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An Interview with Dylan Callens — Joannes Rhino - Bali Online Editor " />
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24 Jul

A wanderer who writes satire, humor, and science fiction, meet Dylan Callens…


JR: Tell us about yourself, and how would you describe yourself?

DC: My name is Dylan Callens.  I’m generally quiet and good natured.  I like to joke around a lot and have an incredibly unfocused mind.  It wanders from place to place, especially when I have to get something done.  That might sound like procrastination but it isn’t – I do get things done.  It just might take me a little longer than it should.


JR: When did you first realise you want to be a writer? Who spotted that talent and what was the first thing you do knowing that?

DC: I first wanted to be a writer when I was in grade four.  My teacher noticed how ‘great’ my writing was.  She even pinned my little illustrated books to a board in her class, so that anyone could take one to read.  I kept writing for a while but then I the pen away in favour of playing music.


JR: Do you have any formal education in creative writing? Do you think formal education in writing is necessary?

DC: I took a creative writing class in university.  I don’t think that it was particularly useful when I started to take writing more seriously, which wasn’t until several years after I graduated.

While I believe it’s important for writers to have a strong grasp of the elements of writing, I don’t think that a formal education is necessary.  There are great storytellers out there that can create stunning work without formal education.  Similarly, I’m guessing that there are bad writers with a formal education in writing.


JR: Are you a full-time author? Do you have other activities as main source of income? How do you organise your schedule and time in writing a book?

DC: I am not a full-time author… yet.  I am relatively new at the publishing game.  I also teach English and media studies.  In order to get the writing done, I wake up very early in the morning, around 4 AM in order to get some work done.  Then, typically after about 7:30 PM I will start up again.  I really like starting my day off by putting a few words on the page.


JR: What made you decide to start writing something?

DC: I have these ‘lightning bolt’ moments.  A flash of ‘ah-ha’, I could do something with that.  For my first novel, Operation Cosmic Teapot, I had that moment while teaching Nietzsche’s madman parable.  I wondered to myself, what if Nietzsche was able to confront God in some way, what would that look like?  The story began to unfold from there.  For my newest novel, Interpretation, it was a moment on a bus supervising high school students.  They were talking about their favourite science fiction movie scenes.  That conversation had me free-writing for a little while and my new novel came from that.


JR: What is the greatest lesson you have learned and/or greatest achievement you have reached as a writer?

DC: I think the greatest lesson that I have learned is to keep moving forward.  Success doesn’t come overnight and the only way to fail at being a writer is to stop writing.  My greatest achievement, I think, was in being convinced to become a publisher as well as a writer.  I have met some really fantastic people over the last year as I have published their work as well.  Knowing that I was a part of their success helps drive me forward.


JR: Do you have habits in writing? Any specific time and/or place to write?

DC: I certainly do.  I do most of my writing at around 4 AM in a corner of my basement on a lumpy old couch.  It’s getting very uncomfortable these days but I prefer to be there when I’m working.  Even when I’m doing something like an interview.


JR: Do you have professional editors to furnish your books? If you do, any recommendation you would like to share to fellow authors?

DC: My editor is Ashleigh McBain.  We teach together.  She is incredibly talented and has helped me out a lot over the last couple of years.  I’m not always an easy person to work with when it comes to writing but she has the ability to put me in my place.  It’s good because we can argue about writing and what needs to be done and then walk away, unoffended.


JR: How do you think you have evolved creatively?

DC: I think that I have been able to reign it in a bit since my first novel.  My mind wanders, so I always want to add things that I think are great at the time but don’t really fit with what I’m trying to accomplish.  In Interpretation, I was able to keep closer to my themes and stick to the original vision.  I think as a result, being a little less creative and more focused has helped the overall feel of the book.


JR: Do you have professional designer to design the cover and/or interior of your books? If you do, any recommendation you would like to share to fellow authors?

DC: I have designed my own covers and a few covers for other people.  I don’t do all of the work on the covers, though.  If I need something illustrated I work with artists.  Most of that work has been done by Maria Garcia Sanchez.  I highly recommend her for art work.


Interpretation JR: How do you involve in promoting your books? Any marketing technique you can share?

DC: Book promotion is a tough game.  For my new novel, Interpretation, my effort before its launch has been pretty extensive.  I’m running three different giveaway – one on Amazon for the followers, one on Goodreads for the exposure, and one with Rafflecopter for blogs and social media.  I have also contacted about 700 blogs for reviews, interviews and guest articles.  Of those 700, I will have material on about 60 of them.  I also have paid or free promotion on about 60 book promotion sites.  Then there’s the social media campaign, Amazon ads, and whatever else I am forgetting about.  I’m trying to get my book ranked as high as possible while it’s a new release.


JR: How many books have you written (published and non-published)?

DC: I have written 2 novels, 1 short story collection, and appear in 2 anthologies.  I have one unpublished book that is rotting away in a landfill somewhere – which is where it belongs.


JR: What genre that you normally write, and what draws you to this genre? Do you always write in the same genre?

DC: I haven’t stuck to a genre.  I’ve written satire, humor, and science fiction.  I think that what is common to those books is the underlying philosophy.  I doubt that I’ll ever stick to one genre, though.


JR: Of all the books that you have written down, which book that you think the best one? And what do you think readers will find most appealing about this book? What’s the “real story” behind this book?

DC: I think that my newest work is, by far, my best.  I believe that readers will identify with the sadness.  We all experience it and I think in many ways, sadness binds us together.  The real story behind Interpretation, the one that I hope people will see, is that we have to embrace our humanity today because if we don’t, we’re going to lose the things that we value.


JR: Any other works in progress?

DC: Not yet.  I’m too busy preparing Interpretation for its release.  I am toying with three different ideas, though.  I could write a second part to Interpretation, since I left a tiny little hole for that if I wanted to continue the story.  I’ve also been thinking about writing a very personal story about me writing.  Or I might write a novel about the un-inevitability about death.  I’m going to outline all three stories and see what jumps out at me.


JR: What advice would you want to give to an aspiring writer?

DC: Never give up.  The only way to fail at writing is to stop writing.  With everything that you do wrong in writing and publishing, you grow and hopefully get better.


JR: How can readers discover more about you and your works?

DC: There are several ways.  Here are a few links that you can visit:

Website:  www.cosmicteapot.net

FB:  https://www.facebook.com/heaveninctheseries/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/TheNitzsch

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14739202.Dylan_Callens

Amazon Author:  https://www.amazon.com/Dylan-Callens/e/B01C6KR8P6/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0


Dylan Callens