Donald Allan, writer of the New Druids series talks us through his passion for fantasy and how he cultivated this to create an innovative and immensely popular series.
Tell me about how you came to define your writing style. What drew you towards fantasy and sci-fi writing?
I have been a lifelong lover of books. Since the days when I would sneak out of class to hide in the library to read books I have wanted to see my own writing on a shelf with my name on it. I was introduced to the Lord of the Rings in grade 5 and it opened up a world I never knew existed. Fantasy and Sci-Fi allows me to travel to strange new worlds, and I adore it. I am naturally drawn to writing fantasy and finally wrote my first novel. A lifelong dream came true and I love being an author. Next to being a father, it is my greatest achievement.
Please tell me more about New Druids series and how it came to be so popular.
The New Druids series is epic Celtic fantasy that examines a world where druids were hidden in society before being wiped out by a church that feared them. The series follows the last druid who has just awoken his powers and is trying to determine how the druids should interact with the world and return the harmony of nature.
My series borrows from the Celtic words for Leaf, Branch, Stalk and Root for my druid ranks and my novels titles: Duilleog, Craobh, Stoc, and Freamhaigh (coming out in 2018). I love my first novel as you would love a first child. How could I not? I have grown as a writer over the past few years and I write much better than I did in my first novel, but it is still a wonderful novel and I won a gold medal from the Dan Poynter’s Global eBook Awards in 2016 for the category Fantasy/Other Worlds.
What is your background and how did you get in to writing professionally?
I am a father, husband, author, and an officer in the Royal Canadian Navy. I am an Information Warfare specialist who specialises in interoperability between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States navies. I am also a dog owner who thinks that dogs are the most wonderful animals on the planet. Writing is my passion. I’ve longed to see my name in print since I was old enough to read.
Where do you find your inspiration? Are there any particular places or incidents you draw on when you find yourself with writer’s block?
Inspiration comes from that magically place-somewhere out there beyond the rainbow. Haha! I have no idea where I find my inspiration. I swear that my novels write themselves. But once I know what I want, I flush out a complete outline of my novels before I do anything. I break it down into chapters and scenes and work out timeline issues. I let that soak for a while, then go back, and revisit the plot and sequence. Once I am confident I have it right, I open my laptop and start writing.
Writer’s block for me has been about not writing well. Not about not being able to write. To write well I need any place alone where I can listen to my music. Then I need to simply start. Inspiration will strike me and then it’s all about typing as fast as I can.
If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, on a writing project, who would it be and why?
Elizabeth Moon. My favourite trilogy of all time is her The Deed of Paksenarrion. I love her writing style. She’s wonderful and it would be an honour to write with her.
Do you have any projects coming up that you are particularly excited about?
I am deep into NaNoWriMo and using the opportunity to push my fourth novel into full creation. This will be the second last novel in my series and I am excited about where I am in the plot. It’s a great story and I love being able to tell it. I’ve built this world and writing in it gives me such joy.
Many thanks to Donald for your time; you can find out more about him and his work HERE.