Today we’re joined by Deston J. Munden, author of Tavern and Dusk Mountain Blues. Keep scrolling to read more about his inspirations, his thoughts on self-publishing, and some of his favorite underappreciated novels. Also be sure to enter the giveaways to win yourself some great books!
About the Author
Deston “D.J.” Munden is a fantasy and science fiction author, living near the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Somewhere in the vague realm of his late twenties and early thirties, he lives with his brother in a small house in the woods where he taught himself how to imagine and write down worlds with orcs, swords, and magic (and sometimes mutants and spaceships). When he’s not writing, he’s playing video games with his best buds, rolling horribly on multisided dice, eating double his weight in food, trying out new recipes, collecting samurai memorabilia and watching as much anime and reading as much manga as humanly possible (sometimes doing more than one of these things at once).
His current work includes the Dargath Chronicles novels and Dusk Mountain Blues. He’s a huge fan of the fantasy and science fiction genre, including both the modern and classic works. Nothing he loves more than finding new authors all over the genre and then recommending them to all his friends.
We already have your official bio, now we want to challenge you to describe yourself in ten words or less…Go!
Video game nerd who likes samurais, spaceships, and orcs.
Who or what are your inspirations when it comes to writing? Is it a particular author or authors, art, history, culture, current events, something else? How have they influenced your work?
There are plenty of things that inspire my writing. As you might have guessed, I was a gamer before I was an avid reader. One of the first stories I ever experienced was a game for the SNES named Fantasy Fantasy III (or Final Fantasy VI in JP). It kickstarted my love for fantasy and writing. Something about the characters and the world spoke to the my child’s brain and made me realize it was something that I always wanted to do.
From there it was a downward spiral into nerddom. I started picking up more books, some of my favorites being Harry Potter, Narnia, and Redwall at the time. I started getting more involved in history such as samurais, knights, and roman soldiers and absorbing information from that. Before long, I was in high school reading Eragon after finishing my schoolwork and writing on my own terrible (at the time) books.
Now I will say a large part of my inspiration comes from the massive number of books I read and the constant playing of Dungeons and Dragons that I do weekly. I’ve met so many of my favorite authors and read so many books that I’m constantly reminded that I can get better and always learn.
What do you love about self-publishing and on the flipside what drives you nuts about it? What aspects of self-publishing do you excel at and in what ways do you struggle?
For me, my favorite part of self-publishing is the creative control. There is absolutely nothing like having the ability to choose your cover, editor, and everything inside of the book. There’s so much creativity involved that’s in the author’s control instead of the publishers (my favorite being able to talk to my cover artist). The turnaround is also much faster. With the right editor and the write pieces, I can get about 2 or so books out within the year given that I work hard and closely enough with the people that I need to work with.
On the flip side, I hate the marketing process. There’s a lot that you gotta understand while marketing and it’s a dangerous trap to pour money into. I’ve made a lot of mistakes early on. I’ve since recovered, but I still need to learn more about the process and the story in general. I’m still trying to open my marketing avenues. When I figure out all the pieces, I’ll tell you.
What does your daily writing process look like? What do you do to get in the writing zone? How many hours do you write or do you go for a word count? Tell us everything!
I’m a simple man. I get up, check my emails and all the business parts of my work, and then get to work around about 8 or 9. From there I usually work from 8 to 3 PM with breaks in between for food and just general lounging. I try to not go for a specific word count, just enough for the day and getting as far as I can possibly get. While working on Tavern, I worked myself to the bone to the point of exhaustion, so I had to create some limits for myself. So, I created this. I also don’t work on weekends unless I have a special writing date with friends.
Speaking of writing groups, mine has helped me a lot. I have a writing group of about five that I write as many times as we can get together. We get on a facebook or a zoom call and we just hammer as many words as we can during our time. It’s been amazing. You don’t realize how much a little bit of human interaction can do for your writing zone. We rarely talk unless we need to ask the group a question. We just have our music on and type together. That has helped me a lot when I’m feeling down or unskilled. It happens to the best of us and its nice to have other writers there to lift you up when you’re feeling down.
What do you think makes a good story?
A good story to me involves two basic pieces: Characters and Worldbuilding. Characters, largely, sell a story on me. If I have a hard time absorbing a character, I have a hard time caring about the world around it. From there, though I do enjoy a good world-building. I feel like in my genres that worldbuilding is beyond important. I’m overall an easier person to please than most, if you hit those two pieces, I can usually work my way through the rest. I’m aware that a good story for me is a bad story for someone else. That is what makes a book or any type of art interesting. Everyone can have an opinion on it, and it varies from person to person. I enjoy a good story with powerful prose, and I enjoy an action-packed story with simple prose. I can even deal with an unoriginal plot if the characters and world are interesting enough. As everything, \that’s just my opinion though.
Is there one particular platform you find is most beneficial as a self-published author?
Twitter. Out of all the platforms I use, I feel like Twitter is the most beneficial for a self-published author. It’s a good way to learn, meet new authors, and start your platform. I’ve met some amazing people through twitter and got to learn a lot about the industry. Also, if you know where to look, you can find a good audience for yourself.
Facebook ads are probably the thing you need to learn on the marketing half. Facebook is odd in the fact that it might not be a good platform for building your author platform but it is a good way to get your product in front of people if you know where to look (along with Amazon ads).
Name an under-appreciated novel that you love. Let us know why we should check it out.
Orcblood Legacy series by Bernard Bertram: An amazing gritty orc fantasy novel.
The Varkas Chronicles by Deck Matthews: Bite-sized novella fantasies in a powerful dark fantasy world
The Shattered Kingdom series by Emmet Moss: A Tad Williams level epic fantasy with an amazing audiobook.
The Silent Champion series by Andy Peloquin: Military fantasy written by one of my favorite people and his amazing character work.
Her Crown of Fire by Renee April: A YA portal fantasy with a strong and amazing main character.
Grimluk Demon Hunter series by Ashe Armstrong: Western, demon slayer, orcs. What else can I say?
What comes first, the characters or the plot?
The characters usually come first to me. The plot isn’t really doesn’t solidify in my head until a few chapters in the story. I think why it works the best for me is that the characters usually end up finding the plot through their struggles. Tavern was a good example. I had an idea where I wanted Xel to start but the plot was a bit hazy at first. I feel like you can fix a plot as you go on with your drafts. Your characters though must be solid from the start to allow you as the author to begin caring about them. A lot of the time, it’s just one character and it’s a landslide from there.
Has writing and publishing a book changed the way you see yourself?
Writing and publishing a book changed my life and how I viewed myself. When I first started my journey, I felt this was something that I was unworthy in doing despite it being a dream of mine for so long. Not even a year ago, I didn’t think this was possible. Now I’ve published two books and I’m still working hard on getting more and more out. This has become my life and my livelihood. There are times where it’s tough but writing and publishing have given me the courage to keep achieving and keep learning. I want to be the change that I want to see in both the industry and in the world.
What do the words “literary success” mean to you?
If I can positively change one-person life with my stories, that is literary success to me. When someone comes to me and tells me that they enjoyed the story and it was a great read, that is enough for me. I remember hearing it for the first time and experiencing that amazing moment where I realized…I’m someone’s favorite new author. That just struck a chord. Remember, it’s not always how much money you make from the book or the book deal you made. Sometimes, it’s good to know that someone read it and enjoyed it. That should be enough sometimes.
Yep, you read that right! Multiple giveaways!
Enter to win a physical copy of Tavern by Deston J. Munden!
★ International ★
Enter to win a physical copy of Dusk Mountain Blues by Deston J. Munden!
★ International ★