As you may be aware, there aren't many times that Colin and I agree, but thankfully Doug Dandridge is one of them. His books have kept me amused on many's an evening, so I was incredibly chuffed when Colin asked if he would grant me the privilege of an interview. Many people are intimidated when asked to be interviewed by a real life, imaginary dragon, but not Mr Dandridge. Except for a curious attraction to the feline species, I am very impressed.
Claude and Doug - the interview
So, Doug, you’ve written books with dragons in them. How does it feel to face a real life imaginary one?
Kind of frightening to tell the truth, since we all bring our own imaginations into the rendering of your kind, and I always imagined dragons as kind of scary. Then again, you seem much more intelligent than most of the ones I’ve written about. I don’t think any of those could think in a complete sentence, though the telepathy was a nice touch. You don’t happen to be telepathic, do you?
I can read minds, but you're safe enough. I find the thoughts of humans to be quite chaotic if I'm honest. But I digress; back to the interview.
I’ve read your Exodus and Refuge series. I love Refuge, but Colin loves Exodus. What’s your favourite? And remember, you are crunchy and taste good with mint ketchup.
Refuge was the first series I ever developed, way back in 1997, so it has a special place in my heart. And of course dragons do play a large part in that series. Exodus allowed me to retired from my day job, which I really, really did not like, so it also holds a special place. I wish Refuge was more successful, and I probably will keep the series going, at least a book a year. But Exodus is the one that the fans seem to like the most, which is a good reason to put the most effort into it.
I am glad to hear that. The dragons in the Refuge series are nowhere near as magnificent as me, but they deserve to be written about. Anyway, do you have a favourite book? I mean, you’ve written so many, and these humans have their favourites, but which one is yours?
That’s a really hard one. I’ve read so many, loved so many, and probably had a different favorite every year of my life. Sometimes my favorite is whatever I’m reading at the time. I guess one way of saying what is a favorite is what have I read the most, over and over. I’ve read a lot of Robert Howard over and over, mostly the Conan series as put out by originally Lancer books with L Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter. I’ve read Lord of the Rings seven or eight times in my life. Same with Starship Troopers. Then again, I’ve read some great books in the last ten years that I loved but haven’t reread, mostly because of time constraints and the desire to read as much new stuff as I can. Even there, I’ve read most of the Dritzz Do Urden books by R A Salvatore three times or more. Damn, I don’t know if that answers your question, and realize I don’t want to make you mad, but I really don’t have a single answer. There are so many great writers out there with great stories, and I probably have a hundred books in my house or on my Kindle that I haven’t read. Who knows, one of those might be my future favorite.
Hmm, yes, you would be wise to avoid arising my anger. I see you have an extensive understanding of dragon kind. I can see us becoming friends. I’m interested, how do you write? Do you blurt a story out and then go back and pad it out(Colin does it this way), or are you one of the squishies that plans and plots beforehand?
First thing I do is world build, decide what kind of society I want, the tech or the magic, depending on what kind of book it is. Then develop some characters and draw some maps. I like to sketch things out on graph paper to give myself an idea of what things look like. Depending on what I’m trying to do, this can take a couple of weeks to a half year. For Refuge and Exodus both I filled up several graph paper notebooks with drawings and wrote several hundred thousand words of background. Of course, once a series is going this process is abbreviated. I used to outline and use 3 by 5 cards to sketch out scenes, which is how I think about each book. Now I have a general beginning and end and just seat of the pants it through. I sit down and write, doing very little in the way of correction all the way through. I do from two to five thousand words a day, and the story just kind of develops as I go along. It may go places I didn’t expect. Not that it writes itself, but I change my mind as to the best way to weave the story. When I’m finished I go back with a rewrite, which basically is just making sure every mistake I can find is corrected and that everything connects. I may add another five thousand words or so to make sure that connection between scenes is there. Everything after that is just proofing.
Finally, did you bring me any treats? Cause if you haven’t, your fans are gonna hate me.
I think I may have a dwarf or two hiding around here somewhere. Or how about this nice plump Hobbit. And no, you cannot have one of my cats.
I must say, I really enjoyed this interview. Now, here's a little info on the man himself.
Doug currently has twenty-three books released on Amazon, and has made over 100,000 sales in two years. His Exodus: Empires at War series has 70,000 sales over seven books. Books 3 through 7 all hit either number one or two on Amazon UK in Space Opera and Military Science Fiction, and were in the top five in the same categories on Amazon.US. He has almost fourteen hundred reviews over all his book with a 4.5 star overall average.
I urge you to read these books. Believe me, you will love them. If not, I may just have to make you into a snack.