Daniel P Riley: Iron Age Marketing Podcast Episode 030

In today’s episode of Iron Age Marketing, I talk to Daniel P. Riley, owner of whimsyland.org, as well as the creator of the sci-fi series Jisedai.

Let’s Meet Iron Age Creator Daniel P. Riley

“Writing is a passion and Daniel writes about the hundreds of wild worlds that reside in his head. Each novel he creates is a doorway into the strange and fantastical lands of his subconscious. Come, stay a while, and listen to his tales.” A former teacher and avid lover of written works, Daniel lives in Pennsylvania with his daughter and writes tales of fantasy and science fiction. His favorite authors are Roger Zelazny and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
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The Responsibility Of The Artist Parent & Writing In Multiple Genres

In this discussion, Daniel P Reilly, the proprietor of Whimsyland.org literary Coaching and Services, provides insight into his evolution as a writer. Despite harboring a lifelong passion for storytelling, Daniel embarked on his creative journey later in life, having put aside his ambitions to play it safe and raise his daughter. As a single parent balancing personal aspirations with raising a child often meant setting aside his dreams to prioritize his daughter’s well-being. However, fueled by a desire to instill a sense of ambition in his growing child, Daniel embraced his creative calling.

Reflecting on his journey as a parent and an author, Daniel underscores the transformative power of pursuing one’s passions. As he navigated the complexities of single parenthood, he discovered that embracing his creative calling not only enriched his own life but also served as a source of inspiration for his daughter’s aspirations. In a poignant testament to the rewards of independence and entrepreneurship, Daniel shares his journey of self-reliance in the face of professional uncertainty, by carving his path as an author and literary coach.

Moving past the parenthood topic we discuss Daniel’s literary repertoire, specifically how it encompasses a diverse array of genres, with a primary focus on science fiction and fantasy. Within these genres, he masterfully intertwines elements of adventure, horror, and futuristic technologies attempting to captivate readers of whatever genre he finds himself writing.

We spend some time covering two of Daniel’s most prominent works. His Jisedai series featuring a katana-wielding cybernetically enhanced assassin turned protector has expanded beyond the initial series of novels into the graphic novel space. Daniel also has begun expanding his Legacy Of Heroes world with a second novel on the way. The LOH world explores a young man trying to bring back the symbol of a hero long lost.

Crafting A Sci-Fi Samurai Saga & A Goodnight Kiss To Subverted Superheroes

What if we could infuse the ethos of a samurai into a futuristic setting? This was the intriguing premise that sparked the creation of “Gabriel” in Jisedai. His journey encapsulates the essence of samurai honor and duty set against the backdrop of a society grappling with the aftermath of technological upheaval. Gabriel emerges as the peak of a breed of cyber-enhanced assassins bred by mega-corporations vying for supremacy in a world where traditional firearms have been outlawed. The resurgence of feudal-style warfare becomes the arena for power struggles among these corporate entities. In many ways, the series is Daniel’s love-letter to Kurosawa.

Ever the romantic, Legacy of Heroes is Daniel’s goodnight kiss to the modern subverted (often perverted) superhero. Modern writers seem to hate superheroes even more than the idea of good and evil itself. They have twisted every tale into a morally ambiguous exploration of how all the bad guys are misunderstood and the heroes are just dickheads with capes hiding behind charm and superpowers. The idea of a symbol of hope and virtue is a quaint remnant of a bygone era. Creators, like Daniel, are beginning to ask if maybe hope and virtue wouldn’t be so bygone if we hadn’t given up on the cornerstones of our modern mythology.

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Exploring The Post-Post-Modern Superhero

In contemplating the trajectory of comic book superheroes over the past four decades, one cannot overlook the profound shifts in narrative and characterization that have unfolded. Daniel digs into how he constructed the characters in the world of Legacy Of Heroes. He uses the story of a young man affected by a single event of trauma where he was saved by the superhero Paragon. Daniel cites the plights Superman went through as the inspiration for so much of the adversity the character faced.

Nick asks Daniel how he deals with the elements of realism when it comes to their costumes. Citing the example of Amy in the book, Daniel mentions how he addressed a female character feeling embarrassed by the form-fitting costumes that were customary for a female superhero. Ultimately, she chose a full jacket over her outfit, which brought characters like Rogue of the X-Men to mind. Nick asks if this undermines the essence of superheroes being perfect physical specimens to accentuate goodness. Like the Greek gods before them, beauty showcases that these beings are good at living in the natural order.

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Understanding Characterization & The Key to Timeless Stories

In the vast world of storytelling, certain characters stand out, etching themselves into our collective consciousness. Sherlock Holmes, the enigmatic detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, continues to captivate audiences worldwide. But what makes Holmes so timeless? It’s not merely his deductive prowess or uncanny intellect; rather, it’s the intricate layers of his personality that draw us in. Nicky P dives into how Holmes embodies the archetype of the misunderstood genius. Despite his brilliance, Holmes grapples with loneliness and social detachment, traits that render him both relatable and compelling.

Beyond Sherlock Holmes, the discussion Nicky P extends his point to other beloved characters, such as those from the X-Men universe. Nightcrawler and Beast stand out for him. Daniel on the other hand chooses to talk about his favorite, Colossus, the stalwart X-Man known for his immense strength and unwavering dedication to protecting others. As Daniel reflects on Colossus’ role, it becomes evident that his appeal lies not just in his superhuman abilities but in his underlying motivations and sense of duty. Daniel even laments Colossus’ depiction in the Deadpool films. It’s too easy to reduce him to comic relief in the movies. Daniel contends that his inclusion should have served more of a narrative purpose, juxtaposing his seriousness with Deadpool’s irreverence.

Shifting gears, Daniel explores the role of characterization in marketing, particularly in the realm of literature. He emphasizes the importance of focusing on characters rather than world-building when promoting books, citing the enduring appeal of well-developed protagonists throughout history. Looking into the art of characterization and its profound impact on storytelling. Whether it’s the enigmatic allure of Sherlock Holmes or the heroic resolve of Colossus, memorable characters have the power to transcend time and resonate with audiences on a profound level.

Embracing the Kaleidoscope of Storytelling & Essence of Branding in Writing

Mark Twain remarked that there are no truly new stories; creators reimagine existing concepts through a kaleidoscope, infusing them with unique perspectives and twists. The essence lies in offering a fresh take on familiar themes, thereby resonating with audiences. Nicky P uses Stephen King’s resolute cop in “Mr. Mercedes” as an example of the characters we resonate with that make the story unique. Beyond the gripping plotlines lies the heartbeat of humanity—the struggles, resilience, and imperfections that render characters relatable. Readers find solace in recognizing fragments of themselves mirrored in these fictional personas, forging an intimate bond that transcends the confines of the written page.

As creators, we embark on journeys of discovery that mirror the odysseys of our characters. Through each narrative arc, we confront universal and personal truths, grappling with questions that transcend the boundaries of fiction. It’s a journey marked by uncertainty and revelation, where the destination is not a foregone conclusion but a tapestry of possibilities waiting to unfold. Crafting characters akin to complex human beings, complete with virtues, flaws, and untold depths, is an endeavor fraught with both challenge and reward. Yet, within these depths, the true essence of storytelling emerges—a tapestry woven from the threads of human experience.

Hopefully, today’s episode with Daniel P Riley serves as both inspiration and education in your own journey to bring your creation to the world.

Shilling In The Iron Age

Need help connecting with or growing your audience for your book, comic, TTRPG, or other creative endeavor? Check out Nicky P @ ironagemarketing.com
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