Interview With Author Daniel Stride

# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

Hi, I’m Daniel Stride, a speculative fiction writer from Dunedin, New Zealand. I am the author of one novel (steampunk-flavoured dark fantasy, Wise Phuul, published in November 2016 by small UK press Inspired Quill), and a fair number of short stories, published in various online e-zines. I am actually better known as a blogger, posting at A Phuulish Fellow.

# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?

Wise Phuul was mostly written during a particularly traumatic period of my life. I found channelling my efforts into something creative was a good way of dealing with personal difficulties.

# What inspires/inspired your creativity?

Luckily, more than just trauma. Many of my short stories are attempts to explore a one-off thematic idea I find interesting, or (more prosaically) were written with particular magazines in mind.

# How do you deal with creative block?

Reading helps. I was having difficulty designing an ending for a sword-and-sorcery story called A Night in the Witherlands, and wound up solving the problem after reading the Robert Burns poem, Tam O’Shanter.

# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

The biggest mistake anyone can make in a book is not finishing the first draft. Or the related problem of going back and editing rather than writing. Editing comes when the first draft is finished.

# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

Titles suggest themselves after a while, once you get to know the story. The publisher sorted the cover for Wise Phuul, so I cannot comment there.

# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

I am the sort of person who tries to learn from their mistakes. If you give me constructive criticism, I will use that to become better. Or so I hope anyway.

# How has your creation process improved over time?

I always used to find plotting the biggest hurdle to writing (I am comfortable enough with other elements, but that was my achilles heel). These days, I think I have improved through simple experience. That, and writing short stories. And trying to write more via plan, though I am still more of the proverbial pantser.

# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?

Best: Actually finishing the 108,000 words of Wise Phuul. It doesn’t feel like it now, but at the time I saw that as a monumental number of words to write.

Worst: By improving over the course of writing the book, it proved quite painful to go back and revise the earlier chapters.

Most surprising: Characters talk to you. Yes, really. You find yourself getting to know them in completely unplanned ways.

# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?

If you aren’t personally satisfied with a story, you aren’t doing your readers any favours.

# What role do emotions play in creativity?

As previously noted, creativity can be a good way of dealing with negative emotions.

# Do you have any creativity tricks?

I’ve found that problems often resolve themselves once you actually force yourself to sit down and write. You may struggle at first, but I find it becomes easier after a while.

# What are your plans for future books?

I am currently over 30,000 words into Old Phuul, a sequel to Wise Phuul. Short stories will appear when the mood takes me.

# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

I used to work for a newspaper proof-reading the death notices.