Midsummer’s Bottom received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.
Following find an interview with author Darren Dash.
What is the name of the book and when was it published?
Midsummer’s Bottom. It was released, appropriately, on Midsummer’s Day, June 21st, 2018.
What’s the book’s first line?
A glade in Feyland. Enter OBERON, the king of Fairies. OBERON: “Puck! thou vile worm, thou squat, unseemly wart!” (A few sections of the book are written in play format, in iambic pentameter. But only a very few sections!)
What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.
A group of talentless actors stage an outdoor version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream every year on Midsummer’s Day. The fairies mentioned in the play are forced to attend every performance of it, due to a deal they struck with William Shakespeare. They can’t take this particular group of hams any more, so they hire a human mischief-maker to pretend to be an actor. He joins the group and sets about trying to break them up by humorously turning the actors against one another. The book mirrors the play, poking fun at those of us who take ourselves too seriously.
What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?
I went to see a local performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was very skillfully done, and extremely entertaining. But the play is quite complex for a Comedy, and I came away pondering what it would be like if a group of very bad actors were to get their hands on it and mangle it beyond recognition.
What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?
It’s fun, and while it has an edge to it, everything ends happily for everyone. Like Shakespeare’s comedies, it reflects on the nature of our life on this Earth, and aims to capture humankind in all its various guises, and to reassure us that as ludicrous and painful as life can be, in the end the best thing is to take a step back, take a good long look at ourselves — and laugh.
What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character? Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?
The main character, Del Chapman, is a human Puck. He doesn’t believe in following the herd or obeying the rules of stuffy fools. He never aims to cause hurt to anyone, merely to help people find the inner rebel and joker inside themselves. He thinks the world would be a better place if we all went through it with a smile and spent more time telling the truth and following our instincts, than creating public faces to show to the world and aiming to fit in neatly with those around us.
If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?
I’ll leave that one to the casting directors!
When did you first decide to become an author?
I wanted to be an author since I was five or six years old. I’ve always loved exploring my imagination and telling stories.
Is this the first book you’ve written?
No. This is actually the 50th book that I have published! (Most have been released under my other pseudonym, Darren Shan.)
What do you do for work when you’re not writing?
I’m a full-time author.
How much time do you generally spend on your writing?
I find three or four hours a day of hard, fast work suffices.
What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?
The best part is the freedom. I’ve always loved different types of stories, flitting between genres, trying new things. Traditional publishers want to pigeon-hole writers, to tie them to a specific type of genre, and that’s never appealed to me. Self-publishing allows me to do whatever the hell I please. The major downside, of course, is trying to then make people aware that my books exist! Publishing houses are usually far better at marketing that we authors…
What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?
Do it for the love of writing. Don’t worry too much about the sales side of thing. Learn as you go along, keep trying new techniques, but always make the writing the most important part of the process. If you’re written a book that you can be proud of, then you’ve done a good job, even if it doesn’t sell by the shelf-load.
Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling? If so, why?
Well, I’ve gone traditional with my YA work, and enjoyed great success. I published some of my adult novels with traditional publishers too, but I found that more frustrating, as whenever I enjoyed a degree of success, they immediately wanted me to drive further down that route, and weren’t open to my more experimental offerings. I would certainly listen to offers for my Darren Dash books, but think I would have to take it one book at a time.
Is there something in particular that motivates you?
I just feel compelled to write. Fame and fortune are nice, and I’ve enjoyed both with my YA work. Saleswise, my adult novels are minuscule in comparison, but they mean every bit as much to me.
Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?
Stephen King. He’s my primary role model.
Which book do you wish you could have written?
I’ve no desire to write anyone else’s book. We should all aim to bring our own stories to the world, not merely replicate something that’s already there.