Do you have a favourite compass rose? Use the same in all your maps? Or design them different for each style/type of map you’re creating?
Some are definitely prettier than others, but no, generally I make a new one for every map I draw!
If money and location were no object, what would be your ideal job?
Honestly, I’m loving being a joint-author-and-illustrator. I can work from anywhere, to my own schedule, in peace and quiet. It’s as close to perfect as it gets.
What’s the best and worst thing about being on twitter?
The best? The people. I could never have believed so many remarkable people could exist, let alone want to talk to or even work with me. It’s been an incredible joy meeting everyone and doing our joint writing projects together. The worst? I see about 100 dumb opinions every day.
Where did you learn/how did you get into maps?
Around 2015 I bought Photoshop because I wanted it to make a decent map of the world I was building (back then I was a chronic worldbuilder.) Over time I learned a few more tricks to make my maps prettier, and over the years I got better and better. In June 2020 I decided to put out a call to see if anyone wanted me to make a map for them, a few people took me up on it – and it’s been rolling ever since.
What is a piece of literature you read as a young person that *changed* you?
I like this question. Hmm. Probably Bernard Cornwell’s Arthur Trilogy. It opened my mind to imagination and adventure, and just really expanded my horizons. I started reading more after that, but for those few weeks I was completely lost in another world for the very first time.
As a kid, what did you imagine you’d be doing as an adult and are you living the life you thought you would?
You know, I don’t really think I thought much about what I wanted to be at all. I didn’t have a plan. When I was around 16 I started to daydream about writing and bought myself some craft books, and somehow that actually worked out, so I guess I did follow the path I thought I would, in a way.
If you woke up and one of your characters was sitting in your room, who would it be – and whose head would they be holding?
Ha, probably Talfrin, and he’d be there to ask me why I put him through all that crap in The Shield Road – and he’d probably want my head.
Is your name doo-ee or doh-ee?
Neither, it’s deh-wee – like Debbie, but replace the ‘b’s with a ‘w’.
Out of everything you’ve created – book, short stories, map – what project have you worked on that you’re proudest of, and why?
It has to be Shield Road. I’m proud of myself for writing it, for making a collection of short stories that work altogether as a collective tale too, and I’m proud of myself for actually putting it out there. It’s not easy.
What is the one impact – aside from kindness – you hope to have on the people you socialise with (both online and irl)?
Generally, I would hope they had a positive impression of me. Cheering people up, sure, educating them, yeah, but I don’t want people to think I’m a d*ck.
What made you decide to start writing?
I’d always written for as long as I could remember, and I even learnt how to do it at university – but after uni I sort of dropped off for a while and did other things. I fell into writing copy and non-fiction for a bit of cash. I started properly writing again when that dried up and I found myself stuck at home, with a pandemic looming, and nothing else really that I could see as a way out – I hadn’t started the map thing at that point. So I just got my laptop out and started drafting, and I’m so damn happy I did.
What do you want people to know about you?
Nothing inspires me more than seeing people chase the things they want and trying to achieve happiness for themselves. I think it takes a great deal of courage to do that, and anyone who does it fills me with pride and admiration.
What’s your favourite sub-genre in fantasy?
I like this one too. I’m not sure you could call it a sub-genre, but I like relatively short fantasy where the focus is on the adventure and the characters, with generally low stakes. All the better if there’s a romance plot.
What do you enjoy about writing?
The sense of completion and satisfaction when a story comes together neatly. Getting to explore new worlds and concepts without limitation. Seeing the effect my writing has on others – it’s all just great.
Which author do you feel you identify the most with and why?
Hmm. I’ve never really thought about it. I’m not sure there is one. I think we’re all so incredibly different, and I haven’t really focused on any other writer’s path or fiction in that way.
Do you have any advice for new writers seeking to get their work published?
If you mean traditionally published novels through publishing houses, then I don’t know much about that world at all. But if we’re talking short stories: research. Find the publications and magazines you like, put them all in a spreadsheet. Put all the stories you write in there too. Start sending them to the places you think are appropriate for each one, and check off which stories you’ve sent where. You’ll get tonnes of rejections. Keep going.
What is your preferred method of eating toast?
Butter and cheese. 😉