D. R. R. Hatch - A Progression Fantasy Epic Packed With Adventure
D.R.R. Hatch is a Progression Fantasy novelist intent on writing at least six books a year. He's written four novels and two novellas already, but they’re in another genre entirely. He steers more towards the epic side of things, thanks to his love of Tolkien and Sanderson, but every one of his books is, at their core, progressive. Hatch was born in Hollywood, he lived in a treehouse during the pandemic, and his favorite anime is "Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind" (or "Castle in the Sky"). Hatch has a nest of draconic hatchlings in his kitchen, a full-grown Chocobo in my backyard, and a giant multicolored egg on the roof. His hope is to one day fill my home with fantastic beasts of every kind, then move out to the countryside and start up a preserve for magical creatures. Most of them are endangered and it is his hope to keep them from fading out of existence. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his book, The Dragon in his Soul.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Dragon in his Soul is about.
The Dragon in his Soul is about Lael, a boy possessed by the spirit of a dragon. With it, he has the power to summon black fire. People ostracize him because of it, so he hides the magic, seeing it as a “curse” from the gods. But when his mother falls ill, and the only thing that can cure her is an elixir hidden in a deadly sanctuary, he steps out into the unknown, where unimagined horrors push him to the brink.
Tell us more about Lael. What makes him so special?
Lael has a gift no one else has. He can breathe fire! And shoot it from his hands and feet. Who wouldn’t want that? Yet, he fears it, and people fear him. He’s misunderstood, ostracized, and looked down upon. He even believes that the gods, and a Being he calls Light, hates him for things he’s done. Throughout the course of the story, all of that changes. Readers will relate, because who hasn’t been misunderstood? Who hasn’t failed to appreciate the beauty of their talents, and their priceless, individual worth?
Why did you decide to write a progression fantasy epic?
It’s an underserved market with hungry readers. That, and I LOVE epic fantasy (Tolkien, Sanderson) and progression fantasy (Will Wight) so I wanted to mesh them together. It’s fun and rewarding to watch a character increase in magical power and prowess over the course of a series, so I decided to make my own.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
My stealth is unmatched. Whenever I have to sneak out of a family gathering, I’m practically invisible.
What was your greatest challenge when writing this story?
New territory. This is the first Progression Fantasy I ever wrote.
When I got halfway into the story, there were aspects of the plot and the characters I needed to change. I kept writing because I wanted to keep my momentum going, but it reached a point where if I went any longer, I’d just tangle things up. At around the 3-quarter mark, I stopped everything and went from the beginning, combing thru all the plot holes and flaws in my characters.
Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent, refusing to do what you had planned for them?
Not completely. I outline my stories and character arcs, but I leave a lot of wiggle room. It’s nice. When I have a skeleton, and I know where my characters and stories are going, I feel relaxed and free to let my characters do as they wish, as long as I know where they're going.
Readers say that Lael came across as a bit hesitant in the book. Why did you create him this way?
Right! I get this a lot. It goes along with his misbelief.
The power inside of him is dangerous, and people think of him as cursed soul, hated by God. He thinks this too. There are things in his past (which I won’t reveal here) that sustain that misbelief. But as you go on in the story, you see a change. His hesitancy fades. He has to take a stand and save his mother, or else.
Interesting cover. Please tell us more about how it came about.
Found an artist on reddit, sent him a sketch, and he got it done in about 2-3 weeks. I chose this design to appeal to fantasy fans, hence the dragon, the armor, the fire above his palm. I’ve been learning a lot about marketing and making sure to package a book that appeals to the audience your looking to attract, so I made sure to research what other epic/progression fantasy covers had.
Why did you decide to start your story with a deadly plague?
I wanted high stakes, and what better way to force Lael out of his comfort zone than to give his mother a terminal disease? My own mother suffered through cancer back in 2019, and has since passed on, so I wanted to put something in my story that reflected my own real-life experience.
Tell us more about Briar. What makes him tick?
Briar’s the son of a Lightsworn priest. His own family is struck with the plague, so he heads out to acquire the same elixir Lael is going for. With it, he can save his dying family. The man hates Lael, for his apparent curse and an accidental death he caused. Only one can get the elixir, and Briar will kill to make sure that that one is him.
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
It’s simmering in my mind for a while, so I let my subconscious work with it. After, I throw up everyone on a page, all my ideas. Then I take that matter and put it into an organized outline. I need one! They give me so much security!
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
Not necessarily. I usually go to the library, to get away from distractions, and I focus for hours. Sometimes, when I’m close to a deadline, I pull 9 hour days.
What are you working on right now?
I’m finishing the third book in the Dragon in his Soul series. As soon as I’m done, I’m going to work on the 4th book’s outline AND an outline for a new series I really, really want to write. It’s going to be in the “cultivation” genre (a genre that is under the Progression Fantasy umbrella).
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
They can go to www.drrhatch.com. There, they can get the 2nd book of The Dragon in his Soul for free!