Daryl Draper lives in China and he is writing fiction. He has recently added his books for free on Story Cartel. He also started a Patreon page so that he can get some help with editing and artwork costs. We have conducted an interview with him.
What motivates you to live abroad in China and to write your novel?
I was already living in China, teaching English, when I embarked on my goal of completing a novel. A friend inspired me after sharing an interest in participating in Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month).
I joined the program in November of 2012. Though I didn’t finish with 50k words, I had a pretty decent start. I continued working on the project from there, trying to improve as an author and develop my craft.
My editor sent me back my complete first draft and said it was unacceptable. I took all of her notes and rewrote the book from scratch. So far, my first major novel has been very well-received.
How challenging is it to study Mandarin?
It’s a continuous process. As far as I've come with the language since I started studying it in 2009, I still have trouble parsing some words on the television or the radio. That said, learning to read and write Chinese early on has helped my understanding of the language immensely. So if someone wants to study Mandarin, I recommend learning the characters first.
Why did you choose the Horror genre?
I didn’t choose the horror genre insomuch as it chose me. The genre is so vast and different; there are times when it defies categorization. It seems there are elements of horror in all great stories.
But if I can give a deeper explanation: We--as people--tend to hide the true nature of reality from ourselves. Seeing the world as it is would be too terrible. People might throw themselves off buildings or stop having kids. But by creating delicate delusions and mental hacks, we find a way to cope with the situations we find ourselves.
Horror is an inoculation that allows us to indirectly affirm the aspects of reality that would be too soul-destroying to confront otherwise.
Which is your favorite character crafted so far?
I enjoyed my time with the prostitute gang in Party Apocalypse. You could say their quips and personalities made an impression on me. Unfortunately, my novel ended as soon as I got to know them. I still would like more story with them, but I haven't quite figured out how to make that happen.
What are your novels' key messages?
Commercial horror fiction is a tad moralistic. My key themes have to do with inner struggles: when we fight our fate, what we are, or what we're becoming. There's some deterministic and pessimistic themes. Many of my stories have to do with atonement when we try to reconcile the conflict between trying to be optimistic and acknowledging we live in a pit full of bones.
Why did you start a Patreon page?
I’m making almost no income from my fiction. I have also paid out of pocket for editing costs and cover art. I like the idea of there being a way for people to be a part of future creations if they enjoy my content.
Where do you offer your books?
Right now my books are available for free on Story Cartel. Just have to look for them.