“So much universe, and so little time…” – Terry Pratchett
Darren Askins was born and raised in Orange County, California. He studied English and Creative Writing at California State University, Fullerton and currently works as an SEO manager to help people find treatment centers for addiction and mental health recovery.
At age 6, he discovered “The Boy Who Lived” and was instantly hooked on magic. Thus began a lifelong love of fantasy books that began with reading and then moved on to writing.
He has written every day for the past 5 years and has now completed his first novel, Against the Wind, a coming-of-age epic fantasy adventure that tells the story of Duvont Jessen as he masters his talent of controlling fire through thought.
Today, Darren lives with his bird and dog in Orange County but is open to making a move one day. In his free time enjoys gaming, with a particular interest unusual ones that are away from the mainstream, although Magic: The Gathering consumes a lot of his time, passion and cash. He is also active in local writing groups and likes to support local theatre by attending performances whenever he can.
As far as ambition goes, Darren intends to keep writing and create an interconnected series of books that fantasy readers will love. He has already began the complex task of creating the Otherverse, a series of connected stories that span thousands of years on a single planet, so watch out for more from him in the near future.
You can contact or connect with Darren Askins at
Describe yourself in five words
Quirky, loud, outgoing, creative, driven.
What fact about yourself would really surprise people?
I can sing the ABCs backwards.
How do you work through self-doubts and fear?
Tons of self-reflection, introspection, meditation, and good old therapy. I spent almost three years in intensive psychotherapy to better myself.
What scares you the most?
Not creating. Giving up on what I love and simply being complacent.
What makes you happiest?
Writing! But, more specifically, telling stories about the worlds that I imagine. Going to places that no one has ever heard of before.
Why do you write?
Because I have to. It’s a primal desire for me. Something that I know I need to do. There’s a whirlwind of stories always churning in my head, and writing is the only way to calm the tempest.
Have you always enjoyed writing?
Absolutely not. In high school, English was my worst and least favorite subject. Even when I knew I wanted to write, it never came out the way I wanted and it frustrated me. Better understanding myself and accepting who I am really helped me to enjoy my process of writing and enjoy writing in general.
What motivates you to write?
A couple things. First and foremost, I write because it is my passion. I feel I was born to write, and so write I shall. I know whenever I don’t write, I don’t feel well. My thoughts get clouded and life dulls. But a book isn’t complete until someone reads it, and so I also find motivation in fans and those who find enjoyment in what is written.
What writing are you most proud of? .
I’m proud of all my works in the Otherverse. Currently, that consists of two published works: The Boot Mage and Against the Wind. However, I do have nine novels that are yet to be released, all taking place in the same setting.
What are you most proud of in your personal life?
Being a proud owner of every Nintendo home console. Actually, I’ve recently started a little video game collection of my own.
What books did you love growing up?
The Harry Potter series got me into reading, and fantasy too. I also enjoyed all the old Dragonlance books immensely. Dragonlance has gone on to probably influence my own books the most, being a connected story and all.
What do you hope your obituary will say about you?
He lived. I don’t often think about death nor my legacy. It’s not really something that concerns me. Let the historians worry about all that.
How did you develop your writing?
I started writing back at the beginning of 2018. Since then, I’ve made it my goal to write at least 3,000 words every, single day. Keeping up with my writing goals means that I’m always honing my craft and improving my skills, and I think that’s really helped me find my voice and flesh out what a Darren Askins book feels like.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
It depends on who you are. For me, it was marketing. But after being exposed to it from a day job, I got comfy with the idea of putting myself out there and finding the relevant marketing channels for myself. Now, I expect it would publishing, but only because the industry really isn’t all that streamlined when it comes to publishing a novel. There are some good options, but there isn’t really a clear winner for where and how to publish a book.
What marketing works for you?
Email, for sure. Seriously, if you haven’t started your mailing list yet, get on it. But also, since I write primarily fantasy, Facebook is where my audience is at. You just have to imagine where your audience is and go to them. They’re already looking for you.
Do you find it hard to share your work?
Absolutely not! Stay up to date on all my work at darrenaskins.com! Seriously, I love talking about myself and what I do.
What else do you do, other than write?
I love experiencing stories and challenging my known perspectives. For this reason, I play video games, read all the time, get super deep into TV shows and movies, and go to local theatre.
What other jobs have you had in your life?
I currently work as an SEO specialist for a marketing company that helps connect substance abuse and mental health treatment centers with people who really need them. I’ve had various other roles in marketing.
If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?
I majored in English, but if I had to chose another, I would go with History. I’ve always had a fascination with how things unfolded. A lot of stories there.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
New Zealand. Sometimes, I wish I was a Kiwi.
How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
Gaming Desktop that I spent both too much money on, and not enough. Sometimes I’ll write from my laptop though. Definitely not pen and paper. My handwriting is atrocious. Even I can’t read it.
How much sleep do you need to be your best? .
Best? 7 hours. Minimum.
Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?
I’d like to thank a life coach that put me on the write track. I’m convinced he’s the best life coach you can find in California, if not this part of the world. His name is Ralph and I owe pretty much everything to him. I wouldn’t be the man I am today without his guidance, wisdom, and support.
Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
Getting to spend all of my working hours writing. That’s it. Seriously, all I want to do is hone my craft and keep improving myself. Is that too much to ask? I have big aspirations and it would be a same if I didn’t get to pursue them.
Tell us about your new book? Why did you write it?
Against the Wind is a coming-of-age fantasy adventure that tells the story of Duvont, a former slave who needs to forge his own path in the world. He meets a wizard who promises to teach him magic. Duvont ends up learning that he has the ability to control fire, and finds out that his lessons have come at a terrible cost. He’s forced to choose whether or not he has to do the right thing, even when it means choosing the wrong thing for him.
I wrote Against the Wind because there were plenty of people in my life always trying to show me how to live my life, and I struggled to find out who to listen to. This book shows how a person needs to learn to trust themselves and forge their own way in the world.
If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?
Terry Pratchett, Brandon Sanderson, Ursula Le Guin, JRR Tolkien, Henry Cavill. I think that would be an interesting night.
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
Reading a good book in the jacuzzi is always my favorite way to unwind. Curling up under a blanket and playing some video games helps me out too.
What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?
I want them to get from my writing what I get from reading—I want to challenge perspectives. I want to push boundaries. When someone reads my book, I want them to enjoy it, take it, and then think of new stories for themselves. What pushed me to write was reading as much as I did growing up. I hope that I can inspire just a couple people to go on and do what I’ve done.