For me the hardest part has always been the act of committing to such a large project (like writing a book), knowing that it may not pay off in the way you expected. You could easily spend years working on a project that ends up being poorly received. For this reason, it’s important to write because you love it and NEED to see your work completed. Writing for money or fame is a poor use of time and energy.
Can you give us a short synopsis of The Watermelon King?
After being laid off from his job at a prestigious consulting firm, Dean decides to embark on a journey across East Africa with his younger brother. Unknowingly, they travel into bandit territory where a medical emergency forces them to choose between their safety and their health.
Inspired by true events, The Watermelon King follows the journey of two brothers as they backpack across one of East Africa’s most inhospitable regions. As they endure endless days of difficult travel, a series of short stories written by their father begins to uncover their inherent desire for adventure and their connection to the past. Along the way they begin to understand the beauty and frustration of life in Africa.
What inspired you to write this book?
It was two things really. I know it sounds cliché but ever since I started traveling around the world I began writing about my experiences. Not for others, but for myself as a way to chronicle where I’d been and what I’d done. After awhile people started to take note of what I wrote and writing became a more central part of my life. Over time, it changed from simply blogging, to writing articles, to owning my own travel website and managing a team of writers.
In addition, a few years ago my father mentioned to me that he had written and compiled a series of true short stories about my grandfather who lived a pretty eccentric life. Then, during a long bus ride the idea of a cohesive story line came to mind that could combine those stories with a trip I did a few years back. The concept for The Watermelon King was born, and three and a half years later it was finally complete.
How many hours per day do you spend writing?
My situation was slightly unusual. While writing The Watermelon King I was working as a consultant in the healthcare industry, and as a result I would spend approximately six hours every week on an airplane. Rather than watching movies, I wrote. During that I was able to complete the majority of this novel. Once the editing and publishing process started the time requirements became a bit more demanding.
Name your top five favorite books.
This might sound strange but I don’t typically read fiction…and I’m not sure if I can say confidently what my favorite books are, so here are some of my recent favorites.
- Maps of Time
- Guns, Germs and Steal
- Lonely Planet: East Africa/Ethiopia
- Poorly Made in China
What are you working on now?
At the moment all my efforts are focused on marketing, promoting, book tours and interviews. It’s actually a nice break.
Right now we’ve got a few book fairs lined up here in Los Angeles, an online marketing plan in place and a partnership with specialty retailers in North Dakota. Our next steps involve working with contacts in East Africa, Lonely Planet and various backpacker hostels across the USA and Africa.
Title: The Watermelon King
Author: Daniel Royse
Genre: Literary Fiction
After being laid off from his job at a prestigious consulting firm, Dean decides to embark on a journey across east Africa with his younger brother. Unknowingly, the two travel into bandit territory through Northern Kenya where a medical emergency forces them to choose between their safety and their health.
Inspired by true events, The Watermelon King follows the journey of two brothers as they backpack across one of East Africa’s most inhospitable regions. As they endure endless days of difficult travel, a series of short stories written by their father begins to uncover some of their deepest motivations and brings to light their connection to the past. Along the way they begin to understand the beauty and frustration of life in Africa.
Daniel Royse is the founder and editor in chief of the online travel publication, This Boundless World. He has written numerous articles on travel, business and politics. The Watermelon King is his first full-length novel.
Daniel is an obsessive writer and explorer who has backpacked to over 50 countries, spanning five continents. To the disbelief of many, he still enjoys long, hot bus rides through chaotic places.