Today, I’m thrilled to introduce author Devin Hodgins. He’s kindly agreed to answer questions about his writing and debut release with Musa Publishing, Day Dreamer.
Devin Hodgins lives in Casper, Wyoming, surrounded by mountains, prairies, and wind. He writes mainly fantasy, some science fiction, and even a wee smattering of horror, along with a few verses of poetry. His principal influences include Kafka, Borges, and Archambault.
Every night, Steve dreams about the next day. It’s as if he is living each day twice–once asleep and once awake–and he is tired of it. When he learns his old girlfriend, Dawn, is home from college for the summer, he contacts her and begs her to help him find a way to stop dreaming of each day. As they grow close once again, she suggests he defy his dreams and do the opposite of whatever he dreams of each night. But then Steve is faced with a decision: does he follow his dream of being back with Dawn or does he do the opposite of what he dreamed and let go of her once again? How can he ever find the way to dream beyond tomorrow?
Devin, welcome to my blog. It’s wonderful to have you here. Why don’t you start by telling us how long you’ve been writing fiction?
I can’t remember not writing. But as far as writing for the prospect of publication–only 16 years or so.
You must be very excited about your most recent release, Day Dreamer. Can you tell us about the story?
This is a novella. Too long to be a short story, too short to be a full-length book, it’s such a difficult length to market . But that’s one of the really great things Musa Publishing is doing–they’re publishing novella-length stories as stand-alone pieces at a good price. Anyway, this story is about a fella who dreams every night about the next day. He begs his ex-girlfriend, Dawn, to help him find a way to make his premonitory dreams stop. She suggests he defy his dreams and do the opposite of whatever he dreams each night. He promises to try. But then he is faced with the decision of whether to do what he really wants which is to be with Dawn, just as he has dreamt, or whether to keep his promise and lose her all over again. Dream, in all its incarnations and metaphors, winds throughout the tale.
What wonderful conflict. Did you use your own dreams as inspiration?
In preparation for another little 3-page story I had in mind about dreamers and dreams, I kept a nocturnal, or dream journal. For a year and a night I recorded my dreams. The exercise helped me to remember my dreams better, and although I never experienced anything quite as dramatic as Steven in the story, I did come across a moment or two which I thought I had dreamt of before. Or so I wondered. And wondering led me to this tale.
I always have terrible trouble choosing titles. How did you choose the title for Day Dreamer?
A long drawn out process of elimination. Titles are always difficult for me.
Who will enjoy reading your novella?
Anyone who has ever wondered about their dreams. Really, though, this story can challenge readers with its fantastical element even while maintaining the appearance that it could still be based in reality. It’s accessible, too. Purely speculative, it’s somewhat mature in its way, but fine for adolescents and readers of Young Adult.
Some authors spend a great deal of time choosing character names. How do you choose yours?
Research. I usually decide on a sense of the character and then pour over languages and etymologies, disguising roots and derivations.” Steven Wespers,” for instance:“Steven” is an archaic form for voice. “Wespers” I took from “vespers” or evening prayers. So, his name, to me, means “singer of nightsongs.”
Where’s your favourite place to write? A cabin in the hills, on a sofa in front of the TV, in the garden?
I have a dusty desk in a dark corner of the room in which I grew up. And although I ponder pieces constantly, always carrying a notebook and a pen with me everywhere, I have scrawled a good ninety-eight percent of all the words I have ever written right there in that room.
Do you have a favourite word? I’ve always liked ‘silhouette.’
The first one. No, the last one. No, whichever one I am writing at the moment.
What is your most common writing mistake, the one that makes your editor want to scream?
I have a tendency to veer off into poetic passages, wandering away across far abiding horizons, allowing myself to get lost in language, and that’s not always what’s best for the story.
Finally, can you recommend any particular craft books that have helped you with your writing?
The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.
Thank you so much for providing us with such fun and detailed answers. I’m sure readers will join me in wishing you every success with Day Dreamer.
Please write a comment below to let Devin know how much you’d enjoyed his interview. Perhaps you have a pressing question that I failed to ask. Don’t be shy. Write your question in the box, and Devin will be more than happy to provide an answer. You can also subscribe to my blog (top right) for the next author interview with Kristine Goodfellow on 5th November to be delivered to your email in-box. Thank you for your support.
Day Dreamer is available from Musa Publishing.