Derek Alan Siddoway was born and raised in the American West in the foothills of the Uinta Mountains. An Undaunted Author, Derek spends his free time reading, obsessively filling notebooks, adventuring outdoors and celebrating small victories. He’s also a sucker for Star Wars and football, namely the University of Utah and Minnesota Vikings. Derek is the author of Teutevar Saga, a medieval western/frontier fantasy series, Gryphon Riders, a young adult fantasy trilogy, and Djinn Tamer, a LitRPG series.
When did you first start writing fiction?
My first non-school-related writing attempt was at Pokemon Fan Fiction when I was in middle school. I started toying around with my own worlds in high school – the remnants of which became my first book, Out of Exile, which I wrote while in college and published shortly after.
What kind of books do you enjoy reading? Paper or eBook?
All of the above + audio books! Audio helps me “read” more than I would be able to (writing time cuts into the time I used to have just to read). Ebooks are like that as well and I love the lower cost. I still enjoy and purchase paper books but I’m much slower finishing them unless I can take them on a plane or vacation.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
The Builders by Daniel Polansky. Such an amazing all-around book: the characters, the world and the storyline. A close second would be the Echoes of the Fall series by Adrian Tchaikovsky.
Of your books, which is your personal favorite? Why?
I’m pretty sure this is what it would be like to pick a favorite child. This is maybe cheat, but I would say it’s always the next book that I’m planning but I haven’t published yet. I to improve my craft and write more entertaining stories each time, so it’s constantly evolving. My least favorite is probably the one I’m revising that the time, so that changes as well!
You can make one LitRPG book (not your own) a movie. Which is it and why?
I’d have to say the Viridian Gate series, by James Hunter. Those books have some larger-than-life characters that you could fill with any number of A-List celebrities and come out with a really awesome script.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes and no. I believe you can always sit down and write and there are days when you HAVE to just sit down and type out crap on your keyboard. There are also times when you experience burnout (which makes those days when you have to force yourself to write come along more often). The different is that writer’s block is often an excuse but on the flip side, if you recognize burnout, you empower yourself to recharge and balance your priorities at that moment,
Are you an outliner or pantser?
Outliner now, but I always find myself riffing within the outline, often times in unexpected ways. Overall, I stick to the script, though.
What is your writing process like?
When I’m in production mode, I try to get 2k words per day. I used to be around 3k but recently got married and have to balance writing with a day-job and other responsibilities (I live on a fourth generation family farm/ranch). There are times when I lapse in discipline, but an ideal writing session is me with headhphones on and a timer going to knock out as many words as I can as quickly as possible.
How many hours a day do you write?
Under an hour most days, honestly, If all goes well I can get 2k words in 45-50 minutes. There are other writing-related duties that go along with that which probably take another hour or two, depending on the day.
Share a photo of your workspace and tell us about it?
This is my new setup since moving post-marriage. Really love how simple it is (if I have more space I fill it up with crap). Truth be told, I write as much on the couch as here! (Photo Attached)
Who are some of your favorite authors of all time?
Brian Jacques, Joe Abercrombie, Lloyd Alexander and JK Rowling are definitely up there!
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Does being a Jedi count? The Force!
Where do you get your ideas?
Everywhere! Other books, games, television, movies, real-life – all of those snippets get mixed together.
What are your thoughts on how VR will affect the future of humanity?
Read The Reality Bug by DJ McHale – it paints a picture of a world where people only come into “real-life” to work and earn enough money to go back into VR. I think that bleak future is still a long ways away, but I think that’s where we end up. That being said, there is a lot of good that can be accomplished with this technology in the meantime!
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
The process is a little bit different for every book – I read similar titles, play specific video games, watch certain shows, etc. I take down notes and ideas for scenes and story ideas then start piecing that together in an actual outline form.
First video game memory?
Warcraft II – I had to go next door and play it on my cousin’s computer but man, did I love that game! It’s inspired so many things in my writing career.
What can fans expect from you next?
I’m working on two series with other authors, both in existing worlds of mine. I can’t give too many details but fans of Gryphon Riders and Teutevar Saga will both be getting more books! We’re also looking at doing more in the Djinn Tamer universe (our LitRPG world) too.
Anything else you would like to add?