Sunday, November 16, 2014

Author Interview: Darren Scanlon: Until Recently I Used The Pen Name Dartherino

I was born in 1965 in the Lancashire, England where I still live with my wife and family. I see myself as a typical 'northern lad' with a very dry, sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek sense of humour which is reflected in my  writing style.

I’ve been writing poetry since age 18, mainly for myself and didn’t publish anything until December 2013. Yes it took me 30 years to pluck up the courage to let others’ have a read. A selection of my poems are now published on where I’ve enjoyed some great reviews and also as three volumes, (soon to be four)​, which I have published on along with 3 adult novels, (one comedy & two crime thrillers) and 2 childrens novels.

Your real name and pen name?

My name Is Darren Scanlon and up until recently I used the pen name ‘Dartherino’. I have just finished re-branding and re-publishing all my work and website to my own name.

Share some of the best memories of your childhood

My childhood is filled with memories. Some great and some not so. This is the subject of the current book I’m writing, childhood now and then and how they have changed. If I had to live it all again, I would choose my own during the 70’s over the electronic childhood of today.

About your education

Although I am a staunch atmheist, I was raised as a Catholic and went to St. William Of York RC primary school. Sadly not many good memories from there. It was run by a group of nuns who liked nothing better than to terrorise the young children.

I then went to St. Cuthberts RC grammar school. All very uneventful really. My over-riding memory from secondary school is smoking behind the gym and in the 5th year boys toilets. I do remember one occasion where I was in trouble for throwing snowballs and was scheduled to have the cane. Thus I was dragged out of an art class, given two whacks with a cane on each hand and then expected to go back in and continue with the piece of art I was working on. Not an easy thing to do when you can’t feel your fingers. Still; you can bet I didn’t throw any more snowballs on school premises!

Secondary school was also the introduction to my, all too short, drumming career. I was in the school orchestra playing drums and percussion. When I left school I did a three year stint as the drummer in a local blues/rock band.

I still maintain to this day that there is no other feeling on earth like being on stage and performing to an appreciative audience. Those were the good days and if my health hadn’t let me down then it is certainly something I would love to have pursued again.

What career did you plan during your education days

I didn’t plan a career during those times but after leaving school I did a three year apprenticeship as an electrician wiring houses etc. Eventually I moved into a management position with a local stationery supply company. My career spanned nineteen years in total as Warehouse Manager and then Operations manager before my health gave out and I had to accept early retirement.

What languages you can speak and write?

English, although I’ve always wanted to learn Japanese.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life

As a drummer it would without doubt be Neil Peart, (Rush), and Phil Collins (Genesis). As a writer, I’m not really sure. I was always a big James Herbert fan and love the works of J R R Tolkien, Iain M Banks and many other sci-fi / fantasy / historical works.

What hurts you most in this world

Inhumanity to each other. Cruelty to animals. Arthritis.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?

Raising a happy, caring, loving and well balanced family. Overcome is perhaps not the correct term as it occupied, and still does, the last 31 years of my life. There were many ups and downs along the way but we faced them as a family and survived one way or another. There were more ups than downs and I couldn’t be more happy with the way the family has turned out.

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead
personality, who would it be and why?

Me (without my health issues). I’m happy with who and what I am. I'm not a great lover of celebrity.

What is your favorite genre and why?

I don’t really have just one. I am pretty much open to any genre really although I do tend to gravitate to Sci-Fi, Historical and fantasy works.

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?

I have been writing poetry since I was aged 18 but didn’t publish anything until late 2013 when I also started writing my novels. The purpose was and still is, (other than my own enjoyment), bringing others pleasure or touching them emotionally in some way. In a lot of respects I enjoy writing my poetry more than my novels because I get instant feedback. People tell me how they can relate to it or how they have felt or encountered similar things or it expresses how they also feel about something or it made them chuckle. I’ve always been one who gains happiness from making others happy, a trait which I have had all my life. I feed off other peoples emotions and therefore it is in my own interests, (selfish?), to make them happy. There is no better image than a genuine smile and no better sound than a good old belly laugh!

Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?

I have had 5 novels and 3 volumes of poetry published so far, as follows:

What are your forthcoming writings?

I’m currently writing a novel taking a comical look at childhood and how it compares to back when I was a child in the 70’s and how things have changed.

Volume 4 of my poetry collections, Positively Poetic,  should be out very soon and I am also working with my trusty illustrator on an illustrated children’s poetry book.

Future projects will include Book 3 of my Danny Roberts thriller series and another illustrated ABC book.

What genres you write in and why?

I range from adult comedy ‘Hey Up Matron’, crime thrillers, ‘Danny Roberts series – Broken Angel & Broken Wings’ and childrens novels / educational ‘A Mouse’s Tale & Alphabet Zoo’, and poetry of course.

What keeps you motivating towards writing?

I truly enjoy writing so I suppose I am self motivated.

How do you plan, schedule and monitor your writing commitments?

Daily. The amount of time I spend writing on any given day/week is dependent upon my health issues. Whenever I feel able I do what I can.I was diagnosed with COPD in 2009 and this along with various other conditions pretty much dictates my daily life and what I can or cannot realistically do on a daily, (and even hourly), basis.

What are your future plans?

To keep writing, publishing and publicizing my work in the hope that one day a publisher might spot something they like and away we go…preferably before I can no longer find the words.

What four top most things you take care of while writing a book?

I ensure my novels contain: good story-lines, good characters, good pace, and good humour.

My poems must have good structure, good rhythm and good rhyme. They have to carry the reader on a short and usually very emotional journey so they can be very intense and deep.

How much real life goes into a fiction writing?

Speaking in terms of my novels it varies. Hey Up Matron was obviously about my own experinces in hospital over recent years and therefore has quite a lot of real life within its pages, especially ‘visiting time’ as this involves two very dear people in my life and who are, without exageration, the pair of clowns that they come across as in the novel. I have been playing with the idea of a follow up novel with the pair of them as the central characters.

My thrillers are complete fiction but with an attempt to make it as ‘real’ as possible within the readers imagination.

My poetry, again, is split. The comical, childrens and insane pieces obviously come from somewhere within my deranged imagination, a place that a like to visit occasionally as there is always something weird and wonderful awaiting me.

The ‘adult’ pieces reflect, in part,  my own lifes ongoing experiences but mainly my view or interpretation of the world around us and what is being done to it and also to the people that struggle daily to survive under the sometimes tyranical regimes that come and go. They can get very deep, dark and brooding and I find these not only great to write as I can really get my teeth into them but also very theraputic.

Is high level of imagination important to have for an Author?

As a fiction writer you obviously need an certain amount of imagination. Not only to come with the basic premise for the story and characters etc., but also as I am typing up the storylines I am also playing out the scenes in my imagination to see how they ‘look’ and if they work well enough. Whilst doing this I’m also working on other ideas for scenes or storylines as well so the ability to mentaly  multi-task helps a lot, certainly for me.

More than imagination, I think courage and self-confidence are probably the most important building blocks and quite often, as in my case, the hardest to come by. As I think I stated earlier, it took me 30 years to pluck up the courage to start writing for real and publishing it. Since then I have never looked back. I wish I had started much, much sooner but there you go.

Your dream destination on Earth?

Anywhere where there is peace, quiet and safety without having to look over your shoulder, (very rare in these war-torn times). Bit of countryside and sea. I’m quite partial to Wales. I’ve never been a big traveller, (abroad), I’m happy in good old Great Britain.

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed.

I was born in Bolton, Lancashire which is in the Northwest of England. I have stayed in Wales and visited Scotland. Both beautiful countries and holding special places in my heart.

What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?

I’ve always loved nature and the great outdoors. Mountians and countryside which both Wales and Scotland have in abundance. I also love the Scottish people and the Scots accent is my favourite in the world.

Your zodiac/ sunsign?


Your favorite color and why?

Blue. Proper deep sky blue that I remember from childhood, not the chemically altered pale blue that we have nowadays.

What is the last book you finished reading? What is the current book you are reading?

Last book I finished was Dissolution by C. J. Sansome. A period crime thriller set in 1540 London.

I’m currently reading Danny Murphy by Phil Bottomley. A modern times crime thriller with a violent and no ‘BS’ approach. Thoroughly enjoyabel so far.

Your favorite book and why?

The Hobbit / Lord Of The Rings is my all-time favourite. Why? Where do I start. I love fantasy so this is clearly one of the most well thought out, written and enjoyable that I have come across.
I’ve also read the Midnight Breed series by Lara Adrian which is about vampires (and much more). Again feeding my fantasy hunger. This series was exceptional in its depth of characters and the politics of living with a family of warrior vampires. I fully intend to read them all again one day.

Your favorite movie and why?

Difficult as I don’t watch much these days. Way back when it would be The Godfather I & II. Then theres Goodfellas and I really love the HBO series Band Of Brothers. I like well made character driven films.

Your favorite celebrity and why?

Neil Peart. Best drummer around!

Your favorite food?

Anything spicy

Your favorite sports?

Never been very sporting but like to watch extreme sports.

What is the force that drives you?


What comes to your mind when you think of India?

Music. Colourful dancing.

Some quickies: Sun or Moon MOON, Laughter or Smile BOTH, Morning or Evening EVENING, Coffee or Tea COFFEE, Mountain or Sea SEA, Long Drive or Short Drive LONG DRIVE, Silence or Conversation SILENCE, Water or Fire BOTH, Air or Earth AIR, Mars or Jupiter EITHER, Tulip or Rose ROSE (DEEP RED) , Red or Blue BLUE, Left or Right RIGHT, Glance or Stare STARE

What three words come to your mind for each –
Technology, addicted, iphone, music
Life, love, hate, sad
God, myth, atheist, lies
Humanity, war, persecution, tragedy
Terrorism, governments, cover-ups, tragedy
Racism, meaningless, name, pointless
Love, smile, warmth, family
Parenting, hard-work (I cheated there), neverending, rewarding
Old age, inevitable, respect, care

First thing you do in the morning after waking up?

Medication & coffee

Last thing to do before sleep?

Kiss my wife goodnight.

If one fine morning you wake up and find your sex changed to opposite, what will be your first reaction?

Stay in bed

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote

“It’ll be reet” Loosely translated as everything will be allright.

The last line of your autobiography would be…

“And with that, I laid down my trusty pen, puffed up my pillow and said goodnight.”

The title of your autobiography would be…

“Well Bugger Me!”

Links & other relevant details:


Twitter handle: @dartherino4

Linkedin: Darren Scanlon

Publisher: Self-published at Createspace

badge buzzoole code