Q&A with Jack Dann

q & a

Welcome yet another guest from our friends at Satalyte Press… Jack Dann!


Jack Dann and friendWhat were you like at school?

I had ADHD. That should just about cover it.

Were you good at English?


What are your ambitions for your writing career?

Well, I’ve been writing for close to forty years. My ambitions are as they always were: to keep writing, to keep living in those created worlds, submerged in what is probably a waking dream.

Which writers inspire you?

So many. Where to begin? Fitzgerald, Salinger, Borges, Dutourd, Gene Wolfe, Brian Aldiss. If you were to ask me who is inspiring me right now, I’d say Patrick O’Brian: his Aubrey/Maturin series of novels is astonishing.


Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Well, I wrote a novel about Leonardo da Vinci entitled The Memory Cathedral, a ‘secret history’ in which Leonardo actually gets to bring his inventions to life. The novel was #1 on the Australian Age bestseller list.

What are you working on at the minute?

I’ve just finished an alternate history novel about Gnostics and the renaissance, and I’m ‘thinkin’ about the next book.

What’s it about?

I’ve been researching Benjamin Franklin’s life. Have some ideas for a historical novel…

What genre are your books?

Science fiction, fantasy, magical realism, historical, and contemporary.

What draws you to this genre?

The idea determines the genre.

How much research do you do?

A lot. I believe research drives plot and is a major driver for verisimilitude.

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

Yes, High Steel, with the late Jack C. Haldeman II.

When did you decide to become a writer?

High school dream…that I nursed into reality.

Why do you write?

It’s a way of being in the world, a way of thinking and seeing.

Do you write full-time or part-time?


Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

I try to write in the AM, but it depends on how and whether the outside world intrudes.

Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?

I try…and usually fail.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

No. If I do 500 words every day, I figure I’m doing okay.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?


Where do the your ideas come from?

They are everywhere. Ideas are the easiest part of writing.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

A combination of both, actually.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Doing it!


What is the easiest thing about writing?

Being finished.


Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?

It’s a tough call, as there is so much ‘noise’ out there. It’s difficult to get above it. Only advice I might give, which probably won’t be helpful is (a) sell your work to a commercial publisher that has the wherewithal to promote your book and (b) use social media as best you can. Re social media: don’t publicize yourself daily: give your followers other interesting material to read, so that when you have something to promote, they’ll look at it.


A great big thank you to Jack for being on the blog this week! Please be sure to follow him and check out his work!

Website: http://www.jackdann.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jack.dann2

Twitter: @jackmdann

Lnkedin: Jack Dann


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