Saturday, 24 March 2012

An Interview, Prizes and D.W. Hawkins' Blog Tour

Welcome, Dear Readers, author D.W. Hawkins as he stops by for an interview as part of his blog tour.  He talks about his book The Sentient Fire (the first novel in his series, The Seven Signs), fantasy and writing.  And for three lucky people who leave comments, he is giving away one free Smashwords coupon for his book and two 50% discount Smashwords coupons.

Also you get the chance to win a 25$ Amazon gift card by using the Rafflecopter widget thingie found at the bottom of the post.  Apparently (if I understand it correctly) you get entry points if you "like" D.W. Hawkins & this blog post (as well as the other blog stops) on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.  You also get  2 points for tweeting the blog posts on the tour, which you can do once per day.  And the points leader at the end of the tour is the winner.

The winner of the Amazon gift card will be announced on April 12th at D.W. Hawkins' blog and website, so if you enter be certain to check those sites on that date to see if you are a winner.

Okay, now that explanation are done, on with the interview:

Interview with D. W. Hawkins

1. Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

Well, I guess you could say that I’m one of those people that have treaded many different paths in life, trying to decide which was best for me. As a younger child, my first love was drawing, and for the longest time I wanted to be a comic book artist. As I got older, I tried guitar, and up until about four or five years ago I wanted to be a rock star. I even left computer networking school to go to music school. Then, because music didn’t pay the bills, I joined the Army. I’ve spent the last nine years or so of my life in the military, at home and in combat. I started writing in college to pass the time and because I found that I enjoyed it very much. It took me ten years to finish my first novel, and I wrote it through tumultuous times in my life, taking it with me on deployments and through major life changes. Finally, I polished it, had it edited, and decided that the writer’s path was for me. I haven’t looked back since.

2. Can you tell us about your book series, The Seven Signs and the first book, The Sentient Fire?

The Seven Signs is the story of a few people who are thrust together by chance, and end up having to discover the mystery of a secret artifact of great power. That sentence doesn’t sum it up completely, though – it is also a love story, a story of redemption, a story of revenge, and an adventure that will span the breadth of an entire world. The Sentient Fire sets up the series, and follows a young wizard named Dormael and his friends as they are hounded across two continents while trying to discover the purpose of an artifact, and what exactly it is. It is a heavily character-driven story, but is also packed with action, magic, and excitement. It is set in a world of my own creation, which I painstakingly built over the course of ten years. I even wrote over one thousand years of history for the setting to stand upon.

3. What drew you to write in the fantasy genre?

I write fantasy because I love to read fantasy. I believe that many people discount a lot of speculative fiction as respectable literature because of its many otherworldly elements, but I heartily disagree. When I read, I love to escape the world we live in – to me, that is the entire point. I am currently writing projects in other genres, but The Seven Signs is my favorite, and would love for it to be considered my defining work. With The Seven Signs, I wanted to write a story that emphasized the things that I think make a good story, and change the things that I don’t enjoy.

4. Is there any part of today’s fantasy fiction that you think has been overused or turned into a cliché?

There are a few, in my opinion. I hate the “black and white” morality that many books portray in their storytelling. There’s no such thing as pure evil and pure good, in my opinion, and so my writing reflects that. I’m also incredibly tired of the battle scenes where the hero cuts down hordes of useless enemies while laughing or doing something else completely ridiculous. Battles are hard. They’re bloody, adrenaline-drenched struggles to stay alive, and they should be reflected as such. To tell the truth, I’m also tired of elves, dwarves, dragons, and such things. That last is a simple matter of taste, but there have been so many stories out there that are based on the same template of races that were created years and years ago. Lately, if I pick up a book that has any of those races or creatures in them, I usually put it right back down. That isn’t to say that there are no good stories containing elves or dragons; it’s just my own taste.

5. Did anything surprise you about the process of writing your book?

Almost everything! When I sat down and typed the very first sentence of my novel, I had no idea what I was getting into. It has been a labor of love ever since and there is a new surprise around almost every corner in the publishing world, and I’m still learning. On the whole, I think the thing that surprised me the most, though, was how easy it is to self-publish these days, and how many writers are doing it. Until I did it myself, I had no idea. I’ve met and talked to some wonderful people since, and I hope to keep right on meeting them.

6. What do find the most challenging aspect of being a writer?

The mental discipline required to keep writing instead of spending all your time marketing on social media sites, and keeping your delusions of grandeur to a minimum. It takes time, patience, and perseverance to make it, especially for indie authors.

7. What sort of research did you do for your book series?

I researched many different things, from the movement of the earth and why we have solstices and equinoxes to ancient ships and how fast they actually sailed. I read about horses, and I read about swords. I even read a bit about quantum physics and the universe itself. There were many times that I came to a point in the book where I needed a better understanding of a subject before I could portray what I was trying to write as accurately as possible, and so I stopped and went into research mode.

8. Who has inspired you as an author?

There are many authors that I love and who have inspired me. I think the largest inspirations have been Jim Butcher, Joe Abercrombie, Patrick Rothfuss, and Robert Jordan. I could go on forever, but I’ll stop there.

9. What’s next for you?

Well, my first priority is to finish The Seven Signs. Book Two, The Awakening Storm, should be on the market this November. After I finish The Seven Signs, I’m going to publish a sci-fi novel I’ve been working on, and then work my way into the urban fantasy genre with a series that I’m tentatively calling The Outriders. It’s about a motorcycle club that hunts demons. I’m also working on something a bit tamer, called Lainey’s War, which is an alternate history set in a modern-day fascist America, and it’s a love story more than anything else. So, my plate is pretty full, as you can see. I just hope that I can continue to provide people with great books to read, and that everyone enjoys all my work. I can’t ask for anything more than that.

Author Bio:

D.W. Hawkins is a three time combat veteran, a guitar player, and a biker. He's a lover of all literature, but the Fantasy genre is his favorite. He has a son on the way, and Pit Bull who thinks she's a fifty-pound lapdog. He lives in Savannah, GA, and at any given time you can find him writing, riding his Harley, or spending time with friends and family.

Where you can find D.W. Hawkins:

Twitter: @authordwhawkins

The Sentient Fire: The Seven Signs- Book One
In one short night, Dormael Harlun’s life was changed forever.
Tired and half drunk, Dormael stumbled upon Shawna Llewan, a beautiful young woman, wounded and near death. What he didn’t realize was that his decision to come to her aid would be only the beginning of his unwitting role in a labyrinthine and perilous game.
Suddenly, Dormael and Shawna find themselves surrounded by enemies bent on their destruction. All avenues to safety are closing rapidly, and their only hope is to find the key to a dangerous secret lost to antiquity. With every ally a potential foe, they can rely only on Dormael’s brother Allen and his cousin D’Jenn to escape the will of a tyrant, the designs of a traitor, and the attention of powers beyond their imagining. Dormael has never been much for games, but destiny has rolled the dice for him and irrevocably placed him in the middle of a deadly game he must desperately play for keeps. Should he lose, he will forfeit not only his own life, but the lives of the ones he loves.

The Sentient Fire is available at the following places:

Sony eReader

Tour Stops on D.W. Hawkins' Blog Tour:

March 12th - Interview with Greg @ The World Writ Small:
March 14th - Guest Post: "Writing Believable Characters" @ The World Writ Small:
March 16th - Greg Pellechi's review of The Sentient Fire @ The World Writ Small:
March 24th - Interview with A.F. Stewart @ A.F. Stewart's Blog:
March 30th - Claire Frith's review of The Sentient Fire at "Claire Reads": 
April 1st - Guest Post: "Action Scene Writing" @ Indie Book Blog:
April 6th - Interview with Heather Powers @ Earth's Book Nook:
April 9th - Guest Post: "My Favorite Fantasy Books" @ Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile:
April 11th - Edi's Review of The Sentient Fire @ Edi's Book Lighthouse:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sheila Deeth said...

Nice post and the book sounds fun. Maybe I should go back to writing now though, instead of wandering the world of social media, except I'm glad I wandered to this page.

A. F. Stewart said...

Glad you could stop by, Sheila.

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