Daniel Kemp is a father, grandfather, poet, and an amazing author. Unlike the stories of authors who dreamed of writing stories their whole life, Daniel’s journey to writing came about in a most unexpected and challenging way.
(Daniel): I’m not sure that I was ever ‘meant’ to be a writer, I stumbled into it by accident; literarily.
I was at work one sunny November day in 2006 minding my own business, stopped at a red traffic light when a van, driven incompetently, smashed into me. I was taken to Hospital and kept in for while, but it was not just the physical injuries that I suffered from; it was mental.
I had lost all confidence in myself, let alone those around me. The experts said that I had post traumatic stress disorder, which I thought only the military or emergency personnel suffered from.
On good days I attempted to go to work, sometimes I even made it through Blackwell Tunnel only to hear, or see, something that made me jump out of my skin, and the anxiety attacks would start.
I told my wife that I was okay and going regularly but I wasn’t. I could not cope with life and thought about ending it.
Somehow or other with the help from my wife, and the host of professionals that I saw, I managed to survive and ever so slowly, rebuilt my self-esteem.
It took almost four years to fully recover and become what I now am, somewhere close to what I was before that day, but it was during those dark depressive days that I began to write.
My very first story, Look Both Ways, Then Look Behind, found a literary agent but not a publisher. He told me that I had a talent, raw, but nevertheless it was there. After telling me to write another story, he said that there were two choices open to me: One, wait for a traditional deal. At sixty-two, with no literary profile or experience; little hope. Two, self-publish through New Generation Publishing.
This, I’m delighted to say, I did.
His career as a writer really took off after a chance meeting.
(Daniel): About a month after The Desolate Garden was published I met, by pure chance, a film producer, who on reading my novel paid me for a twelve month option to turn my story into a film.
I’m a licensed London taxi driver and met him in that capacity. It was, he said, exactly what he was looking for.
This is maybe why. It is copied from a review, and summary, of an Australian journalist’s radio broadcast from the novel.
“The Desolate Garden is especially for readers who like a story, largely rendered through dialog because it was the dialog that pulled the work off the page and onto a movie set. This political thriller resonates with charm, deft touches of satire, and romantic entanglement and where the promise of rampant sex is a turn of the page away.”
I should add here that there is no graphic sex nor gratuitous violence in the story and it is suitable for all ages
He wrote something recently that he led to an unexpected opportunity.
(Daniel): I posted this three-line romantic poem on the internet a week or so ago.
“To rise from a barren earth.
To soar above, to wing away.
To escape from all that’s lacking, and live to love another day.”
From it, I met another author who liked it so much that she commissioned me to do the prophecy at the heart of her enticing tenth century novel. It was an honour and great privilege to do.
The book is titled Viking Hearts, and written by Robynn Gabel.
It tells the story of a boy left to die by his Viking parents because of the birth stain on his face. He is suckled by wolves until discovered by the Druids who believe he is their answer to this ancient prophecy. The boy becomes…..and there I will stop. Allowing your imagination to take over. This is the Prophecy I wrote.
The story is hidden in this, and follows the chronological order of the tale.
“There be cometh a boy that a wolf did raise, with a blotch and stain on his face.
He hath a twin who will rule this land, that only he hath the right to replace.
‘Tis a leader of men he will become, with much victory and treasure at his feet.
But that is not all that will trouble him. T’is much danger he will meet.
His image will be seen at an altar, where a marriage will be made.
T’will be a terrible time of vengeance, when plans will be laid.
Come one score year and seven, a mask of death will fall.
The boy will stand alone as a man, with ner’e a fear of its call.
All is not pure that lives inside, as greed is hidden away.
With no pleasure the Gods will watch, with much pain and dismay.
Ner’e wielding axe, ner’e slashing blade will spill nor cease his breath.
T’will be only a mirror of disguise that can bring upon him death.
Ner’e human hand can take his life, though many will want to try.
He is blessed from the heart of the forest, and to water one day he’ll fly.
T’will be a reflection of his own face he will see that coming day,
But all but the eyes will be hidden from view, secured far away!”
If he could give advice to his younger self, what would he say?
(Daniel): What a question and where to start! One part of me would want to say, change; don’t become what you did, but then again I have loved my life. What some could call ‘mistakes’ I would call ‘opportunities.’ There are so many hackneyed clichés one could use here, but I wrote another poem, that my granddaughter now has, that sums me up quite well. This is it.
Along the Way.
“I am heavy, I am tired” said the old man to the child. “My life, is drawing to an end. It is not what I have done to life that has brought me here today, but what life has done to me along the way.
I was strong, I was fierce, I took no-one to my side, simply brushing them aside with no need of them. Now I find that I’m alone, but don’t pity nor disown those memories that I’ve sown, along the way.
My path was never straight, sometimes narrow, sometimes wide but along it I did stride to find you here. And I am pleased that I did, otherwise you would never know what I managed in my life, along the way.
I have reached that final bend, the one that leads me to my end, and now I leave you here to make your own way through this life. Tread your path with care, and always be aware that there is no such thing in life, as a mistake.
Daniel’s book “The Desolate Garden” is available in here!