[A little background: Daniel Tyler Gooden lives in Kansas City, Mo. with his wife of five years, Lisa, and 10-month-old son, John. He's a stay-at-home dad and works on a writing career between nap times. Gooden is currently writing the serial novel The Unmade Man and the web comic The Broken Mantle for www.baegtobar.com]
Richard: Where were you born and raised?
Daniel Tyler Gooden: I grew up in the country east of Kansas City, MO. Outside of a couple exciting years in New Orleans, LA. I've lived most my life around KC.
Richard: How did you become interested in writing comics?
Daniel: I took to comics a little late, around 1992 when Image Comics started up. I quickly gravitated to Vertigo titles, Preacher and Garth Ennis's work, Neil Gaiman, etc. When Jeremy Mohler asked me to write The Broken Mantle, I was excited to try my hand at the style.
Richard: What is the storyline of "The Unmade Man"?
Daniel: The Unmade Man is the story of Boruin and his crew of slightly shady contractors-for-hire, Wraethe, Pile and Toaaho. Their new contract finds them retrieving an odd mute child from the jungle, one that seems to hold clues to Boruin's blank past. The crew fights their way north, avoiding merchants and hired thugs that are intent on stealing their child cargo, while discovering Boruin's hiring of this strange contract might not be so random.
Richard: Who are Boruin and Wraethe?
Daniel: Half legit, half under-the-table contractor, Boruin heads a crew of four. The memory of his past extends only to waking up on a trade highway, Wraethe the only living thing near. A tattooed line of thick runes wrapped around his chest and down his arms, which travel across his flesh when he drags them over his skin. Pulling random runes into his palm, Boruin can create strange works of magic, but leaves them be as his absolute lack of knowledge makes the spells dangerous more often than helpful. Boruin is resigned to living as he does and leaving his secrets to themselves, until he meets the strange boy.
Wraethe is Boruin's first companion and friend. Guided by the night, she awakens only with the rising moons. In the daylight she retreats into sleep, shrouded in shadows and is almost removed from the world. Wraethe keeps a balance of good and evil weighed close to her soul. While exquisite at battle, killing brings here to the edge of feral rage. She takes on the sins of those she kills and the rites that she speaks over their bodies barely keep her inside the realm of sanity.
Richard: Why would someone want to read this Novel?
Daniel: I've tried to keep the characters down to earth despite the strange events they become engaged in. Magic and high adventure occurs, but the characters are less the grand heroes and more like normal people that get tangled up in trouble and are forced to wriggle out anyway they can. The story moves well and takes the reader to some strange, and I hope, original directions.
Richard: You also write "The Broken Mantle" what is that comic about?
Daniel: The Broken Mantle was proposed to bring the technologies of steam and gunpowder into the realm of Baeg Tobar. The story revolves around Captain Joim Greye, a once Master Engineer and now trade route explorer. When Greye's air ships are destroyed on the shore of the uncharted continent Khembrijun, the engineer is forced to follow the trail of a fallen steam-built empire in hopes of ever finding his way home.
Richard: Who are the main characters in "The Broken Mantle"?
Daniel: Greye, the native jungle girl Saori and the excavated mechanical steam man, Brahma.
Richard: What would you like to accomplish that you have not yet?
Daniel: I would like to shoot below par at my regular golf course. I'd like to sell enough books that my retirement is not solely at the grace of my wife. And I'd like gain 1/100th of Stephen King's readership base at the end of his tenure. I think that would help a lot towards goal number #2.
Richard: Would you like to or have you written a novel?
Daniel: Outside of The Unmade Man, which is slated to end in mid-summer, I've written one other fantasy novel. Umbra is the story of Kelestra, a young woman struggling to warn her indifferent country of an ancient necromantic dragon rising again in the surrounding desert world. Only as the country beings to fall before the dragon and his life-devouring heart does Kel learn that the magic of her own spirit may halt the dark meat magic and push back the dragon's world-swallowing desert. This story is moving through its second edit and I hope to push for publication shortly.
Richard: What about Baeg Tobar's online site attracted you?
Daniel: I was looking forward to working alongside a group of creators all pushing to better their own skills. It seemed like a lot of fun to start writing a bunch of stories all set in this fantastic world. In a rare bonus, not found anywhere else I know of, artists are assigned to illustrate your writing. I can't tell you the thrill it has been to have Jeff Koch drawing scenes from The Unmade Man and Michael Hamlett, Rick Hershey and Ramiro Diaz Legaspe working on The Broken Mantle.This has turned out to be a lot of work too, but I've found the friends and honest critics that I was looking for and have had a great time building this realm with them.
Richard: Would you like to see "The Unmade Man" and "The Broken Man" in paper form?
Daniel: I certainly would. We've been talking to a few publishers and checking into our options, as it is always been the plan to bring our content off the internet and into the reader's hands. I expect with the hard work Jeremy Mohler and the other creators have put in publishing will be a "when" rather than an "if".
Richard: What is the most important thing in your life?
Daniel: Having a young child and a great wife has put the value of my family clearly in perspective. I try to remember that a life well lived has little to do with what I professionally accomplish. Being pleased with how I've lived my day, I feel, will assure me something proud to look back on.
Richard: How can someone contact you?
Daniel: I can be reached through www.dtgooden.com as well as www.baegtobar.com . My contact info is posted on both sites.
Richard: Any last words of advice?
Daniel: For writers, remember that this is a craft that requires you to be well toned. If you don't exercise your writing everyday then quit telling people you are a writer and be honest about your part-time bookstore shelving. I can say that to you as I have to force it down my own throat each time I sit at the computer. Writing only becomes magic for me after about two weeks of writing every day. Then it starts to do the work and I end each session surprised by where it has taken me.