James Lloyd Dulin interview
A little introduction:
I grew up in Grand Rapids, MI, spending an excessive amount of time at a local community theater where I developed my affinity for storytelling. This affinity grew into a deep admiration for language and spoken word poetry while studying mathematics and education at the University of Michigan. A few hundred mediocre poems and lackluster performances later, I decided my dream of writing a novel might not be as ridiculous as I once thought. I firmly believes that art, even silly books about magic or maybe especially silly books about magic, have the ability to tell stories that sink beneath the surface.
When did your love of books begin?
I struggled with reading as a kid because I never liked reading what I was told to. When I found something I liked, I dove deep and picked up everything I could in that genre. Inevitably someone would tell me that I had to read something different, then I would fall out of love with reading again. My adult love for reading began with The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. The way he captured fantasy with such beautiful prose stuck with me. That kickstarted my love of beautiful/interesting writing. Nothing will hook me into a story like an interesting authorial voice, regardless of genre.
When did you start to have the wish to become an author?
In college, the dorm TVs got HBO and I watched Def Poetry all the time. I got the DVDs and rewatched my favorite poets over and over. Eventually, I started writing my own poetry, and soon after, I performed my first poem in front of an audience. It was utter *expletive deleted*, but I got a rush from it. It scared the living hell out of me, but I dug in. In the years following, I performed poetry all over the country at open mics, competitions, and team events. Through those experiences I realized that I wanted to write a novel, but I didn’t believe I could do it. When I hit a writing slump with my poetry, I tried my hand at writing a story I had been building in my head. I was 32 and a new father when I started what would become No Heart for a Thief.
How have you found the process for becoming an author?
There are authors that love plotting, others who love world building, or drafting, or editing. I love everything about writing. The part that threw me through a loop was querying. My first query received a partial, then a full request. I was so sure I would find an agent, then the rejections started. Worse than rejections, agents started to not respond as a rule. Everyone who goes through that process and sticks it out is amazing. It was bad for my mental health and wellbeing. Then I realized that I didn't care about the traditional bells and whistles. I wanted to share my writing. Self publishing took away the roadblocks and let me plan out my process the way I wanted to. I found an editor and a cover artist, and invested in the process.
What would you say to those wanting to become an author?
Write because you love it, because there is a story you have to tell, then tell it. Don't think about publishing it. Focus on the story. It doesn't have to be perfect, which is good because it won't be. You'll learn your voice over time as you practice and edit. You'll discover what you love in the books you read and create your own version of it. Once you have a story you love, you can think about publishing. If you decide to publish, know what you want out of it. Traditional publishing offers something very different than self publishing. Either way the process of writing and publishing are two very different skills. Give yourself time and grace while you learn.
Tell us about your book/books:
No Heart for a Thief is the first book in The Malitu Trilogy, a coming of age, epic fantasy. It tells the story of a man who abandoned his past when he could no longer take the trauma of surviving a life under the violent occupation of a foreign empire. When the spirits place the fate of a young girl in his hands, he will have to face everything he left behind if he has a chance to save her from the choices he made.
If you like character-driven narratives with vilified spirits, stolen magics, found families, and dual-timeline stories with occasional witty banter, you should check it out come January 24, 2023.
What do you love about the writing/reading community?
Most people who actively participate in the writing community do so because they want to be a part of the stories we all tell. People want to see each other thrive. I have had strangers agree to beta read and look over my query letter. I wish I could find a writing community in person because art is better in collaborative environments.
If you could say anything to your readers what would it be?
Read the stories that speak to you. You don't have to read the classics or the most popular new release. I know my reading time is precious and far too limited. Why waste it on a story you don't enjoy? I hope my story speaks to you, however if it doesn't, there are always more books.
Where can people connect with you?
People can connect with me on twitter @jamesldulin or through my website www.jamesldulin.com. Join my newsletter for publishing updates.