About Daria Lamtsova
I was born in Russia in an ordinary family being the third generation of professional educators. I got my first higher education in teaching, but upon graduation, I chose another path to follow and entered the world of finance and investment banking. Several years after I graduated from the Finance Academy with honors.
My early childhood was spent in South Africa, while parents worked there, then we returned to Russia, but still travelled a lot. Since childhood I had such a deep love to literature that parents fought with me against night reading with a flashlight under the blanket, the strategy I commonly used, when lights went off.
I started to write as soon as I learnt how to write, but during years of school and university, I tried and practiced other art forms. After starting a family and move to the North American continent I came back to writing.
You can find the author at: DariaLamtsova
EP: Welcome @DariaLamtsova! It’s a pleasure to have you with us today, and I’d like to thank you for taking the time to join us at My Favorite Wattpad Authors.
DL: Thank you for this opportunity, Estelle. It’s a pleasure and a great honor to be among the first ones to participate in such a great project.
EP: Can you tell us about yourself for those who don’t know you yet?
DL: Well, first of all I am Russian, and this may somehow explain the roots to the problems people may have communicating with me, as I tend to be radically straightforward, undesirably honest and have a habit to deliver the final truth through the hotline – by means of swearing (from time to time). Not all feel comfortable dealing with effective communication I practice.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I am intentionally rude, I simply like to be sure that I am not only at the same page with the dialog partner, but also, I want to be 100% sure that we are reading the same book, because you know, all books have page two, right? J And frankly speaking, I don’t like to spend a lot of time figuring these simple things out, yet all the problems usually start right here.
I grew up in South Africa, got my education and worked in investment banking for seven years in Russia, then moved to Canada and now reside in USA. I travelled through almost thirty countries and apart from my personal life experience which is the basis for my plots, all my trips influence my stories as well, as I typically use for setting those locations I had luck to visit in real life.
I have two professions, both certified. First one is a part of a family dynasty – I am an educator in the field of Linguistics, the second one is connected with finance, as I am a financial analyst.
I cannot say that I’ve been always writing, rather there was a huge gap between me writing in my childhood and early teen period, and then me coming back to it when I turned thirty. Yeah, it took me a good time, but here I am, trying to write things again.
EP: Your writing has certainly caught our attention. Can you tell us about your stories? What do you write about?
DL: Surely, I can (*rubs hands widely grinning)
First of all, let me confess, that unlike lots of writers I started to write not because I was inspired by someone or something, but rather because there was a certain psychological need to do so.
At some point of my life, I found myself left to my own devices being overloaded with the experience, which needed to be relocated from my mind to somewhere else. Some start writing a diary, I chose an alternative route.
I took all things, events and acquaintanceships, which influenced me as a person, got them “shaken, not stirred”, and came out with a plot. Technically, my stories are based on real stories from my life and lives of people I used to know, but altered and loosely fictionalised.
My very first story A Bad Fall (now book 1 in the series), is about a young man, whose name is Dylan Pratt, a financial analyst in his mid-twenties, a steady person, who obtained his higher education already, has experience in work and relationships, and who reunites with his best friend after a long rift. At the same time Dylan suddenly falls in love with his new colleague. Once the life lines of this trio cross, Dylan finds himself dragged into a whirlpool of not ordinary events, where from he gets out committing a crime.
I never planned to write series, but at some point, I realized that even Britannica has volumes, so that’s better somewhere to split it all. That’s how book 2 of the series under the title Who are you, Dylan Pratt? appeared. It is about search for the reasons, why Dylan has always been an active participant of those events, which should have passed him by but didn’t.
This series could remain the only thing I wrote, but it is just happened so, that I saw a dream which I liked so much, as I wrote it down, that is how Arizona Thunderstorm came to life.
When I started writing Dylan Pratt series, I was sure it would come out as a romance story, but today I feel like it’s more of a general fiction, rather than romance. Though romantic line is massive in my stories, first of all I write about the main character, what made him the person he is, what influenced his attitude to life, and put my main character into situations where he either sticks to his guns or admits his life-long concepts are ruined from now and on.
When it turned out, that I was neither a romance, nor a YA writer, I had to admit that I would have to fight for readership, because general fiction is the genre traditionally less popular, at least on Wattpad, where romance and fanfic are leaders. But surprisingly somehow my stories make it through in several awards in general fiction, romance, random and even thriller sections. Then I was honored to get A Bad Fall featured on Wattpad official profiles of General Fiction and New Adult fiction, and Arizona Thunderstorm was included into the lists of Wattpad Short Stories profile.
Pictured above: Talented author DariaLamtsova and her stories: A Bad Fall, Who Are You Dylan Pratt?, and Arizona Thunderstorm.
EP: When did you know you wanted to be a writer? Was there anyone or anything in particular that inspired you to write?
DL: I actually never planned to be a writer and I do not consider myself as a writer still, but I prefer such a term as a storyteller. I do not see these two terms as synonyms. Being a writer (in my personal understanding) is a profession first of all, it’s a job to be paid for. While a storyteller is a person who simply wants to share something what he or she finds intriguing. So, the difference is in the intention, whether you want to tell something and make money from it or you want to share something interesting and entertain. My initial intention is to entertain first of all.
And back to your question, I think I have always been a storyteller. The only nuance is that being a child I chose the most obvious medium for telling a story, I wrote. But then I decided to try other mediums for the same task, like painting and even cooking.
One may ask what do painting and cooking have to do with story telling? Well, surprisingly those are awesome means of telling a story.
No matter if you are painting or just sketching, you put a message for the world, otherwise what’s the sense to do it? Same with cooking, you can tell a story of October twilights sneaking gradually into the streets of Venice by means of cooking pasta for dinner. Haven’t you tried to cook from this perspective? Try, you’ll see a huge difference) The means are different but the goal is the same – to tell a story.
As I mentioned before, I started to write because that was my mental health necessity. But when I was in the middle of my first book, I had luck to meet Anna Todd in person, who confessed that she started to write as her way of psychological distraction in tough times when her little one had therapies. That confession of hers helped me to realize, that I was not the only one whose inspiration came not from a positive wave, but it was still worth a try and share what I did. So, this well-known author maybe didn’t inspire me to write, but she definitely inspired me to share what I wrote.
EP: What books do you like to read? Has any of these books inspired your writing?
DL: Oh, it looks like this interview is about confessions in every passage.
Well, I have to admit, that I am not that type of avid reader hungry for any reading. Binge reading of anything is not about me. I am extremely picky. I like old good classy romance, mystery and a nice thriller, rarely I’d entertain myself with something contemporary nowadays, though I liked contemporary literature in my late teens. However, it’s not like I am that snobbish by nature, rather it’s the way I was educated.
In the Russian system of education, one meets with Chekhov, Ostrovsky, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Bulgakov and many other names of great Russian writers at a very early age, and these masters are to “mould” understanding of what a good book and strong plot are.
Russians are pretty skeptical about literature, which is not recognized as masterpieces. You may still be given a cold shoulder, if you are seen with a book of contemporary romance somewhere in the subway, and God forbid if it’s a paperback… Such literature is considered to be shallow or not literature at all.
Even knowing it’s a total nonsense, I have to fight with this stereotype in me, as it was injected too deep under my skin by my school.
I don’t know if those authors I mentioned above really inspired my writing, but they influenced it for sure, especially that part where my writing turns unbearably whimsical and sentences seem endless.
EP: Why did you choose the genre that you write?
DL: Hah, I really think that it was not me who chose the genre, rather it was the genre who chose me. Originally, when I just started, I was sure it would be a romantic story, but I consistently failed to keep love line as the main one. Telling stories of my characters I always wanted to show them from different perspectives and it involved a lot of parallel lines. So, romance eventually turned into general fiction.
EP: Where does the inspiration come from when you write the plot and characters?
DL: Real-life is still the most mesmerizing phenomenon of all, and it will never stop to be a fountain of inspiration.
The plots are usually born being completed in my head, and most of them are based on real stories I witnessed or heard about. Those which impressed me.
As for characters, I don’t even know, how they come to mind, if they actually do. Once, after reading A Bad Fall, my best friend told me, that all my characters are fractured me. That time I didn’t find those words flattering, as it reminded me of the villain from the Harry Potter story, that one who parted his soul into pieces for further reincarnations and immortality. But now I simply don’t make such parallels. Mwa-ha-ha, *she said and left, her horned and spade tailed shadow followed*
EP: What project are you working on at the moment?
DL: I’ve just started to edit Dylan Pratt series and oh, Lord, it’s such a pain in ankle, but that’s what I have to do.
On another note, I started to draft a story for one of the supporting characters from book 2 of the series. For Honey.
I am not going to make this spin off into a series, rather I expect it to be a short novel. However I’d like to try a genre I’ve always been a sucker for – a mystery. Drafting has already proved to be a great challenge, but I’m intrigued if I am really capable of writing a good mystery.
Besides, I still remember that dlcroisette sold me on attachment brochure to Dylan Pratt series with a culinary book based on recipes mentioned in the series. Those who read remember that Dylan cooked a lot.
EP: I am looking forward to read Honey’s story; he was a memorable supporting character in Who Are You, Dylan Pratt. Has being on Wattpad influenced or affected your writing?
DL: It influenced tremendously and in a positive way.
Just imagine, I had an endless library with examples of good and far from good writing. Reading a lot from people like me, I could understand what I liked, what I lacked and what I needed to develop in my style of writing.
I also saw cases of poorly used expressive means of language in other books, and bitterly admitted I had them too. From the reader’s perspective it turned obvious what changes I had to do.
All improvement stages with all the typos, mistakes and weird sentence structures in my writing are still alive and can be traced through the text by anyone who will take my series in their hands now, I think they’re quite noticeable, until stories are edited. But I am not ashamed of those mistakes still present in the stories. Of course, they affect reader’s experience, but for me, these mistakes are a memory of the way I grew up as an author, and a reminder of how much I have to do still.
Wattpad also gave me the chance to meet a group of exceptional writers, my peers at first and now friends, who supported me in what I’ve been doing for the past two years. Among them are dlcroisette , LillyMHenderson loiseaublanc , Imperfetto_Tesoro , Maniksha and of course you, Estelle. From this galaxy of talents, I learnt a lot and I am still learning.
EP: What low points and high points have you faced as an author? And what kept you motivated with your writing?
DL: There was a period I was ready to give up, I think any author has these moments.
I do remember how upset I turned when realized, that almost none of my real-life friends was interested in what I was doing.
I was blue until suddenly understood one pretty simple thing: I had fashion designers among my friends, but I didn’t wear their clothes, some of my friends were architects, yet I didn’t order a project from them, I knew guys who were masters of car sales, however none of my cars was purchased from the dealerships they were working at, but even if I didn’t participate in the businesses they devoted their lives to, it didn’t meant I wasn’t proud of them, because I was. I was proud of them. It occurred to me, that most likely it worked both ways, my friends were proud of me too. So, there was no reason to turn blue and give up, if what I am dealing with is simply not their cup of tea. That’s okay.
However, even after that catharsis days of doubts happen, but my writers tribe has always been gently pushing me further keeping me from the idea to stop. By a good quote, with a friendly “how’s going?”, with just a picture of something beautiful shared, they motivate me every day to move further. I am still a slow writer, but at least I never look for my resume to rewrite (Damn, it smelled of Lincoln…)
EP: What are some of the greatest achievements you have accomplished I your writing career?
DL: Frankly speaking, I make myself believe that the greatest achievements are yet to come. Well, yeah, I want to believe.
I won several Wattpad awards, not many but still a nice reason to smile. Just think: someone liked those three to five first chapters out of almost sixty. Wow, but, erm…
You know, the awards are rarely about the whole thing, they are about the beginnings as if you never read any book with a rocky beginning.
Fun fact: I started reading Lord of the Rings for about nine maybe ten (?) times and dropped it every time, until I decided to say hell with it, opened page 27 and binge read the whole story within three days. By the way, I still have no idea what was in those first 27 pages, but I can quote two first paragraph by heart from the first half page. And I followed this strategy many times with lots of books, and discovered great stories for myself simply skipping the beginning. Is there enough objectivity in awards then?
Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful to the judges, I really am. I know their job perfectly, as I judged not once, trust me it’s not a box of chocolates. But to be honest, I do not care that much about awards.
What really matters to me, what I consider my biggest achievement is that I wrote a story which made readers to get back to me via direct messages for discussion. This is what I write for. It means that I wrote something of the quality, which is not only okay to entertain people for an evening or two, but is enough to provoke a dialog. It’s not like they finished it and forgot the title. There were readers, who came to discuss their own life experience relatable and not so much to the mentioned in my books, to share it with me, to compare it to mine encoded in the lines of my story and talk about it. It cost a lot.
EP: What is your hope and aspiration as a Wattpad writer? Where would you like to be in a year from now?
DL: Unlikely I’d be very unique, as I have a hope to become a published storyteller (or writer if you want) one day. Not for money or fame, but to involve a bigger readership into the dialog. I have a super dream even, like to see my stories as series somewhere on Netflix, and if I can dream it, who knows, maybe I can do it, m?
EP: I’d like to see your stories on Netflix. I am a fan of thrillers, suspense, and general fiction with some romance as a bonus – your stories have all these ingredients; not to mention I’m a fan of your plot twists! 🙂 Who are your favorite authors of all time?
DL: I have pretty many favorite authors, as a child I adored Milne, Saint-Exupery, Asimov, London, in my teens I loved Poe, Christie, Hitchcock and Hailey, in my mid-twenties I returned to classics, but if I am to name only one name, that would be Dostoevsky.
I saw amazing translations of his works into English, for example by Peaver&Volkhonsky or by Avsey (which I personally like the most, as it keeps the rhythm), but honestly, I think that one has to be Russian to feel those masterpieces, it’s like with Shakespeare, do you understand what I mean?
EP: Do you have any advice for aspiring Wattpad writers?
DL: Do whatever you feel right to do, but keep yourself from burning drafts. You may still need them one day.
Try not to get upset if what you write doesn’t have a huge readership. Very often just a few loyal faces are better, then a crowd of unfamiliar strangers.
This is a universal one probably: Don’t be mesmerized by the stories of success, search for the stories of failures, you’ll learn from them way more. And befriend those who are ready to share about their failures with an open heart, these people are no fake guys.
EP: That is good advice – I will listen to you and hope others will too. If you could travel in time, where would you go, and why?
DL: Honestly? Nowhere.
I am pretty happy to exist here and now. All my questions are about today. I may have “a couple” of questions to past, but regardless if I get the answers or not, it all happened already and my time journey won’t change anything, it actually must not even. Besides, aren’t those mysteries we have no answer to the reasons, why past is always so intriguing? We have bits from the times that past, but they are enough to daydream, to speculate or write a story, which nobody will have the chance to check.
As for future, well, it’s kind of tempting to look beyond the horizons of time, but then the party we all have a ticket to may get skunked. I’d better wait until it comes.
EP: Is there anything else you would like to say?
DL: Let me thank you again for this splendid opportunity to be a part of your new project, Estelle. It’s an honor.
I also would like to truly thank each and every reader of Dylan Pratt series and Arizona Thunderstorm novelette. All those views, comments and votes mean a lot, they all are the best motivator to keep on writing and proof that everything done is not for nothing. We all need this feeling that we probably have some kind of mission with what we do.
And of course, special thanks, hugs and kisses to Sweet&Sassy writers squad, you are awesome, ladies!
Thank you DariaLamtsova for your time with us.
So there you have it – a wonderful interview with Wattpad author DariaLamtsova.
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