Interview with Daniel Cohen!

1. What or Who was your motivation when you decided to write Coldmaker? Where did you get the idea or the concept of building the storyline of Coldmaker?

I was motivated mostly by frustrations and confusion with life, particularly by how the hierarchy of power is established. One day I closed my eyes and saw a boy walking through hot sands. I knew he carried a world-altering secret. I haven’t shared this publicly yet, but here’s the exact sketch I made at the very beginning of my own journey.


2. Also, is there a reason why would you name your protagonist, Micah? Where did you get their names – Micah, Camlish, and Shilah?

The character names tend to come to me as the story rises from the back of my mind, so really I feel like I don’t have much choice in the matter. But the back of the mind can be a severely magical place, and sometimes even prescient. I always knew the protagonist would be ‘Micah,’ but not until I was in Israel on the top of a mountain (this happened about a year after I started writing COLDMAKER) did I find out why. A guide to the ruins I was visiting handed me a pamphlet and immediately the name ‘Micah’ jumped out at the top. I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t read the book, but for those have, feel free to look up what the name means. I believe it’s scarily apropos.

3. If you are going to teach the whole world one lesson from your book, what lesson would it be?

Ask questions. Be ruthless in pursuit of answers, but extraordinarily kind to other travelers along the path.

4. I’ve read how the nobles and Jadanmasters treat Jadan-like. Horrible, gruesome, immoral – what do you think is the importance of putting violence in the book, in which significant, to how the society and reality portray today?

I’m not a violent person by any means, and I actually tend to avoid conflict, but I think it all comes down to authenticity. My goal with this book was to tell something true to form. COLDMAKER is not a particularly exciting book, and really it doesn’t have many fantasy trappings that audiences like myself come to look for and love. It can also be extremely uncomfortable at times. I never expected it be a wild bestseller (I hoped, of course), but I knew I could be proud of my grueling efforts if I told something that kept true to its own spirit. Unfortunately, in a place such as the World Cried (and such as our own reality), there are terrible occurrences which need to be highlighted before they can be changed.

5. If you are going to give an advice to your 10-year old self, what life advice would you give?

Save your Pokémon cards and Beanie Babies. $$$

6. Was it your dream to become a writer? What ignited your desire to become a writer? If you are not a writer, what career do you think you will pursue?

I actually never thought I’d be a writer. I still have a day job, and I’m actually a professional saxophone player and have been gigging out for about fifteen years. I fell in love with both arts for different reasons. Music offers me release, but writing offers me meaning. I believe I’m better at writing, but it’s all subjective. I’ve played to more than a few empty rooms, and gotten more than a few bad reviews.

7. What realizations do you think you want for your readers to realize after reading Coldmaker?

Things are always more complicated (and sometimes more beautiful) than they initially seem.

8. As a writer, what was the first thing you draft? The storyline? The world-building? The hidden clues? What was your writing etiquette like?

It’s pretty different with every book. COLDMAKER was a five-year pursuit and I can’t begin to tell you how difficult it was to finish. It required a jumble of techniques, including heavy plotting and bouts of uninterrupted thinking for hours on end. At points, I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it to the end, as life had gotten pretty crazy. About six months after the story wrapped up, I wrote a book called THE BLACKLIT SHADOW that spilled out of me like water over greased stone. It took 5 weeks total and I planned none of it, and it ended up being a fantastic book that a lot of my beta readers liked even better than COLDMAKER. Writing is weird.

9. What books that inspired you as a reader and writer?

I have an extensive list, but I’d like to take this opportunity to tell everyone to go read Ted Chiang’s STORIES OF YOUR LIFE AND OTHERS. I can think of no better book to promote; as every single story he writes blows my freaking mind.
Besides that, just to name a few out of many:
Anything Neil Gaiman
Anything Brandon Sanderson
THE NAME OF THE WIND, by Patrick Rothfuss
RED RISING, by Pierce Brown
SUM, by David Eagleman
THE PRINCESS BRIDE, by William Goldman

10. Lasly, What is your favorite quote from Coldmaker and why?

Funny enough, the quote that meant the most to me never made it into the final manuscript (thems the breaks in this biz) but I have it over my bed. It speaks to me deeply.

“Of all the places I could have taken refuge, I’d been carried to my passion. My path was dark, but clear. I was an Inventor.”


28675617Eight hundred years ago, the Jadans angered the Crier. In punishment, the Crier took their Cold away, condemning them to a life of enslavement in a world bathed in heat.

Or so the tale goes.

During the day, as the Sun blazes over his head, Micah leads the life of any Jadan slave, running errands through the city of Paphos at the mercy of the petty Nobles and ruthless taskmasters.

But after the evening bells have tolled and all other Jadans sleep, Micah escapes into the night in search of scraps and broken objects, which once back inside his barracks he tinkers into treasures.

However, when a mysterious masked Jadan publicly threatens Noble authority, a wave of rebellion ripples through the city.

With Paphos plunged into turmoil, Micah’s secret is at risk of being exposed. And another, which has been waiting hundreds of years to be found, is also on the verge of discovery…

The secret of Cold.


4539741Having spent most of his life trapped in the frozen tundra of upstate New York, Daniel Cohen decided to dream himself somewhere new. It was from this quest for heat that the scorching world of COLDMAKER was born.

In addition to his writing career, Daniel is a semi-professional saxophonist in Austin, Texas, spending his days in front of the page and his nights in front of crowds. Sometimes the crowds cheer, and Daniel often wishes the page would do the same.


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