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Author Interview: Alan K. Dell


Alan K. Dell is a sci-fi writer based in the UK and author of the Augment Saga, which includes The Re-Emergence and From the Grave of the Gods.

He lives in Essex with his wife Emma, and two wonderful children.

Use three to five words to describe yourself.

Creative, with too many hobbies.

Can you give us a little background on your debut?

Absolutely! My current sci-fi series is called The Augment Saga, and there are two books out in the wild: a prequel novella called The Re-Emergence, and the first full-length novel, From the Grave of the Gods. My next book on the series, which I’m working on now, will be another novella called The Flight of the Aurora, which will then lead into the next novel, The Shadow of Arcadia. I’m hoping to have at least the novella out by the middle of next year.

Can you give us any insight into your planning and writing process?

They say that plotting is just pantsing between bullet points, and I feel like that’s pretty apt. I do make an outline down to the chapter level, but how I get from point to point within the chapter is pretty fluid.

Silence or music or other when writing/editing?

It really depends on the situation. Sometimes I like to have some instrumental music playing, like videogame soundtracks (usually from metroidvanias), other times even that level of noise is distracting and I need silence. No rhyme or reason to it really.

You can erase one book or series from your mind entirely so that you can read it again for the first time, which do you erase?

The Shadeward Saga by Drew Wagar.

Who are some of your favourite authors/books?

The aforementioned Drew Wagar and his Shadeward Saga are at the forefront for sure. His character work and worldbuilding are inspiring. Just this year I also, rather belatedly, discovered the fantastic work of Ursula K. Le Guin and I have absolutely become a fan. Another favourite of mine lately has been Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. I never thought a book would make me sympathetic to spiders, but he managed it!

Who are your favourite book characters?

Kiri from Shadeward. She’s such a delightfully complex character. Plus I’m really enjoying Trouble Dog from Embers of War.

Do you have any favourite magic systems?

The magic system of Earthsea is probably my absolute favourite. I love the way it’s tied so deeply into the world.

You can bring one world from a book or series to life and live there, which world do you choose

Most of the worlds I’ve read about have something majorly wrong with them, like being thousands of years post environmental apocalypse. I think perhaps the Culture from Banks’ series would be the most comfortable to live in!

What book or series would you love to see on the big screen?

I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with Embers of War by Gareth L. Powell. It’s a bit of a cheat because I know it’s been optioned already. Other than that, The Hainish series by Le Guin is long overdue an adaptation.

You can collaborate with one other author, who do you choose?

Great question, I’d love to collaborate with Drew Wagar since we’re both character-driven, and I’ve seen the fruits of a collab he did before – an SF anthology called Nine Streams of Consciousness.

Have any cultures/civilisations inspired your writing?

At the moment since I’m writing a lot of near-future/contemporary stuff, my worldbuilding has been focused around that. Some of my imagery has drawn inspiration from Greek mythology in small amounts.

What is your favourite mythical creature?

That’s a tougher question than I thought. I can’t decide between dragons, hydras or the kraken.

What is your favourite mythical race?

Mythical, probably elves. But if we were talking fictional, I’d say the Asgard from SG-1. I guess they fulfill the same kind of niche as elves in a sense.

You can have one superpower, what is it?

The power to stop or slow time would be really useful right about now!

You can go back in time and live a different period of history, when do you choose?

I don’t think I would go back. Too few modern conveniences like basic sanitation and medical knowledge – not to mention refrigeration. I’d definitely take the chance and jump forwards though!

You can meet any five people in the world, who would you choose?

I won’t name them, but there’s some wonderful people I know only through the Writing Community on Twitter and I would absolutely choose to meet them.

Would you rather…

  • ride a dragon or fly a spaceship?
    • Fly a spaceship, no question!
  • have the ability to fly or be indestructible?
    • Indestructible.
  • be an elf or an orc?
    • Elf.
  • have the ability to travel to mythical worlds, from your favourite books, or the ability to travel faster than light and visit planets and solar systems in this world?
    • To travel FTL and explore the galaxy!
  • face one orc or three goblins in battle?
    • One orc. I reckon I could die slower with one.
  • be an expert swordsman or archer?
    • I’m a pretty good archer already, so swordsman.
  • be able to wield elemental magic or raise and control the dead?
    • Elemental magic.
  • live in a city under the ocean or one floating in the clouds?
    • Gimme that Castle in the Sky.
  • be able to see the past or see the future?
    • Seeing the future. It means I could see what I will write and steal it from myself.

Thank you for taking the time, we really appreciate it.