Barricades by Dem Had
Published May 24th 2019
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht.
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Dem Had here today on tour for the new World of Love release from Dreamspinner Press, Barricades. Welcome, Dem!
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Dem Had
Q: How much of yourself goes into a character?
A: Everything and nothing. The honest answer is that I don’t know. Creating a character makes me their god, and like every god, I’m the archetype of my creation. As to what I mean when I say “god”, let me clarify that I don’t mean it in any religious or narcissistic way. I mean that I create them, I give them traits and put them wherever I want, but in the end, they are the ones who make choices. Sometimes, that’s as frustrating as it sounds.
Getting to know my characters is never boring but is not always fun. I’m learning more about myself in the process and this sometimes leads to identity crisis and endless philosophical conversations with myself. I like experimenting, like giving the character one trait or one experience of mine but change the circumstances. Sometimes I watch as my character makes a different choice from mine (not necessarily the right one) and see the outcome.
Q: Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?
A: I don’t think there’s any line between the two. On the contrary, I feel like an author wouldn’t have the urge to go through a bad experience again by writing it down, if not to “make it right”. Maybe, making the character a “Mary Sue” is what it’s needed to change that experience. I believe in balanced characters, with flaws and strengths to their cores; big flaw comes with a big strength and vice versa.
Q: Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write? Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?
A: My research is usually based on what I’ve already chosen to write, not the other way around. Also, I’m not the one choosing the genre; I choose the story and the story chooses its genre.
I enjoy the research of existing cultures but I flirt with the idea of creating my own world.
Q: Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?
A: No! I have a confession to make: Even though I loved reading books since I learnt how to read, I’d found genre fiction boring and pointless. I couldn’t bring myself to read a chapter without finding a million reasons to stop. On the other hand, I loved reading about religions, psychology and paranormal. I remember myself as a kid, sneaking into my sister’s bedroom and reading from the encyclopedia. I would spend hours every day at the library during my university years. My love for novels bloomed at twenty-two, when I became a stay at home mother. I was so angry at myself for being so late. (lol)
Q: Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it? You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?
A: Yes! Most of the times, writing about emotionally painful memories can be therapeutic and liberating, but there was a time when I spent three days writing and rewriting a specific scene. I became so obsessed with it and the memories of it from real life made me cry at night. In the end, the scene was nothing like I wanted it and it took me several days to recover.
Q: Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?
A: HEA accompanied with a sense of a loss or HFN, because they can be satisfying and still leave uncertainty in the reader’s mind, making the story more memorable.
Q: Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?
A: As an adult, yes.
Q: Who do you think is your major influence as a writer? Now and growing up?
A: Music. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a song is worth a thousand pictures.
Q: How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?
A: I have mixed feelings about ebooks. On one hand I love the sense of holding a physical book and the aesthetic of getting into a library, but on the other hand ebooks are more affordable and practical. I also read faster on my smartphone instead of a physical book – I’m not sure why.
We are the first generation to have ebooks at our disposal. They are being around for twenty years, widely known for the last decade and some people already have big collections of ebooks. I give it fifty more years for physical books to become collectibles, equivalent to Vinyl records.
Q: How do you choose your covers? (curious on my part)
A: Barricades is my first book to be published, so a designer was assigned by the publisher for my cover. I’d like to design my own cover next time – not because there are not excellent designers out there, but because I can. You see, I’ve studied architecture and worked as a designer in the past, which puts cover design in my skills
Q: If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”? Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?
A: As a matter of fact, I was warned that I might have done that (haha). It depends on the reader, really. Personally, I was raised to be real and never change to please others; same goes for my characters. If they are not likeable, then it is what it is. I believe in balance; I believe we all have the same amount of positive and negative traits. For some, a character’s negative traits make them “too flawed to become a love interest” but to me, it’s a challenge to get to know them more and discover with which positive trait that flaw balances with.
Q: What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?
A: Stoicism is my favorite, especially when it’s accompanied with deep empathy. I like a sneak peak in such a character’s mind as they crush inside and show nothing to others while being fully functional. I think that deep inside, this is a trait I wish I had but was never able to adopt.
High intelligence with arrogance make an amazing couple of traits in a character but I can’t really stand this kind of people for long IRL.
Q: Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story? Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation?
A: It happened unintentionally. I was already too deep into Barricades when I realized that I was projecting on my character’s emotions for his mother. As the character matured and dealt with it, I did too. By the end of the last round of edits, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.
Q: Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it? Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.
A: I’m not a drinker, not really, but part of being over thirty is that sometimes you don’t “want” a drink, you “need” a drink. That’s why I always have wine at home (lol). The truth is I almost never drink more than a couple of glasses. The only one time I drunk written, I was trying to beat a writer’s block. It worked, in a way; I had written an amazing synopsis but never evolved into anything else. Alcohol intoxication might give me some weird ideas, but never gets my creativity juices flowing.
Q: If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?
A: Let me paint it for you: A secluded, tiny cabin in the woods, next to a lake where the temperature never exceeds 22°C. What can I say? Clichés are clichés for a reason.
Q: With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain? To get away? To move past? To wide our knowledge? Why do you write?
A: I write to tell a story. Of course I get away and that’s the reason I love writing so much. Sometimes the story is explanatory, others has a hidden meaning but I don’t use the story to carry out a message or to make a point.
Q: What’s next for you as a writer?
A: The story I’m currently writing is different from the contemporary romance I’d been writing until recently. I’m exploring magical realism with this one.
Born to be enemies. Raised to hate each other.
When introverted Orestis escapes his homophobic parents and abusive home for a night out with friends, he meets artist Emir. The passion between them is instant and explosive but neither society nor their families will accept their love. If they want a romance that lasts beyond one fiery, forbidden night, they’ll have to face the backlash.
World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.
About the Author
Dem has never been diagnosed with ADD, but it’s common to start talking about cats and end up mentioning the stars while using metaphors about food, just after she’s told you about a childhood memory.
As a cynical romantic and a lover of dark romance, she loves pushing her characters to their limits and refuses to give them their happy ending if they don’t work hard to earn it.
She has a soft spot for manga, anime and anything regarding the Japanese culture. She loves spending time with her son, playing music with her husband and posting on social media about writing and her life as a cat-mother. You can also find her in the roads of Limassol driving and singing with the windows wide open.
Dem’s writing journey has just begun.
The author would like to giveaway one eBook copy of Barricades to a reader. Please leave a comment for the author below along with your email address where you can be reached if chosen. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.