Today we welcome D A Nelson as we travel to Loch Lomond Scotland to learn how a big desk, a blackbird, knitting, Wacky Races, and Edith Nesbit play roles in D A Nelson’s life and imagination. Stretch out, get comfortable, and read on …
Where do you live and which genre do you write?
I live near Loch Lomond in Scotland.
I write both fiction and non-fiction for adults and kids. My kids’ books are the fiction fantasy trilogy DarkIsle, DarkIsle: Resurrection and DarkIsle: The Final Battle plus my non-fiction book, A Children’s History of Glasgow. For adults, I’ve got my adventure romance, Dusting Down Alcudia (this is the first in a series of novels starring a female archaeologist, the second one is due out this year), and the dark comedy, Everything She Wants.
How many published books do you have?
Six so far. Many more to come!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?
The simple answer to that is when I learned to read. I’ve always loved books and reading, and have wanted to be a writer since I was about eight and realised this was something a person could do. As a kid I used to write and illustrate my own books. I’ve kept them all and they are funny to read. Let’s just say I am a much better writer than an illustrator!
What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?
Ooh, that’s an interesting question. Let me think. Well, I have a lovely big desk to write on, but don’t use it. Instead I prefer writing on our dining room table. I think it’s because there’s more room to stretch out – if you know what I mean. Plus I can keep a better eye on the kids!
What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?
My spirit animal would be a blackbird because I think they are such funny little birds with a beautiful song. We have some that nest in our garden and I love watching them as they hop about the garden.
What does your ideal writing space look like?
A huge library in an ancient castle packed full of leather bound books, large comfortable leather reading chairs and a huge fireplace where I would sit to stare into the flames and make up stories. My desk would be one of those large, antique desks with a comfortable chair. On top of the desk would be a bell which I would ring for the butler to bring me tea.
What are you currently reading?
A World Gone Mad, Astrid Lindgren’s wartime diaries. A really good and interesting book.
What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?
I take my dogs out a walk, I look after my kids. I’m currently doing an Open University degree in English Literature and Creative Writing, which I am loving, so that takes up a fair bit of time. In the evening, I like to knit in front of the television.
If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I would want a date with Edith Nesbit and I’d ask her where she got her energy from to write all the stories, articles and books she did. I loved E Nesbit books as a kid, I think I’ve read them all at least twice! I’d love to chat to her about reading and writing.
Do you journal write or keep a personal diary?
No, but I do keep an ideas book, which has some crazy ideas for stories in it.
What is the most inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?
I won the 2018 Royal Mail Book Awards for Scottish Children’s Books in 2018. It was for DarkIsle. I was really, really pleased to have won it, not just because of the winning, but because it was an award voted for by kids. I could hardly speak when I went up to collect my award, I was that surprised and emotional. Anyone that knows me will tell you I am never short of words!
You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What do you do to prepare yourself?
I get very, very nervous. I really don’t like being in the limelight like that, so I do a lot of deep breathing to calm my nerves.
What do you miss about being a kid?
Having no responsibilities and being able to read all day, every day.
If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?
Wacky Races because I always wanted to be Penelope Pitstop. I thought she was so pretty when I was wee.
If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?
I would turn into Morag from DarkIsle for the day because she’s immersed in a world of magic, with talking animals and wizards and witches. I think that would be fascinating.
What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?
The new How to Train Your Dragon. I watched it because me and my kids love the series of films. I love the idea of dragons, so much so that there’s a dragon in my DarkIsle trilogy.
A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?
He would check the address with me and once I told him he was in the right place, he would whistle to his companions and all the Penguin Mariachi Band would enter my house. They would be there to provide the music for my Mexican themed party,
If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?
Do you love me or are you just sucking up because I feed you? What is it that you dream about? Is dog food as rank as it looks?
Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?
My imagination because without it I couldn’t write books. I have a pretty healthy imagination, which is why I don’t watch horror films or tv series – I would never sleep again if I did. Every bump, creak and swishing sounds would be a zombie or a serial killer trying to break into my house.
What’s your favourite place to visit in your country and why?
Glen Coe because it’s truly amazing and awe inspiring. You learn just how insignificant humans truly are when you are standing in the glen looking up at those huge mountains. You should go there some day, it’s beautiful.
Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.
I would take myself to Sir Walter Scott’s house in the Scottish Borders and spend a happy day wandering around his house. I’m a big fan of his novels. I’d then go for a nice lunch where I’d eat a delicious two course meal (three course would be just too much for me) and wine with a companion who loves books and reading as much as I do. So, we’d sit and discuss novels we were reading and finish the day with wine in front of an open fire at a five star hotel. Sorry, I know you said a solo date, but I hate to eat alone.
Tell us about your most recent book.
Everything She Wants is a new dark comedy starring the bored and put upon housewife, Susan. She decides there’s more to life than housework, her bullying husband and selfish teen daughter, so she runs away to join a Wham tribute act. There’s the chance of happiness with a new man, if only she could get around his huge ego.
Thank you for joining us on MTA! It was an incredible pleasure to learn more about you and your books! – Camilla
Where to find the book:
UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2HDB0v1
US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2LelFDl
Connect with D A Nelson:
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And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …