Interview // Author D.M. Cain
On your website, you mention writing since age 13. Did you know at a young age that you wanted to be a writer or did you originally want to pursue as a hobby?
I always wanted to be a writer, but I guess I thought it was just a silly pipe dream. I never imagined that I’d actually make it someday! It was still just a hobby up until around seven years ago when I started to write more seriously and finished the first draft of The Phoenix Project.
Where do you pull your inspiration from to write?
I feel inspired by things all around me – an interesting conversation with a friend, a particularly poignant book or movie scene but, most of all, from the music I listen to. Music is extremely important to me and my writing. I have a very visual imagination and need to picture things vividly in my head to write about them. I construct scenes in my mind, like watching a movie, and music is often a very important part of these scenes. I have a whole list of songs that will forever be tied to certain parts of my books.
Did you set out to write fantasy and dystopian or did you find yourself gravitating towards these genres/settings as you began to write?
Fantasy and dystopian have always held a strong appeal to me. They’re the genres I like to read, and the films I like to watch, and therefore that is where my heart lies. Due to my passion for these genres, I can’t really imagine writing anything else (although I would quite like to give horror a try one day!)
I love that you listen to symphonic metal while writing. Do you find this helps set the pace for your stories while writing?
Absolutely. I listen to large-scale epic instrumental music (like the music in movie trailers!) and this is wonderful for setting the scene in my mind and transferring that onto paper. Symphonic metal is a unique type of music because it is heavy and dark, powerful and brooding, but the symphonic side brings a haunting and beautiful quality to the sound. Bands such as Sonata Arctica, Nightwish, Delain, and Kamelot are my usual favorites to write to.
In your novel, The Phoenix Project, the main character, Raven Kennedy, is seeking forgiveness. As a character, and not the author, what advice would you offer to help him achieve this?
He needs to let go of the past before he can move on and live in the present. The horrific events of his life before Salverford Prison weigh heavily on his heart and he can’t get beyond the pain those memories cause. I would tell Raven that he needs to look to the future instead and try to focus on correcting his wrongs, rather than simply dwelling on them.
Do you have a favorite genre to read, and if so, can you share your favorite book and author?
Fantasy is definitely my favorite genre to read, although I prefer urban and dark fantasy to classic high fantasy such as Lord of the Rings, (which I find very slow and meandering.) Some of my favorites include Terry Brooks, Philip Pullman, Sharon Sant, and S.M. Blooding, but the last book that totally blew me away was ‘The Crown of Stones: Magic-Scars’ by C.L. Schneider. The plot was everything I love – dark, brutal, deep and thought-provoking, epic and fantastical, but what really made this book come alive was the characters. The three main characters were brilliantly written, unique, and I became very attached to all of them. If C.L. Schneider doesn’t make it big, there is no justice in the world!
Of course, we have to know, what is in-store next – books, events, etc.?
At the moment, I am finishing off the blog tours and promotional events for The Phoenix Project release, but in a mere few months, I will be re-releasing my second novel, A Chronicle of Chaos, through Booktrope. So, it will soon be time to begin preparing for that, plus I am about to enter the editing stages of the second in my fantasy series – The Shield of Soren. I’m around 35,000 words into the third book too, so I’ve got plenty to keep me busy!
D.M. Cain is a dystopian and fantasy author working for US publisher Booktrope. She has released three novels: The Phoenix Project – a psychological thriller set in a dystopian future, Soren – a middle-grade fantasy, and A Chronicle of Chaos – the first in a dark fantasy series. She is currently working on the next novel in the series, ‘The Shield of Soren’, and a novella to accompany it.
D.M. Cain is also a member of the International Thriller Writers and is one of the creators and administrators of the online author group #Awethors. Her short story ‘The End’ was published in Awethology Dark – an anthology by the #Awethors.
Cain lives in Leicestershire, UK, with her husband and young son, and spends her time reading, writing and reviewing books, playing RPGs and listening to symphonic metal.