Author Interview: David N. Ishimaru

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Bound Publishing’s VP of Story Development Jamie Ortiz sat down with new author David N. Ishimaru to discuss flying coconuts, sword-fighting with Neal Stephenson, and his collection of DEDE reports set in feudal Japan.

Jamie: ​Thanks for taking the time to talk, David. Tell us a bit about yourself.

David: By day, I write software for… that’s really not important. When I’m not writing, my waking hours are spent practicing martial arts, taiko drumming, and searching for the ultimate chirashi. I’ve also been doing some motion capture work for a known video game studio. I do a good job at staying busy.

Jamie: Indeed. When did you start writing?

David: My interest in writing fiction grew from a couple of writing courses I took while pursuing an undergraduate degree in computer science. The professor who taught these courses was renowned for providing brutal, sadistic feedback on writing assignments. He seemed to pride himself on crushing the hopes and dreams of any student unfortunate enough to warm a seat in his classroom — at least that’s what many students believed. I recognized him for what he truly was: a passionate perfectionist. I took constructive comments in red ink such as: ‘This is terrible” and “No. No. NOOOOOO” in stride.

My desire to tell stories however, started many years before life as a cube farm denizen or college student. My mother worked as an assistant librarian and provided me with endless piles of books to read throughout elementary school. Reading became a favorite past time. Most nights, I’d stay up way too late reading in bed and would pay the hefty price of being miserable in school the next day. During junior high, my family moved to the island of Guam. I spent a lot of time during the Guam years thinking about all of the stories I’d consumed and I began working on stories of my own. Living without electricity, and therefore without video games, for weeks at a time (due to typhoons crushing infrastructure with coconuts, frogs, and other debris traveling at high speeds) really helped me focus on and derive a great amount of joy from developing stories. This served as a step toward the primordial forerunner of my process for writing and storytelling today.

Jamie: Infrastructure-debilitating coconuts? Nice! Sounds like the seed of a YA dystopian novel. So, how did you get involved with The D.O.D.O. Files?

David: I’ve had the profound honor and pleasure of being involved in sword-fighting activities with Neal for many years now and was involved with the Mongoliad, which is how I met Nicole. Life for me was extremely complicated during that time and I didn’t contribute any actual writing, but I was present for most of the martial arts planning meetings held every weekend. Neal recalled that I had expressed interest in writing and believed that I could contribute some humorous anecdotes for D.O.D.O., based on my experience as an employee of a large bureaucratic corporate entity.

Jamie: That’s awesome. Where did you get the inspiration for the DEDE reports?

David: Neal and Nicole provided me with a golden opportunity to document the adventures of DOers operating in DTAPs not covered in the latter part of The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.

From a martial arts perspective, I was fascinated with the idea of Sending a modern warrior that had studied an old school style of Japanese weaponry back to a time period in which similar weapon styles were actively being used. Would the modern fighter be able to take care of business? My love for taiko drumming and other Japanese arts also made Japan my first choice to play in.

Jamie: Did you have to perform any research on feudal Japan?​

David: Absolutely. Prior to my focus on computer science during my undergrad years, I was going to major in Japanese so I was already pretty familiar with various eras in Japanese history. The challenge was finding a spread of years that would tie nicely into what I wanted to explore with Mushanokoji’s adventures.

Jamie: With the final part of the DEDE report being released today, what are you working on next?

David: I’m writing a novel I’m a bit shy to share details on, but I plan to wrap up work on that well before the end of the year. If other opportunities to expand on events in the D.O.D.O. world appear, I’d love to see how Mushanokoji and other DOers will fit in with Trystan and Mel as they SPOILERS ALERT and try to SPOILER ALERT.

Tap here to learn more about The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: A Novel by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland.

About David N. Ishimaru

David N. Ishimaru became involved with the world of D.O.D.O. in early 2016. The collection of DEDE reports set in feudal Japan for season 1 of The D.O.D.O. Files is his first published work. He is currently writing his first full-length novel. He resides in Seattle, Washington, where he teaches and studies various martial arts, plays large drums, and sips beer in the shadows at metal shows. Connect with David on Facebook

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