It was a pleasure to meet Daniel C. de Guzman. He was very lively and personable as he happily shared his path to becoming an author.
He says he has dreamt of being a writer ever since he read Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol. He was amazed at how Dan Brown was able to create worlds with his words and wanted to do the same.
He started writing in college as part of the school publication, and even though being a writer is not easy in the Philippines, he just loves how words can shape and influence people.
On using a pseudonym
He thought about it, but he is happy with using his real name.
Daniel has always been a fan of cyberpunk anime from the 80s and 90s, like Ghost in the Shell. He’s always been fascinated by how the technology level is high, but human morality is low or almost gone. He likes dark fantasy and horror, in particular the work of H.P. Lovecraft.
“Writing is both easy and hard,” said Daniel. “It can be tough to come up with the words to keep the story going. That’s why it’s really important to have an outline. Nabawasan na yung aking ‘hanging moments’ since I stuck to making outlines. (I’ve had fewer ‘hanging moments’ since I stuck to making outlines).”
He continued, “The hardest part of writing is finding the right words to describe your scenes and characters. Inspiration is everywhere, but no matter how wide your vocabulary is, sometimes I struggle to describe the way I see it in my head accurately.”
He planned to submit a different story and wrote this story in a rush, with only a few days to the deadline. He was very thankful the story was accepted.
When writing his story for Dystopia Manila, he posed the question: “What if, in the Philippines, COVID-19 becomes much more terrible than what we’ve experienced before?” He heard the word Zoomicron in a news report, and it inspired the idea of the story.
“I drew a lot of inspiration from what was happening during the pandemic, the feelings of the people. We were in survival mode. I saw the desperation of people to do what needs to be done to survive another day.”
He says his work still has that societal message on inequality.
Daniel has another short story in the Deck the Halls anthology.
Currently, he is working on a collection of short stories for another anthology, still sci-fi, which is his passion. There are dystopia, cyberpunk, and Philippine mythology in the mix of this upcoming book.
His advice to aspiring authors
Be disciplined in your writing. Make writing a habit. Write every day since writing is a skill. You need to write to keep your sword sharp. So that when your inspiration comes, you are ready for it. Hard work never betrays you.
Also, write what you enjoy the most. This will show honesty in your writing.
Daniel will be signing copies of his books at the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) on Saturday, Sep 16, 2023, at 4 PM.
Interested readers can contact him to buy his books through his Facebook page. Printed copies from PaperKat Books are available through Lazada. You can download a free ebook copy of Dystopia Manila and Deck the Halls from paperkatbooks.com