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Saturday, 27 May 2017

Interview: D.J. Torres

Fancy a chat? Of course you do! I sat down with the author D.J. Torres to ask some questions and get some answers.

Good morning! Could you please introduce yourself? 

I’m just a normal girl who loves to write... and sometimes fights crime.

How did you first become interested in writing?

I never planned on writing a book. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved writing. I admit to being the girl who enjoyed writing essays in school. The Nature of Gods started with an idea for a screenplay, but as I wrote, the story naturally expanded. I realised that I wouldn’t do the story justice by trying to contain it in a screenplay so I started working on the novel, which has led me here.

What draws you to writing fantasy?

I love the fantasy genre because of the freedom you can take when creating a world. It allows you to create and share something that has never existed before.

Tell me about The Nature of Gods.

I think the tagline sums it up best: All-powerful ancient deities are out to destroy the world; nothing that two girls can’t handle, right?
the-nature-of-gods, dj-torres, book
Image: D.J. Torres

The story follows sixteen-year-old Olivia as she navigates survival in the world overthrown by gods and goddesses who demand worship. Then Olivia meets Nature and this awkward artist with no confidence is catapulted to the forefront of humanity’s battle for survival. Considering I used the word “survival” twice, it is safe to say it’s a story of survival, but it’s also about girl power, teamwork, and finding your courage.

How do you get inspiration?

Music. Songs can be so powerful! They have the ability to trigger imaginative thoughts and bring forth emotions you didn’t even know you possessed. I am always searching YouTube for new songs and different mixes. Once I find that song that unlocks that scene in my mind, I play it to death.

Did you use real mythology for inspiration in the book?

Yes and no. There are gods from mythology you will instantly recognise, but I wanted to tell a different story by tweaking different aspects of the gods. I used mythology to tell the story, as opposed to telling a story about mythology.

Tell me about your research process when starting to write a new book.

Google is my bestie. Seriously, I talk to Google like it’s a real person. For The Nature of Gods, I researched mythology within different cultures, plus I stared at a lot of maps of the world. If you need to find random countries on a map, I’m your girl.

What’s your writing process?

I start with an outline of where I want the story to go, find a song that sparks my imagination, and then I imagine the scene in my head as if it were a movie. I think about the different sights, feelings, and sounds. Brick by brick, I literally construct the world in my brain. Once I have a movie playing in my head, I perform what I lovingly call, “Word Barf.” I try to get everything on the page. After that, I start to edit. I repeat this process over and over and over again until a book forms.

What’s the hardest thing about writing?

Sometimes it is hard to know when to stop editing the story and let it stand as the story you wrote it to be. There is a fine line between polished work and demolished work. I have learned that if you edit when you are in a bad mood, you tend to demolish the story. Lesson learned! I now surrounded myself with things I love when I edit. Coffee and treats are my friends.

What do you love most about writing?

I love giving birth to new thoughts, new adventures, and new characters. It’s the most amazing feeling when you get into that writing groove where the words just pour off your fingertips. You suddenly realise that hours have passed, but it felt like minutes because you were just so engrossed in this world you created.
author, dj-torres
Image: D.J. Torres


Which authors inspire you?

J.K. Rowling, Rick Riordan, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien. What inspires me the most about these authors is that they created amazing worlds that I wouldn’t hesitate to live in. That’s what I want to do for others.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

It is important to write for yourself and not for other people. You should be open to people’s critiques (because they are SUPER helpful), but you have to stay true to the story and the characters. If you followed everyone’s advice, your story would be pulled in so many different directions and it would turn into a hot mess. So when people give me notes about the book, I sit and think about if that note is true to the story or not.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

It just boils down to the fact that I wanted to put the story out there for readers. Self-publishing isn’t easy, but I have a strong support team of editors, marketers, and just utterly supportive people so it made sense to forge my own pathway. I also really enjoy the freedom and control you maintain when you choose to publish yourself.

What’s your all-time favourite book?

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It’s no secret that I want to attend Hogwarts and hang out with Hagrid and his collection of exotic creatures, but I wouldn’t be opposed to attending Beauxbatons Academy of Magic. I desperately want to rock that powder blue cape.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I want to write! Wherever that takes me, I just want to continue pursuing my passion. I want to provide new worlds, new escapes, for readers. I also want to encourage others to create and follow their dreams.

If you weren’t a writer, what do you think you’d be doing?

Easy! Without question, I would be a dolphin trainer. If I could swim with dolphins every day, I would.

What are your interests outside of writing and reading?

I binge watch T.V. shows like no other, I love coffee a little too much, and I definitely have a sweet tooth. More than anything, I want to make a positive difference in the world. I’m still working on the details of that.

What are you currently working on?

Book 2 for the Nature series is currently in the works. I am super excited about where the story is going. I also have a couple of children books bouncing around in my brain. I might even tackle a twist on superheroes.

What are you reading at the moment?

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I may or may not (definitely may) have seen the movie first. I have never cried so much in my life. I’m talking gator tears streaming down my face. After the movie, I desperately needed to learn more about the characters. The book does dive into back-stories and has a lot more plot points than the movie.
For more information about D.J. Torres, visit her website or follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads or Pinterest. The Nature of Gods is available to buy now.

What do you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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