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My First Time...with Damian Dibben

Damian Dibben, The Riff Raff

Tomorrow is Damian Dibben's first book for adults, having previously worked as a screenwriter and actor on projects as diverse as The Phantom of the Opera, Puss in Boots and Young Indiana Jones. He lives between West Sussex and London’s South Bank, with his partner, Ali, and their three dogs, Dudley, Daphne and Velvet.

We will be welcoming Damian to The Riff Raff on Thursday 13 September where he will be reading, imparting his wisdom and answering any writing-related – or indeed, any – questions that you might have.

Here's the blurb for Tomorrow...

'A winter's night, Venice, 1815. A 217-year-old-dog is searching for his lost master.

'So begins the journey of Tomorrow, a dog who must travel through the gilded courts of kings and the brutal battlefields of Europe in search of the man who granted him immortality.

'But Tomorrow's journey is also a race against time. Danger stalks his path, and in the shadows lurks an old enemy. Before his pursuer can reach him, he must find his master - or lose him forever.'

Describe the exact moment you decided to write your book?

I looked into my dog’s eyes, a wise, philosophical Jack Russell called Dudley, and had this idea of a dog that doesn’t die, of the wonders he’d see and the horrors, how he’d been searching for his master for a century – and how his take on the human race has evolved over the centuries.

What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before starting to write it?

How difficult it was going to be to make a dog a narrator. It would require exceptional sleight of hand to make it appear quite natural and not far fetched at all.

What’s your go-to procrastination method?

Carpentry/DIY, second breakfast, more carpentry/third breakfast

Any tantrums while writing it?

No tantrums, but definitely bouts of mild depression, taking to bed and watching box sets.

Best thing about writing your book?

Immersing myself in 200 years of history, of great people, great cities, inventions, discoveries and works of art – as well as episodes of destruction and war. To bolster this I travelled across Europe – with Dudley naturally – to research first hand. And the worst?

The story was mind-bendingly complicated to crack. It took about twenty drafts to make it seem as if it had come easily.

Tomorrow, The Riff Raff

Go-to writing snacks?

Where do I start?! Turkish Delight (Fry’s) Twirl, Daim, Liquorice Catherine Wheels (having some whilst writing this) Milk Bottles, any other chocolate or sweet, industrial quantities of cherries/raspberries. Lickilix (fruit lollies, if you haven’t discovered, you need to) then repeat first 7.

Who or what inspires you to write?

People, living or dead, who have changed the world, be they scientists, artists, explorers, inventors, astronomers – and of course the work they produce (this will always stand up even if they were not so friendly in themselves)

The book that changed you?

Wuthering Heights or The Goldfinch.

Your pump up song?

Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack to Inception. His scores for The Dark Knight and Sherlock Holmes inspirational too. Mozart’s Requiem or Wagner’s Tristam & Isolde also handy favourites.

If you could share a bottle of wine with one writer, who would it be?

I’d say Jane Austen. She’d be witty, entertaining, original and, without taking herself too seriously, she’d offer great insight.

One piece of advice you’d give first time writers hoping to get published?

My advice would be different for ‘writing’ a first book, but for ‘selling’ it, it can be useful to have a story that you can pitch in one exciting sentence.

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