Victoria Danann's Self-Interview
Hey. If Rembrandt and Van Gogh can go self-portraits, I can do a self-interview. I know what you're thinking. "Yeah. Well. You're not Van Gogh." You're right, of course. But doing three blogs around the release of three books in the space of ten months has created the answers to a whole lot interview questions.
On occasion I interview other authors. I always ask if there was a question they always wanted to be asked and had never had been and, if so, what was it? That was part one of what led me here. The second part is character interviews. When I do character interviews - let's face it - I'm interviewing my own imagination.
Soooooo, why not just ask myself the question I'd like to answer. The following is a sampling of some of my favorite all-time blog tour questions followed by one of the one questions I've never been asked, but would like to answer. (There are a lot.)
PART ONE: THE BOOKS
1. Do you feel that you can relate to one character in “this book” more than any other? And why?
No. I don't relate to one more than another, but I love Rammel Hawking the most. And he knows it. He uses it to his advantage to manipulate me all the time.
One person recently told me that, if action figures of my characters ever come out, she wants to place a preorder for Ram. I have to agree with her. Because this saga has a lot of balls in the air (pun not intended, I swear). Ram is on the zigzag path of a hero's journey in a classical sense. Add to that the fact that he's drop dead sex and a one-woman elf and, really, what more could you want?
2. Many people feel the PNR genre is on the way out. Do you agree? Are there any changes you'd make to stay on the cutting edge of this genre? Will you change genres?
I think that will be true if more authors don't stop the vamp-by-number, more-weres-the-better rehash and try
for something different.
Before I started writing I spent two full years reading every PNR that had enjoyed any success to find out what had already been done, then set out to create something new. I get a lot of feedback that starts by saying, "I don't really know what genre to put this in..." I love comments like, "She explodes stereotypes."
Also, I'm writing true Paranormal Romance. It's not paranormal suspense or paranormal mystery or paranormal thriller with a love interest back story. The romance is the main plot for me. And romance is never going to be on the way out.
3. As writers, we are bombarded with ideas every minute of every day. What’s the idea behind this series and how did it come about?
I read Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein when I was about twelve-years-old and have always been fascinated by the concept of other worlds that are similar, but not identical. I combined that with my formal academic education in Paranormal Psychology, the fact that I always got along super well with boys, and voila.
PART TWO: WRITING
1. Do you write full time?
2. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
If people "decide", they're not really writers. My working theory is that, if you watch children carefully, they will show you who they really are by the time they are eight or nine. At that age I had two stacks of legal pads on my bed. One I used to sketch glamorous evening wear. The other I used to write my own Bobbsey Twins novels. I did spend a few years as a designer of glam dresses and was copied by the biggest names in the business. I had a big following in the Northeast, South America, and
Europe and still see some of my dresses show up in the
movies. So I checked that off the list and did it until I was done. Now I'm
3. Have you ever made big changes in your story because someone – your crit partner, a friend, or beta reader – really didn't like it? Are you glad you did (or didn't)?
The answer is yes, but the someone was one of the characters. My Familiar Stranger started out to be a different story. My heroine was supposed to end up with the character of my choice. I was about 80% finished when another one of the guys (characters) started insisting that he was the one who should get the girl! I let him make his case and finally had to agree, but it caused a lot of overhaul.
Since then I have done a poll on Facebook asking fans who they wanted to end up with the girl and the big majority agreed with my character. It was him all along.
4. What unique factor do you think you bring to the book/story market?
First, I waited to start writing until I was old enough to really have something to say. Secondly, one of the comments I hear most often is that people enjoy the chronicle style of ongoing story. I call it a serial saga. If I were not an Indie, it never would have happened because it doesn't fit the commercial "formula" of how to pie chart a paranormal romance. (Yes. I made a verb out of the phrase "pie chart".)
5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part of writing is slogging through the emotion. I know that, if I'm crying so hard I can hardly see the PC screen, I've gotten it right, but it's also very emotionally draining and it ruins my looks for half a day. Conversely, if I'm lying in bed at night reading my own book and laugh out loud, I know I got that right as well.
6. Who were your major influences?
Stephen King, Anne Rice, my tenth grade literature teacher without whom I might never have read Julius Caesar, MacBeth, Random Harvest, or Lord Jim, my seventh grade English teacher without whom I never would have read the entire works of William Saroyan, my father who bought me the Scribner Collection which included all the classics appropriate for young readers. (I learned to love the art of story AND the art of Maxfield Parrish who illustrated the covers.)
7. Do you have any advice for any other aspiring writers out there?
Yes. Writers are born, not made. Run as hard and fast as you can from a course on "creative writing" classes because nothing will kill your own embryonic art or creativity faster.
PART THREE: PERSONAL
1. What are 5 fun/interesting facts about you?
I play bridge. I like going to movies in the daytime by myself (though I rarely get to). I teach magickal arts online. I worked for the airlines when I was very young and have traveled a lot. I speak canine. (Bonus #6. I do all my
own graphics work: covers, ads, book trailers, etc.)
2. What is the most inspiring quote you have ever heard?
a. This actually relates to how busy I am. It's a motto used as my email signature on personal mail. THE QUOTE: "It's better to burn out, than fade away." - Rock of Ages, Def Leppard. Some people have wrongly attributed this to Kurt Cobain. Sorry. No. Others have said it wasn't Def Leppard, it was Neil Young, "It's better to burn out, than
fade away," - My, My, Hey, Hey. Also wrong. Neil Young used an extra
"to". Big difference you see.
b. Winston Churchill is reported to have given a commencement address in which he simply took the podium and said, "Never give up," nine times.
3. What's your favorite book?
Memnoch the Devil, Anne Rice. Also high up on the list: The Gate to Women's Country by Sherri S Tepper and Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. HOWEVER, I wouldn't recommend any of these to someone unless I knew that they were students of religious studies or, in the case of Gate, feminism.
4. Greatest joy?
5. Greatest aggravation?
Now, about A Summoner's Tale... If you haven't read Books One and Two, I hope you will do so before you read Book Three. Black Swan is a serial saga meaning that each book is actually a chapter installment in an ongoing story. This particular installment involved characters that were introduced in the first book.
If you read by Kindle, you will find A Summoner's Tale available at Amazon after release. If you another e-reader, you can still get the book in the form of an anthology that will be available in electronic format everywhere. The Order of the Black Swan Collected Tales, Books 1-3. $6.99 for all 330,000 words. This is a dream come true for me because readers will experience the first three books as conceived as one story.
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