Authors get asked a lot of questions. Here you’ll find some of these questions. The ones that are being asked all the time. You’ll find them answered here. BUT…these are just Daan Katz’s answers, and Daan is just one author. Other authors might answer these same questions quite differently.
Questions about writing
How do you find inspiration for your writing?
Inspiration is all around me. It’s in the music I hear, the food I eat, and the conversations I overhear. And make no mistake, writers “overhear” a lot of conversations. Most of us are avid people-watchers. We have to be. It’s one of the best ways to learn how to write believable characters.
How do you choose/make up names for your characters?
Sometimes I don’t need to make up their names, because they introduce themselves to me properly, name and all. That’s obviously what I’d like all my characters to do, but not all of them are as well-behaved. Sometimes they’ll tell me their names later on in the story. Like my character Sebben Dansinger. I had no idea what his name was and, frankly, I got fed up with him because he just wouldn’t come to life on the pages. Eventually, I became so annoyed with him, I decided to turn him into a caricature of myself, and called him Bastian Dansinger – a name loosely based on my own names. He was fine with his surname, but told me in no uncertain term that his first name was Sebben. And just like that, he became a real person. Finally.
I also like to make names by playing around with words, place names, etc. Just mix them up a little, leave some (or many) letters out, reorder. It’s a nice game.
Then there are the obvious resources like baby name books and websites, which can come in incredibly handy. But, for me, the most handy tool is Fantasy Name Generators – a website with tons and tons of name generators. That one is usually my first stop when I need a name.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
Badly. I get really grumpy. I hate not being able to write.
It took me decades to figure out what causes writer’s block for me, but during the first COVID-lockdown in my country it finally clicked. As an autistic, I simply cannot deal with too many social obligations. They wear me out, and chase my Muse away.
The lockdown dealt with that issue rather effectively. My Muse returned, and I was able to write like never before. Now that I know what causes my writer’s block, I also know how to deal with it and it hardly ever happens any more.
Where do you get your ideas?
Ideas are like inspiration, only more detailed. Let’s say I’m in a pub, quietly enjoying a drink by myself, watching people whilst pretending to read a book. (Because, you know, people don’t like being watched. They tend to think it’s creepy – and you really don’t want to creep them out.) Then you overhear two people talking about poets, and how weird poets are. That’s a poem born right there. You jot the first draft down quickly, and refine it later in the solitude of you own home.
When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I can’t really remember when I first realised I wanted to be a writer, but I was quite young, and not really 100% convinced yet, because I also wanted to be a classical singer when I grew up. And a teacher. In the end I became all three.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Though writing takes up a lot of my time, I try to play the piano and sing every day. A lot of my time goes into playing with and caring for my cats. Then there’s just plain old spending time with family and friends, which I think is very important.
Last but not least, I always have a book (or two, three, five…) to read. Writers have to be readers. We can learn so much simply by reading books and studying both what the writer has done right, and what they have done wrong. And then, hopefully, we’ll be able to make our own mistakes, rather than repeating someone else’s.
What are you working on now?
A portal fantasy about a woman who finds herself mysteriously transported to another world, where technology hasn’t evolved past the 19th century, and where people still believe in magic. She wants just one thing: go back home, but nobody seems to know how.
When will your next book be published?
My novel “Death and the Maiden” , will be published in the second half of 2022.