An Interview with Din Ka, author of Where Tomorrow Waits
Everyone has a ‘first novel’, even if many of them are a rough draft relegated to the bottom and back of your desk drawer (or your external harddrive!). Have you been able to reshape yours, or have you abandoned it for good?
My first novel was actually written as a screenplay. I majored and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in TV/Film/Screenwriting. I was told my screenplays were too detailed and descriptive and read more like a novel. My screenplays never went anywhere and sat tucked away in the deepest of interstellar limbo of my harddrive. Then I had this idea for an actual novel, not a screenplay, that was inspired by a story my mother told me and didn’t know how to come about turning it into something that told a fluid story and make people want to read it. So I took my screenplay and the inspired idea from my mother’s life and mashed it together and the end result was my first published novel, “Where Tomorrow Waits.”
Some authors are able to pump out a novel a year and still be filled with inspiration. Is this the case for you, or do you like to let an idea percolate for a couple of years in order to get a beautiful novel?
I would love to be able to spit out a novel every year, but for me it’s been every year and a half to two years. But once I can write full time I would totally have more time to focus on my passion and creativity. I don’t put a time frame over my ideas and when they should be written, but I also don’t want to allow to much time to go by without writing either, so it’s a double edge sword—I don’t want to rush an idea, but then again I don’t want to sit with a blank page in front of me either. Hope I make sense. As for inspiration, I feel it’s all around me and is just a matter of taking the time to stop and smell the roses.
I have heard of writers that could only write in one place – then that cafe closed down and they could no longer write! Where do you find yourself writing most often, and on what medium (pen/paper or digital)?
My first novel idea came to me while sitting in a Barnes and Noble café. It hit me like the biggest light bulb that ever went off inside me. It was connected to a movie theatre and a mall, and the barstool I sat on had a beautiful view of Westwood from the second story window. Then it shut down and I was out of an office and an inspirational view. It was a sad moment filled with lots of happy writing memories. But there was a sliver of hope as I moped around the place, and found a hidden gem on the third floor that led into a department store and to an entranceway of a movie theatre. The large hallway was well lit, bright and spacious and had sofas and chairs for relaxing and unwinding. Best of all it had power outlets and a floor to ceiling window with a stunning view of Westwood and the infamous Los Angeles traffic that stretched out as far as the eye could see.
So all wasn’t lost and the place still stands proud in all its glory till this very day, except now I write mostly from home on my computer in a makeshift office that doubles as my dog’s playroom.
Before going on to hire an editor, most authors use beta-readers. How do you recruit your beta-readers, and choose an editor? Are you lucky enough to have loving family members who can read and comment on your novel?
My longtime girlfriend is my main go to beta-reader. She’s brutal, honest, and finds the details that my eyes can’t catch. I had a few friends that beta-read for me, but they were always trying to spare my feelings when something didn’t add up and in the long run it only hurts your work.
And as far as choosing an editor, I work with whomever my publisher assigns to me. So far I’ve been very pleased with my editor.
I walk past bookshops and am drawn in by the smell of the books – ebooks simply don’t have the same attraction for me. Does this happen to you, and do you have a favourite bookshop? Or perhaps you are an e-reader fan… where do you source most of your material from?
I love both and each one has their advantages for me. Ebooks is very convenient and I can read anywhere and anytime either through my phone or computer without having to haul stacks of books around in a backpack. Actual print books like you mentioned do have that smell, that fragrance of creativity and inspiration, and that actual feel of joy in your hands. And might I add, print books look just absolutely beautiful to me sitting on a shelf like a library. It’s paradise for me.
For some of my favorite books, I do have both formats—print and digital. I don’t have a favorite or particular bookstore I shop at, I love both chained bookstores and smaller local bookshops. And for ebooks I usually shop through the Kindle store.
I used to find myself buying books in only one genre (fantasy) before I started writing this blog. What is your favourite genre, and do you have a favourite author who sticks in your mind from your different life stages?
I read many genres. I never limit myself and always keep an open mind. I’ll read things related to science and sci-fi, crime novels, drama, spiritual just to name a few and the list goes on and on from there.
My favourite novels from childhood were The Barenstain Bears, Clifford The Big Red Dog, and a favorite was, Where the Wild Things Are. During elementary school I read the classics and really enjoyed reading the likes of, “The Great Gatsby” and “Of Mice and Men.” So John Steinback and F. Scott Fitzgerald. As an adult, I enjoyed The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, For One More Day by Mitch Albom, Outside The Lines by Amy Hatvany, and Brilliance Saga by Marcus Sakey, and of course many many more authors.
Social media is a big thing, much to my disgust! I never have enough time myself to do what I feel is a good job. Do you manage your own profile or have someone else deal with it?
I mainly managed my own profile and I admit I am horrible at it. Sometimes I feel my profile just gets lost in a sea of millions maybe even billions in cyber space. The life of a writer isn’t something as interesting as a Hollywood star as I sit confined to my office and live out another world inside my head. From time to time I’ll have my girlfriend take over on things by posting pics of our hiking adventures with our two four–legged kids, or being an advocate for sheltered dogs and animals.
I prefer Twitter, it’s simple, short and quick for all to see and hear. But I should be on social media more, so shame on me. Social media is the present and future and I believe it’s a great tool to self promote and gain some fans.
Answering interview questions can often take a long time! Tell me, are you ever tempted to recycle your answers from one to the next?
I never ever feel the need to recycle any answers pertaining to an interview. I feel the person takes the time to map out the questions to ask, so I should give them an individual and unique response every time, all the time. Besides I love to be interviewed, it makes me feel like, “Wow someone out there actually cares about my writing,” and that alone is a very blissful feeling of being on the right path.