Daniel Polansky is a debut author born near Baltimore. His first book is Low Town, published by Doubleday in August 2011. He’s already working on the sequel. You can keep in touch with him via his website DanielPolansky.com, Twitter (@DanielPolansky), and Facebook at facebook.com/DanielPolanskyAuthor.
Recently, we had the chance to speak with Daniel about his novel and the writing process.
SF SIGNAL: I read on Niteblade.com that Low Town took nearly two years from start to finish. Was there any particular seed of an idea that germinated to become Low Town? Or was it just an accumulation of ideas and characters until you realized you needed to write that first draft?
DANIEL POLANSKY: Truthfully, I woke up one day and just started writing blind. I had a good idea of the Warden’s voice, and a vague sense of the sort of mood I wanted to evoke, but in terms of such minor issues as plot, character, setting etc – I really had no idea. Things sort of came together and then suddenly I had a draft. And then I realized (largely because I didn’t bother doing the requisite planning) that the draft made no sense, and I began to revise it furiously.
SFS: I’m always fascinated to hear how many rejections it took before a book become published…so, how many agents and publishers spurned Low Town before you hit paydirt?
DP: Short answer – lots? I think I probably queried 40-odd agents, of whom maybe 3-4 expressed any interest, and 1 offered to represent me. Thanks, Chris! Once we got to the point where we were sending things out to publishers the ball rolled a little faster.
SFS: Any particular scene that had you biting your nails with the difficulty of writing it? Emotional, feeling out of your element, etc.?
DP: I guess the quieter scenes were a bit more of a struggle. The parts where people are yelling and/or hitting each other seemed to flow a little bit easier. I don’t know what that says about my mental state, but there it is.
SFS: It seems to me that one major mystery of Low Town is what made the Warden leave Black House. There are some allusions, but that story thread intrigues me. Anything to look forward to on a possible sequel (I hear 2012 as a possible date of that one)?
DP: The plan is for the sequel to be released in 2012. While I’m confident the book will be ready in plenty of time to meet that goal, it’s ultimately up to my publishers and a firm date hasn’t been set yet. Rest assured, Warden’s fall is a story all its own, and one that I am looking forward to sharing with readers in the not too distant future.
SFS: When there is inevitably a Wikipedia article about you, what one thing would be deemed the most likely to be fabricated that would actually be true?
DP: Will there inevitably be a Wikipedia article about me? That’s some intimidating stuff, since I have so, so many skeletons in my closet. Let me think – I spent a day in prison for speeding? I once talked a mugger out of mugging me? I saw Bill Clinton dedicate a statue of himself to a packed crowd in the capital city of Kosovo? Those are all kind of curious things that actually happened to me.
SFS: Outside of this series, what are you working on next? Or at least what would you like to have come out next?
DP: At this point most of my energy is going towards wrapping up the sequel(s) to Low Town. I’ve got a lot of things I’m looking forward to doing in the future, but honestly I’m not sure what I’ll move on to first.
SFS: Would you like to share anything else with the readers?
DP: I would really, really like it if you went out and bought my book. I mean, that’s not a shocking personal reveal, but it is foremost on my mind at the moment. There’s lots of fun stuff on my website, and I’m also on Facebook and Twitter, so let’s connect there. Thanks for having me!