Renee Writes

Author Spotlight: Dirt by CC Hogan

dirt-letter-bottom-janWelcome to this week’s Friday Author Spotlight! This week I have CC Hogan with the first book in his series, Dirt.

C.C. Hogan is a writer and musician who loves good humour, good wine, the odd rum and to spend as much time telling stories as possible.

He writes about both fantastical and real worlds and tries not to be embarrassed about including the odd dragon amongst his eclectic selection of friends.

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About the Book

dirt-350Johnson Farthing is a tall, strong, nineteen-year-old who has been pushing a cart around the coastal town of Wead-Wodder since he was a kid and he and his sister and were orphaned. Poverty and shifting other people’s dirt is just about their entire life. Beer is a luxury and so has food been at times. They are about as poor as you can get and still have a roof. His current job is much like all the rest of his jobs have been over the years; he is digging a hole.

When Farthing wakes one morning to discover his sister is missing, his life turns completely upside down.

Now he has to race to her rescue across an ocean in the company of a beautiful Sea Dragon, Fren-Eirol, and an ancient, unreliable magician.

And so begins a far greater tale and soon the world is plunged into war, and the lowly cart-pusher, his friends and the dragons are right in the middle of it all.

Series one includes a trilogy, plus a sequel, Hope, which is also a prelude to series two.

Read more about the series!

Get it today on Smashwords, Scribd, iBooks, Createspace, Inktera, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon!

Keep reading for an interview with Fren-Eirol from the Dirt series:

Fren-Eirol-dec2015-portraitWhere were you born, and what was it like growing up there?

I was born, oh, rather a long time ago, in the very south of what was then known as The Prelates, though it has a different name now. Of the two largest continents, it is the smaller and better populated, but where we were was very quiet. Our dragon village was near the cliffs, just a hop and a flap from the small fishing village of Me-Lin Hoe in south Cartenor

This was a poor place with a very small community, but we and the humans worked together closely and enjoyed each other’s company; a rare thing between humans and dragons at that time.

Cartenor is one of the warmest places on Dirt and as a youngster, before I could fly, I would play in the surf with my friends or take long walks along the flat sands looking out south over the endless ocean. I suppose it was a romantic place, in some ways.

What is the happiest memory from your childhood?

Oh, this question is so easy; it was learning to fly.

Dragons are not birds and we do not fall out of the nest one day and flap our wings in panic. Our wings are slow to develop as are the muscles on our back and we are not able to fly till fully grown. For Draig Morglas like me that is in our twenties, but for the huge Draig Mynyth Coh, the Red Mountain Dragons, that can be in their thirties.

I was 21 when I learned, which is early, but I was large for a Sea Dragon – though quite slim, I would like to point out! My learning was a source of amusement for many, especially my attempts at taking flight from the sea which left my best friend Lonetta doubling over with laughter. I had ended up paddling back in, looking very stupid.

But eventually I succeeded and then one day, completely against the rules, I took Lonnee, as I called her, flying from the cliffs. You see, Lonnee was human and could not fly.

It was the most beautiful moment. She hung fast to the cloth ties I had wrapped around my chest, lying on my back with her eyes scrunched up closed. When she eventually opened them, I think she nearly stopped breathing. It is hard to appreciate seeing your home from a thousand feet or more in the sky with a dragon friend. She would have happily stayed up there for the rest of her life, as would have I. I have always enjoyed taking human friends up for their first flight, but none have been so special as that very first time with Lonnee. She died many centuries ago, of course, but I still miss her.

Who is your enemy? What makes you enemies?

Dragons are not territorial like you humans and we do not have wars between ourselves, though the odd fight is not unknown, especially amongst the beer-loving reds. But that does not mean we are not protective of our friends and our homes.

We have no hierarchy as humans do, and see no difference between male and female. We like peace in our world and we believe in fairness and truth between all. Anyone that threatens that ideal will not be making friends of any of my kind.

Who do you most admire in your world? Why?

There are several people who have captured both my head and my heart, I suppose.

My Bren, Bren-Aneirin, is the most obvious, and his constant argument against the growing distance between humans and dragons was important and conducted with so much dignity.

Mistry always has my heart. I never have had children of my own, not uncommon with dragons, and Mistry, though human, became very much a daughter.

Johnson Farthing was, in the end, a hero, and was admired by thousands.

But if I was to choose one, it would be my friend Eafa, often known as Weasel.

Some saw him as silly, some as a waste of space, but his knowledge of both humans and dragons was immense and in between his foolishness, he was the wisest and cleverest of us all. Very few knew his true contribution to what happened and fewer still realise that without him we would have failed.

Tell us a little about your world, and where you fit in?

Dirt is a world, like other worlds, I suppose. It has places that are warm and other places that are cold, some dry and some wet. I do not know of other worlds, so I have no comparison to make.

It is a world of two groups of people – quadrupeds and hexapods. Humans and horses are part of the former and dragons and callistons the latter. Wings, you see; people forget that wings are limbs!

There are three intelligent peoples (er, not quite true, but I wouldn’t want to spoil the story), though we sometimes live separate lives.

Humans are the most numerous, followed by all the variations of dragons. Callistons, our huge, gentle, wingless cousins are the least numerous and keep to themselves on their remote farms.

I am a Sea Dragon, but this really has little to do with the sea, but rather describes my colouring of pale blue and grey (yes, I know I have a white tummy, but that is unique to me).

What you have to understand about Dirt, or Adela as it was called in ancient times, is that it is underpopulated. The humans have built empire after empire and had war after war that has knocked back their society more than it has advanced it. Dragons are very slow to breed and many do not and we number in thousands, not millions. The largest human towns in my lifetime never had more than ten thousand inhabitants and most villages only a couple of hundred.

It is a fragmented world, in many ways, especially in Bind, the largest continent. Large areas are very dry, though not necessarily warm, and huge forests are rare. Iron and coal are abundant in some places, but absent in most. Don’t get me wrong, it is a beautiful world, but much of it is difficult and we live in the better pockets of the world, ignorant of our neighbours.

Of course, dragons see it rather differently. We fly, which makes being territorial awkward when your neighbour can simply fly over your patch, and we see the world from a great height. Greater dragons can fly at a height where humans would suffocate and that makes our perspective of the world much different; it is smaller to us and the are not many places are unreachable in a few days of hard flying.

So where do I fit in? Simple; up there with the high flying birds, the Scimrafugol, looking over a beautiful, borderless, open land.

Do/did you have a close relationship with your family?

Not especially. Dragons are really not particularly family orientated. I think this is because of our long lives.

My mother had two children, but we were born a hundred years apart and I never met my elder sister. After all the centuries, I could not even tell you her name.

After I left the village, I very rarely saw my mother and she eventually moved on and I do not know her fate. This is not unusual with dragons and for us, family is about those you meet in your life; your friends. For me, my human friends Eafa, Johnson Farthing, Mistry, Pree and Farthing’s sister Rustina were family, as was Be-Elin, the Draig yr Anialr – desert dragon. And of course Bren-Aneirin, my partner.

What was the most embarrassing moment in your life?

I have to say that alcohol and me have a very difficult relationship and a large dragon lying on her back with her tongue hanging out is not a dignified sight. Any time when I have been encouraged into such a state is best forgotten.

Have you ever been in love? How did that work out for you?

Dragons of fairy tale are gruesome beasts of talon and bloodlust, but this is far from reality.

We dragons, all of us of all kinds, love and cherish like any other intelligent creature and I have had my fair taste of it.

My greatest friend and companion was the magician Weasel, but my greatest love was my Bren, Aneirin.

Dragon names have either Mab, for the male, or Be for the female in front of their names. Since we are not very blood-family minded, we have no family name. So, my name was Be-Eirol.

If we decide to pair with another, many do not, then males become Bren and females Fren.

The first time I met Mab-Aneirin I was most unimpressed. He was several hundred years older than I and had a formidable reputation at the Neauth on Taken as a debater, but he was a tatty soul. He later became tattier still when he broke off two of his horns.

But, in time, I was first attracted by his arguments, then his strength and then his tenderness and I have never loved another as I did he. Sadly, he died young, which I do not wish to relive here, and I did not have the many centuries with him that I so wished for.

What kind of clothing do you prefer to wear?

Dragons do not wear clothes out of modesty, as do you humans, and we do not suffer from cold as easily, so clothing is very much a personal thing.

For me, I occasionally used to wear dragon-printed silks like a kind of bodice, though it is only really like a cloth on my chest, and I love wearing long silks tied to my crest that then stream out behind me when I fly.

I have worn the leather hides of the desert dragon in later life. Dragons are not scaled in our world, or naturally armoured in any way, and we cut and bleed as you do. The hides the Desert Dragons wear offer some protection and also allow their riders to move freely by giving them straps to hang on to.

What is your favorite food?

Fish. By the bucket load!

What do you own that would be hardest to part with? Why?

The two broken horns of my late Bren. I will leave that there, I think.

What was the most exciting adventure you’ve ever been on?

For that you will have to read the books, for though they also tell of terrible times, they also tell of great adventure. That first dash across the ocean, however, will always be a highlight for me, even though desperate.

Would you ever or have you ever lied? How do you feel about lying?

Dragons do not lie.

This is such a difficult concept for humans to understand and I struggle with trying to explain it. To us an untruth is a story, not something to deceive, and is not used to hurt or to get out of trouble. Dragons simply say what they feel and we understand that about ourselves and others.

Humans find this very problematical, it would appear, and dragons who are unused to human company can be mislead easily. The nearest most of us get to lying is by refusing to tell you something.

However, there have been one or two unique dragons who have come remarkably close to a human level of lying. Thankfully, they are most rare.

If you had one day left to live, what would you do with your last day?

Fly.

When you humans are taken on a flight, it is not by your own power. You may be awed by the beauty of the world from on high and understand the freedom we dragons enjoy, but you are still not doing the flying yourself.

When I fly, I feel the wind rush over my skin, feel my muscles work with the air and I sense every little tug and current around me. I would think the nearest comparison for you would be swimming. But even then, you are not a fish and cannot slip through the water like those silvery fellows.

To me, catching the high winds is a joy beyond all others. Dragons, as I have said before, are not birds. Flying at low level is hard work for us and we tire. But far above where you can breath, the winds are powerful and constant. Catch the wind in the right way and I hardly need flap at all. I can stretch my wings out to their full length and float over the world. I sometime feel I could almost fall asleep up there; I can’t, by the way, I would fall out of the sky.

So, on my last day, I dearly hope I have the strength to fly one more time. Fly out to the east into the morning sun, across the blue of the ocean and the pink of the sky, and float in the unclaimed air, free of hate and politics and woes, taking my last breath on the wing as I look down on my precious world.

It is the last hope of all dragons.

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