You like to read great Science Fiction and Fantasy? Dawn Chapman is your author. She has a team of excellent writers, editors, and consultants who work together over at TSK Productions to create The Secret King. She loves raising koi and stays busy writing scripts and working on her house when she isn’t working on her novel series.
From the UK, I bring you, Dawn Chapman.
Tell us about your writing process, and the way you brainstorm Scifi story ideas.
Dawn: For the most part TSK is a huge world, spanning several lifetimes and situations. What once started off as a potential TV series became so much more, my characters demanded that their story be told, so I started my journey into prose writing and built them up from ‘the beginning’ The Secret King – Letháo was born in 2012, and my characters have grown immensely from there on. Brainstorming anything from within this large universe is so much fun. You can take a character and just throw anything at them. It’s how they react to that situation and circumstances that then builds a story.
I have an amazing team of writers and artists with me as part of TSK’s world, and having those people who are as close to the world as I am, really helps me brainstorm. If we hold world building sessions, it’s usually a good old hash out of characters and what they would or wouldn’t do. Sometimes I have great ideas, but the others on my team question if it’s within the character’s traits and I love that. It keeps us all on track with who and what….
They can ask me a question and it can spark something in me that then just has to come out. One of those kinds of experiences was recently working with Holly Adams. She’s such a beautiful voice and while recording one of our ‘shorts’ Brie’s Results in third person, I could just imagine how fab she would be in first. So there it was, Katya Brie became a focal point for me for a few weeks, and her 15k short snippet, became a novella in its own rights at just under 50k.
What are you currently working on and what is it about?
Dawn: We’re just wrapping up our TSK’s first illustrated anthology. I’ve had the pleasure of working with a great sequential artist, Andrew Dodd on these. We’ve included 3-4 art pics with each story and they really set off the book.
These short snippets in the anthology are from our favourite character’s lives – How they met. What made them who they are in the first book. And what disasters shaped them into the strong people we love.
One of the most interesting aspects of working with other writers is of course the ‘art of collaboration’. Where we take one character or idea and then shaped it into a story. We either wrote that story together or separate parts of that story. And it has been really good for us as a team and as individuals.
How do you go about creating the language in your book? How do you translate it?
Dawn: I toyed a lot with this in the first book. And created a small Lexicon for my world. But as the project began to take off more, and we discussed animation and more, I wanted to take it up a notch. So we researched and eventually put a job advertisement on the LCS site to find a specialist in constructed languages. We had over 40 applicants, with amazing resumes, but what attracted me to the person we hired was not only the art of the languages he’d created, but the wonderful displays he’d made to accompany them. Trent Pehrson is a very talented man, and you can see the full constructed language guide for Lacria on our website. At the moment it’s free to register and you have access to the language and online dictionary plus an amazing time app which accompanies the world of Letháo. Register, take a look at it, and let me know when you were born.
Now that we have a great language, it’s most recently been brought to life in our Audio Books. Greg Tremblay and Holly Adams are the fabulous narrators now working with us, and they both worked closely with Trent to take our book to the next level. I must admit hearing Lacria out loud is something I’m totally in awe of and I’m so very proud to have these amazing people with us as part of TSK.
Sounds like you have a very talented team, and work hard to make The Secret King the great story it is. Have you written works in collaboration with other writers, and if so: why did you decide to collaborate and did it affect your sales?
Dawn: I have written with a good few different people over the years, from scripts to prose. With my scripting background I have found it much easier I think to collaborate than others because film is such a collaborative media to start with. TSK has 5 writers who I’ve worked closely with to help them shape their stories and also have written alongside them. As for if it affects sales, I don’t know yet. We’re about to find out.
What’s your views on social media for marketing, and which of them have worked best for you?
Dawn: I’m not so sure that Social Media for marketing is a good thing. Facebook is full of people all trying to sell their books, and there, well, just about everything else. There are only so many things you can do, and what started out last year as being a good thing with hosting online parties and events has really dropped in numbers for both attracting people and then in sales etc. Too many people doing the same thing as far as I can tell.
Twitter has also past it, I think, and I say this because there are so many people again trying to all get noticed. It is a very big world out there, and we’re sometimes so tiny. However, I do think that you have to have a presence on all platforms, even if they’re only small and you post only a few times a week. People like facebook and twitter for various reasons, and your marketing not just your books, but you as a person and a brand. If people google Dawn Chapman, they can find a whole lot about me on the internet, and my nickname Kanundra has also been around for many many years, on Koi Forums and IRN forums for my other hobbies. I have been an online presence for many years because I suffered with an eating disorder, and I blogged about those bad times, and while going through therapy and into recovery.
Thank you for sharing such a personal part of yourself, and I’m so happy you’re better. Let me ask, do you prefer to write alone or in the company of other people?
Dawn: I love writing with other people, but at home alone. So I use writing groups online to do this, be it write or die, or mywriteclub. The aim is to write as much as you can and help each other just by being there. It’s an amazing experience.
I am also an avid NaNoWriMo participant. November is my busiest month for writing and I aim to complete book 3 for TSK’s world this year with hope for it being ready to publish in late 2017.
Awesome. I can’t wait to read it. Thanks so much for stopping by. This was fun!
Dawn Chapman has been creating sci-fi and fantasy stories for thirty years. Until 2005 when her life and attention turned to scripts, and she started work in 2007 on The Secret King, a 13 episode Sci-Fi TV series, with great passion for this medium.
In 2012, Dawn returned to her first love of prose. She’s been working with coach EJ Runyon who’s encouraged her away from fast-paced script writing, to revel in the world of TSK and Letháo as an epic prose space journey.
Click on cover for links
You can all stalk Dawn on her blog, over at the Production Website, and the Main TSK Website. There is a production twitter where The Secret King has its own profile. For Facebook, you can find The Secret King Productions Ltd, and a fan page.