Today I have the pleasure of having Daniel Walls, author of The Vyne, stopping by the blog to answer a few questions as part of his blog tour. So without further adieu, here is what he had to say.
Where did you get the inspiration for the book come from?
I didn’t do much “running in the streets” as a kid. I spent a lot of time alone, much of which was outside in my rural neighborhood. My father was a big hunter and fisherman, and I got to tag along on many of his expeditions in the wilderness. Even though I never really got into the sport of it much, I would often find myself immersed in the surreal beauty around me. On trips into Canada I would see plants and birds I had never before seen. They were very, well, alien. So I couldn’t help but imagine how real and beautiful other alien worlds might look like. (They don’t always have to be barren red deserts.) From there I would then reinterpret my thoughts on paper when I would get home and draw (my favorite childhood pastime.)
This, in conjunction with a Star Wars-induced childhood began really fueling my imagination. I started writing and illustrating graphic novels before I even knew what a graphic novel was. Unfortunately I never finished any of them, but it certainly was the basis for what would eventually turn into the burning need to pen a novel.
Why did you choose a mix of steampunk and fantasy as opposed to one or the other?
I’ve always loved the idea of colliding worlds. It’s essentially what you find at the core of almost any great struggle, be it an internal collision of choices or an external collision of societies.
With The Vyne I wanted to try to tell this sort of exaggerated tale of Science Fiction vs. Fantasy. It’s almost as if Science Fiction serves as the “bad guy” and Fantasy is the “good guy”. As to not create a story that felt too polarized and out of step with itself, I used the Steampunk interpretation of science & technology, rather than Star Trek. (Not to mention, Steampunk is just such a fun and beautifully imagined world, why wouldn’t anyone use it?)
I worked very hard to make sure that my worlds felt believable, yet still somehow transported the reader to another place in time. To do that I had to truly write my own rules. So if the rulebook says that Steampunk should have identifiable British undertones and include specific technology, I say, “not in my world.”
Are the main characters in the book, Asher and Scar, based around real people?
Somewhat. I would never purposely write about myself (not real bestseller material). But the more I flushed out the story of The Vyne, the more I began to identify with Asher. His struggles with identity in a small town and his delusions of what the rest of the world might be like, hit painfully close to home. And his reluctance to face his own life’s purpose is another. Scar stands for many people in my life and more so the world around us–about how if we’re not careful, can suck the life from us, draining us of the beautiful humanity we all inherently possess.
Is writing something you have always wanted to do?
Yes. Though I would certainly admit that it has never been very orthodox. I tell most people that I’m not a writer, I’m a storyteller. Someday I hope to be able to call myself a writer. (A few books from now perhaps…) I suffered from slight dyslexia as a child and grew to resist reading because of the frustration and humiliation of it all. But I soon learned that if I were ever to even consider learning how to write my own stories, I would have to read the great works of others. I’m so glad I decided to. I now love reading.
How would you describe The Vyne in one sentence to get people to read the book?
Imagine if you discovered, in the palm of your hand, the power to escape an ancient prophecy—the end of the world?
Thank you Daniel for stopping by and be sure to check out the rest of the tour through The Teen Book Scene. Also, come back on February 19 to see my review of The Vyne.