A while back, I emailed contributors who had sold their first or second stories to my issue of ASIM - or, in Anthony Panegyres' case, who sold his second story to ASIM #50, an issue in which we all chose a story to edit (I chose his), asking them if they would like a guest post or interview about where they were now. I didn't hear from all of them, which is a pity, but recently I received the response below from Dan Morley, who had been busy moving house when I emailed.
Sounds like he has been busy since making his first sale!
If you'd like to read some of his work, here is a link to his home page, which includes some fiction.
Dan wrote a delightfully funny story set in the world of Norse mythology, seen from the viewpoint of a gambler who makes the mistake of trying to get one up on the trickster god Loki.
Enjoy this interview!
You made your first sale to ASIM. Your story Planeshifter was published in issue 60. What did you have in mind when you wrote it?
I’d been mucking about with the title for a while and tried a few ideas around it. I wanted to write a story where death wasn’t so much an ending as something that took you elsewhere, and when that life ended, shifted you somewhere else. A bit like Quantum Leap but with the trickster god, Loki, having full authority over where you go and when, and the character is not so much trying to help as get one up on his tormentor. Mythology has always been an interest of mine, particularly Greek and Norse, and I found this an entertaining way to explore the Norse realms.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself - day job, where you live and why you love/write SF/F?
Sci fi and fantasy, particularly fantasy, has always got my inspiration going. I’m a software developer by profession but cyberpunk really isn’t my bag. It was way back in the depths of time as far as I can remember, either sitting down to play Hero Quest with my family one Christmas morning, or listening in while my older brother had The Hobbit read to him at bedtime. Either way, far off worlds and magic had me hooked from a young age.
Reading SF/F has given me a great deal: escapism, guided a moral compass and shown me different ways of looking at and understanding the world. I believe that a story doesn’t have to be set in reality to offer a perspective on it. When I write, it always feels like I’m doing something worthwhile, perhaps offering some of what I gained from reading to someone else. Or maybe, at least giving them a bit of a laugh.
I live in Staffordshire, England, so I’m surrounded by greenery with the Peak District National Park on my doorstep. Always good for inspiration. Creative productivity waxes and wanes with work and life, but this year I’m lucky enough to take a sabbatical from work and get 6 months to write and travel.
Have you had anything else published since then? Title? Publication? Or is something of yours about to be published - title, publication, etc. Non fiction, poetry, blogging, whatever...
I mainly work at novel length but I’ve sold a couple more short stories since Planeshifter. The first, Wardens Legacy, is a prequel to my novel series, Legacy of Torr. The novels were a near miss with a few small publishers but the short story was published in Swords and Sorcery Magazine. The other short story sale got stuck in the publishing process. I’m actually not sure whether this saw the light of day. If you ever see a quirky fantasy called Dish of the Asparamancer (yes, a cookery based magic system), then it’s probably mine.
I also worked with Awaken Realms on the rules and supporting fiction for their tabletop game, The Edge, in the capacity of tester, proof reader and copy editor. Working on a project in the gaming industry was great fun and something I quite fancy for the future.
Are you working on anything writing or writing-related now?
Right now, I’m working on a novel set in the Age of Sigmar. That’s one of Games Workshop’s Warhammer worlds. Since I’m not under commission for it, I suppose you’d call if fanfic. I had a cool idea, and wanted to explore the concept regardless of whether it gets published or not, so pushed on with it. One of my biggest writing ambitions is to be published through the Black Library so this process can only be good practice.
I also write narrative scenarios for tabletop games (Frostgrave, Warhammer, etc.). Some, I share on my blog, others I keep within my gaming group. It’s interesting to see people interacting with your narrative, and you can be right there with them while it unfolds. After all, a story is a story, no matter whether delivered through words on a page or through another medium.