Dan Scottow and Damaged
Dan Scottow is a thrillers author.
His debut novel, Damaged, is available now.
Do you believe everything you’re told?
Journalist Emily Blake is sent back to her hometown to investigate the disappearance of a young girl called Becky Clarke. Emily takes the assignment willingly as the case echoes the disappearance of her childhood friend, Alice Abbott, twenty-five years earlier.
Returning to the village, Emily renews old acquaintances and rivalries. She reconnects with her estranged brother Adam, who has never quite recovered from tragic events from their past.
While she looks into the disappearance of Becky Clarke, Emily revisits Alice’s case but not everyone welcomes her investigation.
As lies that have been told for twenty-five years surrounding Alice’s disappearance begin to unravel, Emily is drawn deeper into the mystery.
What happened to Alice?
Will Becky ever be found?
And do the answers lie closer to home than anyone ever imagined?
Let’s Place Dan Under the Spotlight!
Tell us a little about yourself and your books, including the genre(s) you write in.
I live in Scotland now, but I was born and raised in St. Albans in Hertfordshire.
As long as I can remember I have always wanted to write. I used to fold pieces of paper in half and write stories on them to read them to my parents, so to have my first novel published is literally a lifelong dream come true.
My debut novel, Damaged, was released in January 2020. It’s a dark psychological thriller and tells the story of Emily Blake, a journalist who returns to her childhood home to look into the disappearance of a child near her home town.
The case echoes the unsolved disappearance of her childhood friend Alice, 25 years earlier. As Emily delves deeper into the case, dark secrets and lies begin to unravel, and Emily starts to question realities she has accepted for her entire life.
What project are you working on now?
I’m currently working on my second novel.
I finished the first draft recently and am now working through it, making sure it flows and everything makes sense!
It’s another psychological thriller, this time about a case of mistaken identity, and the consequences surrounding that.
I don’t want to say too much about it at this stage, as it’s very early days, but needless to say it is another dark and twisted story.
How do you choose the genre(s) you write in?
I write what I enjoy.
I’ve always loved horror films, and dark, scary thrillers. The darker the better. So for me this was always going to be the genre I would write in.
I’d love to write a full on horror story, and I think one day I probably will, but for now I’m enjoying this genre.
Is there any particular author or book that’s influenced you, either growing up or as an adult?
I read a lot of Stephen King when I was younger, and I think the darkness of his stories has definitely influenced me a great deal.
Aside from this, I would say one book that really inspired and influenced me was Lionel Shriver’s, We Need to Talk About Kevin. I still think about this book quite a lot. You know it’s a great story when it sticks with you forever.
Is anything in your books based on real life experiences?
There’s actually quite a lot of autobiographical elements in Damaged. Obviously not in the story line, but little details about settings and houses have made their way into the book.
My brother actually texted me when he was reading it and said ‘Hey, I remember that…’, which was nice. I’d also say that times in my life when I’ve been really, really scared, I channelled those feelings when I was trying to write the scarier scenes in the book.
How do you come up with your titles?
It’s hard choosing a title.
Damaged went through about four different working titles, but by the time I submitted it to my publisher I had settled on Damaged, as I really thought it was apt.
Every single character in the story has been damaged by one shocking even in the past, and I think the title works.
I half expected the publisher to want to change it, but they agreed that it was quite fitting, and I was really happy about that.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I am also a keen artist and love to paint landscapes in what little spare time I have, outside my full time job as a Graphic Designer!
I love to paint the beautiful scenes around me in Scotland. There’s so much inspiration around me up here, there are a lot of artists living near me!
You’re hosting a literary dinner party, which four authors would you invite (alive or dead)?
What are five words that describe your writing process?
Which would you rather do: Never write another story or never read another book?
This is a REALLY difficult question.
I am ashamed to say that reading has taken a back seat for me lately, because I simply don’t have time. But I find the thought of never reading again very sad.
I love writing, but if people stopped reading then writing wouldn’t be needed anymore anyway, so I’d probably opt to never write another story, as gutting as that would be! But even as I’m writing this I’m doubting myself!
What is the funniest typo or error you’ve ever written?
It wasn’t really during my writing… it was because of predictive text on an older mobile phone.
It’s far to rude to write here, but I was talking about my aunt… and the phone changed it… I’ll let you use your imagination!
How do you come up with names for your characters?
With Damaged, my main characters names, Alice and Emily were firmly set. Those were the names that came to me when I had the idea, and that never changed.
Other characters’ names change quite a lot because I go through a process, and if the name doesn’t work in my head for that character then I change it until it fits.
I’ve changed the names of my characters in my new book a few times, and if I’m honest I’m still not 100% convinced by them, so they may still go through a few more incarnations yet!
I try not to pick names of people I know because I don’t want people to think they are based on them. Saying that, I have a cousin called Alice and a cousin called Emily, but the characters are definitely NOT based on them.
Who is the most supportive person in your life when it comes to your writing?
It has to be my partner.
I don’t really like to talk about my personal life, but my partner made me believe I was good enough, and without that support, Damaged would probably still just be a file on my computer.
What is your most favourite word and why?
Splattered… it’s invaluable in the stories I write!
What is your least favourite word and why?
Moist… I don’t know why… it just makes me cringe!
You can find Dan in the following places:
Facebook: Dan Scottow Facebook
Twitter: Dan Scottow Twitter