What is the name of your latest book? And how did you come up with the title?
Desert Magick: Dream Catcher is the second book in my Desert Magick series. This series features witches, ghosts, shape-shifters and other paranormal characters and takes place in the Phoenix-area of Arizona, which is how the title came about. Each subtitle reflects something that happens in that particular novel and usually has multiple meanings.
What is this book about? And what genre is this book in?
Dream Catcher is a paranormal fantasy. Daisy Hammel-Kavanaugh, a witch living in Arizona, is the main character throughout the series. In the previous book, she managed to survive a mortal enemy. But just when Daisy thinks she’s getting her life under control again, her college-age cousin Zoey reveals a disturbing family secret. Even with Daisy’s assistance, Zoey might not overcome what awaits her. And if they fail, humankind will suffer a most terrible fate.
Who is/are the main characters? And why did you choose them?
Well, sometimes I don’t choose my characters, they choose me. The character of Daisy came to me almost immediately as I began having ideas for the Desert Magick series. This might sound odd to those who don’t write, but characters often pop in and out letting me know when and where to put them. Or just demanding that I tell their story. And they will hound and hound until I write about them. This happened with Daisy’s cousin, Bridgette.
I was working on a scene with Daisy and Noah, when Bridgette popped into the room and demanded to be put into the novel. She told me who she was, where she’d been, and that if anyone was going to help Daisy, she would be the one doing the helping. I tried to ignore her for the moment and just get on with the scene I was writing, but she wouldn’t let me. Basically she bullied me into putting her into the novel right then and there, and she’s become one of my favorite characters to write.
What is the coolest or best part about your book? (Any Favorite scenes, the world-building etc…)
I have to say writing about ghosts is probably the coolest thing about this series. I’m a ghost buster in real life. Meaning, I’m a member of a paranormal investigative team so ghosts have become part of my real life in a large way. I write fantasy, so I take a lot of liberties with certain aspects, but some scenes come from my real-life ghost experiences or stories I’ve been told by others.
Do you have a favorite character in the book? If so, why?
Well, like a mom with her children, I don’t have favorites. Really. Okay, so maybe I do. I always like writing Daisy. She’s a bit quirky at times, which is fun, but things get really interesting when this normal witch trying to live a normal life gets thrown into some very dangerous situations she would prefer to avoid. And Bridgette is always a favorite. This redhead is not shy about voicing her opinions and she’s not shy with men. Bridgette and Daisy do things I would never do or couldn’t do in real life, which is kind of a guilty pleasure for me as a writer.
Is this book part of a series? If so? What can we expect in future books?
Oh, yes. The next book in the Desert Magick series will be released in 2011. I don’t have an exact date yet but my publisher is pushing for March. After that, I’m under contract for two more novels in the series.
If not? Are you considering expanding it?
If this series is popular, then we might consider even more novels than the planned five. Otherwise, I have another series I would like to begin working on once this one is complete.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Since it’s a series, I can adjust some things with each new novel, or add new characters and situations I need them, as long as I’m consistent with what I’ve written in the previous books. At this point, I’d have to say no, I wouldn’t change anything.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learn things from every novel I write. As a writer, I would be disappointed if I didn’t. From Desert Magick I’ve learned to meld fantasy with a mundane, real life setting. My previous books take place on other worlds or in other times so creating fantasy in a real place and current time was a new venture for me. I was nervous when I began working on this series but excited to challenge myself. I’m really enjoying it.
Do you have a publisher? And if so, why did you choose them?
I have a wonderful publisher with SynergEbooks. I’m trying to leave a small footprint on this world, but I’m also a geek so I love technology. I found myself getting frustrated with publishing houses that requested printed material only, which is not only wasteful, but costly, and you have long postal turnarounds. So I began to focus on electronic books. I had researched quite a few publishers and was impressed with SynergEbooks and the personal attention they give to their authors, as well as the “green” aspect of electronic publishing. When SynergE chooses a book for paperback format, they use print-on-demand technology, so the hard copies are only printed once they’re ordered and don’t sit around in a warehouse or get tossed in the trash when they don’t sell.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Oh, gosh, I have so many writers that I admire, like Anne Rice, Mary Gentle, and David Eddings. But I would have to say Sheila Finch was probably one of the most influential in my life. She’s a Nebula Award winner who taught at the college where I attended school, so I got personal instruction from her. She also shared ups and downs of the career with her students, as well as giving us the chance to branch out into whatever genre we felt comfortable writing. Her critique workshops were a great learning experience, as well. Sheila and I stay in touch through social websites. Did I mention that I love technology?
What books are you reading now?
I’m a bit ADD when it comes to reading and I tend to read several books at once, shifting from one to another depending on my mood at the time. Right now, I’m reading electronic versions of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and a book about the Bodicca on the Nook, and the Legend of the Seeker series in paperback. I also pick up City of Saints and Madmen now and then and read a story from it. I just downloaded Kim Harrison’s latest Nook novel and am looking forward to starting it.
What are the current writing projects that you are working on?
Since I’m under contract, the Desert Magick series takes priority. But I have two other novels I’m in the process of editing for submission, and another paranormal series I’m looking forward to starting on, so I’m making notes for it. I have a long list of novels I plan to write. I just hope I live long enough to finish them all.
Do you write full time? If not, do you hope to do so one day?
Yes, I’m very fortunate to write full-time. I have a wonderful, supportive husband who helps make that possible. I like to sit at long stretches and write without interruption. I admire those who work other jobs and also finish their writing projects. That would be difficult for me.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Writing has always been a part of my life in one form or another. When I was a very young child, I created stories in my head. Once I was in school, I got in trouble on several occasions for daydreaming. I worked mainly in the entertainment industry as a performer or behind the scenes but I was always writing for myself on the side. I also wrote and adapted scripts for children’s productions but after years in the entertainment industry, I decided I wanted to delve into novels. While a degree isn’t necessary to become a successful writer, I wanted and needed that focus, so I went back to school. After graduation is when I began seriously writing as a career and sending work out for publication. That was twelve years ago.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Blogging is a challenge for me. You might laugh at that, but it’s true. Blogging is a big part of connecting with readers today and they expect to read about your real life, not fictional stories. Non-fiction is not within my comfort zone so it’s always a challenge for me to write without bringing fantasy or science fiction into it.
Do you have any advice for other writers seeking to get published for the first time?
Be patient, be persistent, put your best work out there. Once you’ve sent out that latest work, start another project right away. Always have something else to work on, get excited about it, and never ever think you’ve learned it all. There’s a saying in the entertainment industry that goes, “If you’re not nervous, you’re not any good.” I try to take that philosophy into my writing and hope for a very long career in this business. Like wine, writers tend to get better with age. It’s one of the few careers you can continue growing with into your 60s and beyond. I’m looking forward to what my writing self will come up with in ten years or twenty years or thirty years from now. And I hope to keep learning with each new project.
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You can visit Dana on the web at:
My website: http://www.danadaviswriting.com/ My facebook: www.facebook.com/people/Dana-Davis/591073862 My publisher: http://www.synergebooks.com/ My blog: http://danadaviswriting.blogspot.com/