Interview with Darren Joy, author of the epic, dark fantasy book A Viral Imperium

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Interview with Darren Joy, author of the epic, dark fantasy book A Viral Imperium:  The Plagueborn Series: Book One

by Dan Watt

The fantastic first book, of the Plagueborn series by Darren Joy, A Viral Imperium.

As I read through Darren Joy’s, A Viral Imperium: The Plagueborn Series: Book One, I was immediately caught up in the imagery and banter.  Joy has written a book that pulls you into a world where magic and undead make sense.  There is also an introduction to Viralic and Spectralic magic, and the combination of the two.  The characters are not always who, or what they seem to be, nor is it always clear if they are good, bad, or complicated.  As the story progresses, you’ll find yourself reading long past your bedtime. 

It’s been awhile since I’ve read a story that caught my attention and held it to the very end.  How long have you worked on A Viral Imperium?

I began this book way back in 2014. I had written three unpublished novels before it, so technically this was my fourth book. It should have been completed much sooner, but due to illness, I had to shelve it for a time in 2016. I managed to finish it last year. Overall, it’s taken almost three years.

Your description of characters, creatures, buildings, and sceneries is both vivid and engrossing.  How do you go about writing those scenes?

A lot of rewriting, lots and lots of rewriting. No kidding. That’s how. What’s in my head never translates to the screen as I write it, or at least, I’m never happy. So going back and reworking those descriptions, and the novel as a whole is essential, and that’s what I put it down to. That, and I read a lot, so descriptions in other books do grab me. I try not to write paragraphs of description too often, but blend it in with the ongoing story wherever possible.

Within the main plot there are many subplots.  The webs and layers of George R.R. Martin’s: A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones TV series); Ken Follett’s:  Pillars of the Earth, and Edward Rutherford’s: Sarum come to mind when I consider the plots within A Viral Imperium.  Did you sketch these out beforehand or did you find them writing themselves?

 Well, put simply, ’I’m a pantser. I write from the hip, not having much of a clue where it’s going to go. Well, maybe a little clue, but I certainly don’t have it all planned out. This means I have to do heavy rewrites. Ideal? Probably not, but I tried planning novels in the early days, and I never finished those. I tend to plan as I go, adding in notes to the first draft, and rewrite drafts, which I then read as I go through the book the next time, also making more notes. It’s my process, and I don’t know if other writers work that way. It works for me though. I also write each main character’s storyline as a separate manuscript before combining them later, so as to make sure the structure for each story is as I want it.

If I was a publisher I would be contacting you and Amazon books to work out a deal.  How do readers and publishers contact you and where is A Viral Imperium available?

For the moment, it is only available on Amazon, but I am strongly considering having it available on other platforms soon. I don’t know if any publishers will contact me, but anyone including readers can get me through the contact page on my website at:

I also understand you have the second book in the series coming out.  Could you tell us when and if there’s a pre order?

Yep, anyone can pre order it now on Amazon. It’s called A Malignant Fetch and it is on sale for 99cents from the 8th of November this year, so not long to go. I’m getting nervous all over again. Easiest way to pre order it is to just pop over to my website,, and there is a link from there.

Available November 8th, 2021

Thank you for taking the time to do this interview.  I’m very much looking forward to reading A Malignant Fetch!  

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