Monday, May 22, 2023

Daniel Castlewrite - The IAN Interview

Daniel Castlewrite

I’ve enjoyed science-fiction and fantasy as far back as I can remember. I watched movies and played video games that became more enthralling as technology improved. Over time, I became inspired by the infinite possibilities. Despite this, I never imagined that someday I would be capable of creating a story that others would enjoy reading. My perspective on life was largely influenced by my service in the military, becoming a parent, and obtaining a degree in psychology. Those milestones broadened my outlook, shifted priorities, and raised complex questions - such as ‘What drives human behavior?’ I also sought out people with experiences and perspectives different from my own. Not to prove them wrong, but to expand my own understanding. It is this culmination of ideas and perspectives, that finally gave me the confidence to write a book. So, for better or worse, I can proudly say that the worlds and characters in my works are inspired not only by my own worldviews but also by those of the people who were kind enough to share their stories with me.

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

Daniel Castlewrite: Helix Mysteries: The First Change is inspired by the interplay between fantasy, mythology, and modern technology. It explores the idea of what could happen if the creatures that have only existed in myths and legends suddenly began manifesting in the 21st century. Told from the perspective of the first human to evolve, the story touches on the fears, uncertainties, and frustrations of both those evolving and the ones closest to them. With an impending intergalactic invasion looming, Helix Mysteries also explores the societal and cultural impacts of a world that will never be the same. As science attempts to make sense of how everything fits, the truth about human history and even the origins of life are revealed… and they’re not what anyone would expect.

IAN: Is Helix Mysteries published in print, e-book or both?

Daniel Castlewrite: It is currently available in both print and e-book.

IAN: Where can we go to buy Helix Mysteries?

Daniel Castlewrite: Print and e-book are both available on Amazon. A print version can also be purchased from Barnes & Noble.

IAN: Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?

Daniel Castlewrite: I definitely just wing it! This form of writing is unfortunately far more intensive when it comes to editing. However, it has spurred some of the most interesting concepts that I introduce throughout the book.

IAN: How long did it take to write Helix Mysteries?

Daniel Castlewrite: I began writing the story that eventually became HM: TFC in 2012. However, I did not commit to turning it into a book until around 2018. So, realistically, it took roughly four years.

IAN: How did you come up with the title?

Daniel Castlewrite: Since the story focuses on the mysteries locked away in human DNA, which is a double-helix – I thought Helix Mysteries would be an apt title for the series. “The First Change” clearly stemmed from the fact that most of the book is written from the perspective of the first human to evolve.

IAN: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Daniel Castlewrite: Absolutely! Many of the characters make jokes or refer to concepts relating to my service in the military. I have also included several “easter eggs” for people who know me, especially for my daughter.

IAN: How is Helix Mysteries different from others in your genre?

Daniel Castlewrite: Admittedly, I would not be considered an “avid reader.” However, based on feedback and reviews from fans of both science-fiction and fantasy, Helix Mysteries is unlike anything they have read. Thankfully, in a good way. One key difference, based on a reader’s comment, was that “The creation story and the purpose of humanity are really unique.”

IAN: Do you see writing as a career?

Daniel Castlewrite: Definitely! I love to write and create unique story arcs. If my book(s) could sustain my life and travel, it would be a dream come true!

IAN: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in Helix Mysteries?

Daniel Castlewrite: No, I am quite happy with how it turned out.

IAN: Did you learn anything from writing Helix Mysteries and what was it?

Daniel Castlewrite: Yes, it has given me a newfound appreciation and respect for editors and professional authors. As much as I love writing the story, establishing a flow which keeps the reader engaged throughout, is no easy task. I have had to rearrange numerous chapters, so that the story unfolds throughout the book. Rather than in spurts that would either leave the reader bored or overwhelmed.

IAN: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Daniel Castlewrite: Surround yourself with people who disagree with you and listen to their perspectives. Taking the time to genuinely understand perspectives that contrast your own ideas and beliefs enables you to create characters and engaging discussions. Plus, you never know what ideas will emerge.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

Daniel Castlewrite: I am currently working on Helix Mysteries: The Second Suns. It is sequel to HM: The First Change. Tying off and expanding on the story arcs of several characters the second book sets up the new world with limitless opportunities for short stories – Helix Mysteries: The New World.

IAN: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Daniel Castlewrite: Thank you!