Interview with D.A. Cairns

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first character I recall writing about was an old man running along a beach. I described him as being 50 years old and I remember my 50 year old grandfather being horrified that I thought he was old. I don't remember what the story was about.
What is your writing process?
Ideas appear in the complex weirdness of my mind, sometimes from nowhere, but usually with some kind of visual or auditory prompt. An experience, something I see or hear. I take the idea and play with it in my mind and then I throw it down in print. The first draft may be subject to revisions as I go, but I try not to let that interfere with the flow. I'm most effective in the morning but as a part timer, I write whenever I can, and always straight onto the computer. With a draft finished, I leave it alone for a little while then come back to revise, and revise, and edit and revise etc until I'm happy that it is as good as I can make it.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Probably Christine or Pet Cemetery. I gobbled up Stephen King's novels as a teenager, and I still love his work. His horror frightened me and thrilled me at the same time.
How do you approach cover design?
Collaboratively. I usually have a single image or images that I want to use to depict something of the heart of the novel, then I play around with it. The woman on the cover of Ashmore Grief was provided to me by a friend and I loved it immediately because I saw the embodiment of my heroine, Thuza.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The bible is clearly the book of all books. Spanning thousands of years: history, poetry, inspiration, allegory, revelation and the facts of life. Mere Christianity by C.S.Lewis is the ultimate book of Christian apologetics by one of the great writers of thew 20th century. Stephen King's On Writing is part memoir, part instructional and educational book, and remains one of my all time favourites. After those there are a host of amazing books too many to mention.
What do you read for pleasure?
I usually have three books on the go. Modern fiction in any genre, non-fiction in any genre and a classic novel. I read widely and enjoy excellent writing regardless of its genre.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kobo Touch. My first e-reader and I see no reason to change.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
As a relatively unknown author, I have tried just about everything. I don't know what works except trying everything at least once, and being persistent. I have concentrated for many years on building my online profile trying to reach as many potential readers as possible. Word of mouth is still arguable the best marketing tool.
Describe your desk
A big old brown thing which is neat and tidy when I'm not working, but a complete mess when I am. Lots of scraps of paper, empty plates, plates and wrappers. Heavy metal music steaming from the speakers of my computer as I sit facing a window which looks out into my backyard.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney, Australia, and now live on the south coast of New South Wales. I am not inspired as much by place as I am by people.
When did you first start writing?
Seriously, in 1998. A friend gave me his old 486 computer when he upgraded, and I decided that as I liked writing, I would have a short at becoming a published novelist. It has been my longest held dream to speak to people all over the world through my words, and the fictional characters and circumstances which I create.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Ashmore Grief was partly inspired by my experiences with migrants and refugees through my job as an English teacher, and also by my strong opposition to the policies of successive Australian governments with respect to asylum seekers and refugees. I am donating half of my royalties from sales of Ashmore Grief to the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre. I believe that we should treat our so called "boat people" with greater respect, and much more humanely. I wrote the novel to challenge what appears to be a widely held fear and mistrust of these stateless victims.
Published 2014-02-07.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Ashmore Grief
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 95,660. Language: English. Published: September 28, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » Asian
(5.00 from 1 review)
The story of an illegal immigrant who arrives in Australia by boat and goes on to become the Prime Minister. The story of a woman at the end of hope who is rescued from a smuggler's boat only to become enslaved. The story of a man who has lost his way, and needs a cause for which to fight, and a reason to live.
Loathe Your Neighbor
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 69,900. Language: English. Published: January 11, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Plays & Screenplays
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
David Lavender is a man with a talent for making bad decisions. In his fortieth year on planet Earth, a dangerous restlessness overwhelms him, and, as his marriage crumbles, and a dispute with his neighbor escalates, he responds to theses crises in his life with characteristic folly.