Born in 1980, Daniel Arenson is an author of fantasy fiction, from epic to dark and surreal.
He began his career writing short stories. He sold his first story, "Worms Believe in God", in 1998. Since then, dozens of his stories and poems have appeared in various magazines, among them Flesh & Blood, Chizine, and Orson Scott Card's Strong Verse.
Five Star Publishing, an imprint of Gale, published Arenson's fantasy novel Firefly Island in 2007. Since then, he's written the fantasy novels The Gods of Dream, Flaming Dove, Eye of the Wizard, and Blood of Requiem.
My Tower of Books: I haven't read many books with dragons as the main characters. What gave you the idea to not just have dragons in your story, but humans that can shift into them for your Song of Dragons series?
Daniel: So many fantasy novels feature humans riding dragons. Those are fun stories, but I didn't want to just write another dragon rider book. So I decided... humans who can turn into dragons. I had never heard of anyone else writing this type of story. I'm sure it's been done before -- most ideas have been done -- but I still don't know of any similar books.
I think it makes the whole story more fun. If anything is better than riding a dragon, it's being able to turn into one at will.
MToB: I always have a favorite character in the books I'm reading. Did you have a character that you just loved writing? If so, which one?
Daniel: I enjoyed writing about all the characters. If I thought they were boring, I wouldn't write about them. That said, I think my favorites are the younger characters: Kyrie, Agnus Dei, and Gloriae. They each have distinct, strong personalities, and they were lots of fun to write. The adult characters in this book are serious, thoughtful, reflective; their children tend to be more outrageous.
MToB: Did you know when you started the first book, Blood of Requiem, that this would be a trilogy or did the story take on a life of it's own?
Daniel: The original idea was very different. At first, I wanted to write a story based on Mozart's Requiem. It would be similar to Disney's Fantasia -- an attempt to craft a story to classical composition. I had planned fourteen chapters, one for each movement of the Requiem. Each chapter would try to match the tone of its movement. I'd invite the reader to listen to the music as he or she read.
But... it didn't work. Readers wouldn't have access to the music. Or they wouldn't be able to synch the music with the appropriate chapters. It was all a bit too arty and pretentious.
So I scrapped that idea, and went back to square one. I already had some ideas I liked -- humans who can turn into dragons, warfare against griffins, and a story full of tragedy and love and death and adventure. I decided to rewrite this story as an epic fantasy series.
It was a strange evolution... but I think it worked out!
MToB: I know that some writers have a special spot or location they go to when they write. Do you have a specific place that you go when writing?
Daniel: I travel a lot. I'm often on the road. I write on trains, in coffee shops, at subway stations, and really anywhere I can pull out my netbook. Someday I'd love to have a quiet place and steady routine!
MToB: Writers aren't always writing. What are some other things you enjoy doing in your free time?
Daniel: Free what now?
Thanks to Daniel for doing this interview! It has been great learning more about your process.