By Nichi Scribbles
This month, Indyfest Magazine sits down with Daniel Pagac to talk about his newly-released novel Caleb’s Journey. Daniel is a first-time novelist from Waterford, Michigan, who found his inspiration in mythology and fantasy. With a little hard work, Daniel has finaly completed his life’s dream of writing his first novel. We discuss his personal journey as he forges into the the self-publishing world, with his creation: Caleb’s journey.
IM: How did you get into writing?
DP: I’ve been writing stories since I was a child. Back then, they were short stories. As a teen, I started writing my own comic books from a pantheon of superheroes that I had created. Writing has always been a passion of mine.
IM: Can you tell us what your motivations and inspirations were for writing this novel? What triggered Caleb’s Journey?
DP: I loved playing Dungeons and Dragons as a young adult, teen, and young man. That and my love of mythology inspired me. For years, I had this idea for a story rolling around in my head and I would scribble on notepads, journals, etc., free writing. It was my goal to finish writing one novel in my lifetime, that I felt like I owed God, and to do it by the time I turned forty. Many were the Saturday nights that I sat at my dining table, listening to classical music, a glass of wine or cigar in one hand, a pen in the other, working on my novel.
IM: Where does this story take place? What is the general setting?
DP: Caleb’s Journey takes place on the living planet, Mithkre. It is the child of the unholy union between a goddess and a demon. For time periods that we know, it’s medieval in terms of technology, structure, and the like.
IM: Can you tell us a little bit about the characters and their role in the story?
DP: Caleb represents the young everyman who wishes to fix his past. A twin sword-wielding squire turned barbarian, he has his chivalrous principles mixed with what he learned in his time among the barbarian tribes.
Malachael, the wizard turned monk who refuses to use his dark powers, speaks to those of us who have done less than scrupulous things in life to get ahead and now regret them.
Candellah, a priestess in the service of Uua, the primary deity of the planet, is a wide-eyed, kind hearted female. She represents acceptance, love, and kindness. She has a great deal of empathy for others.
Nostarius, one of the primary villains, a vampire, is the dark side of our psyche. He relishes his immortality and will take a life for the thrill of it. He is arrogant, cruel, clever, witty, and has no conscience.
IM: What is the overall plot of Caleb’s Journey?
DP: The story follows Caleb Hart and his attempt to restore his family honor and lands. He interfered in a duel between a knight and a barbarian. He was left to live among the barbarians and his family was punished by the king. Meanwhile, Xerax, the Lord of the Undead has obtained an artifact called Uua’s Tear. He is using it to try and bring about the ruin of mankind. Caleb and a band of adventurers are charged with the task of stopping him.
IM: What have you taken away personally from writing this?
DP: That writing is only the beginning of the process. I had no idea how difficult it would be to get an agent, so I self-published. That meant that I had first publishing rights. I had an agent who wanted to see the manuscript until I told her about what I had done. I also commissioned an original cover, which was beautiful, but expensive. The creative process is something that I loved, but I profess ignorance to the business side. I’m thankful that publications like this one exist to give us little authors a voice.
IM: If you could give one piece of advice to budding writers everywhere, what would it be?
DP: Be very mindful of the editing process. As an independent author, finding a good editor is truly important. I put my English degree to use, but still had the input of an editor. I sometimes do review swaps with other authors and find so many grammatical errors in the first few pages that it makes me not want to continue reading. Nobody is perfect. I’ve seen works by major authors with grammar and spelling mistakes. If grammar isn’t your forte, find someone who lives and breathes it.
IM: What’s in the future? Do you have any other projects on the horizon?
DP: I’m working on a sequel to the novel Caleb Returns. I’ve completed a general outline and have started the creative process of writing, reading other fantasy novels, and daydreaming about how to not retread the first book.
IM: What’s next for Caleb’s Journey?
DP: Caleb’s Journey now takes him down the self-published road, searching for an agent or a publisher.
IM: Where can readers learn more about you, as well as find out more about your book?
DP: My book is for sale on Amazon.com. I’ve got an author page there as well. I have a Twitter account, @danielpagac. People can find me on Facebook as Daniel Pagac Author.
IM: Is there anything you would like to talk about that we have not yet discussed?
DP: Yes. For all aspiring writers, be prepared for lots of rejection from potential agents and publishers. It’s rare that they take on a new author. Write as much as you can. Research what you are writing, and never stop trying.
Amazon Profile: http://www.amazon.com/Daniel-Pagac/e/B00Q0GGM0A/
More from our Interviewer: Nichi Scribbles