Check out this author spotlight for Glen Dahlgren!
You can find all his links furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out his books!
1. Hi! Welcome to my humble blog of all things bookish! I would like for us to start by getting to know you. Give us a short bio, please!
Glen Dahlgren is an award-winning game designer and the author of the book series The Chronicles of Chaos, which fantasy legend Piers Anthony called “what fantasy fiction should be.” Glen has written, designed, directed, and produced critically-acclaimed, narrative-driven computer games for the last three decades. What’s more, he had the honor of creating original fantasy and science-fiction storylines that took established, world-class literary properties into interactive experiences. He collaborated with celebrated authors Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (The Death Gate Cycle), Robert Jordan (The Wheel of Time – soon to be a TV series from Amazon), Frederik Pohl (Heechee saga), Terry Brooks (Shannara), and Piers Anthony (Xanth) to bring their creations to the small screens. In addition, he crafted licensor-approved fiction for the Star Trek franchise as well as Stan Sakai’s epic graphic novel series, Usagi Yojimbo.
2. To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 (or more!) of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!
Ninjas or pirates?
Ah, the age-old question. I have to come down on the side of pirates. While I suspect ninjas have the upper hand in a fight, pirates just have way more style. In fact, I’ve been looking to write about pirates for a while, and I finally got my chance in my upcoming book: The Game of War. I hope my readers enjoy them as much as I did.
Plotter or pantser?
My first novel took me twenty years to write and it changed a lot in the meantime. Because it took so long, I never really figured out my approach as it applied to any other book, so I’ve been trying to nail it down for the subsequent ones in the series. At this point, I know that I cannot start writing until I know where the whole book is going. But then no plan survives contact with the enemy. Things change, and as a writer, you have to open to discovery.
Pen and paper or computer/phone?
Standalone or series?
I’ve enjoyed reading both kinds of books, but I generally prefer the latter. Once you’ve invested yourself in a world and become intimate with its characters, why would you want to start again anew right away? It’s the same reason reality shows do all-star seasons; it’s far easier to get the audience engaged if they’re already invested in the people.
Book or ebook?
I was with a publisher that decided to dedicate their channels completely to ebook, and it was a major reason I left. Few authors go into this field assuming they’re going to make it rich, but all of them have similar dreams: to hold their book, to find it on shelves in a book store, and to hand a signed copy to someone to read. While I respect the place of ebooks, and the market it opens up, there’s a magic to the heft of a quality hardback you lose in the process.
3. When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?
Like most readers, I want great characters in a wonderful world. I want interesting events that are driven by logic. And I want an ending that I was unpredictable, but was inevitable.
I adore fantasy stories, although I’ve enjoyed the hell out of some great SF, too—but I wouldn’t say I need anything in particular to make me like it (like a type of hero or magic or maps, etc.).
And the best stories have something to say. That’s important to me.
4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings!
I’m a computer game designer from way back, but many of my games involved creating fiction inside of the worlds of world-renowned authors like Robert Jordan, Frederik Pohl, and Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. I leaned a lot about fantasy writing during that time, and I was itching to create my own stories in my own world.
I released my debut YA fantasy novel in Summer 2020: The Child of Chaos. Reception to it has been wonderful and I really enjoyed writing in that world. Some people wanted to know more about fan-favorite character Dantess, a priest of War, so I wrote a prequel that describes the hard journey that made him into the person he became. That book is called the Game of Wat, and is currently in editing. What’s more, the additional world-building in Game of War provided a nice foundation for the sequel of Child of Chaos, tentatively entitled The Curse of Chaos, which I’m writing now.
Also, I decided to narrate the audiobook for the Child of Chaos, only recently released. It was a real learning experience, but so worth it!
5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!
The book currently available is the Child of Chaos. Here’s the blurb for it:
Nothing can break the stranglehold the gods of Order have on the world . . . except a roll of the dice.
An irresistible longing drags young Galen to an ancient vault where, long ago, the gods of Order locked Chaos away. Chaos promises power to the one destined to liberate it, but Galen’s dreams warn of dark consequences.
He isn’t the only one racing to the vault, however. Horace, the bully who lives to torment Galen, is determined to unleash Chaos–and he might know how to do it.
Galen’s imagination always got him into trouble, but now it may be the only thing that can prevent Horace from unraveling the world.
“This is no ordinary sword and sorcery story. This is what fantasy fiction should be. [Glen Dahlgren is a] novelist who I think will become more widely known as his skill is appreciated.” –Piers Anthony. New York Times best-selling author of Xanth
You can find the ebook of Child of Chaos at https://www.amazon.com/Child-Chaos-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B08BN6S5R2/
If you’d like a signed paperback or hardback, you can find it at my online store at https://mysteriummerchandise.bigcartel.com/
The Child of Chaos audiobook can be found here: https://www.audible.com/pd/B08W8GKDLF/?source_code=AUDFPWS0223189MWT-BK-ACX0-236240&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_236240_rh_us
6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from, and what are your primary fictional sources of inspiration (books, authors, films, music, etc.)? Name a few!
It’s hard to live life to the fullest while trapped by the pandemic! But I had a number of adventures when I was courting my wife, who lived in Italy at the time. We explored castles and churches whose architecture took my breath away.
My fictional sources of inspiration are many and varied. I grew up on the classic fantasy and SF books, like Dragonlance, Xanth and Adept series, Thomas Covenant, Wheel of Time, and so many more. My fantasy instinct were definitely forged in the crucible those authors provided. That said, today’s fantasy and SF in movies and TV has become quite elevated. I also love the series born from novels like Game of Thrones or Dirk Gently, but also graphic novels, such as Watchmen, Preacher, American Gods, and the Boys. I’m looking forward to Wheel of Time (coming soon on Amazon) and the Sandman, one of the most impactful comic books I ever read.
7. What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down!
Think a lot, then write a little. This routine isn’t fast (my first book took 20 years, but my second took about 8 months), but I like the end results.
A lot of people suggest you start editing when you’re done with the first draft, but I just can’t do that. By the time I get to the end, I’ve rewritten my beginning 2-3 times. I don’t understand how someone can barrel forward and NOT edit. The last part of my book depends on the first! So my first draft ends up being my second, which I don’t consider a bad thing.
8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as you started out on the path to become an author, what would it be?
You don’t need a publisher to publish. I wasted about a year looking for representation and ended up at a publisher that wasn’t a good fit for me (which I ended up leaving before my book was released). Especially in today’s publishing climate where publishers require new authors to do most of their own promotion anyway, it doesn’t make sense to pay someone else (and potentially give up rights to your work) just to say you’ve been published. The infrastructure for self-publishing is robust and just about anyone, with enough research, can and should tackle it on your own. Be prepared to start an endless quest to master marketing, though—every author’s bane!
9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!
Certainly! The first place to look is www.mysterium.blog. There you can find a lot not only about my books, but about my gaming history, including detailed behind the scenes write-ups on my most impactful games like Wheel of Time, Unreal 2, and Death Gate.
Here are some other places you can find me:
Amazon Book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08BN6S5R2/
Goodreads Book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54239375-the-child-of-chaos