Today I'm excited to share an interview with Douglas W.T. Smith. He is an author of epic fantasy and discusses his passion for the genre, and why it is so important for storytellers. He also takes us through his writing journey, his novel To Wield the Stars, and the unique world of writing he is a part of. I hope you enjoy!
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m an Australian Fantasy writer. I’m 31 years old, soon to be a parent of our first baby boy.
I live in the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales.
What has your writing journey been like?
My writing journey has been like a marathon. At first, I tried to write a novel without any knowledge or the fundamentals that hold the novel together. I wanted to tell an epic fantasy tale. After receiving heavy feedback on what I wrote, from a friend at the time, I discovered I needed to learn how authors created these magical and enticing stories.
I’ve written multiple short stories (some published with small presses and magazines––and some added to the slush folder) I’ve finished two manuscripts––To Wield the Stars is to be published with Fiction Vortex, the other, A Time of Stones, will be either self-published or I’ll try to weave it into the traditional publishing sphere. I am also in the process of finishing a novella, (untitled) and hopefully, that will be ready for July, to give away for free to readers that sign up to my mailing list.
Can you pitch us your novel, To Wield the Stars?
To Wield The Stars is an epic fantasy story that follows two sisters and a commander’s son through their challenges and uncertainty, whilst dealing with the suppression of dragonlords, the struggle of sisterhood and self-discovery––within an enthralling and perilous world.
What draws you to epic fantasy?
I love the complexity of Epic Fantasy. The genre is more than dragons and battles, witches and wizards, it's the underlying journey the characters undergo and how they evolve throughout the story. Once Bilbo and Frodo left The Shire, they returned as a different Hobbit that saw their ‘normal life’ differently.
Epic fantasy is another form of reality. Apart from the dragons, the magic systems, White Walkers or Norns, these elements and tropes function for the purpose of the characters development and larger world problems within the story, much like real life, humans face trauma, challenges and over-powering forces that create, change and question actions and consequences
not only in their day-to-day schedule but their entire life––much like characters in our stories.
What draws me into epic fantasy? Our lives are a complex on-going epic fantasy tale that is constantly preparing us to confront and battle new dragons.
Can you describe the world of To Wield the Stars?
Soria is made of two continents, Elitor and Koh’rem. Soria was forged by the elder gods and the history spans over 10,000 years. The people of the world have seen bloody wars, the rise, and fall of divine empires, and pitched struggles between dragons and unicorns—the children of the gods who created men.
There are three main characters, Kyra, Soluna, and Florian. What are they like?
Kyra is Soluna’s older sister. She is determined and protective of her sister, especially when she recently lost her parents to one of the dragonlords. Kyra was probably my hardest character to write because she is so headstrong yet she is constantly thrown into predicaments that weave her fate. Whereas Soluna is wielding her own fate and proving to herself that she is as strong as her older sister.
The commander’s son, Florian is annoying. Florian is a young adult that complains about the world but as the story unfolds, life-changing events force him to learn and stand up for himself and accept the fate bestowed upon him. At the end of the story, Florian is probably my most likable and relatable character.
To Wield the Stars is part of a shared universe with multiple authors, in an overlapping series. How did this come to be and can you explain what this means?
Fiction Vortex, (FV) my publisher, have created its own shared universe. There are five other authors that write their stories within the universe, Soria, but in different ages and moments along the timeline.
What were some challenges with writing in this way?
The biggest challenge for me was writing in a universe that I didn’t create. With all my stories I have created, it’s my own history, landscape, characters and magic systems. It took me about a month to understand my boundaries and limits that make sense in the shared universe for my story.
Another challenge was my story and another FV author, JM Williams’ story is quite close so there were a lot of overlapping themes and characters. It was difficult at first but also interesting to work so close with another author on my story.
Do you have any advice for epic fantasy writers?
Don’t pay attention to what daily word count writers are achieving, it’s overwhelming and adds strain to your writing. Create a routine and set goals that works specifically for you, whether it’s late at night or early morning––and five to five hundred words a day. Make it your routine and reward yourself for completing those goals.
Anything else to add?
If you want to follow my blog for more writing advice and updates on my author journey visit www.dwtsmith.com or sign up to my mailing list here: mailing list to join the writer and reader community, receive exclusive deals on books and possess advanced reader copies before they are published!
Follow Douglas on Instagram: @douglas.w.t.smith