What piece of advice would you give to a budding author?
Read, write, live life. Explore and take chances and let your
experiences inform your work.
What’s your favorite book and why?
Oh wow, that's hard. I'm going to have to cheat and say it's a tie
between On the Road by Jack Kerouac and Lord of the Rings by Tolkien.
I love traveling, I love going out and seeing things, and On the Road
really speaks to that part of me, that hunger for seeing what's out
there. And The Lord of the Rings because I love fantasy and it's
amazing. I hope to someday create a world as incredible as
Have you always wanted to be a writer? What came first, the desire to draw or the desire to write?
Drawing came first. I grew up surrounded by people who could draw. My
grandma, my mom and dad, and my older brother and sister were all
artists of one sort or another, so that developed at an early age and
was always something I was drawn toward. I didn't ever really think of
myself as a writer until I started writing Oldsoul a few years ago.
But all through high school and beyond I wrote a ton of poetry, and I
even recently found a fantasy story that I had started in 8th grade.
So I guess the writing has always kind of been there, but art was the
Scale of 1-10, how absolutely awesome is your job?
Haha. There are times, especially toward the end of a movie, when
we're working 80-hour weeks and things are breaking and the director
is giving ridiculous notes, when it's probably about a 5. (Because
really, I can't complain too much about sitting at a computer and
making movies for a living) But the rest of the time, especially being
able to work on a movie like Tangled, and seeing how much people love
it and knowing I was a part of creating that, then it's much higher
than a 10.
Where did you get the idea for Oldsoul?
It basically started with the term “old soul”, meaning someone who is
wise beyond their years. I thought that someone who had a bunch of
dead people’s spirits living inside him might have reason to be
considered an old soul. It was something that I didn't think had been
done before, and it just kind of grew from there.
Did you experience any issues when writing Oldsoul? How did you
There were a few points where I got stuck and didn't know where to go.
(I had a very, very loose outline and just pantsed the rest) I would
stop writing, sometimes for a week or two, trying to figure out how to
move on. But without fail, whenever I actually sat down and got back
to the manuscript and started writing, I was able to sort things out.
So I learned that I need to write my way out of those situations, even
if I don't end up solving the problem right away.
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as an author?
Most of the poetry I wrote was pretty emo stuff about girls and
relationships and things of that nature. About ten years ago I got
married and went to school for animation, and between being happy in
my relationship and working like crazy to get my degree, the poetry
fell by the wayside. Then one night, about four years ago, I sat down
and wrote what ended up as the first chapter of Oldsoul. I enjoyed
doing it, and decided to try to write a whole book, and it went from
there. It's still kind of weird to think I wrote a book.
So, your main character, Jason, is able to channel many different souls at once.
How did you manage this? Did it feel a little bit like writing a schizophrenic?
Though he can channel all the souls within him, Jason really only
interacts with one of them, a girl named Erin, so it didn't get too
hectic. The hardest part was making sure it was clear who was doing
the talking. It was actually really fun going back and forth between
the two of them.
Which of the characters in Oldsoul is your favorite and why?
Jason and Erin. I really like the relationship they have, and think
they make a great team. Neither would be complete without the other to
play off of.
What are you working on now? The sequel? Something new?
I just finished up the first draft of a Middle Grade fantasy that I'm
really excited about. But I can't really say anything about it.
Hopefully soon though. There's definitely another Oldsoul story
bouncing around my head, but it's fighting with another MG fantasy and
a graphic novel and some other stuff, so we'll see which one wins.
We're giving away a copy of Dan's debut novel, Oldsoul!
Oldsoul: Jason Gouvas doesn’t want to believe he has special abilities or that he's an Oldsoul-- a vessel for the souls of people who have passed away, but the dead girl in his mind can be very persuasive.
Her name is Erin, and through her Jason is able to access the knowledge and skills of the souls within him. And with a group of power-hungry immortals bent on destroying the Oldsouls and overthrowing humanity, he's going to need them all.
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