D. E. Wyatt was born and lives in St. Louis, Missouri, where he currently works in IT. He is a student of Western Medieval Martial Arts, and a lover of history and fantasy. When not working or writing he enjoys building computers, video games, and 3D modeling.
No Good Deed... is his first published work of fiction.
Interview with the Author
When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I’ve been writing something for a very long time, even when I was fairly young I wanted to do something creative. However if I had to pick one source that really got me wanting to write, it was probably Sierra’s Quest for Glory I, which is also where my interest in fantasy in general began.
What inspires you to write?
I’m a creative person by nature; I played music, I drew, nowadays I do some 3D modelling work, and as I said I’ve always enjoyed creative writing. So part of it is an extension of that. Sometimes I have ideas that I just have to get down, and I even had an idea for a story that came to me in a dream. Other times it may come from something I hear or read about, or see on TV, or even from a song that I hear.
How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
I’d been working on another, much larger project and decided while that was slowly coming along to do something a bit smaller alongside it. The first thing I came up with I didn’t really care for the results, so I retooled the idea a bit, which became No Good Deed...
The world in which the story is set was born out of my interest in Western Martial Arts; the reconstruction of the European fencing schools has been gaining a lot of traction, but it’s still something you don’t see in a lot of media yet, and the handling of arms and armor is still very much influenced by Hollywood and Dungeons & Dragons. I really wanted to do something much more grounded in how these weapons were actually used, and that directly influenced the fighting styles for Elsabeth and Hieronymus in No Good Deed..., with the former drawing from Sigmund Ringeck and Johannes von Liechtenauer, while Hieronymus draws on the I.33 Manuscript.
Another thing I really wanted to play with was the rivalry between the different schools of the time. Even in Liechtenauer’s manuscripts you have a sense of disdain for some fencers, which he disparaged as showmen rather than actual fighters. It’s actually not too far off from what’s happening today; the fighting art is lost and obscured by the entertainment art. So that helped shaped Elsabeth’s own attitude towards the sword. She’s a warrior, and that leads to an amount of disdain for the dedicated tournament fighters and the masters who teach that style.
The plot itself was intended as a sort of blend of low fantasy and swashbuckler. I especially wanted to do an anti-Game of Thrones; something much lighter both to read and in tone. There’s intrigue, but on a very small scale. The main characters aren’t angels, but they’re not bad people, either. Someone can be a manipulative bastard, but still honorable to his word. There’s conflict, but it’s much more personal. It’s dangerous, but the fun is not in finding out if they survive, but how they do it.
Is there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?
I have one very big project in the works I’m not ready to discuss yet, that’s been on a sort-of-hiatus while preparing No Good Deed... and its follow-ups. I also have a long history of aborted ideas and stories I never went anywhere with, but nothing in a particularly complete state.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m still trying to home in on one particular approach. Sometimes I just work from the basic plot, while other times I write out a more detailed synopsis, but otherwise don’t break it down much more specifically than that. For the third book in this series, Prize Play, I’m trying yet another process of first coming up with the basic plot, then a more general synopsis, and finally breaking that down by outlining what is to happen in each chapter.
What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
If I had to pick, it would be the very first scene, as it establishes so much about Elsabeth and Hieronymus, as well as introducing the elements of Western Martial Arts that are a big part of why I chose this story to write. It isn’t a big part of this book and will get much more attention in Prize Play, but I felt it very important to firmly establish here and the opening scene helps do that.
Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
Both Elsabeth and Hieronymus can be very sharp-tongued, and I can be a bit sarcastic myself. And of course, my interest in the sword arts were very important in developing the characters.
What is your most interesting writing quirk?
Sometimes I’m a bit ADD with projects and might jump from one to another depending on my mood. It certainly makes it fun keeping track of what I’m working on at any given moment. I’m also a bit of a perfectionist, sometimes it’s hard for me to be satisfied with what I have on the page.
What is your usual writing routine?
It varies a lot. Some days I can sit down in front of the keyboard and rattle off a chapter or so. Others I sit and stare and the screen and just can’t think of a word to write. At those times I may turn my attention to other things; outlining, rereading what I’ve already got to see if that sparks something, research and concept work.
And then sometimes I’m bad and waste my writing time on the internet instead.
Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
Not as much as I used to. And I’ll be cliché and say my favorite has been Tolkien. Probably the biggest influence he has on my writing is that I aim for something of a more formal and timeless voice.
What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
Keep at it. Like any entertainment business it’s not easy, so you just have to keep plugging away at it.
What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Just write. If there’s a subject you like? Write about it. If there’s a franchise you love that inspires you? Don’t be ashamed to write a fan fic, even if it’s just for yourself (I happen to think that’s a great way to work on consistent characterization and world-building, since doing it well means being able to replicate the character’s voice and personality, and the particular constraints of the setting).
What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?
Funnily enough, I often have the actor who played the monk in Ladyhawke in my head when I think about Hieronymus. But as for contemporary actors, I haven’t really given it a lot of thought. At least for Elsabeth I’d prefer to look for an unknown.
If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
A satellite phone and enough food and water to wait for the rescue boats in relative comfort.
How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
I study the longsword, which of course plays a part in my writing. I also do a bit of 3D modeling, and I have an interest in building computers.
Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
I’m a history buff, so I’d love to visit places like Pearl Harbor and Normandy.
Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
Once I start eating chips and salsa I can’t stop.
Every now and then I brew my own mead (though my last attempt failed miserably and expensively).
Quest for Glory I is my all-time favorite video game.
What do you have in store next for your readers?
I’m currently working on finding a publisher for my next book, Bait And Switch, a full-length novel which follows Elsabeth and Hieronymus when they hire themselves out as bodyguards to a youth on a quest of personal discovery. Hilarity Ensues.
When a simple job to recover stolen Church property does awry, Elsabeth Soesten finds a good deed has rewarded her with more than she bargained for when she’s drawn into a conspiracy surrounding her employer, his church superior, and the local baron.
No Good Deed... draws upon D. E. Wyatt’s studies of Western Martial Arts, and presents a low fantasy swashbuckler with a focus on the reconstruction of Europe’s cultural arts, set in a world inspired by mid-15th Century Western Europe.