Ask Dayton 102 – Read. Write. Drink. Repeat
Hi Dayton, yo,
I have been listening to the G&T Show and read all the Ask Dayton’s, and have some questions I don’t think you have been asked.
How did your interest in writing originate? Was there a teacher or someone who inspired you?
I loved your book in The Fall series. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finally, what are your favorite mixes with vodka?
Welcome to the madhouse. It really doesn’t get any better, the longer you stay.
I don’t really know when I consciously decided “Hey, I want to be a writer.” It just sort of happened, over a very long period of time. I remember writing an incredibly shitty short story or two in middle school, but I had fun doing it. It wasn’t until many years later that I attempted to put words to paper in something resembling a creative fashion. Some would call this my great epiphany, whereas others would and continue to mark that date as the end of civilization as we know it.
That date was somewhere around twenty or so years ago, when I started dabbling with what would turn into a Star Trek story. Then I wrote another one, and a few more, along with some other stuff along the way, and then one day I heard about the first Star Trek: Strange New Worlds contest and was dared by a friend to submit a story. So, I did, and the editors in charge of the contest—in a fit of drunken whimsy—bought it along with a bunch of others, paid us for our time and effort, and made a book out of those. Then the same thing happened the next two years, after which I got a contract to write a Star Trek novel.
This was the publishing equivalent of the asteroid that crashed into the earth and killed all the dinosaurs, and it’s been all downhill since then.
So far as writerly inspirations, that’s a tough one. I have favorite writers, whose stories I’ve read and reread, as much to study their craft as to simply enjoy what they’ve seen fit to share with us. Some of those writers are people I consider friends, and reading their stories inspires me to work harder.
Speaking of fellow writers, that brings us to your question about writing The Fall miniseries. While that was a challenge, it also was fun. The hardest part about writing something like this, particularly when writing the last book in the sequence as I did with Peaceable Kingdoms, is keeping straight everything that was being established by the previous four books, a couple of which were being written at the same time I was writing mine.
Then there’s all of the continuity that’s been evolving across multiple books and series published during the past several years. Still, we managed to keep it all straight and had a good time while doing it. Nobody died, and we’re all still friends. Do I recommend taking on something like this for every novel project? Not really, because when you boil away all the fun stuff, what’s left is a lot left to do that feels like having homework. EVERY NIGHT. FOREVER.
So, yeah, I drank a lot.
And hey! That brings us to the last part of your question: How do I take my vodka? Regular listeners and readers know that I’m partial to a wonderful little concoction called sweet tea vodka, which is just what it sounds like: vodka infused with good, old fashioned southern style sweet tea, just like my grandmother used to make and which made thousands of dentists south of the Mason-Dixon rub their hands together in unbridled glee and anticipation. For one of my favorite “sit back and watch the world go by” drinks, I’ll take this vodka and mix it with some limoncello and some huckleberry for flavor. Put all of that over ice, put your feet up, find the spot I left off in the book I’m reading, and give the world the finger.
In fact, I think I’m gonna go and do that right now.
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He is the co-owner of Busy Little Beaver Productions and is the producer and co-host for G & T Show and Gates of Sto’vo’kor. He’s directed voice actors, and produced and edited audio podcasts and dramas because he doesn’t have the face for video. He plays well with others and is always on the look out for the next project, the next thing, the next next. If he wasn’t working on something with a half dozen other projects waiting in the wings, somebody please check to make sure he’s still breathing.
During the day, he’s a mild-mannered computer repair man who dabbles in web design in his small, rural, Central California community. He lives with his lovingly dysfunctional family and loyal canine companion and spends most of his time in the closet concocting some hair-brained scheme or another. He’s got an unhealthy obsession with Lego video games, Klingons, and Star Trek Online that borders on the neurotic.
Despite all this, he still finds the time to write the words. Find out what he's doing here.