Author Spotlight – D.P. Woolliscroft
Joining us for today’s Author Spotlight is D.P. Woolliscroft!
Born in Derby in England, on the day before mid-summers day, David Peter Woolliscroft was very nearly magical. If only his dear old mum could have held on for another day. But magic called out to him over the years, with a many a book being devoured for its arcane properties. David studied Accounting at Cardiff University where numbers weaved their own kind of magic and he has since been a successful business leader in the intervening twenty years.
Adventures have been had. More books devoured and then one day, David had read enough where the ideas he had kept bottled up needed a release valve. And thus, rising out of the self doubt like a phoenix at a clicky keyboard, a writer was born. The Wildfire Cycle is David’s debut series.
He is married to his wife Haneen and has a daughter Liberty, who all live with their mini golden doodle Rosie in Princeton NJ.
David is one of the few crabs to escape the crab pot.
Welcome to the Hive, Dave. Let’s start small: tell us about a great book you’ve read recently!
Hi Hive. Thanks for having me.
What a good place to start. I just finished River Of Thieves by Clayton Snyder. It’s an absurdly dirty and foul mouthed fantasy satire with great characters and cool set pieces. It’s like the bizzarre love child of Pratchett, Abercrombie and Bukowski. Yes, definitely the product of a threesome. It’s a quick, light read unburdened by exposition and it will definitely have you laughing out loud.
Okay, time to escalate things: reality warps and you suddenly find yourself leading a D&D-style party through a monster-infested dungeon. What character class are you, and what’s your weapon of choice?
Tough question. Depending on the day I am either the mage or the ranger, but today feels like a ranger day. I’ve always had an affinity with rangers, which probably goes back to when I was a kid reading Dragonlance novels (I loved Tanis). And my weapon of choice would definitely be a longbow. Longbow is the only way to do it in Elder Scrolls too. Sneaky sneaky shooty shooty.
When you’re not sneaking through dungeons, how do you like to work? (In silence, with music, or serenaded by the damned souls of a thousand dead shrimps? Do you prefer to type or to hand-write? Are you an architect or a gardener? A plotter or a pantser? D’you write in your underwear, or in a deep-sea diver’s suit?) Tell us a little bit about your writing method!
Probably good to start with when I do my writing. I work more than full time on a job that is very far away from writing fantasy and I have a young daughter that I also like to spend time with, so my productive hours at the keyboard are typically 10-12 at night. I try to write everyday but thankfully I can normally get some time during the day at the weekend. I am definitely a plotter. I come up with the high level concepts for the book I am writing, what the key questions are that need to be answered and how the characters are going to react to that. Then I develop the chapter by chapter outline so I can envision how it’s all going to work (though it always evolves as I write). THEN, I plot each scene in each chapter before I start writing. All of this plotting is typically done in a note book with a fountain pen which feels very authory.
So all in all, I’m probably a super-plotter. But it works for me. It means that whenever I sit down to write I know what I’m doing and I can crank out close to a thousand words an hour.
And an important part of being productive is the music I listen to. While working on a first draft I can’t have music with vocals so it’s either dance music or soundtracks. I have a playlist of the soundtrack from the first six seasons of Game of Thrones which is awesome. I also really like the soundtrack from Westworld. Ramin Djawadi is the man.
What (or who) are your most significant fantasy influences? Are there any creators whom you dream of working with someday?
I’m influenced by almost everyone that I read but there are definitely a few I’d call out. First is Sir Terry. The Discworld novels are my favorite books. If I could only choose one series of books to ever read again it would be these. Real world issues in a fantasy setting with characters that burst with…characters. Second would be Daniel Abraham. I am a big fan of the Dagger and the Coin series and, in my opinion, it should get a lot more attention than it does. Third option would have to be David Lynch, I’m a massive fan of his work (did you see Twin Peaks Returns?) and it would be amazing to get a glimpse of how he develops his ideas.
What was the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it? Alternatively, what games have you enjoyed recently?
Unfortunately I don’t have time to play games and write at the same time. And I don’t really have time to watch much TV either. But I was really looking forward to the Good Omens TV series and I devoured it over the first three days it was out. I thought it was excellent, really capturing the feel of the book. The performances from David Tenant and Michael Sheen were magnificent.
The world shifts, and you find yourself with an extra day on your hands during which you’re not allowed to write. How do you choose to spend the day?
This sounds amazing. Can you make this happen? Wait a sec, I hope it’s an extra weekend day not a weekday, otherwise I don’t want it ;). But assuming it’s a weekend, then I’d definitely spend the day with my family, maybe riding a bike in the sunshine (you can fix the weather too right?), or playing board games, to be followed up by a bbq with a few beers.
This all sounds quite delightful btw.
Can you tell us a little something about your current work(s) in progress?
Well, Ioth, City of Lights is out tomorrow. That’s book 2 of the Wildfire Cycle and the follow up to Kingshold and Tales of Kingshold. But I guess seeing as it almost published it’s not really a work in progress. So my work in progress is actually Tales of Ioth which is book 2.5 of the Wildfire Cycle.
You see, I’m doing something different (and likely not advisable from a commercial success perspective) but in between each of the four main books of the series, I am writing an anthology of short stories that either bridge the events of the major numbered books, introduce new characters, or provide backstory on some of the more established characters. Tales of Ioth will include a novella from five different characters’ POV, a new revenge fueled character in the Wild Continent, the travelogue of a certain retired wizard from Kingshold, the further adventures of a pirate king, a heist story featuring my favorite trio of men-for-hire, a creation myth and entries on the flora and fauna of the Wild Continent (inspired by Histoire Naturelle Des Indes or the Drake manuscripts – I may even do a few illustrations to accompany the entries). Phew, that is a lot to cover in one book but that is why I really enjoy these point-five books. They let me exercise a whole bunch of writing muscles that a novel doesn’t really allow.
If you’re interested in reading more about this approach to publication then I have a blog post on it.
What’s the most (and/or least) helpful piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
A few good pieces of writing advice that have stuck with me:
- Put your bum in the seat and write everyday. Structure helps me.
- Know your objectives for writing. The odds of becoming a best seller are against you, so understand what motivates you.
- Get a good editor
Great advice! Every writer encounters stumbling blocks, be it a difficult chapter, challenging subject matter or just starting a new project. How do you motivate yourself on days when you don’t want to write?
Writing is my release, so I am always motivated to either plot or write new scenes. In fact I get antsy now if a day passes and I’m not able to write. When it comes to editing, there is a little bit more of having to force myself to put my bum in the seat, but the reward for that is being able to finally get the book out to my beta readers.
If you could visit any country at any point in history, where/when would you go, and why?
This is really good question as I have been thinking about this a lot in recent months as it’s highly relevant for Book 3. It would have to be the Americas before the Europeans arrived on its shores. North America was a vast wilderness until then and I would love to have been able to see the raw, untainted beauty of it all. There are only pockets of this left in the US now and I hope to visit some next year.
Tell us about a book that’s excellent, but underappreciated or obscure.
I mentioned it before but I think more people really need to be reading The Dagger and The Coin series by Daniel Abraham. Go and get it now!
(Editor’s note: I absolutely agree!)
Finally, would you be so kind as to dazzle us with an elevator pitch? Why should readers check out your work?
Yikes, an elevator pitch. OK, here goes.
The Wildfire Cycle is an epic story of characters growing into the best versions of themselves or falling to new depths. It’s about love and loss and about how the decisions of a few can have a catastrophic impact on the many. It’s also an adventure; discovering new cities, continents and new cultures, battling strange monsters and demons, exploring new magic systems and hoping that our heroes can win out when the deck is stacked against them. There are laughs, thrills, characters you will love, characters you will hate, and a few tears to be shed along the way.
Brilliant. Thanks for joining us today, Dave!
I’d like to thank you again for having me today. Remember Ioth, City of Lights, is out tomorrow, June 20th, and it just so happens that today I am on Reddit fantasy as writer of the day, so please drop over and say hi. Oh, and ask me some easy questions.
Good luck with the release!
D.P. Woolliscroft is the author of the Wildfire Cycle. Book two, IOTH, CITY OF LIGHTS, is released tomorrow (June 20th).