Interview with Derrick Smythe

How do you come up with the title to your books?

My title actually came after the first book was written. I had a title before, but it just didn’t feel right. The rest of the titles in the series fell into place with the completion of the outline I had written. Each attempts to align to the central focus of the story while remaining true to the series as a whole.

What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?

Any scene that begins a new chapter seems to be a major challenge for me! I have to write and rewrite my openings multiple times before I am able to get them right and then I often just delete the first few paragraphs and find that I like it much better.

I particularly enjoy writing action/fight scenes. I love putting myself into the body and mind of my characters as they live out fight sequences, especially without having to personally experience any of the bruises, bleeding, etc.

What inspired your book/series?

A hand drawn map, an idea, and a God.

What are you working on next?

I’m finalizing the second book in my Passage to Dawn series, as well as another short-story for one of my ancillary characters who doesn’t necessarily get a lot of screen time, but is one of my personal favorites.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

Robert Jordan, Michael J Sullivan, Michael Wisehart, Robin Hobb, Raymond E. Feist, Edward Robertson, Brandon Sanderson, and of course, J.R.R. Tolkien.

If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?

I think I would especially enjoy living among the elves of either Feist, Sullivan, or Tolkien.

What is your favorite meal?

I’m a simple man. I like a good burger or steak, no side necessary.

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

One cup of coffee is about all I need to be happy.

Describe yourself in three words.

Aspiring, calm, calculating.

Today I’m happy to introduce Derrick Smythe, author of the book, The Other Magic

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

In the summer and fall, I’m a bit of an outdoorsman, seeking trails for hiking, parks for camping, or both. During the winter I’m stuck inside to resume my day job as a high school history teacher. I’m also a wrestling enthusiast—not WWE (no offense if you enjoy that!). I wrestled throughout high school and college then transitioned into officiating years back; it’s a lot better on my joints than competing. Of course, my big passion is writing, a passion reinforced in recent years with the success of my debut epic fantasy novel, “The Other Magic.” I was inspired to write out of a combination of extreme boredom while working a summer job in college, and an itch to do something more than simply enjoy the worlds created by others. Don’t get me wrong, I love immersing myself in the created worlds of others, but the more fantasy I read, the more I knew I had a world and story of my own to create and share. 

Describe your desk / writing space.

My desk exists within a state of heightened tension between neatness and disrepair. At my core is the inner OCD desire to have everything neatly stacked and put away, but on the other side is my need to have instant access to my notes and doodles, of which there are many, and they are always being added to. My computer monitor also has sticky notes all around it though every once in a while I’ll go through them and eliminate the ones that have since been resolved. I could argue that I just need a bigger desk, but I’m quite certain that this would not ultimately solve the issue.

Do you have a writing routine or do you write when inspired?

I write primarily in the mornings before my wife and daughters wake up. My alarm goes off at precisely 4:30AM, I get my coffee and oats, then head up to my office to work until around 6:30AM when it’s time to get dressed and help rush the kids, wife, and myself out the door to begin the day.

Author Bio

Derrick Smythe has been fascinated with all things elvish, dwarvish, and magical since his days of running through the woods with sharpened sticks in defense of whatever fortification he and his brothers had built that summer. After consuming nearly every fantasy book he could find, he was driven to begin work on one of his own. When he isn’t dreaming up new stories, he can be spotted hiking the Adirondack Mountains or traveling the world. He currently resides near his hometown in upstate New York with his enchanting wife, ethereal daughters, and his faithful-if-neurotic Australian Shepherd, Magnus.

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