I am so honored to announce my super special guest, the humorous, talented, dashing, slashing, kick-butt, knowledgeable, and just all around amazing, Mr. Dan Coglan AKA Samurai Dan. You’ve heard me mention him several times in my anime convention reviews and how I got to work with him in June for my first ever writing panel. I am tickled pink that his dream is finally coming true. His latest work, “Fenris Firar” is now published! Dan is here today to answer some questions for us in style. Let’s give him our attention. Take it away Dan the Man! =)
Welcome! Let’s get this started. Can you tell us three things about yourself that the world wants/needs to know?
- Tall people are no more prone to cannibalism than short people.
- Hair loss does not directly equate to memory loss.
- Just because someone doesn’t get his/her first novel published until they are in their 40’s doesn’t mean they aren’t serious about their craft.
Did your childhood affect your writing? Can you share a fun memory from your youth?
My childhood is where I actually began writing stories. In third grade, at age 9, I wrote one page monster stories and sold them all over school for spending money. Classmates, kids from older grades, and even some of the teachers bought them for a nickel or dime each.
How did the life of a samurai find you? How do you use this passion now?
The way of the Samurai grew out of a childhood that I never really outgrew, and combined my passion for swords (SHINY!) with a desire to protect people.
In addition to teaching martial science, and being everyone’s big brother, I use the skills acquired over 25 years of training to survive marriage!
Tell us about your lovely wife and children, human and furry.
I have been married forever…I mean, since June 1st, 2002, to Jillian Coglan, who I have the privilege of traveling and performing with. She is my soulmate, and I am not saying that because she’s standing over my shoulder as I type, armed with a rather large, sharp knife. Well, not entirely for that reason.
I have one son and one daughter. That is enough for me. My options are now filled. Michael is 23 and works in a bank; Amanda is 21 and works at Olive Garden.
We have two akitas, Naya (mom), and Kuma (son). They are the most amazing animals ever, and totally outrank me around the house! They get fed first, hugged the most, and greeted with the most enthusiasm. And well they should! Fortunately, they get to travel with us to many conventions and ‘perform’ with us.
What are some of your hobbies when you are not writing or slashing things with your sword?
I love sports, and still play basketball, football, and softball when I have the opportunities. I am also a big fan of other weapons than just swords, and spend way too much time researching and training with a variety of firearms and cool things that go “bang.’
Reading ranks high on my list of favorite things to do, but I don’t read nearly as much now that I am writing more regularly.
I also ride a motorcycle, and have since I was 13 or 14. Truth be told, I probably wouldn’t ever drive anywhere if I didn’t have to; I’d just ride my Sportster.
What was the first story you ever wrote, for fun or published? Tell us about it.
The first story I remember writing was a short story about the Wolfman and Frankenstein’s monster duking it out in the forest during a full moon. I believe I followed that up with the Wolfman fighting with the Creature From The Black Lagoon.
Apparently I have always had werewolves on the brain…J
Now, on to your newest book. Can you give us some information “Fenris Firar?”
Fenris Firar is a novel about an outlaw biker gang that invades a small town in Western Texas. A local guy gets bitten protecting a Cub Scout during a campout, and slowly turns into a werewolf. After attacking and nearly hurting his girlfriend, he runs away and joins the gang. Unwilling to live the depraved and inhuman lifestyle of the Pack, he fights to take control of the bikers and protect the family that he left behind as well.
Werewolves, bikers, Norse mythology…Wow! Where did all these themes come from?
These themes came from my warped little brain…seriously, aspiring writers are encouraged to ‘write what you know’ first, and then learn to branch out, takin on more difficult subjects and research new things. I took that to heart when deciding to write my first full novel, so I told a story about my childhood favorites (werewolves), and motorcycle (passion), and violence (vocation).
The Norse mythology came into play when the bikers needed a cool name; something more original and memorable than “Los Lobos,” which was my first idea. Lame, huh? People of the Wolf in Norse sounds MUCH cooler.
What character do you relate to the most?
Strangely, I don’t identify strongly with the main character, Drew. Most authors tell stories of a character that they want to be, or pretend to be, but in this case, I based the main character loosely on my son.
I relate the strongest to one of the deputies, Ray Becker, who suffers from feelings of inadequacies, but comes through when the chips are down.
Who is your favorite character?
In addition to Deputy Becker, I like Ramona. Being kick-ass and hot is always a great combination, but her vulnerability and desire for a better way of life make her more appealing and likeable than just another pin-up girl character would be.
Do you have a quote from the book you can share with us?
No. Sorry to ‘cop out’ but without a frame of reference, no quote is going to sound very good. I have favorite parts, but not single lines…and now I’m a bad interview. I knew I’d screw this up!
There is a scene where Drew goes back to school after getting bitten, and his arm all wrapped up, and his best friend pushes all the other kids away and tells them that later they can all sign Drew’s face, rather than the normal signing the cast itself, that I liked.
What is the hardest part of writing a book for you?
IT TAKES SO LONG!!! I love telling stories, and writing is the most amazing form of expression for story-telling ever, but just a first draft takes between 4 and 6 months for a well-developed story. I want to be able to tell it all at once!
What do you do to get inspired, to get your writing juices flowing?
I normally go for a short motorcycle ride first thing, and just use the trip to empty my brain, and let the story tell itself in the silence of my head.
~Feel free to insert joke here~
Are you working on any future projects or events?
I am working on several projects right now. The sequel for Fenris Firar is in the editing stage right now (grr!), and I am working on two storylines right now as well, and not getting nearly far enough on them!
Any advice you want to give to aspiring authors/entertainers?
Advice to other authors…how about, “Don’t go! It’s tough out there. Stay home with your parents; let them worry about it!” Sorry, I couldn’t resist the speech from Rodney Dangerfield at the end of “Back To School.”
I have lots of advice; panels worth. In a nutshell, I would tell people to go for what they feel passionate about, but to invest the time and effort to create a worthwhile product, whether that’s a story, or a comedy monologue, or even a report for a school project.
A final note or word of advice for me sir? 🙂
I would advise you to only interview worthwhile people, and stop wasting your time on people like ME! 😉
If you want some possibly personal advice not for attribution, here it is: stay away from doing work that smacks of fanfiction, stories that simply build on someone else’s foundation. There are only 9 or 16 original storylines, so you don’t need to be original, but it should be YOUR world, YOUR characters, and YOUR concepts, if at all possible.
Okay, that’ snot just for you. I advise all storytellers to try for that. Hollywood may have to recycle stories and characters because of copyrights and franchise stuff, but we shouldn’t be limited by that. The world is ready and waiting for the next great hero or heroine, and even villain!
About Dan Coglan/Samurai Dan:
Check them out at Samurai Dan & Jillian
You can purchase Fenris Firar here.