Q&A with Daniel Cohen, author of Masters of the Veil

Posted: March 10, 2012 in Interviews
Tags: , , , , , ,

Earlier this week, I reviewed the fantasy book Masters of the Veil by Daniel CohenCheck out the review here.  Daniel was gracious enough to agree to do a Q&A with me.  His novel is available now from Spencer Hill PressGo grab a copy.

Melissa: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Daniel:  I graduated with a degree in business management but I’m trying my best not to use it. Obviously, I love writing, but really I just love books in general.

Melissa: What do you do when you’re not writing?
Daniel: Rock saxophone. I’ve been playing tenor saxophone for about fifteen years now, but I still have a lot to learn. I actually just moved to Austin, TX (the live music capital of the world) to try my hand at the music scene. Turns out that everyone here is amazing so it’s going to be rough.

Melissa: Where did the idea for Masters of the Veil come from?
Daniel: Simply put, I love fantasy novels. Harry Potter, Name of the Wind, Lord of the Rings… love ’em. I wanted to write my own, but I wanted it to be my own (if you catch my drift). I didn’t want to borrow anything from my literary idols. I wanted all the magical creatures, plants, games, theories, and techniques to be completely of my own creation. It took a loooooong time to come up with this world, but I think it was worth the effort.

Melissa: How did you get involved with Spencer Hill Press?
Daniel: I love SHP so this one’s going to be long.
Spencer Hill Press has been an absolute blessing. My first novel, The Ancillary’s Mark, was published by a different independent press with a very common business model. Publish a lot of books quickly and then move on. I’m not trying to bash my first publisher (I’m very grateful for the opportunity they gave me) but it’s just not the model that I found appealing for something that I put so much love and life into. I did all of the marketing for The Ancillary’s Mark myself, and part of that was contacting book bloggers with the hope that they would review my book.
I honestly can’t say enough good things about book bloggers. You guys rock.
In my marketing efforts, I kept seeing this one book called, Minder, by Kate Kaynak popping up on these young adult blogs with all sorts of fantastic reviews. I did a little snooping and found that the publisher was this really small independent press called ‘Spencer Hill Press’ that specialized in my genre. They only had three books on their roster and they all seemed great. Their model was exactly what I was looking for. They wanted to grow the careers of young authors. This model meant that they only published a select few titles a year and that they truly believed in what they represented.
I was so incredibly lucky that they accepted me as one of their authors. Kate Kaynak, the author of the acclaimed Minder turned out to be my editor and I couldn’t have been happier with the work she did (and oh boy did she make me work!). Since I joined very close to Spencer Hill’s inception, I was able to watch both their authors and the company grow. One of their authors, Jennifer L. Armentrout, became a bestselling author with her book, Half-Blood, which is fantastic, btw. I would highly recommend anyone agented or unagented to look into Spencer Hill. The staff is brilliant, but the best part is that they actually care. Plus, they have a great family feel. Shout out to the other SHP authors!!!!
Phew. Ok, can you tell that I love my publisher?

Melissa: What was your favorite chapter or scene to write?
Daniel: The final scene. I can’t say any more than that because I don’t want to give the ending away to those who haven’t read it yet. But wow, that scene was intense to write.

Melissa: There’s a first chapter teaser for Children of the Veil at the end of  Masters.  Can you tell us a little more about that project?
Daniel: That’s a toughie. The best I can do is be vague because I don’t want to give away what happens in the first book. Children of the Veil is about ¾ of the way complete and, in my humble opinion, is even better than Masters. It dives further into the workings of the magical world and the reader really gets to know the characters on an emotional level. But the real treasure is in the antagonist.
Oh boy is he intense.

Melissa: Do you ever get writer’s block?
Daniel: Yes. I’m actually going through a terrible bout right now. It really helps that the reviews of Masters are starting to trickle in, because people seem to really like it, and that’s giving me the drive to keep writing.

Melissa: Do you work with an outline or just write?
Daniel: I have an outline, but in the heat of writing things seem to always change. However the bones of the story tend to stay pretty close to what I have planned out.

Melissa: Do you do all your writing on the computer or do you prefer pen and paper?
Daniel: I write the actual manuscripts on a computer but I always have a pen and paper with me because ideas love to strike me while I’m in the oddest places.

Melissa: Do you listen to music while you write?  If so, what’s in your writing playlist?
Daniel: A lot of authors tend to listen to music when they write but for some reason I can’t do it. I am a huge cliché however and I usually write in coffee shops. They tend to be quiet enough, but not too quiet.

Melissa: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Daniel: I know this is going to sound pretentious (and I apologize for it) but I have found that there is a huge difference between writing and being an author. I started as a writer, but I find myself slowly drifting to the other side. Writing is fun. Being an author can be horrible. If you’re serious about becoming an author, be prepared to sacrifice for your craft. I don’t mean to sound melodramatic, but real writing will consume you. The best advice I can give is be careful, and make sure to find time for friends, family, and real life.

Melissa: Seriously, where did all the beautiful and bizarre creatures and plants of Atlas Crown come from?
Daniel: I’m so glad that you like them! When creating, I put myself in sort of a trance, and honestly have no idea where the ideas come from; they all just sort of find me. Sometimes the ideas don’t come and sometimes they come in droves.

Melissa: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
Daniel:  People tended to complain about the romance in The Ancillary’s Mark.  And they were right, too. But it was a good thing. Since I was aware of my problem with romance, I concentrated on making it better in my next book, and even better in the next book (Children of the Veil).

Melissa:  What’s your favorite book of all time?  The one you can re-read over and over and never get bored?
Daniel: It tends to change often, but I’ll give you my top three.
 1. The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
2. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
3. The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss

Melissa: If Sam Lock were real, do you think the two of you would be friends?
Daniel: I do like sports and magic. So we’d at least have something to talk about.

Melissa: If Masters of the Veil was made into a movie, who do you picture starring in it?
Daniel: It’s funny that you should ask. I did a piece over at Fiktshun where I cast the main characters. You should check it out: Fiktshun Guest Post: Masters of the Veil Author Daniel Cohen
 There’s even photos!

Melissa: Your short fiction piece, “Every-Mother Knows Best,” is included at the end of the book.  How did you get the idea for a reverse fantasy?
Daniel: Haha, that story was very interesting to write. I was playing with the notion that by reading fantasy, we can better understand our own reality (a yin and yang sort of thing). So I decided to explore what it’s like from the other side of the fantastic.

Melissa: Is there any chance that you might expand “Every-Mother” and its world for a full-length book?
Daniel: Maybe one day, but I’m going to have my hands full for a while with the Veil trilogy. Plus I’m planning on launching a blog with short stories centered around my two favorite new characters from Children of the Veil, named Yorick and Framliss. They’re hilarious. 


  1. Chocolate or Vanilla?
  2. Dark side or Light side?
  3. Star Wars or Star Trek?
    Neither.  I like LOTR 🙂
  4. Tea or Coffee?
    I like tea, but I need coffee.
  5. Summer or Winter?
    Definitely, definitely, definitely summer.
  6. Beach or Mountain?
    Too close to call
  7. Sweet or Salty?
    Salty. I’ll take dinner over dessert any day.

Thanks so much, Daniel, for doing this Q&A!  It’s been a blast! We’re looking forward to Children of the Veil and wish you all the best in your writing endeavors!


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