Author Spotlight – Daniel Potter (PRIDE FALL)
DANIEL POTTER writes about creatures that are generally considered highly improbable, from talking cats, flying reptiles made of living metal and people who sprout foot-long talons when annoyed. As a biologist, he should know better but he’s always ready to leave reality outside if needs too, no matter how much it scratches at the door. He’s the author of two series, Freelance Familiars, a unique and proper take on urban fantasy from the familiar’s perspective and Rise of the Horned Serpent which is best described as Sky Pirates Versus Dragons.
Welcome back to the Hive, Daniel! 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?
Hehe. I’d be a wizard with a fully loaded wand of Polymorph other. Giant Dragon? Squirrel now. Squirrel meet the thief who’s now a Dragon.
Your novel Off Leash was a SPFBO 2016 semi-finalist. How was the experience for you? Were you a nervous wreck, or did you just go with the flow and enjoy? Was there any feedback you found particularly helpful?
It was certainly nerve wracking a bit! But I had pretty low expectations. Most of the entrants are pretty solid Swords and Sorcery type books. Off Leash is a wacky off beat urban Fantasy with more upside down tropage (trope+age) than you can shake an irate squirrel at. It requires the readers to give it a moment of consideration before they commit. I was pleasantly surprised by the positive review.
Did you read anything by your fellow competitors that you really enjoyed? If not, were there any that piqued your interest?
I’ve met a numerous number of authors in the aftermath of that contest and I’ve really enjoyed the friendships I’ve made. That said, of the 2016 Finalist crew I’ve only read Dyrk Ashton’s Paternus as it’s the only urban fantasy of the bunch and it is an epic ride. The depth of his world is absolutely incredible and the way he folds disparate myths into his world is something to behold.
As a self-published author, you have to encompass many roles yourself: what aspect of self-publishing do you find the most difficult? Alternatively, which have you enjoyed the most?
The important thing for me is to write the books I want to write. My brain really rebels when I attempt to create a story for anybody else. So I always wind up with a story that doesn’t quite fit into a neatly defined hole. For Freelance Familiars I’ve been fortunate to find an audience who loves its weird mix of wackiness with the heartbreak of navigating a world where there are no right answers. Being self published gives you the time to search out and build your audience.
Are there any fellow self-published creators whom you’d love to collaborate with?
Zachary Pike if he’d have me. Orconomics and the Dark Profit series is the best book of its decade. The blend of humor, satire, drama and stellar characters combined made me devour it.
We recently featured a cover reveal for your latest novel Pride Fall, Book 5 of your Freelance Familiars series. What is your process for choosing a cover for your book? Do you have a clear idea of how you want it to look, or do you give your cover artist full creative license?
Hehe. I use a company called Ebook Launch. I give them a one sentence prompt (although it is very much a run on sentence.) I get a sketch. I usually love the sketch. Then they make the cover after I approve it. We might tweak a few things here and there but that’s it. We generally exchange less than 500 words throughout the entire process. They’re that good.
What (or who) are your most significant fantasy influences?
Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman and Ursula Vernon.
Those first two need no explanation. Terry inspires me to always put forth memorable characters, while Neil’s work inspires wonder and awe. I’m a little closer to understanding how Terry works his magic than Neil.
Ursula Vernon is perhaps not a name your readers are very familiar with. She is one of these insanely talented people who is compelled to both write and draw. Both which she does with equal skill. She wrote and drew the webcomic Digger and now self publishes a number of works under the name T. Kingfisher. Her works illustrate how simple things like gardening can take on mythic proportions in fantasy while kindness can be more powerful than any sword.
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?
I’d probably play videogames.
One of our favourite questions here on the Fantasy Hive: which fantastical creature would you ride into battle and why?
Displacer Beast. Giant six legged cat equipped with a cloaking device and gnome yeeting tentacles. It doesn’t get better.
Tell us about a book that’s excellent, but underappreciated or obscure.
Go read The Wonder Engine by T. Kingfisher. Its about an ninja accountant.
Finally, can you tell us a little something about your current work(s) in progress?
I am working on a new series entitled either Emergency Magic or Emergency Monsters. It features a paramedic who might be a werewolf, a seven year old black cat pooka, an entrepreneurial necromancer and a murderous Santa clause. And I’m only 20 thousand words in so far!
Thank you so much!