Washburn English student publishes second novel

Fantasy writer Kraig Dafoe came out with his newest book this year, which is titled “Skorch the Bounty Hunter.” His first book, “Search for the Lost Realm,” was published in 2013.

Dafoe is an English and psychology major at Washburn University, and although this is only his first year at Washburn, he has the credits of a sophomore because he first began college back in the ‘90s.

Dafoe was born in Potsdam, N.Y., and grew up in Canton, N.Y. When he turned 17, he joined the United States Army Reserves. Two years later, Dafoe married and moved to Virginia Beach, Va., where he worked as a security guard for the Christian Broadcasting Network. While working, he also attended the Tidewater Community College for business.

After five years of service, Dafoe became a deputy sheriff for the city of Chesapeake, Va. Nine years later, Dafoe decided to pursue other opportunities, one of which was being enrolled at Washburn University. Soon afterward, he published his first novel. 

“I started writing several years ago,” said Dafoe. “I was role- playing at the time, and I was really into it. I thought it would be kind of cool to create stories and share them.”

Dafoe’s favorite fantasy writers are Robert Jordan, author of the highly acclaimed “Wheel of Time” series, and David Bell. 

“When I was in high school I would read a book a day,” said Dafoe. “But now I try not to read too much of my own genre. I don’t want to inadvertently influence my writing.”

Likewise, Dafoe claims to have had little in the way of inspiration.

“I’ve always been a fan of fantasy and science fiction, but I wouldn’t say any one person or specific entity really inspired me to write,” said Dafoe.

According to Dafoe, it took quite a bit of time to complete “Search for the Lost Realm.”

“The first one took several years because I shelved it a lot,” said Dafoe. “I would write for a while then shelf it for a couple of years; it wasn’t something I was seeking on a full-time basis. My second book took me around seven months. I think I got it done so fast because I don’t outline when I write. So when I sit down I might have a character, and I might have an ending of what I want to see for that character, but even if I have a beginning and an end, I don’t have anything in the middle. I write and I get into the mind of the character and see where the plot goes, making it up as I go along. I think that makes it a bit fresher than sitting down and outlining.”

Dafoe says to never give up because it is a tough market to break into. 

“When I first attempted to publish ‘Search for the Lost Realm,’ I tried a lot of agents and got a lot of rejections. In fantasy, there are only two publishers in the United States that will take unsolicited manuscripts, and neither of them were willing to take a chance with my work. So I just went through the process of learning how to get a Library of Congress number and a copyright, and then I ended up publishing myself through a company called CreateSpace. Always remember, most writers will hear a lot of ‘no’s’ before they ever hear a ‘yes’.”

To purchase either of Dafoe’s fantasy novels, check out his website kraigdafoebooks.com or stop by the Ichabod Shop to pick up a copy.