AUTHOR Q&A: Habitat Man by D. A. Baden @dabadenauthor @rararesources

AUTHOR Q&A: Habitat Man by D. A. Baden @dabadenauthor @rararesources

Morning and welcome to the weekend! Today I’m on the blog tour for Habitat Man and am thrilled to bring you a Q&A with author, D. A. Baden…..enjoy!

q&A with D. A. Baden


Eco -themed rom-com

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I am a Professor of Sustainability at the University of Southampton, although I am not the typical academic. I’ve been a bit of a butterfly, working first in a non-profit, then as a publishing rep and then returned to university as a mature student when I became a mother to do a PhD in psychology. I was inspired by the book Stark by Ben Elton and became a bit of a greeny and set up a green group at the University to campaign for green policies. I live in Southampton with my two dogs, one of which is definitely a character in my book Habitat Man. I have two lovely sons who have left home now (kind of). My partner and I keep threatening to move in together but we can’t decide where to live so it remains something we love to talk about but never get round to doing. I’m not sure he’d cope with my manic writing spells so perhaps it’s for the best, I get quite obsessive when I’m in the zone.

What inspired you to start writing?

In my academic work I’ve picked up so much knowledge about what it would take for us to live in a truly sustainable world, and it’s really not even that hard. But how many people read academic articles? I love reading fiction myself and realised that might be a fun way to reach more people. Also working in the field of sustainability can be rather frightening as you come face to face with the realities of climate change and the biodiversity crisis. When I’m tapping away at my keyboard controlling my characters (sort of), having them fall in love and in and out of trouble and sprinkling in green solutions – hopefully with readers even noticing – it feels like therapy. It’s much more fun daydreaming about how my hero will get the girl or explain away a body than it is worrying about work and the planet

How many books have you written and published?

I have published numerous book chapters and articles in the academic realm (close on 100). Probably the most relevant is Baden, D.: 2020, ‘Which work best? Cautionary tales or positive role models?  ‘, In Molthan-hill, P., H. Luna and D. Baden (Eds.), Storytelling for Sustainability in Higher Education: An Educator’s Handbook (Routledge, Abingdon).

I also wrote the script for a musical Fidel based on my research in Cuba on the leadership of Fidel Castro which was performed in London in 2016. I have written three screenplays. My first was called World Cup Wendy written at a time when women’s football was totally ignored. One was a short farce called Typical English Nonsense and one is called Knickers. This was my favourite and is a full length screenplay set in the Thatcher years when single mothers were held responsible for everything that was wrong in society.  ‘Girl power’ had not yet been invented and sex shops cringed in the back streets of Soho populated purely by men in dirty macs. Knickers was a story of three women who changed all that.  I was delighted when British Screen showed interest in making Knickers but unfortunately lost its funding.

Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why?  

Habitat Man – 100%. I absolutely love all my characters – they are the most interesting or fun bits of all the wonderful people I’ve ever met, mixed up and redistributed among my characters. Writing their stories and getting to know them made being stuck at home during lockdown a complete joy.

How do you choose the names of your characters?

Several of my characters have nature-based names to fit the theme e.g. Fern, Daisy. But

unless there is a distinctive reason for a quirky name, I google the most common names of the year they were born and choose amongst those, and try to avoid having two characters with similar sounding names – boring I know.

Which of your characters would you want to be stranded on an island with, and why? 

Jo, my comic sidekick would be most fun, but then again she is pretty lazy, so perhaps my hero Tim – he would at least know how to grow his own food.

Who is your favourite author and which of their books is your favourite, and why?

I admire Marion Keyes – her characters are so believable and individual and she writes family dynamics so well and amusingly. I love the way she combines serious issues such as depression or domestic abuse or addiction within a rom-com genre. It is my aspiration to be able to create memorable characters that keep readers turning the pages and laughing while they also learn a little but about how to live more lightly on this beautiful planet.

What is the first thing you can remember writing?

In an old school textbook we found a piece I’d written about my Dad – it was hilarious and I’m amazed how perceptive an eight year old can be – we dug it out for his funeral – it really brought him to life through a child’s eyes.

What other jobs have you done other than being an author?

Long list:

Avon lady, cleaner, shop assistant, bar tender, selling donuts on the beach in the South of France, roller skating attendant. Then after my degree I moved up to more white collar stuff –sales admin, sales rep for publishers.

Then after my PhD I became a researcher in psychology department, then a lecturer and now I’m a professor in sustainability. I have to say though, none were as fun as being a roller skating attendant at Leatherhead Leisure Centre – choosing the music, flirting with the skaters and telling people off for smoking round the back.

If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go? (Backwards or forwards!)

I really enjoyed the book Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel so I’d be interested to check out the period just before people turned to farming while we were still hunter gatherers.

If you could have one conversation with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why? 

One thing that upsets me about the early philosophers is that they were all so dismissive of women. I might like to have a wee chat with Aristotle perhaps and convince him that women are worth listening to – it’s not right that we’ve had to wait millennia to get a voice.

What are your favourite things to do? 

My favourite time is when I’m plotting my book and am revelling in the feeling of having solved a plot conundrum. I’m often to be seen wondering along the river, enjoying nature and daydreaming and cackling to myself when I’ve thought of some fun dialogue or made myself laugh with my plans for my characters.

What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?

Serendipity is my favourite word as it’s when marvellous things happen just at the right time. I’ve had a few instances of this, for example when I went out once and forgot to take a coat – a man pulled up in a car and handed me a jacket – you couldn’t make it up.

If you could give your younger writing self any advice what would it be?

It would be to abandon a project if it isn’t working and don’t spend time beating yourself up about it and brooding. My experience is when you find the story that’s right for you, then there’s no such thing as writer’s block – just the frustration of not having enough time to get it all down.

And finally, name one book you think everyone should read?!

Trite perhaps but Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. Suddenly a lot of things made sense.

Follow the author online: Twitter | @dabadenauthor ~ Facebook ~ Instagram | @greenstoriessoton ~ Email ~ Website ~ Subscribe to the mailing list here

about the book

Title: Habitat Man
Author: D. A. Baden
Genre: Eco-themed rom-com / commercial fiction
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Estimated page count: 364
Formats available: Paperback and eBook.  Available on Kindle Unlimited
Publisher: Habitat Press (13 Sept. 2021)
Tour organised by: Rachel’s Random Resources

Worms have more purpose than Tim, and a better love life. They break waste down into rich fertile soil; Tim just makes the rich richer. Worms copulate for three hours at a time whereas the closest thing Tim has to love is his lesbian friend Jo. Salvation comes from Jo’s flaky niece Charlotte who asks him three profound questions. Inspired, he sheds his old life to become Habitat Man, giving advice on how to turn gardens into habitats for wildlife. His first client is the lovely Lori. Tim is smitten, but first he has to win round Ethan her teenage son. Tim loves his new life until he digs up more than he bargained for, something that threatens to bring out all the skeletons in his cupboard.

Purchase Link – Books 2 read

 follow the tour

Thanks to Rachel for inviting me on to the tour and to the author for chatting with us.

Have a great weekend

Chelle x

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