Arbra Dale Triplett has been a freelance writer and editor scribbling fiction, advertising, marketing and bad poetry on bathroom walls for more than two decades. As a military brat he spent most of his youth in Germany, then later served in both the Marine Corps and Air Force. After years of bouncing across the nation in a big truck, he now resides in southwest Missouri.
1.Why storytelling? What made you yearn to tell a good story, and how long was this story within you before it came out?
The prologue to Halcyon’s Wake was a short story I published in an obscure Australian science fiction magazine about ten years ago. I received some pretty good reviews and feedback, and thought the story would end there. Scroll forward a couple of years and say hello to the recession. I’d been working in advertising, and when the economy tanked copywriting gigs were rarer than hen’s teeth. My then-wife suggested I take advantage of having no job and turn the story into a full-length novel and see what transpired. I’d been scribbling poetry, articles and a children’s book prior to that, but was always daunted by the prospect of starting and finishing a complete novel. The hard part was sitting down and making it happen.
2.What is it about your genre that speaks to you?
There’s no boundaries to science fiction and fantasy, other than plausibility sufficient to sustain that wonderful realm of ‘this could happen.’ Every good lie is grounded in some truth, the trick is to not stretch credulity beyond the snapping point.
I’m proud of the pacing. I wanted to achieve the page-turning allure of the comics I’d enjoyed as a kid, peppered with a lot of intelligent wit and underlying meaning. There’s no deep truths hidden within Halcyon – but there are some philosophical nuggets worth pondering.
4.Your main character walks into a bar. What happens?
He buys the house the first three rounds, then gets wheelbarrowed out at the end of the evening with empty pockets and a permanent grin on his face.
5.If I were stuck in a room with your main character, what would we be doing?
Besides drinking, I believe there would be a lot of laughter peppered with bits of intelligent banter.
6.You have unlimited money to buy a gift for your main character. What would you buy?
A hefty dose of confidence. And a lot of really cool swords.
7.If you could change any one thing about the writing industry, what would it be?
In recent years the stigma against self-published works isn’t as scornful as it used to be, but the mainstream industry and several of it’s authors still embrace a holier-than-thou attitude towards us scribbling serfs. I don’t think the angst necessarily boils down to dollar signs, but perhaps more towards an elitist-type mindset. “I had to get an agent and prove myself – you only had to click ‘send’ and start selling on Amazon.” There’s a divide there, and I can appreciate it – I simply don’t like the unsaid and often unwarranted denigration of independent authors.
8.You’re going to go back and visit yourself when you first started writing, at whatever age it was, and you can give yourself one piece of advice. What would it be?
Take every English class under the sun. Twice. Then do it again. Read outside of your comfort zone. Keep an open mind and remember that you can always keep learning.
9.Describe your muse.
She wears different disguises on any given day. Some days she’s cloaked in a song. Other days in the smile of a stranger. Often she remains invisible, tucked away in a landscape or a swirling bit of clouds. She’s fickle, my muse – and infrequent. But when she comes I jump on her like a sailor too long at sea.
10.What piece of art, that is not writing, moves you?
Music will always be a passionate inspiration for me. I love the story songs you hear in good country music. Classical speaks to me in teary volumes as well. I have a very Irish soul – the sadder the song, the greater the tragedy, the more I love it. Make me laugh and we’ll be friends. Make me cry and we’ll be lovers.
11.If we wanted a good story—book, show or movie—one that you didn’t write, where would you send us?
Just last night I finished a trilogy called “The Wolf of the North” by Irish author Duncan Hamilton. Any tale that makes you raise your fist in the air and shout “Yes!” in one moment, then has your eyes tearing up the next, and leaves you with a warm glow afterwords craving more – that’s a good tale.
12.What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?
I was a Loadmaster on C-130’s with the Wyoming Air Guard for a few years. We were leader in a three-ship formation cruising at low level through the Tetons on an absolutely idyllic day. My fellow Load and I were sitting on the ramp, our feet dangling off into space, and a massive herd of Elk came thundering through a valley we were buzzing. Sunlight played on the snow, the two planes dancing behind us in a gentle ballet, the Herk’s singing their big-girl, prop song through the mountains, and I kept thinking “I’m getting paid for this.” It was a truly beautiful and memorable sight.
13.If you could live anywhere other than where you are, where would it be?
I’ve lived in Europe, Asia and across North America. I love my Missouri Ozark Mountains, but I could be content in the Pacific Northwest, Appalachia, England or the International Space Station.
Dale is the author of illustrated children’s book ‘Benjamin Oliver Flanagan’ and ‘The Halcyon’s Wake Chronicles’ of which episode I, ‘Halcyon’s Wake: Faith‘ is currently available in print, kindle and audio versions. Visit The Halcyon’s Wake Chronicles fan page on facebook, and follow Dale on Twitter @DaleTriplett.
Look for the second Halcyon’s Wake episode, ‘Halcyon’s Wake: Love’ on bookshelves soon.