Today’s interview is with Dane Greene, author of Rage: A Story of Survival. Find the full review of Rage here.
Rage is mandatory reading for the year 2020, it’s all too fitting for our current times. You can pick yourself up a copy through the affiliate link here: Rage: A Story of Survival
Questions about Writing
Is writing your full-time job? Do you also consider it a passion?
Dane Greene: Writing is not my full-time job or even something I would currently consider a side hustle. It is a hobby of mine; one that I am sporadically passionate about. Of course, I would love it if my books became a hit or even popular enough to pursue with more dedication, but for now I’ll just write what I enjoy and see where it takes me.
Amanja: Well here’s to hoping you find that audience! You deserve it!
What is your schedule for writing like? Do you make time for writing or do you squeeze writing in when a moment becomes free?
DG: I don’t keep a set writing schedule. I usually keep the document open on my second screen/work station (I’m, admittedly, a huge tech nerd) to remind me to set time aside to write. That way if I’m in the mood I’ll write a paragraph or two. Most of the time it just sits there shaming me. But, on a good day, I will write a few pages.
How much planning goes into writing before you actually write a sentence? Or do you just let the words flow and do heavy editing later?
DG: The story flows for 90% of the writing. I try to plan the structure, idea, world, lore, and setting vaguely and write from there. My books require quite a bit of editing since I get overly excited and tend to get ahead of myself. Sometimes to add details and sometimes to clarify an idea or sequence of events. Occasionally the work provides a solid backbone, but often I end up rewriting or scrapping.
How do you handle criticism or negative feedback on your writing?
DG: Fairly well I think, though to be honest the only bad feedback I have gotten so far. Has been two-word criticisms, I don’t respect those views. I hate seeing them, but it is what it is. I don’t mind if you hate my book and write it a scathing review, point out every flaw and weak spot. It helps me grow as a writer, and I appreciate those views.
A: I find short reviews like that to be a waste of time. You can’t just say something’s bad and then not elaborate!
Do you have any tips and tricks for aspiring writers?
DG: It is ok to dream big, but plan and work small. Write what you enjoy and if others do as well, great! If not, you still have something to be proud of.
Questions about Reading
Do you think it’s necessary for a good author to also be a prolific reader?
DG: No, but I certainly think I helps. Often reading a good book puts me in the mood to try to capture that same feeling in my own work. Reading is inspiration and help, and downright fun.
A: I agree! Hear that kids? Reading is fun!
How do you find time to read?
DG: I try to read before bed, and if I am reading a good book, well then, whenever I can find an hour or two indulge.
Does reading give you inspiration for writing? If so what books have inspired you?
DG: Absolutely. Some books that have served as inspiration are: The Name of the Wind, Rust, Battle Royale, Pillars of Eternity, One Second After, Game of Thrones, and a special mention for Eragon which inspired me to write my first book. Which was so terrible I put it in the shame folder and forgot its location but, we’ve all got to start somewhere and grow from there.
A: It can’t have been that bad!
Who’s an author that you think is criminally under-read?
DG: George R.R. Martin. I would kill to be able to write a world half as complex and full of life as his. I am eagerly awaiting the next book, fingers crossed. Many have seen his world’s come to life but I feel few have truly experienced the depth and richness that his worlds provide. He somehow manages to create a world told from so many differing perspectives, places, and points. Even though the books are dense I find myself flying through the story because of not only the intrigue, but the clarity in which it is presented.
A: I had assumed he was quite popular but seeing how I’m one of the ones who’s never read a book of his I guess it makes sense to call him underread lol
What’s a book from your childhood that holds a special place in your heart?
DG: A condensed version of Bram Stokers, Dracula. I liked the picture on the front cover and wanted to read the book. My mother thought it might be too scary for me but relented and said, “If I read 20 other books first.” So of course, I did. I think that book and my mother’s nudging helped foster my love of reading and writing.
A: maybe if I had been that motivated to read Dracula I wouldn’t have put it down a couple dozen pages in!
Questions About Your Book
How long before Covid did you actually start writing Rage? Did you know you’d be writing an allegory for our current year 2020?
DG: I started writing Rage around when I was 16 years old and I published at 27. A lot of the anger the characters felt toward those who were older was my own feelings at the time. Age and maturity do not go hand in hand in my view. Some people take longer to grow up, and others never do. I have met more than my fair share of childish “adults” in my life.
I was watching the virus spread through China and Europe, and could see it coming. I had no idea just how impactful it would become. I could not have predicted that my book would mirror a real disaster, still not sure if it has helped or hurt my release. I wrote Rage as a work of fiction, while it has many grains of reality in it I never hoped to be in a world like the one in my book.
A: I completely agree that maturity and age do not go hand in hand. I remember always being “mature for my age” and extremely frustrated at the lack of respect afforded to me as a young adult. I think the parallel to real life makes it that much scarier, which should be a good thing for a horror novel!
Did you model the team of protagonists after yourself or anyone you know?
DG: Sort of, the book started between myself and two other friends. Originally, it was our group and how we would make it through the zombie apocalypse. Some of the characters inspired by my childhood friends made it through my re-writes and edits. But, that’s where the resemblance ends. They took on a life of their own, became their own characters, hardly resembling their original inspiration. At one point I saw Aaron as “my” character, something to aspire to be.
Rage deals a lot with how different generations handle respect, authority, and ambition. In your perspective, is Rage more of a rallying cry to the younger generation or a wake-up call to the older?
DG: One of the only things to make it through my first draft of the book was that frustration I felt. Being seen as incapable, or unable to understand the world and my place in it. I hated being told to do something out of respect for elders, or in the name of tradition, or being told I had to earn respect. Age has taught me many things, and I have grown and learned from my experiences. Sadly, I don’t think this is the case for many of my fellow humans. In fact, I know for certain that this is not the case.
Personally, I try not to let age affect how I see someone. There are so many people full of knowledge in all age groups. As a young man, I had friends that were generations ahead of me. I think everyone should strive to treat each other with respect and an openness to learn and share.
A: I think that’s a very valuable lesson. We were taught to show respect to our elder regardless of their behavior but they never returned it in kind. Young people can be just as discriminated against as any other group.
The point of many arguments and frustrations in real life is that we cannot read someone’s thoughts and understand their motives. The Palemen in Rage do not have to worry about other Palemen’s motives, they have one purpose. The humans, however, need to communicate. Did you choose to write Rage from different character perspectives in order to ease that communication to the reader?
DG: Originally, the book was going to be two characters dual perspectives written by two separate authors. To be honest, it was not very good, a story told two times over turned out to be quite boring. Sometime in the process, I started adding more characters inspired by George R.R. Martin’s (Game of Thrones) writing style. To try to break the tedium of it. After I was the only author, I scrapped the twin perspectives and added more characters to fill out the story and world. I had such a big world that I wanted to create, that I could only do it through multiple characters.
The violence in Rage is scary and leans more toward realistic. Was there a temptation to make it gorier or more over the top in order to compete with the most popular zombie franchises?
DG: Not at all, the overt gore and over the top violence is what I am most annoyed by in the genre. You don’t need pink mist levels of bloodshed to be impactful, I have always preferred violence in stories like mine to be vivid, but rooted in reality. Violence should not be the entertaining part of the story. Rather, I prefer it to be uncomfortable, and slightly unsettling.
A: I agree, if violence is the only entertainment value a book has then it’s missing many other levels.
Questions about You/ Just for Fun
What is something mundane that doesn’t seem to bother most people but drives you absolutely insane?
DG: The feeling of peach fuzz on my tongue, and synthetic velvet anywhere near me. Can’t do it. Makes me uncomfortable even typing it and thinking about it <shudder>.
A: Huh, I feel that way about ceramic. Hate the feeling of it, makes me feel like my fingernails might pop off.
What’s the best trip you’ve ever taken?
DG: A trip for my wife’s golden birthday to Grand Junction, Colorado. We went camping for half and stayed in an Air Bnb for the other half. Easily one of the most amazing camping trips I have been on. The beautiful and varied landscape as well as a never-ending list of outdoor activities to do. Plus, they had a bunch of solar panels on residential and commercial building and that was a treat to see.
A: My brother lives there! Beautiful scenery to be found for sure.
What’s your favorite present you’ve ever received?
DG: Honestly, I have a pretty terrible memory for gifts, I’m sure I have had several best gifts ever and have forgotten them.
If a stranger wanted to win you over, how would they start the conversation?
DG: Starting with a computer, tech, or games would definitely help win me over. That said, it usually takes me a few interactions to be truly won over.
What’s something you would scream at your younger self until you were sure they heard you?
DG: Oh, so so so so so many things. My younger self and my current self would not be able to tolerate each other on how we view things. We would just yell at each other endlessly and fruitlessly I’m afraid.
Also, I would make sure to tell them to invest in Facebook, Google, Bitcoin, and Ethereum. Who wouldn’t right?
A: Oh I definitely agree, my younger self was an embarrassment.
Where Can People Find You?
DG: My book’s Facebook page(I have a personal one but don’t use it)
My website (it’s quite basic currently) for more information about me and my book, and a preview of the first chapter.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
DG: Anyone reading this, please, if you read my book provide a review, be honest it is appreciated so much by me.
Thank you so much if you enjoyed my book, it was a challenge to write, and I’m glad I was able to create something enjoyable.
I also want to thank those that have provided encouragement to me throughout the process, and those who helped to shape the final edition.
A: You heard him! Go read and review Rage: A Story of Survival!