Born in 1981, Dane Richter spent his early life growing up on a farm located about an hour east of Perth, Western Australia. A love of Enid Blyton’s works first introduced him to the world of fantasy and adventure and with time, shifted to works by Tolkien, Feist and Tad Williams which opened a wider spectrum of the fantasy genre.
Although a deep-seeded passion for adventure and storytelling existed, during his high school years he had an aptitude for sport, excelling at track and field. Quickly rising up the ranks of Australia’s elite, he represented Australia in high jump at the IAAF World Junior Championships in 2000. He continued athletics for over a decade with personal bests of 2.19m in the high jump and 50.46s in the 400m hurdles and although he won numerous Australian national medals, a career dogged by injury saw him missing out on the 2002, 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Writing was a passion for Dane throughout his track and field career, beginning in 1999 and finishing the first draft of Hunt for the Star in 2003. With education and sport a primary focus, time afforded to writing was limited. Dane honed his skill over the next few years with affiliations to Tom Collins Writers House and the Speculative fiction group KSP Writers centre, whilst penning a sequel, Rise of the Deceiver.
Dane completed a Bachelor degree in Commerce majoring in Accounting and Marketing in 2003 and worked in coaching and education over the next ten years with a brief stint as a freelance writer in 2006, publishing 23 articles as a sports writer for the Perth metro and country based paper, Community News Group.
In 2011 Dane was introduced to Hal Colebatch - a contributing author to Larry Niven’s military sci-fi series, The Man-Kzin Wars. With Hal’s mentoring, Dane got his start with a small independent press who published the paperback version of Hunt for the Star in 2012. In 2013 Dane released the ebook, which is available on Amazon.
1. When/why did you decide to become a writer?
I guess to call me a writer would imply I actually have a career in it. Whilst I wish this were true, I am currently earning a meager sum for my craft and currently support myself working two other jobs. But I can tell you I started to write Hunt for the Star way back in 1999 when I was 18 years old. Why? Because I wanted to do something with my life and be able to leave my mark in this world long after I am gone. I think the idea of someone picking up my book 50 or 60 years from now and having an opinion on something I did, gives me a sense of pride.
2. What authors inspired you when you were younger? What books do you enjoy reading today?
I was the type of kid more inclined to read Asterix the Gaul, than devour wordy tomes by famous authors. I did, however, read many books by Enid Blyton which could attest to my love of fantasy - even though the content is far removed from my own writing. A Song of Ice and Fire by GRRM, Abercrombie's First Law trilogy and I recently read Brent Week's Night Angel, but I'd like to read Rothfuss' Name of the Wind - heard some good things about that.
3. What was the inspiration behind your novel Hunt for the Star?
Apart from track achievements, my life was quite normal and at 18, I could see the path that I was on - school, university, job, then maybe family and mortgage and suddenly wondering where my life had gone. I didn't want to be 40 or 50 years old and be one of those people that wasted my youth. I wanted to stand out from the crowd and I thought one way to do that was to write a book. I chose fantasy because I could easily make it all up.
4. How many books do you think this story will span?
Five books. Whether I get a career out of it or not, I'll definitely do five, but I have planted seeds for another series after this one, and have a plan to do several novellas to bridge the two series.
5. Did you pick a favorite character in the story, as many of your fans have?
For me, the story in only 20% complete and there are many characters still to be introduced or developed so a character might appear briefly in the first book, but knowing what is coming makes me excited. I can say that I challenge myself and try to be unique when writing a new character and sometimes the character surprises me when I'm writing it and their part ends up bigger or I revisit that same character in the second or third book. For instance the dwarf-Troll, Garuny, originally didn't speak with broken English. When I was writing a scene from the second book, I started seeing the character more clearly and giving him a funny way of talking. After making the appropriate adjustments to Hunt for the Star, I liked the way he talked so much that I wrote him a bigger part in the second book. He is by no means a favourite of mine but I did enjoy writing him. I think if an author picks favourites then the story can suffer from being predictable.
6. What would you do if given the opportunity to go on an adventure like that?
What would I do differently or...? Doing anything differently would imply that I've identified loop holes or areas to exploit in my own story. I spent quite some time critically viewing my own work to ensure there were no "the eagles should have flown the ring directly into Mordor" hacks to make the journey easier. I definitely would not let my pride get in the way of me not wearing metal armour though. tsk tsk Artos...
7. Were you in Artos' place, would you have invited Ethan with you?
As it happens, I have a nephew and have put him to sleep, changed his nappy and seen him grow up. In my circumstance I would not have invited my nephew and that's why I wrote Artos as an Uncle removed from the family, and who drifted in and out occasionally. I think if he spent most of his life near Ethan, the decision to invite him along for the journey becomes less plausible.
8. You used to run track. What was the appeal of that particular sport?
When I was 16, after a massive growth spurt, I elected to do some track events for an interschool athletics carnival. I jumped 2m in the high jump and became the number 1 ranked junior in Western Australia. 3 years later I was the number 1 ranked junior in the country and the doors of representing Australia internationally started to open to me.
9. What genre would you like to try your hand at in the future?
Writing a comedy TV series is almost in the pipeline. Writing any more about it might jinx it, so fingers crossed!
10. Would you like to see a movie or TV show made of Hunt for the Star?
I read Game of Thrones back in 2003-04 and even then it was one of the highest rated fantasy series out there, yet many people had never heard of it. Fast forward 7 years and the TV show roped in many more fans and often the content of the shows choke up social media the day after airing because people love to talk about it. So, yeah, be it TV or movie, either way it would be amazing if my books became that big.
11. What author, dead or alive, would you love to collaborate with?
Definitely Shakespeare. I like my dialogue and Shakespeare was an artist with words and delivery.
12. What would you be doing if you weren't writing?
13. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?
I know it's good to have goals but I've done this before and it's ended badly. I'd like to be able to have a career as a full time writer - if that's the case then I'll probably be doing the second series or accompanying tales set in the world of Edoria. If I can't do this as a career then I'll have a second degree maybe in teaching and hopefully settled with a family.
14. Are you working on anything that you can share with KSR?
Yeah, I'm working on the release of book 2: Rise of the Deceiver.
15. Thank you for participating in the interview. Can you please leave the readers with three things that may surprise them about you?
I'm 6'7" or 201cm
I can kick a basketball ring
I have an Accounting degree.
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