If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll notice that recently I started a collaborative story titled “The Aftermath” with Daniel Kuhnley. If you don’t know yet, Daniel and I met last year at a writer’s conference in Austin, TX. I don’t believe in coincidence, so I know that it was a God appointment for us to meet. If you know me, I normally don’t initiate conversations with strangers (sometimes with friends). However, I was challenged to do just that at this conference. So I did. Daniel sat behind me and I decided to strike up a conversation with him. Since then, I’ve counted him a good friend.
Daniel let me read some of his stuff while we were at the conference. I thought to myself, man this guy is talented. When he asked me to collaborate on a story for his blog, I began to question his sanity. I’ll link to his website at the end and you can go read it. Daniel pushes me to be better and to get my butt in gear and write! Those kinds of friends are worth more than anything. Okay, I’ll shut up now and get on with the interview.
Take us to the start. When did your interest in writing begin?
I began writing about thirty years ago, around the sixth grade. Nothing serious. Just simple poems. By the time I was in high school I was writing short stories, songs, and poems. I Started writing my first horror novel when I was fourteen, titled Nights of Terror. I never finished it, but that didn’t stop me from beginning to write the sequel to it. Every time I read through those stories I cringe at how awful they are. I pray to God that they never see the light of day!
Do you remember the first thing you wrote that you were excited about?
I see writing like TV shows. Everything I wrote when I was younger was exciting. Just the idea of being able to tell a story was exciting. But, like TV shows from previous decades that you loved and are now impossible to sit through, reading my early writings is now painful.
So, I’d say that my first completed novel, Edge of Darkness, is really the first thing I’ve been excited about. However, that hasn’t been as exciting as I’d expected it to be. The novelty of a completed work wore off quickly and left me dreading the rest of the process—writing a synopsis, cover letter, and finding a publisher willing to publish it. I think that what I’m waiting for—the moment of true excitement for me—is the day I see it in bookstores. That day will be beyond words.
You just finished writing a book, that I’ve been privileged to read. Tell the good people of the internet all about it.
Edge of Darkness.
An epic tale of tragedy, loss, and love. Nardus struggles in his relationship with Sator (God). Alderan wallows in fear and self-doubt. Aria struggles to survive. Rakzar is bent on revenge. But does any of it matter? The world they all know will change them as they approach the edge of darkness. Can Nardus find a way to repent? Will Alderan stand tall and protect those he loves? Can Aria survive and even thrive despite her situation? Will Rakzar satiate his appetite for revenge?
Read Edge of Darkness and be pulled into a fantasy world full of magic, fantastical creatures, and adventure. Get to know Nardus, Alderan, Aria, Rakzar, Rayah, Gnaud, Lord Rosai, Pravus, Master Dragnus, Tharos, and all the other characters. Connect with them, root for their causes, cry with them in their despair, and triumph with them as they rise to meet their goals. Give in and be taken to the Edge of Darkness!
What are you working on now?
I currently have many things in the works. I’m working on the sequel to my yet-to-be-published first book, Edge of Darkness, titled The Darkness Within. I’ve also been working on a concept for a 7-part supernatural series called Millennial Kingdom. And I’m working on a thriller novel currently titled Devil.
What is your greatest fear in writing?
Success. I can handle rejection. In fact, I expect it. But success…that’s a whole different world. Once you’ve achieved success then you have to maintain it and build on it. Am I really built to handle that? No, but that’s what I have Jesus for—to take away my fear and replace it with peace, hope, and love.
Who is/are your favorite author/authors?
My first favorite author is Dean R. Koontz. His stories inspired me to start writing. Then I moved on to Terry Goodkind. His stories threw me into an unfamiliar and fantastic world I didn’t want to leave at times. But now, I give a nod to one of the most influential authors of our time, Ted Dekker. His stories are fantastical, inspiring, and uplifting. Listening to him and others talk at Re:Write 2015 left me not just wanting, but needing to write.
I enjoy other authors as well: Frank Peretti, Donita K. Paul, George R. R. Martin, Dan Brown, and many others.
How does your faith play a part in what you choose to write?
For me it’s not a conscious effort. I write what I’m compelled to write, regardless of the content. Sometimes what I write is disturbing, but so are some of the stories in the bible. Each time I sit down in front of the computer to write I begin with a prayer, so I feel like the Holy Spirit guides my words. I strive to glorify God through my stories, but I don’t try to write Christian themes into them. It’s just part of who I am and it comes out in my writing.
What is your writing process like?
Seat of the pants. I’ve tried planning, writing outlines, and every other “correct” way of doing things, but my characters have minds of their own and tell the stories they want to tell. Over the past year I’ve realized that trying to conform to an idea of what my story is about is really a hindrance to the true power of the story driven by character experiences. I am part of God’s story, but I still write my own part. The same goes for my characters.
What is your favorite thing about writing?
Getting the chance to explore experiences and feelings that would otherwise be unorthodox and/or sinful. What would it be like to be a serial killer? What kinds of thoughts would go through your head on a daily basis? Or, on the flip side, what would it be like being a detective hunting down a serial killer? Or, how does it feel flying through the clouds like Superman? So many questions and scenarios can be explored while writing. This is definitely my favorite thing about it—the chance to be someone for a while that you’re not.
Tell us something about you that most people don’t know.
I wanted to be the front man of a rock band. I wanted the fame and glory that goes with it. However, I have a deep-seeded aversion to getting up in front of people. Not quite the combination to be successful. I’ve also written more than 100 poems and songs, mostly about lost love and the desire to be loved. I haven’t written any in many years (decades) now though.
(He’s even done some acting! Check it out!)
Leave us with some parting words to other authors who are trying to get started.
I know it sounds lame and canned, but never give up. It took me 10 years to finish my first book. I felt like the world was against me at times and I quit writing altogether for almost seven years. Luckily, I went to a writer’s conference in 2015 that changed my life and rekindled my desire to write.
So, to sum it up, never stop writing, go to conferences even if you don’t want to, and read. Reading works of other authors is extremely important to developing your writing skills.
Oh, and the most important thing you can do—pray about it. Put it in God’s hands and be at peace knowing you have the Creator of the world lifting you up and inspiring your words. He loves and cares about us all. He is our Father and sacrificed His Son so we could spend eternity with Him!
It doesn’t get any better than that!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview with Daniel. Below you’ll find a link to his website and to his Facebook author page. Go follow his journey there.