Interview with Author Doug Dandridge
Welcome, Doug. What inspired you to launch / join The Alvarium Experiment?
I was asked to join by one of the other authors, whom I had met at a writer’s conference in my home town. I’m always looking for new ways to promote, and had just recently put a short story in an anthology by Kevin J Anderson, so, as this seemed interesting, I jumped at the invitation. I still don’t know what the result will be of participation, part of what makes it an experiment, but it was a lot of fun writing the story.
What are some of the benefits and challenges of writing “into” an existing framework for Prometheus as a character? How did that shape your creative process for your story? Is it different from your usual writing process?
Well, to start off, I had to discard some of the ideas I had for the character, as they didn’t fit in with the ground rules. Things like making Prometheus a veritable demigod, giving him advanced technology, etc. I also had to write in a real historical world, something I want to do in the future with alternate history, but really didn’t have a lot of experience with on entry into this project. I had to work with real settings, in this case, the Plains of Marathon in Greece, and people who really existed. Of course, what we know about the people is cursory at most, so they could be fleshed out as I thought best. I’m also more of a novelist, and am used to writing sweeping tales that lend themselves to long descriptions. With the ten thousand word limit to the stories, I was forced to cut back on the description and just focus on the action. As I’m planning on doing more short works in the future, this was useful to my development as a writer.
Tell me more about your other work(s).
There are really a lot of them, so I’ll have to be brief. I have quite a few standalone works that came from the years I was submitting to publishers. Most came back with good rejections, so I thought I should self-publish them. These books include The Hunger (an urban fantasy), The Scorpion (a scifi technothriller), Doppelganger (high fantasy), The Deep Dark Well (far future scifi) among others. I also have some standalones I wrote for self-publication, We Are Death, Come For You (military scifi), Aura (high fantasy), Afterlife (near future scifi). I eventually wrote two more novels as sequels to The Deep Dark Well, To Well and Back and Deeper and Darker, and may do a second trilogy added on to that Universe. In 2010 I wrote two very long novels, Exodus and Refuge. I thought that 200,000+ word books might be a little long for self-pub, so I turned both of them into two books, and released both in the Fall of 2012.
I really thought that Refuge, a genre crossing technothriller/fantasy, would be the breakout series. It was the more imaginative of the two series, and had characters from our time and space, which I thought would be more interesting to readers. While the first two books did fairly well, 9,000 sales across two books, it never took off like I hoped. There are now four books in the series, which I continue to write for the fans who love the series. Exodus was retitled Exodus: Empires at War, because I did not want people buying the book, thinking it had a Biblical theme, and hating it. There are now seven books in the main series, Empires at War, with over 80,000 sales. Books 3 through 7 all hit number one in multiple categories on Amazon.UK, and went up to the top ten on Amazon.US, book 3 rising to number 3. Exodus: Tales of the Empire, a line that journeys off the main storyline, got to number two in Space Exploration at Amazon.UK, and number nine in the same category at Amazon.US. This series is what allowed me to become a full time writer, and will be the focus of my time in the foreseeable future.
I recently placed a 15,000 word novelette set in the Exodus Universe in Kevin J Anderson’s Five By Five military science fiction anthology. I consider that another breakthrough, into the world of traditional publishing through Kevin’s Wordfire Press. Hopefully that will lead to more anthologies. I have also written six short stories for Dean Wesley Smith and Kristin Cathryn Rusch’s Writers of the Coast Anthology Workshop, coming in March. There is a chance that any or all of those stories will be published
Tell me more about your short story in The Prometheus Saga. Why did you pick that episode in history?
I am a military fiction writer, both science fiction and fantasy, so a martial themed story was a natural. I was trying to think of a good story from antiquity, since most of the other tales in the saga seemed to be in more modern times. Leonidas and the 300 has been done to death, and the Roman conquests did not have the right feel to them. Marathon, though, was an outnumbered army of Athenians standing against the Persian army for their democracy. Not really a democracy as we think of one today, but still quite a departure from the kingdoms and empires of the day. I thought Socrates had fought in the battle, but found in my research that he hadn’t been born yet, which emphasizes the importance of good research. But, even better, I found out that the playwright Aeschylus, the father of modern theater, was at the battle, and he wrote a famous play called Prometheus Unbound. The connection was perfect.
What are your writing plans for 2015? What does the new year hold in store for you?
I am currently working on the second book of the Tales of the Empire imprint, this time a novel, which should be out at the beginning of March. I have the basic plots for the next three Empires at War books, and plan to get them out early summer, late summer and mid fall. And I am working on a Renaissance era fantasy for submission to publishers, to be followed up by a near future science fiction novel set on Mars, also to be sent out on the traditional path. If both or either don’t land, I still win, because there’s always self-publishing. The dream is becoming a true hybrid author, making most of my income on my indie efforts, while both bringing my reader base to traditionally published works, and expanding my reader base for my indie series, especially Exodus.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Doug Dandridge lives in Tallahassee, Florida, and has been a full time independent author for the last two years. His Amazon Best Selling science fiction series, Exodus: Empires at War, has consistently placed in the number one position in Space Opera and Military Science Fiction on Amazon.UK, and in the top five in the same genres on Amazon.US. He is also the author of the Refuge Technothriller/Fantasy series, and The Deep Dark Well Space Opera series. He currently has 23 fiction and one nonfiction book on Amazon, How I Sold 100,000 Books On Amazon, which documents his steps to becoming a successful author. He has also most recently been published in Kevin J. Anderson’s Five By Five 3: Target Zone military scifi anthology. His blog can be found at dougdandridge.com, in which he covers his own work,topics of interest to readers and writers, his take on some of the most tiresome tropes in scifi and fantasy. Doug earned a BS in Psychology from Florida State University, and an MA in Clinical Psychology from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.
The Prometheus Saga is the premier project of the Alvarium Experiment, a consortium of accomplished and award-winning authors.
The Saga spans the range of the existence of Homo sapiens. The stories do not need to be read in any particular order; each story is an entry point into the overall story.
The Prometheus Saga stories & authors are:
“The Pisces Affair” by Daco Auffenorde. CIA operative Jordan Jakes meets Prometheus when the Secretary of State becomes the target of a terrorist attack at a head-of-state dinner in Dubai. Visit Daco at www.authordaco.com.
“On Both Sides” by Bria Burton. When a mysterious woman vanishes during the American Revolution, young Robby Freeman searches for answers from a cryptic sharpshooter who deserted Washington’s Continental Army. Visit Bria at www.briaburton.com.
“Ever After” by M.J. Carlson. Two mysterious women convey the same Cinderella story to Giambattista Basile in 1594 and Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in 1811. How different cultures retell this story reveals humanity’s soul to those who listen. Visit M.J. at www.mjcarlson.com.
“The Blurred Man” by Bard Constantine. FBI agent Dylan Plumm’s investigation of a mill explosion puts her on the trail of the Blurred Man, a mysterious individual who may have been on Earth for centuries. Visit Bard at bardofdarkness.wix.com/bardconstantine.
“Crystal Night” by Charles A. Cornell. Berlin, 1938. On the eve of one of history’s darkest moments, a Swedish bartender working in Nazi Germany accidentally uncovers a woman’s hidden past. Can he avoid becoming an accomplice as the Holocaust accelerates? Visit Charles at www.charlesacornell.com.
“The Strange Case of Lord Byron’s Lover” by Parker Francis. Writing in her journal, Mary Shelley recounts a series of perplexing events during her visit with Lord Byron—a visit that resulted in the creation of her famous Frankenstein novel, but also uncovered a remarkable mystery. Visit Parker at www.parkerfrancis.com.
“Strangers on a Plane” by Kay Kendall. In 1969 during a flight across North America, a young mother traveling with her infant meets an elderly woman who displays unusual powers. But when a catastrophe threatens, are those powers strong enough to avert disaster? This short story folds into Kay’s mystery series featuring the young woman, amateur sleuth Austin Starr. Visit Kay at www.kaykendallauthor.com.
“East of the Sun” by Jade Kerrion. Through a mysterious map depicting far-flung lands, a Chinese sailor in 1424 and a Portuguese cartographer in 1519 share a vision of an Earth far greater than the reality they know. Visit Jade at www.jadekerrion.com.
“Manteo” by Elle Andrews Patt. In 1587, Croatan native Manteo returns from London to Roanoke Island, Virginia. Can he reconcile his strong loyalty to the untamed land and people of his home with his desire for the benefits the colonizing English bring with them before one of them destroys the other? Visit Elle at www.elleandrewspatt.com.
“First World War” by Ken Pelham. 40,000 BC: As the last remaining species of hominid, Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis, fight a desperate battle for ownership of the future, the outcasts of both sides find themselves caught in middle. Visit Ken at www.kenpelham.com.
“Lilith” by Antonio Simon, Jr. In this retelling of the Adam & Eve story, a hermit’s life is turned upside-down by the arrival of a mysterious woman in his camp. As the story of their portentous meeting carries forward through the millennia, only time will tell if Lilith is a heroine, a victim, or a monster. Visit Antonio at www.DarkwaterSyndicate.com.
“Fifteen Dollars’ Guilt” by Antonio Simon, Jr. 1881: After a close brush with death in a steamship disaster, Prometheus encounters another survivor who gripes about how aimless his life has become. Prometheus helps him find his calling, inadvertently setting in motion the assassination of President Garfield. Visit Antonio at www.DarkwaterSyndicate.com.
Visit the website to view all of the stories: The Prometheus Saga