MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR CHRISTIANMICHAEL DUTTON!
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
My name is Christianmichael Dutton. I write under the pen name Hui Lang (Chinese for “gray wolf”). I typically write fantasy, but have been trying to branch out in other genres.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
Since this is related to Shadows of the Fallen, the theme was to pick a fallen character, either an angel, Death, or something similar.
My first story, Thela’s Angel is about a woman who lives in a ruthless society of warriors where might makes right and women as wives are won in violent duels between men. Thela has had four husbands, struggles with her life as she’s at the bottom of the pecking order in her village, and desires a child.
My second story is called Daughter of Darkness and the story explores the age-old theme of nature vs. nurture, and the freedom to make choices. A holy knight helps a demon give birth to a demon-child and is forced to go on the run to keep the child safe from harm.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I’ve always loved fantasy. It’s my favorite genre.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
None, since this was a short story.
Can you tell me about your Series?
Thela’s Angel is considered canon as part of my series called The Rise of Evil. I’ve taken the books down, but they were free to read on FictionPress. Essentially, the series is about a diverse cast of characters who find themselves in a middle of a breakout of a war between two nations and then discover more sinister machinations of the gods attempting to return to the world in a bid to shift the scales of power once again. The books are called Life of the Twins, Fury of the Rekasta, The Lantern Bearer’s Quest, and Crown of Dragons.
After that, I intend to continue the series with another set of books called The Advent of Evil, and then follow it with a capstone series called Evil’s Triumph.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
Related to the short stories I’ve written so far, Thela’s Angel is definitely my favorite. I really want my reader to connect with Thela’s plight and her journey to find happiness.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
I google horrific news articles. They typically form the plot my stories.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I commute to my real job by train. That allows me about seventy minutes of writing time to and from work. I always eat my lunch at my desk, so when I take my actual lunch break, I have an hour. I may “ninja write” while on my fifteen minute breaks on my cellphone, but typically, I’m editing. After my children go to bed, I’ll spend another hour writing. I get no writing done on the weekends though. At the most, I’ll have two hours and forty minutes of writing each day for five days a week. I can typically get about 10k of words done in a week.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
I am working on a ninth novel; however, the details and even the genre are under wraps. I cannot discuss it here.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
Names are very important to me because I have very specific rules when I choose names for my characters. They are:
- Must be easily pronounceable by an 8th grader. If I must choose a crazy complex name, then that character will have a nickname.
- Names should be variations of real world names (i.e. Brandon becomes Burandian).
- Main characters should have the coolest names, no matter their vocation or lot in life.
Where do your ideas come from?
Google articles mostly.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
Yes, I just did a horror story called The Mark of the Spider. I want to write the following:
- Urban fantasy
- LGBT story
- Paranormal Romance
These reason why I want to write these stories is simply because I want to be a writer that can hit just about any genre.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Having to use my very little precious free time for other mundane tasks such as real life crap.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I love them. Unfortunately, I cannot devote any money toward my writing, so unless someone is willing to do it for free for me (something I would never ask anyone to do as they should be compensated for their work), I’ll have to skip this.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Being published and able to talk about my work to people who actually are interested in it.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
Seeing my stories in print and reading good reviews.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully an author is who is selling a decent amount of books.
Have you always liked to write?
Yes, I’ve been writing since I was fourteen years old, but gave up fiction writing in my twenties and thirties as I wanted to pursue writing in table-top games. I got back into fiction writing when I turned forty.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Set realistic goals. If you haven’t written anything substantial, don’t set yourself up for failure by thinking you’ll churn out a 1,000 page manuscript that will become the next bestseller.
Start small and then build up.
Always get feedback on your work, and get feedback on what is broken about your writing. You need to fix problems, not have your ego stroked.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I do read reviews. It’s one of the things I live for; however, I don’t respond to them as my short stories are part of anthology.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
The realization that I probably won’t make any money out of this. I love writing, but would like something for my efforts.
What are you working on now?
My 9th novel, but cannot discuss it. Top secret. However, I plan on submitting a fantasy romance story for the anthology First Love by Dragon Soul Press. Submissions are due 12/31/18.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
I wish I could. Really I do.
Why did you choose to write in your genre? If you write in more than one, how do you balance them?
Fantasy always came easy to me as I used to play a lot of Dungeons and Dragons and other fantasy role playing games. Also the books I fell in love with reading were the Dragonlance Chronicles.
Where did your love of books come from?
From my love of playing D&D as a kid. I got it for Christmas, devoured it and then started getting fantasy books as a follow up as it was really hard to find players back then.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Yes, Robert Jordan Wheel of Time series. I love fantasy soap opera that spans over fourteen books. I loved every character except the main character, but end up liking him in Books 12 – 14. My other favorite is Frank Herbert with Dune.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
Right now, I would say it’s the Goddess of Lust and Pain, the Que’ahvi of All, the Mother Who Loves Her Children, the Tri-Headed Queen. She has many other titles, but she’s evil because she uses her power as a means to an end. However, she’s also a very personable person. If you do not bore her, she will carry a strong interest in you as one of her self-imposed titles is the Mother Who Loves Her Children and she thinks the entire world and all its creatures are hers to play with. In some cases, her followers can be compassionate and kind when it suits their purposes.
One of the other aspects of her is that she creates the downfall of others when she offers them choices and they (typically) chose poorly.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It energizes me until I finish a project and then I’m completely spent.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
I don’t think I have any if I understand your question correctly. I write every day except weekends.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I am not afraid to use cliches or tropes that work, but present them with good world-building, new characters, and twists. If I’m going to use a trope, there has to be a twist so that the reader thinks I’m going in one direction with a book and then I turn around in another direction. Otherwise, if I use the trope and it goes exactly as the reader expected, the story is boring.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Wow. I have quite a few, but I will mention my two fellow authors whom I’ve collaborated with on this anthology and with other stuff. A. M. Cummins probably deserves the biggest praise as she’s been a close beta-reader for me and has provided me the best feedback. She’s written her book Homecoming which I’m tackling right now as I finally have a break from writing to catch up on some reading. Katie Epstein is the author of the Terra Vane paranormal series and I’m currently on her book Death Be Blue, but I beta-read her fourth book, Death Be Burned. Check out both these authors’ works.
Also, I owe a lot to my editor, Jade Feldman. She’s been great in much of my beginning stages of getting published.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
How I Will Bore You in 300 Pages, But Buy My Book Anyways.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
I’m on Facebook:
Of course, here are the links to my current works:
Shadows of the Sea:
Shadows of the Fallen:
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️
Thank you very much for having me. I’m greatly honored.