Author Interview: Dan Harris

I recently read Dan Harris’s Ascension Point with great relish—to the point that I couldn’t help myself from dropping Dan a line or two by e-mail. Our conversations quickly revealed an author who had clearly done his homework in many respects—not just about the writing process, but also in terms of what to do with a book once it has been written. Dan was kind enough to accept my request to interview him, and we ended up having a wide-ranging discussion that covered everything from writing in a foreign country to writing about the distant future. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

First of all, I’d like to begin by congratulating you on your debut novel, Ascension Point, which I found to be a thoroughly enjoyable read. I must admit to doing a bit of a double-take, though, when I saw that you lived in Brazil. Although I’d be curious to know how you came to find yourself living there, my bigger question really concerns the experience of being an English language writer in that country. What advantages or challenges did you experience in writing to an English market while living elsewhere?

Thank you very much for having me, and I’m delighted that you enjoyed the book.

Interesting first question! I honestly hadn’t considered it before. The slightly dull answer is that for me personally, there are no real advantages or challenges. I can well imagine that for an ‘ex-pat’ who was more firmly embedded in the culture of his new country, who lived and worked every day in a foreign language, the disconnect between that day-to-day, and an ongoing project in his native tongue, could be difficult.

But I’m in a slightly odd situation in that my day job is conducted entirely in English, from my home office, working for the same company I was with while my wife and I were in London. As a result there was a very smooth transition, and I’ve never needed to immerse myself in Brazilian culture to the point where I’d struggle to come back to my ‘English writer mentality’.

Whether I should have immersed myself more is another question, but like most writers I generally prefer to be at home at my desk writing!

Exciting times indeed, and I can’t wait to experience it all for myself! For right now, though, I’m afraid we’ll have to wrap things up. I want to thank you for agreeing to be interviewed on The Indiscriminate Critic. I’ve had a wonderful time chatting with you, and I wish you much well-deserved success with your Ascension Point sequence.

It’s been an absolute pleasure – thanks for having me.