Author Interview – Douglas Owen

If you enjoy reading fast paced fantasy or science fiction, Douglas Owen may be the author for you.

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DO_A_Sharp_Spear_PointWhat genre(s) do your write? That’s really a hard one. Generally my writing genre of choice is Fantasy and Science Fiction, but currently I have a series of books called “Spear” that are Young Adult Fantasy novels. My short stories cover anything from Fantasy, Science Fiction, Memoir, Suspense and Romance. You can basically say my writing can be well rounded. Generally speaking, the only difference between the Genres is only when and where they happen.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? I’m a techno geek (is that really a word). If you saw the house you’d understand why. Literally tons of electronics placed strategically all over. Oh, that’s just my hobby? Okay. Well to start things off I was born in 1964 to Joan and Art Owen. I was a surprise, for their doctor had informed them they could not have another child. One brother, Gary, was my nemesis in my childhood years. We fought constantly much to my parent’s heartaches. Our relationship has changed, but every once in a while our heads butt and sparks fly.

My father loves music, and in the 1960’s he fell in love with Drum Corps. It was nothing for us to be dragged off to a stadium to watch the competitions as they took place. Unfortunately, the whole field has changed. No longer are the musicians playing the same songs. So he fell out of love of them around the time I took up music. His influence on part of my life led me to pursue music as a hobby. In the early 70’s I joined the Sparky’s Drum Corp in Scarborough. The late 70’s saw my interest in flying take off and I joined Air Cadets. They quickly indoctrinated me into the band where I was promoted to lead trumpet and soloist for several years. My musical interest took me to the Guelph Royal Airs Drum Corp for a year before I was tired of the drive. In the early 80’s I joined the Toronto Signals Trumpet Band and became their lead trumpet and soloist until the late 90’s.

I fell out of love of marching in the late 90’s and hung up my horn. I still somewhat miss the old marching bands of yesterday, and would join back in if one formed with the old music. It’s interesting how nostalgia runs through your mind.

I’m also an avid fisherman and reader. When I was young I used to devour books in a few days. We’re not talking the usual books here. The Hardy Boys Mysteries my parents purchased did not last long. I finished them in just a few hours. After looking around for things to read, my grandmother handed me an old “Fantastic Tales” that she had laying around the home and that is when my love of Science Fiction took off. My grandmother fed my interest in such like a kid asked if they wanted candy.

Later on in life, I was able to discern the good from the bad. I steamed through the Lord Fouls Bane series and realized Fantasy was also an amazing genre. The Hobbit was all but memorized and The Lord of the Rings trilogy disappeared into my mind in two weeks. All this while I moved from general studies to advanced in school. It didn’t take them long to realize my lack of high scores was not due to low intelligence, just boredom. A teacher put a physics text book under my nose and I finished all chapters and questions in just over a month, leaving my classmates behind. My final score in the course was 94% (for context, I usually scored 68% in all my classes. Like I said, boredom).

When I entered the workforce my employers found my style of writing well rounded and engaged me to create advertisements as well as manuals. I made my way through the car industry as a sales person, financial adviser and manager. But it grew tiring for the dealerships I had been employed with didn’t like paying such high commissions. So I left the car industry and joined the collection field. I left a huge mark there, as well as a manual labeled “The Fundamentals of Collections”. To this day the company I wrote that manual for is still using it. The doctrines outlined changed the companies collection style and made them a force to be reckoned with. One day I may just have to rewrite it and publish the work.

The collection field turned out to be just as flaky as the car industry. In 1995 industrial sabotage and a desire to stop writing bonus cheques of $6,000 a month pushed me out of the field. I joined the banking industry.

My career with Scotiabank has been a reliable income as I test my authoring abilities. Now I deal with multi-national companies and help direct billions of dollars around the world every week. The numerous characters I am exposed to everyday fuels my novels with believable villains and heroes. It is my hope that, one day, writing will be the only job I have to look forward to when I awaken in the morning.

How long have you been writing and what inspired you to begin writing? I began writing in the early 1980’s. Nothing really fancy, just elaborate back stories to the adventures I created for the game Dungeons and Dragons. From there, short stories surfaced and finally, in 2010, a friend told me to write a novel, and I did.

What is the last book you read? Chris Longknife – Deserter

It is an interesting Science Fiction book, third in the series. Still think the author needs a better editor but then again, don’t we all?

Which writers inspire you? There are so many. I think Stephen Donaldson with his never say die approach to getting the Lord Fouls Bane series published is a good example. Then there is Steven King and his never stop writing attitude. Another inspiring writer is the late Frederick Pohl, who did it all for his writing.

Where did you get the idea from for your novel, “Spear”? I was wondering what to write about, having just finished my first novel and banging my head against the wall with the start of a bunch of others. The NaNoWriMo surfaced and I headed toward that like a long lost lover. It was not until two weeks before the start that the idea hit me. The outline came easy and I chewed at the bit waiting for the start, the first chapter already in my head.

Can you tell us something about the story? The story centres around three children as they are being trained as Spears, the protectors of an island continent called The Realm. It is a medieval society under constant political pressure from the dwarven society and threat of war from the elves. The first book covers the training each of the children go through. The second book picks up right after the first, and our main characters must deal with a hobs invasion. Each character deals with issues throughout the second book and deals with growing up as a Spear, with no family, just their companions. You will see definite in each character as they develop through the novel. Jealousy, rage, pride, madness, it is all covered in the book as well as betrayal. Several very interesting themes are discovered, and of course it is not a perfect world.

Who do you think will like reading your book and what other novels do you thinkDO_InsideMyMind are similar to it? Young Adults love the series. I’ve been told that some of the readers picked up the book, started reading and would not put it down until they were finished. Others have reported that some have read it multiple times in a month. I was shocked and humbled that the first book made such an impact on the readers. The second book will be even more intense as the children are maturing over the course of the second novel.

Are you working on a new book or story at the moment? Yes. Many. I have four books currently in rewrite. The first two books of my Zero-G series, and the first book of my Bloodcells series. I am just finishing off a collection of short stories and flash fiction called Inside My Mind, which I hope to turn into a recurring theme.

On the back burner are the first book of Assassins of Tomorrow, China Girl, Rejuvenation, Installing Dogma – Please Stand By, and I Time Travel.

Where can people go to read your work and when will it be available? My books will always be available through Amazon and several book stores. If you check online you’ll see links to the sales sites in each book or series link. Doug’s Website

Do you have any tips for aspiring authors? Read! The more you read the better writer you will become.

Besides that, take any writing course you can, just don’t go to the ones offered at colleges or universities. You may wonder why. It is because they will shoe horn you into what they believe a good writer is, and believe me, most are wrong. A good writer is someone who puts themselves out there and bares their soul for others to read. You don’t need a college professor telling you that your story sucks and you shouldn’t write.

It reminds me of a short story I wrote last year, called Bone Digging. I back dropped the story in the bad lands of Alberta, in an archaeology dig. Lots of things went on about the work. The main character was cleaning around a bone with a toothbrush. I made sure all my research was correct and that everything would be perfect. The critiquing group I was with sat jaw dropped as I read it out. The workshop facilitator, Isobel Warren (you’ll have to look her up, fantastic writer), wanted to know how I came up with such an idea from the prompt. She was shocked. I had a friend of mine take it to her aunt, who teaches at Senica College. The aunt critiqued the work and told me not to write about things I knew nothing about. She told me the badlands in Alberta did not look the way I described them, little did she know I had visited them years ago. The professor also said that in an archaeological dig they do not use toothbrushes, they used bone brushes. It seems the professor did not do their research for the University of Alberta’s website tells potential archaeological students that they will use toothbrushes to do the detailed work around focalized bones.

There were other things, like saying the word I used from the aboriginal culture in the area was incorrect, even though I had pulled it from the band’s website.

I guess what I am trying to say is don’t get discouraged by those around you who say, “This is crap.” They are probably jealous of your accomplishment. Keep writing and keep at it. You can only get better. And also surround yourself with writers. Don’t listen to someone who tells you not to write a story, or a certain genre because they think it has been overdone. Write what you want and do it the way you want to. Get a good editor and have them correct the spelling and grammar as best they can. And keep at it. No one will know you unless you keep at it.

Good reviews, mixed reviews, bad reviews – what are your thoughts on each of those? Everyone loves a good review of their work. It is something that automatically brings a smile to your face. The good review justifies the existence of your writing, and charges up the old battery pack. I love good reviews.

But you can also get mixed reviews as well. And while they may not make you happy, they are a collection of positive as well as negative feedback that you should hold close to your heart. A mixed review tells me I did something good, but have improvements yet to be completed. I accept them for what they are – feedback on what I have written. They are accepted and changes are incorporated for the next release.

Bad reviews are welcome. They tell me there is more to learn, and that some people have not yet accepted what I have put out. I look at a bad review as a chance to learn what people expect of my writing. It is a chance to improve my art, and hone my skill.

If you review other’s books, what is your approach to reviewing those? I have only started to recently post reviews on the writing I have read. Usually it is work in progress that is reviewed in order to help the other writer. But that does not mean I haven’t posted book reviews. You will be able to find them by searching through my website when they are done.

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From my collection of short stories – Excerpt from Ark One:

“Yes, Alex?”

“Why do we need to get Parker back into cryo quickly?” Nice simple question.

“Because he’s a born.” Simple response but it makes no sense.

“I don’t understand. Why?”

“Because he’s a born. A natural. Not like you. His needs will overcome what can be given to him. Remember when you were awakened, Alex?” Her tone is nice and calm. “You were born the size you are now. You’ve never known the hardships of growing up, of becoming the man you are. This Parker grew up on Earth. Children on Earth are subject to problems. They are damaged psychologically no matter how you look at it.”

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7 thoughts on “Author Interview – Douglas Owen

  1. Pingback: I’ve Been Interviewed, Again! | DAOwen

  2. Great interview. Douglas has so much background knowledge through all of his experiences. And I agree with the advice about writing professors. Some are great, some not so great. Trust yourself. Thanks for a great post, Susan.

    • Aubrey,
      Thanks for stopping by. I agree about his background and experience — makes mine look so ho-hum boring.
      Susan

  3. Great interview. Thanks, Douglas, for sharing lots of great information. I love the cover for A Sharp Spear Point. On Amazon, I only found A Spear in Flight available. Is that the first story?

    • Yes, the story on Amazon is the first of the series. The cover art has not been changed.

      The series will be comprised of four books, and the second is almost ready for editing. It should be available close to the start of July.

      Inside My Mind is going through the final stages of publication, the layout. Really a headache but necessary to make sure it is aesthetically good looking as well as an amazing read. You’ll find it on Good Reads and Amazon soon.

      Feel free to contact me through my Facebook page:

      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Douglas-Owen/334810779880654

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