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Interview with Author F.J. Dagg

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What is your favorite quality about yourself?
My spiritual faith. I’m not religious in the ordinary sense, not a churchgoer or a bible reader. A lot of reading and some experiences that I believe border on the mystical have brought me to a place where I simply know, intuitively, that there is much more to reality than we can see from the human viewpoint. And while what I see in human history and current events makes me pessimistic, my belief about the greater reality makes me very optimistic. I try to express this viewpoint in my writing.



What is your least favorite quality about yourself?

A tendency toward perfectionism. There’s a saying, “Perfect is the enemy of the good.” I need to be careful that perfectionism doesn’t create a barrier between me and the good.



What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?

“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he’d learned in seven years.”—Mark Twain


I like that because it’s a reminder about maintaining perspective and a clever and memorable warning against overconfidence.



What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?

Writing The Lowlands of Heaven.



How has your upbringing influenced your writing?

I was in my teens before the “cultural revolution” struck America. Consequently, my writing tends to be informed by the values of an earlier time.



Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I’ve always admired the way that writers create entire worlds out of words.



When and why did you begin writing?

I took my first serious shot at writing in the early 90s, when I wrote a draft of a novel. Why? I wanted to see if I could work that magic I mentioned.



How long have you been writing?

I dabbled in writing intermittently for many years. But I’ve been committed to it since 2005, when I began to develop The Lowlands of Heaven.



When did you first know you could be a writer?

With that novel I started in the 90s. Parts of it were good enough to make me confident that, with practice, I could write consistently well.



What inspires you to write and why?

I believe that we are spiritual beings and that there’s much more to reality than we can perceive from within the human condition.



What genre are you most comfortable writing?

It goes under different names: Speculative/Fantasy/Paranormal. Genre definitions are not exactly precise, so take your pick.



What inspired you to write your first book?

The Lowlands of Heaven grew out of the idea that there is more to reality than we see, and the possibility that different worlds may intersect.



Who or what influenced your writing once you began?

The need to finish, the need to improve, and the characters. Laurel, for example, was a supporting character in the first draft of Lowlands. Then she hijacked it and made it her story.



Who or what influenced your writing over the years?

Skillfully written stories and a spiritual view of things.



What made you want to be a writer?

That thing about the way writers create entire worlds out of words. I suppose it was inevitable that I’d try it myself.



What do you consider most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?

Resisting the paralysis of perfectionism.



Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?

It taught me a number of things, but the most important of them was that I could do it, that I could finish a novel.


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