Lucy Turns Pages: Read, Write, Publish, Promote

Lucy Turns Pages: Author Interview: Denise O. Eaton, Fantasy Author

Author Interview: Denise O. Eaton, Fantasy Author

1) Please introduce yourself (who are you, what genre/s do you write in, what books do you have out)

For anyone who doesn’t know me, perhaps the first important thing to know is that fantasy, anime, and magic consume my life. I’ve always liked to escape from the norm, especially since I didn’t have the best childhood growing up. I would cling to any book or program with magic in it and then started to craft my own worlds and stories before I even picked up a pencil as a child. Fantasy is my passion. As an adult, DnD has fueled my imagination more than most other pastimes and has become the inspiration for my debut series, Arigale, whose first entry was released in August 2021.

2) What are your favourite books?

The Giver by Lois Lowry is something I think everyone should read. This book wasn’t required when I was in fifth grade for nothing. The Giver holds you and makes you question a lot of things, especially when read at that age. This book opened me up to a lot of new ideas and helped me form more of my sense of self. Don’t watch the movie. Read the book, no matter how many banned lists it may be on now.

I also love Bloody Spade by B.M. Willows! I’m so excited I was approved to beta read the sequel. I need to find more books with an anime-style flavor to it as this one has. If you like transformation sequences, pining, elegant styles, vivid descriptions, and just suck a unique flair, check this one out! The author is also an artist so there is lots of fanart to peek at.

Lastly, I’ll say I’m always going to be fond of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Those books are still a testament to the weird, outrageous things that can make a story all the more fun for both author and reader. I need to buy them all again eventually. I lost all my original copies.

3) When did you know you wanted to be an author?

Middle school, since I’d been writing for years at that point with short stories and poems I would rip out of notebooks and give to friends and family. It just made sense when the first job questionnaires came around my classroom to put down author as a choice (even if I also put singer while not realizing yet how tone-deaf I am).

4) What is your favourite part of the writing process? What is your least favourite and how do you get through it?

I love drafting, but I hate editing. I spend so long scrutinizing as I draft and plot and rework things that my editing process is relatively short, and I do that for a reason. I love re-reading my work, but going in and looking at sentence flow, overused words, and punctuation can get a little boring. I need extra coffee or matcha on those days.

5) What is your writing routine?

I have to have music playing on my headphones as I write. The music I pick always goes with the character or scene and helps me feel and bring about those emotions in my own work. If I have no music, I get distracted by little noises from nearby apartments or even the wind passing the windows.

I always have a hot drink or a snack, at least when I first sit down to write. Sometimes it’s coffee and sometimes it’s tea. I love loose leaf tea and have a collection of it so that is probably used more often.

I tend to do all my research as I write. Considering the fantasy story is all in my head, I look up whatever comes up I’m not sure about. My worst google search so far was about burn wounds. I needed to know what a deadly burn could look like to describe it accurately, so I looked up a number of pictures despite my turning stomach. For one who writes a lot of grotesque imagery in battle scenes, I have a weak stomach when it comes to actual visuals.

I’ll write for a couple of hours up to a whole day. I really don’t have a set goal most days, or set days or times to write. I have chronic pain and fatigue, so my days are more decided for me by my health than by my goals. I still tend to meet deadlines on time thanks to how much I plan.

6) How do you balance writing (and everything else to do with it) with the rest of your life?

Writing is the only job I have due to my illness, so it’s not too hard. I’m lucky that my husband is also my caregiver and biggest supporter. With the pandemic, seeing friends has not been very possible, so my time is largely open to however I am able to spend it that day with my health.

7) What inspires you? How do you beat writers' block?

I’m inspired by DnD and anime primarily, as well as all the fantasy books I read growing up. I don’t read as often anymore since I burnt out in college reading six books or more a week and stepped away for some years, but I’m glad I am picking up more books slowly now.

Yes, I do believe in writer’s block. I’ve suffered due to it many times. I equate it mostly to burnout in my own experience. Creatives need time to recharge. Sometimes, it’s really just pressure that stops me in my tracks. The thought of strangers reading your work can be daunting no matter how exciting it is at the same time. I tend to beat it by giving myself a few days to play games and marathon Netflix, then I sit myself down with nothing but my word doc.

8) How do you keep consistent/write a lot?

Simply put, I don’t. I don’t believe in required daily word counts or all that, even if my health was better. A lot of people push themselves into burnout and beyond and forget to enjoy the things around them with their nose on the grindstone. I don’t want that sort of life.

9) Does anyone read or edit your work before publication? If so, how did you find them?

My husband, some friends and family, and my number one beta turned friend Fable Briste, all read over my work before publication. Those first ones are more obvious, but I found Fable through art commissions for my characters and she grew interested in my story from there. She has a MA in English and Literature, so with my little BA in English and Creative Writing, we do fair work editing.

10) Can we have a sneaky look at your future plans?

Besides three or four more books in the Arigale series, I plan on writing a stand-alone novel with themes of dreaming, awake and asleep, as well as life and what choices we make in it. I don’t want to say much more in case of spoilers, but I am very excited to write that tale. I've titled it ‘Dream Escape’.

11) Finally, what advice would you give to other writers (inspiring, those publishing, and those published)?

Write what you want. Even if you want to write to current trends to make money, most will run out of fashion before you get the book out. If authors don’t have a degree of passion for what they are doing, they’ll run out of steam more often too. Writing is hard work. You’re signing up for years of work in the shadows where getting feedback can be difficult, but once you do it’s the most rewarding thing there is.


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