Author Feature: Dana Illwind and Growing Shadows by Arthur Daigle

Dana Illwind and Growing Shadows by Arthur Daigle is intended to be the first part of a trilogy, with part two out later this year.  It started as a short story for the Fellowship of Fantasy anthology series, but Arthur enjoyed the characters so much he kept writing until it reached book length and he decided to publish it.  

Dana Illwind waited at the forest crossroads outside her hometown of North Lights, not happy with her current situation. That was unfortunate given she was responsible for ninety percent of what was happening to her. More like eighty-five percent responsible.
It was getting dark and cold, and she pulled her cloak tight over her shoulders. She’d worn her extra thick dress and fur lined boots, and a fur cap over her brown hair. It was still early in the year when winter’s cold and spring’s warmth traded places nearly every day. Dana had brought a backpack loaded with two days of food, a lantern and extra oil, a knife (never leave home without one) and a purse with her life savings. Granted fourteen copper pieces and three silver coins didn’t buy much, but her father was fond of pointing out most people didn’t have two coins to rub together and got by on barter. Barter was also harder for the king to tax.
The thick growth of pine trees made it hard to see her guest. He’d said he would arrive today, but they were rapidly running out of today. Maybe he was delayed and wouldn’t arrive until tomorrow. That would be bad. She’d used every excuse she had to get out of today’s chores. Her parents wouldn’t tolerate her missing another day’s work.
An owl hooted to the north. Maybe he wouldn’t come at all. Then why bother writing to say he would? Paper cost money, and the scruffy looking man who’d delivered his letter must have been paid. If he had no intention of coming then he could have saved time and money by ignoring her request.
“Ms. Illwind, I presume?”
Dana screamed and leapt off the road, landing on a thick carpet of dead pine needles. She scrambled behind a tree and drew her knife. It took her half a minute to stop hyperventilating, and another ten seconds to get angry with the smirking man standing off to the side of the road.
“That wasn’t nice!”
“I’m not a nice man.”

A Bite of… Arthur Daigle  

Do you see writing as an escape from the sorrows of existence, an exercise in futility, or an excuse to tell lies and get paid for it? Or is there another option…

I write to make people laugh.  There’s no end of suffering in the world, easily proved by spending ten minutes watching the nightly news.  My goal in writing is to help people, make them laugh.  I write to make my audience laugh so long and so hard that when they’re done the world is a better place, easier to deal with.  Strange as that sounds, I have been contacted by readers who thanked me for doing just that.  One said, no joke, that I helped him get through the Covid lockdown.  That’s an unqualified win for me

Have you ever written somebody you know into a book? A lover? A friend? An enemy?

So far I have not written a living person into my book, although that may change soon.  A former coworker asked to me to make him a character in one of my books.  This is a first for me, and I felt it only right to honor his request.  But in general I prefer to make my characters rather than write real people into my books.  You never know whether you will offend by doing it, especially if it is done without the person’s permission.

If you could meet one person (alive or dead) who would you choose? And what would you talk about? And what do you bring d a gift? 

If I could meet anyone, Jim Henson would be on the top of my list.  I modelled much of my work off his movies and TV series, with their good natured humour and family friendly material.  I think that’s the way to go to reach the most people.  I’d like to talk to him about how he came up with his ideas and later refined them, and how he promoted them and dealt with the marketing side of making content.  I understand he was a humble man not given to extravagances, so for a gift I think I’d bring a home cooked meal.

Arthur was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. He received a degree in biology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, which sounded like a good idea at the time. This led to work as a zoo intern at Brookfield Zoo, an assistant fisheries biologist at the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation, and a research assistant at Morton Arboretum. Most recently he’s been employed grading high school essay tests and working as a garden associate (yeah, the job market is that bad). In addition to writing, Arthur is an avid gardener and amateur artist.
Arthur is the author (no jokes, please, he’s heard them all) of eight books. These include William Bradshaw King of the Goblins, William Bradshaw and a Faint Hope, William Bradshaw and War Unending, William Bradshaw and Fool’s Gold, Goblin Stories, Dr. Moratrayas Mad Scientist, William Bradshaw and Urban Problems, and Dana Illwind and Growing Shadows. These books were almost inevitable given that the author has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy since he was old enough to walk. Arthur is also a regular contributor to the Fellowship of Fantasy anthology series. Major influences include the works of the puppeteer and filmmaker Jim Henson and the British artist Brian Froud. Expect more books in the Will Bradshaw series, as all attempts to stop Arthur from writing have failed.

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