time for Halloween!
Do you have any current WIPs? If so, how are they going?
Do I?! I always have something going. This past summer, I finished two of them. One was the sequel to Blood Drive, which I don’t even know when I’ll get around to getting a final draft. The other was one called The Unholy Mother of the Demonic Child, revolving around a school for children of a religion that’s based on the titular mother and her son.
Since I finished those two novels, I’ve been working on short stories. One is called Abductee, Abductee, and it’s about two men who have been abducted and fall in love aboard the alien spacecraft. I won’t give too much away, but it’s a romantic comedy with a huge sci-fi twist. I’m hoping to submit this to magazines for publication in September.
As for the next novel… I’m not sure what book I want to start next. I’ll keep you informed.
What got you into writing?
I had a story I wanted to read, and I was the only one who could write it. I hope that makes sense. It should for any writer, anyway.
I wrote a bit when I was high school aged, maybe even a little younger. My stories were dark, bitter, and didn’t make a lick of sense. I think I was too enthralled by Stephen King and wanted to be like him to figure out about things like story structure and character development. I started again when I was in my thirties and ready to start writing stuff that made sense. It took me years to finish honing myself, too. Blood Drive wasn’t released until five years after I started this most recent journey.
What keeps you focused?
There’s a drive to write inside me. I never thought about it before, but I had heard writing can turn into an addiction if you don’t keep it in check. But why would you keep something like that in check? I’m a creator by nature. When I’m not writing, I’m doing graphics (mostly for my writing). I love seeing my words on the paper wrapped around a cover I designed that is just so satisfying to hold. I can open one of my books (I have proofs of four different unpublished books) and say: “I wrote this”. I love every one of my books, and that love is what keeps me focused on writing.
What gives you inspiration?
I speak of The Muse often. She’s always around, looking to steer me in the direction in which I need to drive. I picture her as an invisible angel who can only appear to me. She’s always inspiring me in weird and amazing ways.
I spoke of Blood Drive coming to me during an actual blood drive earlier int his interview. That’s how it happens. It’s just a small spark that acts as a catalyst and eventually turns into a bull-blown inferno in my mind. Lost Women of the Admiral Inn came to me after a friend mentioned how many dead hookers were found in a Hamilton hotel, and that book was born from that spark.
There are some ideas, though, that are there without a trace of what inspired them. I wrote a book recently called The Unholy Mother of the Demonic Child, and it blew my mine. I wrote ninety-thousand words in forty-five days, and I don’t even know how I pulled that off. I can never focus on one thing long enough to do it. Anyway, I have no idea what inspired it or what caused the initial spark. I had finished reading The Pact by Ashlyn Johnson, so I’m thinking that had something to do with it. Either that, or the first three Dune books, which inspired the formatting of it.
Lately I’ve been getting inspiration from the world around me. The aforementioned Unholy Mother book has a lot of society’s downfall in our near future (the book takes place roughly two hundred years from now). Anyway, my views on current events shaped. Their past is our present, and their present is out future. I did the same with the Blood Drive sequel. There’s a lot of subtle hints (and a lot that are not-so-subtle) about the church falling apart and some schism in the current ranks of human and vampire governance. I even have an unfinished draft of a book where humans turn the government over to artificial intelligence because we can no longer be trusted with our own lives and upbringing.
The short answer would have been: “It comes from everywhere.” I’m way too dramatic to leave it at that, though. It all traces back to something, and sometimes I can remember what that is. I once just said to myself that I wanted to write about a samurai after watching a bunch of anime, and I ended up with a full novel called Kai the Swordsman. I once thought of a single quote as a writing prompt: “I’m in sci-fi hell”, and I wrote my longest novel with that as its title.”
What I’m saying is: Don’t ignore anything and listen to everything. That voice in your head might be the greatest source of inspiration at your disposal.
How do you battle writer’s block?
Other writers get mad at when I talk about this, but I’ve never suffered from this affliction. There has never been a point since I started writing where I’ve looked upon a blank screen and said: “D**n. I don’t know what to write.”
As I said before, the Muse is very good to me. I have a list of books or shorts waiting for me to have the time to get to them. Once I start writing, it’s impossible to stop. I have abandoned projects because I lost interest, but never because of writer’s block.
A good idea to practice for those inflicted is to put your mind in a place where it doesn’t need to function. Take my day job for instance. It’s boring. I’ve been doing it fifteen years, and it’s gotten to the point where I barely have to think about what I’m doing. This frees most of my mind to do what it wants, and it’s usually brainstorming the next idea. My best ideas usually come to me when I’m doing yard work. It’s mindless work, once again leaving me open to the Muse’s whispers and her potential sparks.
Twitter and Facebook don’t count, even though it can be pretty mindless there. I see a ton of people talking about not being able to write or procrastinating their writing time away by tweeting and interacting. You’re not keeping yourself open for your Muse to speak to you. If you really want to write, you need to keep your focus. A busy mind is a block’s plaything.
Did you decide on traditional or self-publishing? What made you make that choice?
Here’s a better question: Did I choose self-publishing, or did it choose me?
I tried traditional publishing at first. I have books written, some that aren’t yet ready for publishing for various reasons. I pitched these to agents, writing letters and going through the whole querying process. Blood Drive and Lost Women were on my querying list, as were I’m in Sci-Fi Hell and Kai the Swordsman. No matter how you cut it, all four of these books aren’t what agents and publishers want right now.
It was a tough pill to swallow, and I wasted months on my querying campaigns. I came to a few conclusions about the whole process. The first was that these agents aren’t yet ready for me. Most of them are looking for something in particular, and they all want what’s been selling so it keeps selling. I’m not offering that. I’m offering something different, and “different” in their business comes with risks. I won’t fault them for not wanting to take a risk on one of my books, but I refuse to believe that my books weren’t good enough. It’s just that traditional publishing isn’t ready for me yet. Maybe one day they will be, but it won’t be until the young adult dystopia craze has subsided, and that could take a long time.
I also found the querying process dehumanizing in a way. It felt like begging, and begging is something I don’t like. Since my books aren’t cookie-cutter and weird, I found myself trying to convince them just to give it a chance. I guess that’s the whole point in the letter, but I couldn’t keep putting myself through it, knowing they’re not really looking to buy what I’m selling.
Self-Publishing comes along with a freedom too. I can write what I want, how I want, and when I want. I don’t have a publisher breathing down my neck about deadlines or how much or little they’ve sold, or any of that nonsense. I can just write and publish at my own pace. Sure, I won’t be making that big money, but I can keep doing it for the love of writing. Also, I know if I got big it would go straight to my head, and nobody needs me with an ego that huge.
How does it feel to be considered an author?
That depends on who calls me one. It felt like a big step when I started calling myself an author versus being some random dude who wrote stuff. What makes one an author? Did I have to write a book to be considered one, or is a title bestowed upon one the moment a Muse gives its first inkling of a whisper?
I’m answering your question with more questions, and that’s not what I want to do here. It feels great to accept the mantle of author. I had a lot of haters (a word of which I’m a hater) in the beginning who would refuse to give me that kind of recognition. But I’ve grown since then, a lot. I feel I have anyway. I’m no longer the only one who’d consider me a full-blown author and not just some dude who writes. As one who strives to do his best at his chosen craft, I’d say if feels pretty f***ing great to be considered an author.
What’s your social media platforms for people to find you?
Twitter is the best place to find me. I interact there more than any other platform, even though I’ve denounced it as evil and the cause for the current discourse in America. My handle is @Daniel_Aegan. The underscore is for the void in my soul.
I’m on Facebook too, but I rarely post there. I’m also on Instagram as DanielAeganWriter, and I go there so seldom. I had to open the app just to see what my name was. I’ll post a picture or two a week, mostly of my dogs or a promo.