Dark-Boy Vol. 1: The Dead Blue - Alexander Engel-Hodgkinson
While some books do well at telling a story, I always appreciate the author that's able to take their skill to the next level.
To me, the next level is creating this beautiful bubble like atmosphere so that while you're reading, you completely forget where you are and what's going on around you.
This author has created such an environment. The characters are great, the action is well written, and I'm quite interested to see where this series goes.
My only complaints are that I had a difficult time following the plot in the first couple of chapters, but that sorted itself out quite quickly, and that I couldn't always understand the characters' motivations. But it was more of a mild confusion and it didn't stop me from enjoying the plot.
Some Bio Information
Alexander Engel-Hodgkinson lives in Ontario, Canada with his two crazy dogs, his younger brother, and his mother. There, he frequently seeks out new and old films to watch and is constantly thinking of new things to write whenever he isn’t looking out for potentially exciting things to learn and gain experience from.
1. What inspired you to write this book?
A mixture of things. I grew up with anime, comic books (both Eastern and Western), and action films, so that was an essential source of my inspiration. A lot of my Dark-Boy ideas are derived from history and current events, too—mostly from the wars of the 20th century (especially the Second World War and the Cold War), but also things from the last fifteen years, like the rapid growth of technology and my own pessimism regarding a few factors of society, I guess (LOL). The biggest factor, however, would probably be Brian Jacques—more specifically, his Redwall novels. I was in fourth grade when my mom dragged me to the book store and made me pick something out. My brother picked up a Geronimo Stilton book. I picked up Martin the Warrior. It was the first intermediate-level novel I’d ever read, and since then I’ve read several novels in the series. They were so many things that I just couldn’t list down; each book blew my mind and helped greatly expand my imagination. Brian Jacques is pretty much the main reason I started coming up with my own ideas, and I guess you could say I probably wouldn’t have started writing if it weren’t for him.
2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?
Like everything else, it starts with an idea. The idea could come to me from anything. From baling hay to camping out in the middle of nowhere without cell reception for four days to listening to music. Ideas just pop in there. And like that, I start to think up scenarios based on these ideas. As they develop, I start picturing scenes in my head, as if my brain was a film projector or something. If I really like the idea, it’ll keep coming to me and I’ll write out a rough synopsis and tweak it until I’m satisfied. Then I’ll sit there and dream up potential plot ideas, characters, environments, etc. It takes me a while to get to the writing bit sometimes. Other times, I’ll just start with an idea, and just let my fingers fly across the keyboard and fill up a few pages in a blank document, and see where my imagination takes me. If I start it that way, then I just develop the plot and add coherency and all that good stuff to it while I write through it.
3. Who is your favorite character in Dark Boy?
I can never decide on just one. I actually like Damian, despite how much of an ass he makes himself out to be most of the time. He’s one of my oldest characters, too, so he feels like that really crazy brother you sort-of know and can’t decide if you like or dislike half the time. Other common favourites include the Knight Sisters, Jenny and Aria, because I like their personalities and for some reason I think they’re hilarious and appealing in their own weird ways. Jonathon Silverstein, because he inherits my appreciation of relics from the past, and I like severely misunderstood villains who think themselves to be the hero despite their ‘means to an end’ logic.. And Matthew Corridian, just because I really like his style… and there’s the fact that he’s also something of a feral version of a good friend I used to have.
4. How would you describe your writing style?
I’m not really sure… maybe I’d describe it as ‘punchy’ and ‘to-the-point.’ My writing style is mostly derived from the short, gist-of-it style of film screenplays and the long, descriptive narrative of Brian Jacques.
5. Do you have a favorite author?
Aside from Brian Jacques? LOL. I’d say Frank Miller, Shirow Masamune, and Koushun Takami.
6. What made you decide to become an indie author?
I’ve been writing since I was ten and I’d always dreamed of becoming a big-name author with a big publisher and movie deals and blah, blah, blah. When I was sixteen, I really took it seriously and learned the basics and more from a good friend of my mother’s, who’s also an indie author. She informed me about how strict publisher companies can be with royalties and deadlines and all of that, which made me go, “Well, screw that.” I work better (albeit slower) when I’m doing it at my own pace, and since indie authors also (of course) can control the royalty rates and maintain total creative control over their own work without worrying about requests or deadlines from publishers, I figured it was a no-brainer.
7. What’s your ultimate writing goal?
My ultimate goal is to maintain a stable lifestyle with my writing work, and perhaps even make enough to become something of a film producer and/or film director (another job I’ve long admired) and develop films either based on past ideas through adaptations that improve upon the original work, or new ideas that come to me. I mean, could you imagine being able to direct a film adaptation of your own work? That’d be amazing!