If you didn’t know, I’ve been an intern for Jolly Fish Press since September-ish. One of the first books I helped proofread was Fall of the Dragon Prince by Dan Allen, a great read with romance, action, battle, fantasy, and—of course—dragons. This book was released just last week, and I had the great opportunity to ask Dan Allen some questions about his writing, his life, and his book. Here’s some information on the book!:
Fall of the Dragon Prince by Dan Allen
Series: The Forgotten Heirs Trilogy #1
Published by Jolly Fish Press on February 14, 2017
Toran joined the five realms and tied their destinies to the survival of his secret heirs. But the king is now dead and his enemies gather.
Reann, a serving girl and self-appointed librarian of Toran’s estate, has a chance to unravel the greatest mystery in the realm.
On the other side of the kingdom, Terith and the other dragon riders fight to stop the invasion that would mean the fall of the empire. In this cross-country dragon race, Terith faces a black-hearted traitor with even darker purposes, to win the kingdom and the heart of the woman he loves. One rider will fall; one fate will rise.
Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the interview:
Author Interview with Dan Allen
You are a scientist. what got you started writing fiction?
In grad school at UCSB I started writing book chapters on the things I wished somebody had explained to me before I got to graduate school. Then I figured, “I bet I have no idea what I’m doing.” So I checked out a whole stack of books on how to write. They were all about how to write fiction! I thumbed through them casually wondering, “So what’s the trick?” From what I could tell, all you had to do was pick really exaggerated characters and have lots of horrible things happen. I was like, “I could totally do that.” And Amanda, my wife, said, “Oh, yeah. Why don’t you do it then?” And I replied, “Maybe I will.” Then I wondered, “Can I even do this?” I had never even tried to write a story before. So I kicked around some fun ideas and sat down to write. Two and half months later I had written a 400-page Sci-Fi novel. I guess I was a writer at heart! Crazy, eh?
What inspired Fall of the Dragon Prince? What made you want to write it?
I came up with “The Children of Toran” as a serial bedtime story for my kids. I tried to make it big, so I could get more than one night’s worth of telling out of it. It got pretty big. The kids begged me to write the story, but at the time (nine years ago) I wasn’t experienced enough as a writer to tackle that scale of project. So I kept writing and finally, five years ago, I decided it was time. Fall of the Dragon Prince is most ambitious writing project I’ve ever undertaken. Almost a decade after the concept first came to me, my children are now old enough to have their own copy. What a journey! (It only gets bigger and better in the second and third book.)
How would you describe your writing style?
I write about great heroes, people that you want to cheer for. Anti-heroes and characters who don’t even known what they want—that stuff is blah. I usually start with a scene in my head, so my writing is very visual. World-building is a big part of my writing. I figure out the physics, so it feels real. Then I let the characters make hard choices and see what happens, so it feels like an adventure. My writing is fast paced, action packed, and fun. I want to inspire my readers to be awesome and try new challenges.
Fall of the Dragon Prince takes place in an empire with five realms. Tell us about some of the world-building for these realms.
Each of the five realms inherited a unique ability inherited from the ancestors. In the black megaliths and rain forests of the East, the Montazi ride dragons and can summon their unique awakenings for short periods of time. On the rugged south coast, the Serbani have powerful magicians bound by strict magical rules. In the west deserts, the Dervites keep the deep secrets of medicine and the martial arts. In the frozen North, the Funderali are almost as large and strong as the snow bears, a hardy people capable of surviving almost any challenge. And in the central plains, the Erdali sense changes in fate known as the millennial tide. When the tide rises, the Erdali unite in great armies. Other realms exist and many of them are enemies to the five realms. Toran was the first king to unite the realms. Fall of the Dragon Prince is the story of his secret heirs.
How would you describe Fall of the Dragon Prince compared to other fantasy books? Any comparable titles? What makes your book unique from others?
Fall of the Dragon Prince follows the story of five heirs to the throne. It feels a bit like Chronicles of Narnia, only with all the stuff you really wanted: romantic relationships, action, realistic magic, beautiful characters, intrigue and mysteries. Like modern Sci-Fi and fantasy TV series, it follows several simultaneous plotlines and combines the rich backstory and many realms of epic fantasy books like Eragon and Lord of the Rings with the fated relationships and magical realism of Shadow and Bone or Mistborn.
What books and movies have had an influence on your life? On your book?
I think I owe my creativity and love of science to books and movies that stretched my imagination: Jonathan Livingston Seagull, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Wrinkle in Time, Ender’s Game, X-Men comics, and Robotech. Growing up I also liked military fiction like Tom Clancy’s novels. And of course I owe a great debt to J.K. Rowling for reintroducing me to fiction after many years of (nonfiction) textbooks in college.
Which character from FOTDP do you relate with the most, and why? Which character did you have the most fun writing, and why?
Actually, there is a quiz on my website
where you can find out exactly what realm your personality best matches. I’m Montazi, probably because I’m just a little crazy and impetuous. So I relate best with the character Terith. My dad relates best to an heir you’ll meet in book 2. My editor relates best with Reann, for obvious reasons. Which character did I have the most fun writing? I won’t lie, it was Enala. She’s just crazy.
As a debut author, what advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Write a bunch of novels before you try to get published. Learn to love writing and worry about publishing later. Trust your beta readers and do what they say. Learn the fundamentals from book critique groups and conferences.
What resources are there for fantasy and Sci-Fi fans who want to learn more about science or making their writing more realistic?
For sure, you want to check out the Science in Sci-Fi/Fact in Fantasy blog
by Dan Kobolt.
He gets experts in each field to write sections. I did some content on how to do simple gravity calculations for Sci-Fi novels and writing about nanotechnology and relativity. But you can find stuff about writing about horses or dying or genetics and tons of other useful things. Don’t be afraid to contact an expert. Everybody loves to talk about what they do best!
Where can fans get updates on book 2?
On my website
! You can also see other book series I’m working on and sign up for the newsletter or volunteer as a beta reader.
Have you checked out Fall of the Dragon Prince yet? Do any of his answers resonate with you? Let me know in the comments!