Dark by Paul Arvidson
In the Strange labyrinth of pipes on the planet called Dark, things are falling apart. Dun doesn’t want to be a hero, he just wants to find an answer to the terrifying dreams he’s been having. But the answers, the real answers, are going to take him places he’s never imagined and tear him from the only home he’s ever known.
With a only half made map from his missing father, he’ll need all the help he can get. With an old friend, a new friend and the mysterious Myrch to guide him, he journeys through parts of his world he’s never imagined.
Are his dreams real foretellings? Who can he trust to be who they say they are? What are the strange forces that seem to be literally pulling their world apart? As he travels through a work that is much bigger than he thought it was, he learns more about himself than he ever knew there was to know.
Q: Welcome to the Fossend Publishing blog Paul. Can you give readers a brief overview of your book Dark.
A: It is the first book of an SFF trilogy set on an entirely lightless abandoned colony planet called ‘Dark’, where tribes of creatures exist in the pipes and passages. It tells the story of Dun, a young Bridge-folk, who needs to find answers to his terrifying dreams. The answers will take him and his friends to the end of their world.
Q: What inspired you to write Dark?
A: One evening doing a night feed of my youngest I imagined these creatures that weren’t quite human, but could speak, that lived on a world entirely in the darkness. I wondered could you still have heroes who have adventures in that kind of a world (turns out you can!)
Q: Was writing a book set in the dark different to writing a book based on normal circumstances?
A: Definitely. Trying to write not using visual descriptors is tricksy at best. You don’t realise quite how much of a habit it is to refer to the world in that way. (You see? Looks like trouble? etc.) The characters can’t use any of that kind of language because it would mean nothing to them. The trouble is weeding them out of the text as spell checkers and grammar checkers don’t flag them up.
Q: Did it influence or change your writing style?
A: Two main things. Firstly learning to paint a picture in smell, texture, sound and taste. I think that’s going to stay with me for a while yet.
Secondly, it steered me towards driving the plot with dialogue. The things that came out of the crazy world most clearly, were the voices.
Q: Did writing Dark involve any research?
A: Once I’d decided on the idea of a world that had no light, I had to work out if that was in any way viable or believable. I spent a load of time researching extremophile environments on earth where whole ecosystems exist that never have any light at all (subterranean caves, black smoker eco-systems in ocean trenches etc). Luckily it turned out that scientifically it was possible, I just had to work out some fun adventures for them to have.
Q: What do you enjoy the most about writing?
A: As a discovery writer, the most fun is once you’ve made the world (and realised it works!) and created some characters, then you send them out for a walk and the story and the characters take on a life of their own.
Q: What do you dislike the most about writing?
A: Editing. Very hard work. Deleting swathes of stuff is soul destroying. Necessary, but soul destroying.
Q: Can you share a typical day in the life of Paul Arvidson as a writer?
A: Get up, make tea, get kids dressed, feed kids, put kids on the bus (with my wife Cheryl). Then coffee and maybe some yoga, check emails answer any urgents, then a good solid hour or two writing.
Make lunch, then tea, finish any outstanding stuff, start a line for the next chapter (never leave a blank page for the next day), then a couple of hours marketing. Twitter or FB stuff or whatever scheme I have to build up the readers club.
Kids home from school off bus, tea and homework, then chill out time & maybe TV or Netflix. Kids bath, bed and stories.
Assuming I’m not too knackered, some recording of audio stuff (book trailers, planning podcast serial of Dark, to go up on blog)
Q: What’s next for Paul Arvidson?
A: Currently writing book 2 of trilogy, called ‘Darker’. Audio podcast of book one to follow this year.
Once I’ve got three books of Dark written, I fancy writing something completely different. Maybe a thriller.
Quick fire round
Beach or countryside – Can I have countryside with a river?
EBook or paperback – One of each.
Classic or modern – Got to be modern.
Notebook and pen or computer – Ideas pen, actual writing – computer.
Sun or Snow – snow.
About the Author
Paul Arvidson is a forty-something ex lighting designer who lives in rural Somerset. He juggles his non-author time bringing up his children and fighting against being sucked into his wife’s chicken breeding business. Dark is his first novel.