Author Series: Duncan Reyneke
My name is Duncan Reyneke, and I am a South African-born writer currently living in Daytona Beach, Florida. I haven’t moved in a little while, but I tend to be slightly nomadic.
What initially got you into writing?
I was always a creative person. When I was younger, I liked to draw, write music, poetry, create fantasy worlds with my friends. My grandma said I had my head in the clouds, and I guess that was true. But my first real writing experience wasn’t creative at all - right out of high school, I managed to get a fulltime job reporting for a local newspaper. I loved the work, and it really helped me learn to write to a deadline and get through the slog.
Who are your biggest influences and why?
I’d say maybe Douglas Coupland, partly because I loved Generation X, but also because he went on to influence so many of the other writers I gravitated to as a white, cis male author living in the suburbs in the mid-to-late 2000s. Irvine Welsh. Chuck Palahniuk. Really fun writers, but also very much what you’d expect from someone in my particular wheelhouse.
Since then, I’ve grown a little as a consumer and as a writer, so Lauren Beukes has taken a more prominent role just by virtue of her sheer talent and because I love a good South African success story. I think I find myself wanting to emulate that a lot. The Shining Girls was a genius piece of work.
Are you traditionally published or self-published?
That’s a bit of a story. So, when I released my first book in 2014, it was picked up by a small publishing house in my home country. I got the whole nine yards. Decent royalties, print copies on shelves next to some of my favorite authors. Everything I could want. Yay for indie book publishers, right? Well, it wasn’t long for this world, unfortunately, as it turned out they were on the decline for reasons I won’t go into, but within around half a year, they shuttered their doors and had given me my book rights back.
Shock horror, now Duncan’s out on the streets, peddling his book again. It was around that time that I made the decision to switch to Amazon and make my book available there. It was the right choice, but I’ll be honest with you, marketing has been difficult. You come to realize, being a self-published author means being a self-marketing author and there’s NO escaping that, even if you don’t gravitate toward that kind of work. I’ve done my best with it and gotten fairly good results, enough to warrant my second book which came out a few years later. I’m happy with what I’ve achieved, but we’ll have to see how long it takes to put out the next one.
How important is writing as an art form in the world, today?
Writing has always been one of the most underappreciated art forms in the world, and it isn’t any different today. Good writing can cover the most boring topics and come out the other side completely captivating. I don’t care about bike rallies in the desert. But when Hunter S Thompson writes a story, I listen, because his writing was good. There’s a lot of content being put out these days, which I love because my happy little heart loves to see writers venturing out into the world. But my joy is kept for good writing, and I think a lot of other peoples’ are too, even if they don’t know it.
And you see it everywhere, by the way, this need for good writing. Video games that get churned out in the space of a year to please audiences are like empty calories. But you play a game like Bastion or Gone Home and you actually get something from them. Same thing with movies. Same thing with music. People underestimate how important writing really is.
Do you have a set process when starting a new project?
I read a lot and consume a lot of media. I talk any and all ideas out with my wife or my brother, good or bad, to see where they might go. And I’ve had some stinkers.
Then I’ll try to apply Dan Harmon’s story circle to it, a lot of the time. Come up with interesting places for it to go but, also, focus on a structure, as I know I can get a little distracted and meander. It’s a cat and mouse game, trying to be interested in my own story while remembering that, when you tell someone else your stream-of-consciousness dream, it’s usually pretty boring for them. You’ve GOT to reign it in, or at least I do.
What has been your favourite book to write and why?
My second one: Bay City Monsters. I had a lot more fun with that one. I wrote the first one as the writer I think I thought I should be. Enigmatic. Wordy. I don’t know if I achieved that.
My second book, I wrote more as the writer I am. Kind of crass. Very sweary. Obsessed with pop culture and a big lover of horror. I don’t know if that one was a success, either, but it was more honest, and I honestly can say I’m really happy I wrote it.
Which genre do you enjoy writing in?
Speculative fiction. I would love to write in science fiction but I don’t think I’m smart enough. How great would it be to write a really good time travel book? So difficult, though.
Is writing your primary source of income?
It actually is, but not fiction writing. I am a blogger and SEO writer for a marketing agency, and have been since 2010. What’s interesting is that, because I write so much during the day, it actually 100% gets in the way of me writing creatively at night because I am honestly so tired of writing by the time I get home. I push through it, because writing creatively is so much more nourishing than writing ad copy, but it can be a challenge.
What advice can you give our readers, should they wish to pursue writing?
From personal experience, just to realize that one day you could very realistically finish writing your book, and then you’re going to need to be ready to market it. I wasn’t ready for that, and I still struggle to be “that” guy to this day.
What does success mean to you?
To have the time to do the things you love and never worry about putting off something you should be doing.
What projects are you currently working on?
Very little, I’m afraid. I’ve had this idea for a collection of short stories in my head for a long time. And I’m working with a friend of mine on some scripts for a few cartoons. But I’ve been in sort of a dry space for a while now, waiting for something to inspire me.
What are your hopes for the future?
To write that third novel, then a few more.
Lastly where can people find you?
They can find me on;
They can find my books on Amazon.
Nails In The Sky:
Bay City Monsters:
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