Guest Post | Character Development with Dylan Callens, Author of “Interpretation”

August was an interesting month for me, because I have started on reviewing books via request like a real bookblogger! 

A friend of mine Amanda, who runs Chocolate Pages, is also a bookblogger. She put up a blog post offering other bookbloggers to help her with the requests. I literally jumped at this and within three weeks I got a request, but unfortunately I was unable to read another book. My mom and I have came to the conclusion that I should only read one book a month to see how I do, but I didn’t want to say no, so thanks to Dylan’s email he gave me an idea!


Dylan Callens has recently written a dystopian fiction book called Interpretation. The word “dystopian” or “dystopia” is an imaginary place where people often lead fearful lives. I’m not as familiar with the word or genre, so I had to go look it up in the dictionary.

Here is the blurb of the novel:

Carl Winston awakens to find his son, Liam, screaming with fear. Trying to understand why, Carl tries to soothe him. Neighbors gather in front of Carl’s apartment to help – until they see him. The crowd cowers back, afraid of this monster.

Carl runs. His life of luxury is ripped away. Forced beyond the city limits, Carl sees a land bereft of life. Traveling in search of answers, his quest comes to a sudden halt when he collapses. As darkness shrouds him, a figure hovers from above.

Traveling along the same route, Eva Thompson finds Carl and nurtures him back to life. Together, they continue the journey, finding out that their lives have too much in common to be a coincidence. As their affection for each other deepens, an unknown nemesis attempts to remove their only source of happiness – their love for each other.

I’ve allowed Dylan to write a guest post and he chose something that I might be looking more into for my own story – that I haven’t worked on for a while! Anyways, here is what Dylan says about character development. 

18581722_1057525084392104_2680261785040618447_nMy Character, My Friend

As I began researching different psychological experiments for my novel, Interpretation, the first (and craziest) person I came across was a neurobologist named Dr. Jose Manuel Rodriguez Delgado. His name is important: Jose Delgado. This man had a vision for the future, where people wore electronic stimulation devices so that the government could correct unwanted behavior by stimulating the brain. His research worked towards the end, creating a device that could be attached to brains. In one famous experiment, he had his device implanted into the head of a bull. As the bull charged at Delgado, he administered a shock to the animal’s brain, which stopped it in its tracks.

After reading of his work, I knew that this would be the social condition in my novel: a society where every individual had some kind of device implanted in their heads. As a result, I wanted to give my main character a first name that represented this reality. So, of course, I named him Carl.

Carl. That’s right. Being inspired by the work of Dr. Jose Degado, I named him Carl. Why you might ask?

Because somewhere along the way, Jose Delgado’s name transformed itself into former baseball slugger, Carlos Delgado. I have no idea how this happened – I don’t even like baseball. I must have written Jose’s name dozens of times while taking notes. But when I sat down to write, I put Carl on the page. My character’s name is a mistake.

After reading over the first draft of the first chapter, I knew that something was wrong with his name and I eventually figured it out. By then, it was too late. His name was Carl to me and I just couldn’t change it. He had his own life and it appeared to be a very nice one. He loved his son, had a nice apartment, and a good job. He encountered a brief, blinding pain in his head and a short hallucination in that first chapter but that didn’t mean he should be renamed Joe, to honor Jose.

At least his name is right. Winston. Or at least I hope there is a Winston in Nineteen-Eighty-Four. There is, right? I wanted to pay tribute to my favorite dystopian novel somehow and I saw Carl’s situation similar to Winston’s, in some ways. So that’s how my main character was born.

Identifying with this character was pretty easy for me. I think there is a lot of me in him. He and I took the Myers-Briggs personality test and came up with very similar results. He is an INFP and I am an INTP. Which means we both prefer introversion, intuition and perceiving, as opposed to extroversion, sensing and judgement. Our difference is that he’s a little more touchy-feely than I am (the F stands for feeling while the T stands for thinking). I’d like to think that if his circumstances were a little better, he might be more of an intellectual. His life hasn’t really allowed that pursuit though, so I blame his circumstance for that one.

But Carl and I – we could go for a beer, one day. I think we would shoot a game of pool and philosophize about the implications of Jose’s work. I also know for sure that we wouldn’t talk about baseball legend, Carlos.

If you would like to read Dylan’s new book “Interpretation” and learn more about Joe, I mean Carl Winston’s now crazy life, he has given me several ways you can purchase the book! 

Barnes & Noble: