Interview with Novelist Dallas Sutherland (The Landland Chronicles)


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Interview with Dallas Sutherland: 

Matthew Toffolo: What is the general theme and tone of your novels?

Dallas Sutherland: The general theme is a Bildungsroman one, a journey of discovery or rediscovery of ‘self’ for the protagonist, Meah, and also a reclamation of Landland itself from the evil manipulations of The Grey Lady. The tone can be described as dark, although there is some humour amidst the greyness.

MT: Why should people buy your novels?

DS: Younger readers will find these easy to read as they are novellas. Also, there is a lot going on behind the scenes: metafiction, pastiche, parody, antonomasia. Celtic myth and legend provide a firm underpinning. These novellas are most suited to middle-grade readers who may want to study the tropes within fantasy quest. Big readers also enjoy them.

MT: How would you describe your novels in just two words?

DS: Fantasy & Metafiction

MT: What movie have you seen the most in your life?

DS: It’s a tough question. I don’t find the time to watch a lot of movies over and over again, but having several children, I do get to watch many kids movies. So, I could say maybe, Wind In The Willows, or ever Willy Wonker and the Chocolate Factory.

MT: Was being a novel writer something you’ve always dreamed of doing?

DS: When I was younger, in primary school, yes. But I only returned to writing as an adult after studying Literature at university. That was great, I got to spend all day reading classics, and then I write about what I had read.

MT: Do you have an all-time favorite novel? Have you read a novel more than once?

DS: I guess my all time favourite has got to be Thomas Harding’s Far From the Madding Crowd. I like the classics, some fantasy, and well-written contemporary literature, but the novel I’ve read most is a bit of a strange one: The Skook by JP Miller.

It keeps turning up time and time again. Whenever I’ve moved house and started sorting the bookcases, there it is. The book cover looks a bit worse for wear now, and it’s water damaged, but still readable. So I reach for it and read it again. I can’t quite say why I like it so much, except that it’s quirky, original, funny, and strange, with many fantastical elements. Thanks to JP.

MT: What motivates you to write?

DS: It’s a really difficult question. I think it’s good for the brain. I love the research beforehand, the solitude, and getting to the end and completing something. I find the best motivator is that of wanting to expand on things in the world around me, and extract things from the past to make them more visible. That’s why I like Myth and legend. I want to outline the relevancy of past endeavours, even if they are mythical.

MT: What artist would you love to have dinner with?

DS: Masaccio, a transitional painter between Early Renaissance and High Renaissance. I’d like to ask him how he was able to use lineal perspective. How did he get it right. And how come he was the first to use it. Masaccio died when he was about 26.

MT: Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

DS: Mental health is important. That’s my day gig. I facilitate support for people with mental illness. I link them in to what they need. People are people, we all share the same common threads, regardless of any perceived disability. And people do recover.

I’m also passionate about Art in general, having been a practising artist for many years, although writing is now my thing.

MT: Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

DS: Try and be original. If you’re a fantasy writer, don’t just follow along with the usual genre tropes, make it different. Give readers something that will resonate, I’m not sure I have, but I’m working on it.

Rework something from the past, bring it into the present. There is much to learn.



Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to for more information and to submit your work to the festival.