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1. Have you ever read or seen yourself as a character in a book or movie?
You’ve just described my entire childhood. Although I was a girl, I enthusiastically put myself in the role of the hero in everything I read or saw. I wasn’t gender-confused – I wanted to be the person with power and brains, who used their above-average abilities to come up with a plan, and save the day! If the hero had some magic, that was even better! I was reading Tolkien, the Dragonriders of Pern, every mythology book I could get my hands on, and endless comics (hey, I liked Thor looong before he was cool!) I was watching Star Trek, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones.
Even when I was older, I never wanted to be Batman’s girlfriend, or ooh and ahh over Han Solo. I didn’t admire the hero; I wanted to BE the hero! (I was thrilled when onscreen heroines finally evolved – Buffy the Vampire Slayer will always hold a powerful place in my heart, as will Zoe Washburne and River Tam. All hail Joss Whedon!)
2. While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters?
Strangely, no! Before I started writing fiction myself, I really thought that writers were expressing some part of their own personality in their characters. Then I met the Macleod family from my Changeling books…. The whole gang just showed up in my head one day, and starting talking. That’s how I meet all my characters, really – they just appear unannounced, pretty much fully formed, in my mind. I see them, I hear them, I know their names, I know their voices, and I know their inner thoughts. As a writer, I feel much more like an observer. I don’t make things happen. Instead, I’m watching all these characters interact, and just recording what they do! This does lead to some frustration, however, when they don’t do what I think they should! And yes, we argue….
3. Have you ever hated something you wrote?
Everything! Oh, it doesn’t start out that way. I love my characters, always, and I love the story idea. But the deeper into the story I get, the longer I work on it, the more I lose perspective and become convinced that my WIP (work in progress) is absolutely AWFUL. All of that changes when I get near the end, though. Everything finally comes together, the ends are tying up in new and unexpected ways, and I can’t write fast enough. Once I type “THE END”, I’m totally in love with the story again.
4. What is the most hurtful thing said about you as a writer, and how did you bounce back from it?
I do my very best to deliver a good story, but I don’t expect everyone to like what I write. I feel tremendously fortunate that most of the reviews I receive are positive. I accept that some are going to be negative (well, okay, I accept it after a little sniffling, and then I try to learn something from what the reviewer said about my work).
The only thing that really upsets me is being accused of not doing my research – it’s one of the things I take pride in, and I spend many hours doing it. (Of course, I’ve made a few mistakes in spite of the research. But boy, did I TRY to get it right!) As far as bouncing back goes, I just keep writing. Because the only thing worth doing is to move forward, right?
5. Do you prefer blue or black inked pens?
Blue, definitely blue. Not only do I prefer blue as a color, but black always looks suspicious, like it might be a photocopy or something. I always try to autograph my books in blue, if I can, so there’s no doubt that it’s a real signature.
6. What sort of environment do you write in?
I spend the day moving from spot to spot to spot with my laptop. I usually start at the kitchen table in the morning. From there I might move to a chair in the living room, or go downtown to the coffee shop or library for a while. I have an exercise bike with a little platform on it for my laptop, and I try to use that every day too. I do have an office, but in the summer, it’s better at dehydrating apple slices than sustaining human life. The winter’s a different story – I spend a lot of time in the office then because I have a big bright “grow light” that makes me very happy.
Interestingly, some of my best writing has come from crowded airports, or busy restaurants. I think the noise doesn’t bother me because it doesn’t relate to me in any way – I don’t have to respond to it. It’s not like being home and somebody calling for MOM, or the dog needing to go outside, or the dirty dishes and the laundry demanding my attention. I can focus faster and for more sustained periods if I’m somewhere other than my own house.
7. Do you watch horror movies on or from behind the couch?
On the couch, but usually my hands are in front of my eyes and I watch a lot of the movie from between my fingers! I’ve done that ever since I used to watch old monster movies on TV every Saturday afternoon as a kid (double features, no less!). My hubs teases me about it. But still, I adore good horror movies. And I prefer them in the afternoon. Hubs says the daytime makes them less scary for me, I say it’s simply nostalgia….. Tomato, tomahto.
8. At what point did you realize that being an author was no longer a dream but a reality?
I’ll never forget the sheer wonder of that moment – a big heavy box was delivered to my door one day. And in it were beautiful print copies of my very first book. Definitely a dream come true! I hugged my husband, we jumped up and down. I laughed, I cried, I took photos, I cried some more….
9. How do you handle working with an editor without letting pride get in the way?
Most of my career was spent writing for newspaper, and that’s where I learned to appreciate editors. Their goal is the same as mine – to make the story the best it can be. So now I’m deeply thankful for book editors who catch mistakes, who see the continuity glitches and plot holes, those who challenge me to try a different angle, or even axe a scene. Good editors help me become a better writer. Do I do everything they say? Not always, but I do consider their advice very, very carefully.
10. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I love me a LOT of authors – Karen Chance, JR Ward, Karen Marie Moning, Patricia Briggs, Kevin Hearne, Jim Butcher … just to name a few. But for me, Stephen King will always be THE King. He’s able to take you into a character’s mind so completely that by the end of the book, you’ll swear everything happened to YOU! I’ve learned a great deal from him over the years.
11. If you could learn one or two random skills, what would you learn?
Believe me, I have an entire bucket list of things I want to learn! I’d like to be fluent in Spanish (I have a bunch of CDs I listen to at present). I’d like to study painting so I could be better at it. And I just got a recurve bow for myself so I can finally practice ARCHERY!
12. What’s your Porn Star name? (To get this you add the name of your first pet to the name of the street on which you lived as a child.)
Tabby St. Andrew (Hey, I like that! I’ll have to use that one in a story!)
13. What is the strangest thing you’ve believed since you were a child?
Zombie spiders. No, really. I’ve had a huge fear of spiders since forever, but I’ve also had an irrational belief that if you washed them down the sink or flushed them down the toilet, they’d COME BACK AND GET ME! So I live in constant fear of zombie spider vengeance.
14. Tell me about your book, STORM BOUND, and where you got your inspiration for it?
STORM WARRIOR and STORM BOUND are Books 1 and 2 of my GRIM SERIES --- I’m bringing ancient Celtic mythology into modern-day America! The inspiration comes partly from my Welsh gramma, and partly from the many British storybooks I had as a child. I grew up on tales of the Fair Ones, the Fae, the Sidhe, and the Tylwyth Teg. So it seems natural to revisit that world as an adult. Plus, I get to write about one of my all-time favorite creatures – the Black Dog, herald of Death! Book 3 is STORM WARNED, and it’s on my editor’s desk.
Modern witch and magic-shop owner Brooke doesn’t think her life is missing anything, until a wayward enchantment lands a brooding medieval blacksmith in her spell room—and in her arms. Yet even after their passion proves to be truly magical, Aidan’s first commitment is to vengeance. Now Brooke must team up with friends and ancient warriors alike—and push her own powers to their limits—to save her love from the wrath of an evil fae
Read an Extract Here
There isn't anything Dani Harper likes better than exploring the supernatural - unless it's writing sizzling and suspenseful romance and fantasy. Of course, all of her stories have at least one foot in the netherworld! A longtime resident of the Canadian north and southeastern Alaska, Dani recently ventured south with her husband to rural Washington to be closer to their grown children.
WEBSITE - http://daniharper.com/
TWITTER – https://twitter.com/Dani_Harper or @Dani_Harper
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