Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
*Mischevious Grin*. I’m flattered you wish to know more about me.
On a serious note, I’m from Columbus, Ohio, but I also spent time growing up in Morganton, North Carolina. Growing up in both these places, I gained the perspectives of the ‘bustling city life’ and ‘rural country life’; both of these places are very dear to my heart and often influence my writing.
I started writing at a young age. The main reason being, the school I was attending wanted us to write in cursive, which I was horrible at; so to practice getting better, I wrote short stories, mostly westerns or medieval knights.
I have published two books, The Realm and The Realm: Rise of the Demon Prince. I began writing The Realm in 2010; it stemmed off of ideas and stories my dad told me when I was a child. I wrote the first book drafts on and off from 2010 until 2012; then in 2013, I began writing the first drafts for the second book. For 2014 and 2015, I was in college, so it became difficult to focus on The Realm books; during this span though, I wrote a lot of poetry and began flourishing with it. In 2016, I was extended a contract from Palmetto Publishing Group, and The Realm was published later that year, and then this year (2017), I published the second book, The Realm: Rise of the Demon Prince.
I have the two solo books published; it was always planned to be a trilogy, so there will be a third book. I do have two poems published; Let My Love was published in North Greenville University’s 2014 Mountain Laurel, and my poem, Box Full of Wishes, will be featured in Z Publishing’s anthology entitled, South Carolina’s Best Emerging Poets.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book would be, The Realm: Rise of the Demon Prince; it’s the second book in The Realm trilogy. What inspired it? I’m not really sure. Growing up, I always wanted to write and publish a trilogy; so after I released the first book, I knew there was going to be a second book.
With The Realm, there was so much I wanted to tell and show off because I felt I had to prove myself. When I sat down to write the second book, it was completely different. I had written the first and second draft in 2013 and 2014…well, here it is 2017, and after evolving and learning, I found the drafts repulsive. I decided to use parts of the outlines and some ideas, but I wrote two new drafts over a course of six months. I loved writing the second book; it was fun; and that’s what I wanted because if I enjoy it, then I know that readers will enjoy it, too. That’s what matters most to me is my readers; so I don’t want to produce garbage.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
*Snickers*. Who doesn’t? I don’t think writers have unusual habits, they just have their own. Personally, I enjoy sipping hot chocolate and listening to music, while I write, but I don’t think that’s unusual or too strange.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
There’s three authors that influenced me, and trust me, it’s not all that surprising.
First would be J.R.R. Tolkien, I read his works in early middle school, and I’ve always loved the details and backstories; he has everything planned out, and it’s always fascinated me.
Second would be Robert E. Howard, and for those that do not recognize his name, he wrote the Conan books. I enjoy Howard’s Conan because of the descriptive nature; it paints the scene in your head, and it’s amazing.
Thirdly would be J.K. Rowling, I read all the Harry Potter my last year of college, and they blew me away; I was hooked on them and could not put them down. I love her work because she took something big, and perhaps complex, and she weaved it into something fun and not complex. Plus, her attention to detail is impeccable as well.
Obviously, I recommend all three authors, and you can see how they would influence any writer.
What are you working on now?
Multiple projects. Currently, I’m juggling a poetry book, a sports scandal book, and a children’s book. On top of that, I’m writing and researching for the final book in The Realm trilogy. There is also a few other ideas on the backburner, too.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
FaceBook, Twitter, and my friends. It’s nice to get on FaceBook and Twitter and be able to attach a link from Amazon or Barnes & Noble; books sometimes sell themselves that way. Friends and family referring my books is priceless though, and it is a strong tool that every author should use.
My publisher also has a hand in some promotion. I’ve finagled several interviews, like this, for myself, but my publishing house was able to lock a t.v. interview for me, and that was one of the coolest life experiences I’ve had.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Three pieces of advice that stick out in my head. Write daily; be your biggest critic; and constantly learn how to hone your craft. Do that and everything else will take care of itself.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
*Smirks*. Cut back on the details. I enjoy description, and as I said earlier, when I wrote The Realm I wanted to cram everything I had into it. Several people read it, and they all echoed the ‘cut back on the details’, and it’s true. Not everything you have to say is important; get the important things across and then build from there. If you don’t, you risk boring the readers.
Coolest review I’ve ever had. One friend of mine bought The Realm, and when she sat to read it, she didn’t have high expectations, but it blew her away. Once I heard that, I knew I had to make The Realm: Rise of the Demon Prince bigger and better, and from the reviews I’ve heard, I was able to achieve that. Book III is going to have some lofty shoes to fill, but I’m ready to tackle it.
What are you reading now?
Bulfinch’s Mythology. The past few years, I’ve been on a mythology addiction, so I’ve been reading anything and everything related to mythology, and it doesn’t matter about the culture.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Publishing some work with Z Publishing. Possibly releasing my own poetry book in 2018. I will be releasing Book III of The Realm in 2019.
The Books on the Border event in Georgia was cancelled, but if it is rescheduled, you will more than likely find me there, too.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
The Hobbit, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and, this will sound conceded but, The Realm: Rise of the Demon Prince.
Author Websites and Profiles
Dakota McElhinny Amazon Profile