Dean Mayes and I met virtually on Twitter realising we shared Gippsland.  Dean comes from here and I now live here.  After that, we got to talking and he mentioned he has a new book coming up.  So I offered to do an interview to celebrate.

Dean releases of his second book today.  It is called ‘Gifts of the Peramagk’ through Central Avenue Publishing.  This post is one of two for Dean today, with the second being an excerpt from his highly anticipated novel.

Here is a bit of a blurb about it:  Set across two time periods in the harsh Australian outback and the struggle streets of Adelaide’s northern suburban fringe, Gifts of the Peramangk chronicles the incredible journey of an Aboriginal girl with an incredible and prodigious gift. In 1950s Australia, during the height of the divisive White Australia Policy, Virginia, a young Aboriginal girl is taken from her home and…

family and put to work on an isolated, outback station, in the cruelest of conditions. Her only solace: the violin, taught to her in secret by a kind-hearted white woman – the wife of the abusive station owner. However, Virginia’s prodigious musical gift cannot save her from years of hardship, abuse, and racism. Decades later, her eight year old granddaughter, Ruby, plays the violin with a passion Virginia once possessed. Amidst abject poverty, domestic violence and social dysfunction, Ruby escapes her circumstance through her practice, with her grandmother’s frail, guiding hand. Ruby’s zeal attracts the attention of an enigmatic music professor, and with his help, Ruby embarks on an incredible journey of musical discovery that will culminate in a once in a life time chance for a brighter future. But with two cultural worlds colliding, her gift and her ambition will be threatened by deeply ingrained distrust, family jealousies and tragic secrets that will define her very identity.
And now on to the interview:

Who would you like to collaborate with (being living or dead) and why?

Ridley Scott. I regard him as one of the finest artists in cinema and story telling today and he, probably more than any other person, has influenced my creative pulse. I first saw Bladerunner back in like 1984 when I was eleven years old and even then  it had a profound effect on me insofar as how dense the story was. Through subsequent pieces such as ‘Gladiator’, ‘American Gangster’ and ‘Prometheus’, Scott – to me – proves time and time again that he is such a great story teller and artisan.

What would be the best piece of advice you would offer a new author?

Take an idea and work it thoroughly. Sit yourself down with a notepad and pencil and brainstorm it and be prepared to spend a lot of time on it. There is so much that can be achieved by exploring as many permutations of that one idea. Ask questions, extrapolate on possible paths and grow new ideas from that first one. Before too long you will have sown the seeds of a story which you can build on.

Is routine important to you?

It is but it is rare that I get any semblance of routine. My life is such that I find myself grabbing pockets of time whenever I can to do the things I want to do – namely writing.

What genre would you like to write a book in (that you haven’t yet)?

I have, stored away in my garage, an unfinished manuscript for a political thriller set about 70 years into the future. I haven’t yet abandoned the possibilty of taking it out and retooling it but I’m kind of scared of it. I agonized over this story for years before letting it go and I still have it…so I guess that means I will revisit it at some point.

Do you listen to music during all processes of writing? Do you listen music you know or new music when writing?

Music forms a large part of my writing method and I will often have music on in the background as I write. Usually, it’s classical but I’m a huge Vince Jones fan, so I’m very partial to jazz. As a blogger who enjoys show casing music, I’m often on the look out for new music that falls outside of the genres I usually listen to. Those discoveries often end up on my ‘writing playlist’ and I’ll tap into those depending on my mood at the time.

Have you read a romance novel? Do you think you could write one?

My first novel “The Hambledown Dream” is, at its heart, a romance novel and, based on the reviews it has received, it has been very well received across the world.

What sport did you play as a younger person? Were you good at it?

I was a keen cricketer as a kid and loved batting. I also swam competitively for many years and preferred back stroke over pretty much every other stroke. I actually set a record in the 50m event at the West Gippsland School Swimming Sports Association back in 1991 & I believe that record still stands.

When you are coming up with an idea, do you look at the market for trends? Or do you write for you?

No, I don’t look to the market for trends at all. I do indeed write for myself in the first instance but I tailor my writing to make it as accessible as possible.

Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole construct?

My ideas tend to hit me at the most random times and they are never as the result of a considered thought process. They have a tendency to be accidental in their genesis. Formula wise, I’ll work an idea into a basic structure that features a beginning, a middle and an end and then I’ll build on that structure through a process of trial and error.

When you start a new story, do you have a title for it? Does that trigger the story?

No. I’ll assign a working title to a given project and go with that until the story is well advanced. Then I’ll sit down and devise a title by reviewing the project and identifying thematic strands that lend themselves to something titular.

Do you see the future of fantasy and science fiction as bright? If so, which authors are driving it?

Science fiction most definitely. Fantasy on the other hand…well it depends on what kind of fantasy it is.
Luke Romyn stands out, in my mind as an author who is redefining the action/fantasy genre in a positive way with his work that is reminiscent of ‘Highlander’ and ‘Assassins Creed’ but it has a very original and fresh take. Scott Sigler is another name who stands out who as blazed a trail in the sci-fi/action genre. These tow authors have offered a fresh and exciting perspective on both genres and in both cases, they’ve melded those genres together very well. So there is definitely hope there.

What themes are being overused?

Vampires, werewolves, angels, demons. Basically everything that has attempted to ride on the Twilight coat tails. The market is so flooded with the stuff that it has diluted the pool and it is frustrating to watch.

Are movies of books ruining the book?

Only if you watch the movie. I’ve seen a few movies that have exceeded my expectations in their interpretation of the book but they are rare. One of the best movies based on the book I’ve seen in the past say 10 years was “The Quiet American” that starred Michael Caine and Brendan Fraiser. That film was extremely faithful to the novel and I loved the way it was handled.

Do you see ebooks threatening traditional publishing?

I don’t think so. But I see the diminution of the power of the big Publishing Houses. There has been a massive shake up of the market place over the past two to three years and I’m beginning to see signs of the dust beginning to settle. New, smaller quality publishers – including my own (Central Avenue Publishing) – are beginning to garner serious cred and they are succesfully producing digital and print content that is selling very well. There will be a balance between ebooks and print and I think they will co-exist.

Do you prefer to read established authors or debut authors? How do you choose which ones to read?

I am increasingly finding myself drawn towards debut authors because I believe there is a lot of really great talent out there and I’m cognisant of supporting emerging authors. I will take the time to read through the reviews of a particular author and I will read the negative reviews as well as the positive ones. My purchasing decisions are often actually based on the balance between negative and positive reviews. I’ll often baulk at a book that only has positive reviews.

What is it about fantasy that appeals to you?

Fantasy often has no rules or rules that can be bent really well.

Can I get an autographed book? (lol)

Sure – visit where you can purchase both my novels – ‘The Hambledown Dream’ and ‘Gifts of the Peramangk’ either in signed print or digital editions.

Do you have a group of people that you show a new story to? How much impact can they have on the whole story?

There have been a core group of people for both my books whom I sought opinion and guidance from during the editing phase prior to submission to my publisher. I’ll often keep them in the loop through the entire process and yes, their input can and indeed has affected the final product.

Do you set yourself a word limit for each book?

I don’t work on words limits because I think it can affect the writing of a good story. The editing process is usually the time where I start looking at word counts and it’s usually based on kind of mundane things such as the cost of printing a book.

Do you have a target each day?

No. Again – I find the setting of daily targets a negative influence on the writing process and it often feeds into pressure and writers block. If I write a lot of words in one particular day – awesome. If I only manage a page – then that’s fine too. If I’m moving forward, I’m moving forward.

Do you write constantly or have breaks between books?

I do take breaks between projects. At the moment, I’m working on the marketing and promotion of my new novel ‘Gifts of the Peramangk’ which launches internationally on October 26th so I’m not writing anything just now. That’s not to say that I don’t have a project in mind.

Do you have characters running around your head? Do they dictate events and their histories to you?

I do tend to be guided by my characters and I’ll often abandon a pre-conceived path I’d developed for them because they’ve lead me down a different path. I find that to ve one of the most satisfying aspects of writing.

After so many books, how do you keep them unique?

Well, to date, I am the author of two published novels and I have two potential projects on file so I don’t think I’m anywhere near having that problem just yet.

Do you remember the first time you saw your book in a shop?

When Borders in Adelaide stocked my book in a prominent place in their store I was pretty pumped and I was smiling a lot.

Do you read other people’s writing?

I am a reader so yeah, I enjoy very much reading other people’s writing.

Would you read mine?

Where do I buy?

Gifts Of The Peramangk is available for order now from Dean’s official website in both signed print and digital editions. Dean’s official website will be the only portal where you can purchase these signed editions of the book.