Tuesday 2 October 2018

Interview: Glenn Devlin

the-alien-diaries, glenn-devlin, book

Science Fiction author Glenn Devlin has kindly agreed to stop by The Writing Greyhound today! Below, you can find more information about his life, his writing and, of course, his book The Alien Diaries. Is your interest piqued yet? Glenn's got plenty to share, so keep on reading!

Firstly, please could you introduce yourself?
My name is Glenn Devlin and I’m a web developer by day and a writer by night as someone has to pay the bills and keep the wife and three kids happy.
How did you first become interested in writing?
The thing about me is that I’m a deaf/blind writer. Growing up deaf, I was sometimes isolated from my hearing peers and it was often difficult to interact with others so I lost myself in scores of books ranging from Enid Blyton, TinTin, The Hardy Boys before graduating to the bigs to devour the likes of Stephen King and Michael Crichton.
Tell me about The Alien Diaries.
The Alien Diaries is about a book collector who stumbles across a series of diaries that chronicle an alien visitation in 1781. 
The Alien Diaries is a love of labour, but it’s not my first book. I wrote The Old Man from the Stars around 2000 and then spent the next decade writing screenplays. Alien Diaries began as a screenplay back in 2006 as I enjoyed writing in a visual style. The script received positive reviews and one producer optioned it for nothing but it never gained traction. It was also a bridesmaid one or two times at the Amazon screenwriting competition but I could never nab the $20,000 prize. 
In 2012 or so, I decided to put aside screenwriting because it is a fiercely competitive field and hard to stand out. My screenwriting peers told me that Alien Diaries would be a great book but I was reluctant to give up the dream of seeing my name on the silver screen. As time went by, I realized the dream is hard so I put it aside and began writing Alien Diaries. I had the story in screenplay format so making the transition was not too hard.
Why did you decide to write science fiction?
From the moment I first saw the Star Destroyer in Star Wars emerging above me on the big screen, all I could think was (with the widest eyes an 11-year-old could possibly muster) Just how big is that ship? I was hooked and I knew I wanted to do something with science fiction.
Do you personally believe in the existence of extraterrestrial life?
I truly believe that we are not alone but I do not believe that we have been visited by extra-terrestrials. Unless someone can convince me otherwise.
Did you have to do any research for the book?
I spent a great deal of time brushing up my American history and pouring over the events that occurred along the James River during the American Revolution. I also spent time reading portions of Pride and Prejudice to try to capture Jane Austen’s voice which served as the voice of Kate Dibble in my novel. This was the hardest part. I noticed that Jane did not use a lot of contractions compared to the modern English so I’ve tried to differentiate the styles in the diary and the modern narrative. This allowed me to give Kate a formal tone.
glenn-devlin, author

How did you get inspiration?
I’m a sucker for a good UFO story but as time has gone by, I became annoyed with the ever-present blurry photos and thousands of hoaxes. I just felt that some things out there are not truly honest so I started researching UFOs before modern photography. The people back then only wrote of what they tried to understand. This is the essence of Kate Dibble’s diary – trying to describe things far ahead of her time. There was an incident that stood out in the early 40’s, 50’s – I can’t remember – a family claimed they were attacked by floating beings at a remote mountain cabin and some sort of gunfight broke out to no effect. The beings vanished and the family fled. That was also part of the inspiration. The rest fell into place after I spent three weeks daydreaming about the plot.
What’s your writing process?
I have a more scattershot approach. Sitting in front of a computer for too long does not appeal to me because I spend all day coding. So I will write longhand and sit on a couch then transcribe into the computer. Given my day job, I try to squeeze in 1000 words a day. Sometimes I end up doing more.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Don’t overcomplicate your stories with purple prose. Just keep it simple and just write. Show – don’t tell. Even if you did 300 words in a day, pat yourself on the back and write another 500 the next day. Make sure the story you are working is the one that is the most fun. When I wrote Alien Diaries I even drew a map of the plantation and spent time pouring over the Westover Plantation site which serves as a backdrop to the Dibble Plantation. It was just so much fun to work on the book.
What are you currently working on?
I’m mulling over doing a sequel to Alien Diaries but I’m not sure yet. I want to work on a book about a time travelling family and develop a half an hour sitcom script for a friend.
What are you reading at the moment?
I just finished On Writing by Stephen King.
What’s your all-time favourite book?
I would have to go with The Ghost of Dibble Hollow which is my favourite childhood book.
The Alien Diaries is available to buy now.

Will you be grabbing yourself a copy of the book? Let me know in the comments below!

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