I had recently come across a novel project here on deviantART that really caught my attention. There are a lot of novels here on the site that are overlooked due to the amounts of beautiful visual art and faster to read poetry. However, there are some gems that stand out but go for the most part unseen.
Today, I decided to interview and feature the author of the novel that I first came across here on the site that caught my attention. That novel would be Fiction authored by DorianHarper (more information to follow after the interview).
When did you begin writing? Or, more simply, take writing seriously?
I've been a storyteller for practically as long as I can remember. My family would tell me that before I could read, I would pick up dictionaries and start making stories up to tell them as if I were reading from a book. I took my writing seriously to the point where I began submitting work for publication when I was in 7th grade, though—12 at the time. chris-ticehurst actually interviewed me before more in-depthly on this question in his journal entry here
What about Fiction? Where did the idea come from for your novel?
Ultimately, a lot of places. Heh. I always wanted to write a story about a writer who visits his storyland or dreamworld, so the most of that aspect came from there. The rest was from other factors in my life that added to what I thought would make a good story.
Aside from the 'dreamworld', Fiction takes place in London, specifically in Mayfair. You lived in London at one time, yes? Did this effect where your story was going?
Well, Fiction was always supposed to take place in London, even before I went. I will say that living there definitely influenced a lot of things, however… and got me accustomed to the city life, history, and where things are. While I lived in Islington, I would take the Tube often to the Green Park stop and get out and walk around Mayfair. I loved all the Victorian mansions in that area, and many of my afternoons were spent in Berkeley Square, having lunch and writing chapters of Fiction in my leather journal. Daniel's residence in Mayfair at Berkeley Square came from my hours spent there writing.
Speaking of Daniel, where did his idea of a character come from?
Like I mentioned earlier, I always wanted to write about a writer who visits his dreamworld, so that is where he "originally" was born. However, a lot of inspiration for him came from the poet John Keats. If, you know, he was a poet that died young from consumption and wrote heavily on the power of immortality through art (and sleep, as in his famous "Ode to a Nightingale"). He also was prescribed laudanum for his pain, as Daniel is in the story, and referenced it in his work often. My final paper for university was actually one on Keats, Tuberculosis, and Laudanum and the effects it had on immortality through art. Thus, Daniel is a very Keats-ian inspired character. His name, however, comes from author Daniel Defoe; father of the first modern novel.
Who is your favorite character from the novel and why?
That's a tough question… Personally, I'm probably most "attached" to Daniel since he is my main protagonist and I put a lot of heart into developing him based on my personal interests in literary figures, etc., but I will say that his older brother Peter makes a close second. While Peter isn't in the entirety of the novel, I admire his character for how loving and loyal he is to his family… especially Daniel when things start getting bad.
Daniel has two love interests in the novel: Rebecca and Helena. Which do you "ship"?
Haha. Oh, gosh. Well, personally, I don't "ship" either of them since both are very much cannon… As for whom I like Daniel with the most is also tricky. Helena is the more sweet and soft-spoken love interest, whereas Rebecca is more stubborn and out-spoken one. They are very much foils to one another. Daniel and Helena also were deeply in love with each other, whereas Daniel and Rebecca really don't share that bond although they are wed. It makes both so different and so fun to work with.
And my final question just so this doesn't get too long, what would you say the lesson of your novel is?
Hmm… if I HAD to choose, I would probably say the lesson that fiction and reality are two sides of the same coin, and that fiction to one person may be reality to another. It's all about perception. There was a brilliant quote from the movie "The Words" that I think sums it up: "At some point, you have to choose between life and fiction. The two are very close, but never actually touch."
A big thank you to DorianHarper for taking the time to answer these questions for me! It was a pleasure getting to find out more about your novel. As promised, here is some information:
Synopsis: Daniel Blackburn is an aspiring writer living in London, England in the mid-1800s. Suffering from consumption (tuberculosis), he finds himself growing weaker and no longer able to write his stories, especially when he slips into an opium-induced coma. What Daniel doesn't realize, however, is that when he wakes up, he's in the world from his dreams. Here, he is reunited with Helena, his lover who once upon a time had lost her life-- the very life Daniel tried to preserve in his writing. As Daniel spends more time in his fantasy world, he begins to discover that he's falling even more in love with Helena, and his sickness is starting to fade away. Things go well at first in this beautiful paradise he had created, until Daniel starts realizing that there's something dark about his fictional world, and it will stop at nothing to prevent him from returning home to reality.
Read some of the novel here: