Born in northeast Ohio, Donald Squire has loved reading and writing since middle school. Squire has a degree in English from BYU in Utah and currently works as a Project Manager for a manufacturing company in Michigan.
His first full length novel took years to write and was mostly completed during lunch breaks when he would go to the local library.
Squire’s goal as a novelist is to create clean, fun adventures that anyone can read and trust the content is safe for any age.
Interview, February 2013.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve wanted to be a writer for a long time, since I was a kid. For years I wrote short stories but my wife finally convinced me that I needed to just jump in and write a book. It was a learning experience and I’m grateful for her inspiration.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I think so. When I was in 8th grade our English teacher had us write in journals every day. The idea was to be creative, to make stories from the prompts she would give us. For extra points we could read what we wrote to the class. I read every day. People would compliment me and comment about how I could write so much so fast. I like it. I think that’s when I first wanted to be a writer.
How did you come up with the title?
The title was difficult. I wanted something unique and easy to find. I didn’t really want to use the made-up words from the book but once I had a final draft I had to make a choice and this is what stuck.
There are some strange words. What inspired those?
I wanted words that would evoke some mystery. I came up with a premise, that the words were of Incan origin. From there I found an Incan dictionary online and looked for words that seemed to fit. I was looking for words with a certain sound and feel more than a definition.
How do you pronounce the words in the title?
This is just my version but Qori is pronounced just like the name Cory. And Illia is just how it looks, Ill-ee-a.
Are parts of the book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Oh yes. All of the characters pull from myself and people I know. Many of the events in the book are also inspired from my life or stories from others.
Do you have any specific examples?
Sure. At one point the two boys, Michael and Gavin are talking about embarrassing situations, throwing up in school actually. I did that. I threw up in the school office just as someone offered me a trash can to use. The can didn’t make it in time. It was a mess.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Maybe. I didn’t really write it with a message or theme. I just wanted it to be fun to read.
What are your current projects?
I’m working on a sequel to this story. It’s fun, creating these characters, and I feel that they have a lot more to offer, adventure wise.
Do you want to offer any hints about the plot?
It’s still pretty early in the writing process so I don’t think I can say very much. Everything is up in the air.
Do you see writing as a career?
That’s the goal, eventually, right now though it’s just a hobby.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’m sure I would. One of the hardest things about writing for me is being done with a project. I knew I could never get it just perfect so I had to get it good enough and walk away. If I didn’t it would probably never see the light of day.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The biggest challenge now is finding time to write. This book was written almost entirely during lunch breaks. I would go to the local library and write. It’s hard to keep a good work flow an hour per day. I also used some evenings and weekends, especially for proofreading. It was exciting to be so close to the end of the process.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Oh yes, the whole process was a learning experience. Moving from short stories to full length novels had a lot more challenges than I expected. Length was particularly challenging. I feel like this book needed to be longer to meet the reader’s expectations. On the flip side I feel like the whole story is there and extra length would just slow it down.
How would you make a book longer?
For the next book I’m going to put a lot more time into planning and outlining. I still haven’t figure out a great way to map out the plots but I’m getting better at it. I want the next book to be a little more complicated with more twists and turns.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I don’t really consider myself a role model if that’s what you mean. I would just say the same thing that I’ve always heard; write. If that’s what you want to do you have to practice and do it all the time.
Do you follow that advice?
I though you’d ask that. I try. One of the hardest things for me is sitting down to write. Once I start I can keep going. It’s just starting that’s hard. And I always feel better, more accomplished, when I’ve made some progress.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Being a new author, and self published at that, I’d just ask them to tell their friends. If they like the book, share it.