Some Thoughts with … D.G. Redd

5 Nov 2022

The Author/s

D.G. Redd

D.G. Redd

In his own words:

I have always enjoyed writing, but never really put much effort into it. Now I am writing a novel.

A little bit about myself: I have a family, two children, dog, cat, fish, stick insects, and snails. I have a full-time job. Writing is done in between all these mandatory tasks.

Previously, I very much enjoyed making (or attempting to make) small hobby computer games. I’ve also run a good number of Dungeons & Dragons campaigns for my friends, in a play-by-post method.

He can be found in the different socials:

The Interview

Welcome again to my favourite section of the blog, interviews with the author. Today we are accompanied by D.G. Redd, SPFBO8 semifinalist with You Can’t Prevent Prophecy, whose book Old Wizards Home we are reviewing. Both of them are part of Stories of The Three Kingdoms series.

Let’s dive in!

1.- When did you start writing?

I had a couple of false starts as far back as 2016. I started writing a sci-fi novel, but never got very far. Tried two or three times if my old Google doc dates are accurate.

But I didn’t try *well*. I didn’t read anything about writing, and I had no understanding of how to write good prose. I think that’s indicative of how much I was trying, i.e. Not very much.

Then in 2020, I had a proper go at it, like everyone else in the pandemic I guess. Watched all the Brando Sando YouTube videos, read Stephen King’s book On Writing. Wrote some shorts that will be forever unpublished. Got through the sci-fi novel, and completed the first draft, second draft, and third. 

It wasn’t good. Critique readers, fellow authors doing beta reads really, had a lot of negatives to say. I learned, and then wrote my first released novel.I plan on going back to that sci-fi novel one day.

2.- What made you decide to choose self-publishing?

Lots of reasons. 

In general, I have an aversion to authority. I’m distrustful of people who claim to know what’s best and what you should do based on a position they hold, rather than a skill or perspective they have. 

I think this aversion comes from my interactions with really terrible teachers in high-school. So I have always had a bit of a counterculture streak. I still listen to punk.

And so, to me, publishers are just gatekeepers. Due to a position they hold, and not necessarily any magical knowledge, they pass judgment on authors and their stories. I just can’t be cool with that. Their goal is to find things that sell, not good things. 

I think the Internet, one of the great things about it, is that it allowed so many things to circumvent the gatekeepers.

Anyway, self-publishing made sense because I retain all control. I’m not paying massive royalties to someone who let me pass under their guarded arches. I have no illusions that I’ll be a monetary success, but I’d be damned if I have to pay some guy 70% of my earnings because he gave my book his personal approval. 

And you know, you can spend countless hours querying agents and submitting your novel, etc. Or you can use that time self-publishing your own novel. I’m far more interested in using my time directly to benefit myself than to try and gain the attention of an aloof, all-knowing publisher’s agent. 

3.- Congrats on getting to the semifinals of SFPBO 8 with You Can’t Prevent Prophecy. Did you expect this success?

No. Not by a long shot. I’d had good reviews prior, but it was still a big confirmation that I was writing well. Up until then, I wasn’t really sure. I thought maybe… I’m writing stuff that a few people like? 

4.- Let’s talk more about the Three Kingdoms. How would you introduce them to any reader?

It’s my old D&D campaign world. It’s served as a backdrop to lots of adventures. There isn’t really anything special there, just that it’s mine. I have an online private wiki where I’ve developed NPCs and town stats etc over the years, so in terms of world-building, writing stories in it is easy.

I’m a very big believer that the world is second to the book. So I haven’t ever tried to make The Three Kingdoms uniquely interesting. It’s a very generic, D&D 3.5e (the best edition) inspired fantasy world. But it suits the sort of stories I’m telling very well, and it’s pre-made in some ways so I can write fast. 

5.- In Old Wizards Home, magic has different sources, could you develop it a little bit more?

I could. But it’s magic!

I don’t like hard magic systems so much. Magic should retain a bit of a mystery. So in Old Wizards Home, there are Sorcerers with innate magical abilities, and Wizards with learned magical abilities. But magic can also be bestowed by the gods, and everyone has a very small amount of magical capability that can be diverted and collected to «awaken» magic in just about everyone (awakened like how a god would bestow magic).

There’s even a psion. 

In The Unicorn Heist, I have a Druid with magic provided by nature itself too. Nature is a bit like a god. 

Anyone familiar with D&D would recognize the influences here. For me the magic is very much «whatever, it’s magic». I don’t allow it to be used by characters as a «get out of trouble» card or anything, but the magic serves the story, not the other way around.

Tomorrow, I might have a new story with naming magic. Why not? It’s magic!

6.- What ignited the idea behind Old Wizards Home, and in general the Three Kingdoms?

The Three Kingdoms was created because I’m stubborn. When I run D&D, I’m nearly always Dungeon Master, I hate the idea of using an established campaign setting. I don’t know why some fault in me.

Old Wizards Home started like all my other stories. As a dumb idea. Wouldn’t it be funny if the big bad-end guy was in a nursing home and no one cared who he was?

I’m a pantser, or gardener if you prefer, so I just started writing to see where it would lead. 

7.- Which other writers would you say have inspired you? Could I make a guess and say that there’s some inspiration from Terry Pratchett?

Definitely Pratchett. Much more for You Can’t Prevent Prophecy than the others.

Weirdly though, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Wilbur Smith are big inspirations. Things that excite, entertain, and make you want to turn the next page. I think of my books as popcorn fantasy a lot of the time. 

David Eddings and Robin Hobb for fantasy influences in general. But most of my fantasy influence comes from D&D and my experiences playing it, I think. 

8.- I like the artistic line on the covers. Who is responsible for that?

I made them. I needed covers, I know my way around GIMP, and I couldn’t justify the expense of a cover designer.

I also needed consistent covers, so that each book is clearly in the same series. So... That’s what I came up with. I’ve never been super happy with the result, but they sell well enough and no one has ever complained. 

9.- What can we expect from D.G. Redd in the future?

More. I’ve got a novelette about a Gnoll Opera Singer on a diplomatic mission to see the human queen. It’s in beta readers’ hands now.

I’m working through the first draft of another novel too. This one has an elven tinkererer, an oozemaster, and one of the POV characters is a crow familiar for a castle-destroying dragon wizard. There’s also a gargoyle.