Author Interview: Daryl J. Ball

(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Daryl was written by Daryl J. Ball.)

One thing Kelly was grateful for about these interviews taking place in her imaginations—not need to bug spray when entering this kind of environment. She looked at the dark forest before her and the path that disappeared into the shadows. Daryl said he wanted to meet in the forest, and well, this wasn’t the pretty, fantasy, magical kind of forest but rather had a sense of darkness to it, but Kelly wasn’t worried. Neither of them could die here. Things simply might get interesting.

A portal opened behind her, and Kelly looked to see Daryl looking around before stepping through, and she smiled at him. “Hi! You must be Daryl Ball. Nice to meet you.” She shook his hand before motioning to the forest before them. “Care for a little adventure?”

He had been nervous as the hour had approached, the tales of the wandering Kelly had been many.  Choosing to meet her in a forest had been all that Daryl could really do to keep the situation from being to overwhelming really.  Giving her a slow blink as the portal closed behind him and he shook her hand. “Likewise and you must be Kelly, and as for adventure, always,” he replied.

“Great! This way!” Kelly turned and led the way down the path into the darkened woods. “So Daryl, tell me about yourself. Obviously you’re a writer, but do you have a job outside of writing? How does it all tie into your writing?” She cast him a glance as he walked beside her on the path.

“Ah, now there’s a question with a somewhat complicated answer depending on how far one looks into it.” He grinned as he followed in the direction she had indicated, sidling up net to her as they walked.

“I used to work the odd job when I finished school but life it seemed had a bit of an unpleasant surprise in store for me.  I was in college and got overwhelmed by some occurrences in life that had been slowly building up,  Ones I had been  not really giving myself to process properly and the end result was falling into depression.  Something doctors revealed had been building since I was around 10 years of age.  So really the answer to your question is no, I don’t work and am on a disability pension due to the depression and social anxiety,” he replied but paused and gestured to one of the tree ahead of them.

“I still work here and there when I’m up to it, but in truth the depression and realizing how long it had clouded my perceptions made me take a hard look at my past, and so like this tree I chose to make the depression horrible though it is serve as the roots form which I would grow into something better. It comes across in my writing as well to a fair degree, I focus on what drives my characters, what thoughts are they having, why are they the way they are.  I hope that wasn’t too long-winded of an answer,” he concluded.

Kelly slowed her step as she listened to thoroughly to his explanation, and then she shot him a look. “I don’t know you well at all, but I wouldn’t have guessed you were depressed, but I understand some people struggle with that.” She gestured to a more narrow path off this main course they should take and led the way. “So with all that in mind, what got you started with writing?” She pushed aside some branches that got in the way and held him out of the way for Daryl. Last thing she wanted to do was let them go and accidentally whack him across the face with them.

Daryl nodded at her response in agreement.  “I get that response a lot when people find out,  ten years ago though it would have been much more obvious.  I’ve gotten my mind wrapped around it a lot better now and know what to watch out for to prevent relapses.”

Putting his arm up to assist in keeping the branches out of the way as he followed down the narrow path.  “I’ve always loved writing, since I was a young kid, it was one of my two favorite pastimes, the other being reading.  I got away from it though in high school due to a critique i had received and I let it knock me down more than I should have.  After the depression came to light though, people wanted to assist me in improving my sense of self-worth so I got involved with an organization called Toastmasters.  It helped a lot and I eased back into writing a bi as they were all about giving speeches.” he  added before sighing. “Long-winded answer again I know and apologize.  A few years ago my grandfather passed away and a combination of wanting to make him proud and keep on learning and improving myself, coupled with an acquaintance mentioning NaNoWriMo to me was enough to make me look at writing again.  That was in late September that year and I dove in head first that November , hitting the goal of the month by the mid-way point.  I just needed a push I guess”

“So you completed the 50K word goal halfway through November?” Kelly raised her brows. “That’s impressive! So how many times have you done NaNoWriMo?”

“Yes, I realized I was writing far more per day than necessary and that I had a chance to reach the goal by the time of a conference I was going to be attending so that became my new target date.  I believe I’ve done the November session five times now and several of the camp sessions.” he grinned

“That’s fantastic! Keep up the good work.” At last they came to the end of the path which led to a clearing where a cabin was nestled in the shadows of the trees. “I know you didn’t say anything about visiting a cabin during out interview, but I hope you don’t mind. This place just happens to be here. We can go on exploring, or we can go in there.” She motioned to it and glanced at him. “Which do you prefer?”

“Thanks.” He nodded as they came to the cabin.  Looking over its facade for a brief moment before gesturing to the door.  “It certainly wouldn’t hurt to  check it out inside.  We might find material for a story after all.  Might even help me figure out the final setting in the piece I’m  finally editing,” he replied.

Nodding, Kelly motioned for him to follow as she approached the door. “So, tell me about what you’re working on. And is it the piece you’re hoping to really push with publication?” She glimpsed at him before trying the doorknob only to find it stuck, so she shoved her shoulder into the door to loosen it, and it gave way quickly—almost causing Kelly to stumble inside.

Once inside, she moved out of the way to let Daryl enter as well, and they began exploring this abandoned cabin where the previous owners seemed to have left in a hurry since many of their belongings remained behind.

Daryl winced slightly when he saw Kelly almost fall upon opening the door.  He certainly didn’t want the author to get hurt on this interview.  Stepping in just behind her when she had moved to give him room to do so and looked around the cabin slowly.

“A year ago I had the idea of starting a blog written in character and the plan was each blog post would serve as the opening to events elsewhere in that world involving other characters.  In preparing it though I realized the blog itself could serve as a stand alone story if one followed  the various elements n each post.  I finally launched that near the beginning of June.  As for this cabin as a setting? No the piece I’m editing is actually the fleshed out version of the one I wrote  in that first November.  I’m hoping to start publishing chapters of that starting in September on Wattpad.” he added as he motioned to a picture hanging on the wall.  “See in it the person who would live here wouldn’t bother with pictures. They’d be too much of a reminder of his past for him to see on a daily basis.”

Kelly nodded as she picked up an open book off the table and blew off the dust to read the words—a poem of some sort. “So what is your story about? What genre is it?” She closed the book and looked back at Daryl.

“It’s about a young man who grew up believing his father had died fighting in a way back when he was only around four years old.  On his 18th birthday his mother hands him a letter form his father that reveals all this time he’s been alive, that his mother and he had faked his death in order to protect him and his mother.  He’s challenged by the letter to  tack his father down to find out the full story and learn about his family’s history.  It’s in the course of doing so the young man Jonas, learns he’s a lycanthrope and that his family’s history is  not that pleasant.  Sorry I don’t want to give away too much more than that,” he said noting the book that kelly had found.  “Anything interesting in it?”

A smile came to Kelly’s face as she tapped on the book cover. “Everything here is interesting, Daryl. Inspiration comes from anywhere.” With that, she left the book on the table and went to the shelf above the hearth where there was a broken figurine of a horse. She wondered what that meant. “So, this story of yours—what genre is it? What era does it take place in?”

“Yes exactly I suppose.  It’s one reason I chose a forest for this.  The father grew up in a very rural wooded area, the story takes place for the first half split between modern day and  through flashbacks spanning the father’s life over the course of   century or so beginning in the 1890’s.  the second half is fully in the modern day though.  As for genre? I don’t really want to call it supernatural but I suppose that’s the closest”  he replied noting she had moved towards the hearth.  “More inspiration?”

“Possibly. I have ideas—will take it back to my Muse Shop to see what else it reveals to me.” Kelly smiled as she carefully picked up the figurine and held it close to her. “Come though, we should be heading back. Time is short.” Leading the way out the door and down the path, Kelly contemplated another question, “So what’s your favorite thing about your story? Could be a specific character, a scene, piece of dialogue, description, or whatever.”

“That does sound like a plan…given the way the forest looked I doubt we want to be here when it gets overly dark.  Lots of ammunition for stories to be found then certainly but safety has to be a concern as well,” he replied as they exited the cabin and headed back along the pathway they had taken there.

“Hmm. A favorite aspect of it? There’s quite a few to be honest but if I had to pick just one it’d have to be when the father, Johann, talks to his sister and she reveals a secret.  When I first wrote it, I had no idea what a powerful scene it would become and it tens to stick out”

“That’s amazing how the works, isn’t it?” Kelly cast him a glance over her shoulder with a smile but then pressed on ahead until they finally got to the wider path where he could finally walk alongside her. “And what is the one thing you would like your readers to take away when they finish read the book? What would you like them to remember most about it?”

“I think it’d have to be something we all could stand to understand a bit more in our everyday lives.  That we can’t judge someone for their actions when we don’t know the whole story for why they do the things they do.  That and the fact that it will require at least a second reading to possibly catch all the hints and clues that are sprinkled throughout it ” he said pausing as they came back to where they had begun.

“It also takes place in the same world as the blog I mentioned and there will be moments when that becomes evident”

“Very interested.” Kelly nodded. “And when do you think it’ll be ready for publication?”

“Well as mentioned I intend to begin launching it a chapter at a time on Wattpad in September of this year.  Will it or a future work  see physical publication one day? I hope so because I really do want people to have an opportunity to step into this world I’ve created.  It’s so very similar to our own and setting wise I think it hasn’t been explored much”

“Well, it certainly sounds like quite an adventure.” Kelly smiled, but they had come to the end of the path where they had begun, and the portal waited there for Daryl. “It was fantastic to meet you, Daryl. I’m glad you agreed to come, and I hope you the best with your story. If you ever need any help or encouragement, you know where to find me!”

“Thanks, I like to think so too.  Thank yo so much for meeting me here today.  This was quite the little  trek” he  nodded before turning to look towards the portal.  Offering her a smile  as he looked back over his shoulder for a brief moment.  “I’ll bear that in mind Kelly.  be safe in your journey home” he said before  looking forward once more and taking that first step back through the portal.

<~>~<~>~<~>

Daryl J. Ball began posting his story ‘Happy Birthday Jonas’ on Wattpad, and you can find it here:

https://www.wattpad.com/user/DarylJBall

Also be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DarylBallTM

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDarylJBall/

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