Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Guest Blogger: Dana Davis




Lizzy:
Tell us a little about Desert Magick: Day of the Dead, what inspired you to write this series, Dana?


Dana:
First of all, thanks so much for having me, Lizzy. I’m a fantasy and science-fiction author and reader, and I’ve also had an interest in the paranormal since childhood. My great-grandmother’s sister was a medium back during the early part of the twentieth century, and I’ve had several personal experiences over the years. After reading a couple of popular, paranormal fantasy novels, I thought, what fun! I really wanted to try my hand at mixing my fantasy work with the paranormal.

The main character throughout the Desert Magick series, Daisy Hammel-Kavanaugh, showed up in my office one day and started telling me her story. Her cousin, Bridgette, showed up soon after, ordering me to put her into the books. Yep, writers are a bit crazy.

I’m also a member of a paranormal investigative team in Phoenix, AZ, where I currently live, so I get a lot of ideas from those investigations.


Lizzy:
Do you have a favorite character you have written?

Dana:
Funny, but my favorite character is usually the one I’m working on at the time. They’re all like family to me. Yes, even the evil ones. I also enjoy writing about the villains and figuring out how to deal with them once they start tormenting my main characters. One of my favorite characters in Desert Magick is the feisty Bridgette. In book three, she begins to get her own chapters.


Lizzy:
What are you currently working on?


Dana:
Well, I’m currently under contract with SynergEbooks Publishing for three more Desert Magick novels, so that takes up a good amount of my writing time. I’m also editing a sci-fi novel and a fantasy novel for future publication. I recently signed on to do some line-editing for other authors, and I get in on a paranormal investigation whenever I can. This summer, I have the good fortune to work with members from TAPS and Ghost Lab teams. Needless to say, I’m very busy.


Lizzy:
How long have you been writing? What influenced you to start?

Dana:
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I started out acting out stories when I was very little and segued into writing very bad angst poetry and prose as a teen. Who didn’t, right? My history in TV and theatre led me to write stage script adaptations for kids for several years. I also wrote for a sci-fi/fantasy fanzine back in the 80s. In the 90s, I grew tired of show biz and went back to school for a writing degree. Mainly because all my prose sounded like scripts and I really wanted to focus on story writing. At school, I had the good fortune to study with Nebula-award author Sheila Finch. She was a great inspiration for me. As well as award-winning author Suzanne Greenberg.


Lizzy:
How do your family/friends feel about your writing?


Dana:
Oh, my husband was and is very supportive. My other writer friends understand completely when I tell them I can’t do lunch or something one day because I need to write. It was a little tougher for my relatives and non-writer friends. They seemed to think I was just doing it to pass the time, that writing and publishing was easy and didn’t take much thought or effort. At first, anyway. When my brother decided to write a novel for his thesis, he called and told me that he didn’t realize how much work it took to write just one novel. That was a great validation for me. Being a published author helps, too.



Lizzy:
Where do you hope to be in 5 years?


Dana:
Still writing, of course. Hopefully, with another three or four more novels published. I currently have nine out now. I have folders of ideas on my computer and characters rattling around in my head, just waiting for their turn on the page.


Lizzy:
Do you have any advice for new or aspiring author?


Dana:
A writing professor once told me that perseverance is 95% of publishing. And while things have changed with all the print-on-demand and eBook self-publishing sites, it still rings true for traditional publishing and also marketing. You might be surprised to hear how many writers quit after one or two rejection letters. I have an entire folder’s worth! And I’m proud of that. It means I got my stuff out there.

Once a manuscript is finished, I recommend getting it critiqued. This can be a reader or another author that you trust to give you honest and productive comments. I don’t tolerate flaming. Comments like, “Your work sucks!” or “This is perfect!” never helped anyone.

After that, get an editor to look it over. Get it as polished as you can before you submit it to a publisher or before you publish it yourself. As writers, we get too close to our work and it’s easy for mistakes to slip by us. Even though I edit other writers’ works, I don’t rely solely on myself for my own stuff. I’m too close. I know what story I’m telling and I miss things. And be polite. Publishing is a business and you don’t want to burn professional bridges. Nobody likes doing business with bad-tempered people.

Once the book is out, ignore bad reviews. Don’t respond to them, no matter how much you might want to. Don’t defend your work to others. That will make you look like an amateur and put off potential readers and publishers. Not everyone will like your work. That’s just a fact of life. Grow a thick skin and let it go.


Lizzy:
What is your favorite book? (one that you have read) and why?


Dana:
I have a lot of favorites. I read 3-4 books/eBooks at once because I like to jump to different worlds, depending on my mood. One of my favorite sci-fi novels is Spin by Robert Charles Wilson. As for fantasy, I love the Ash Chronicles by Mary Gentle, the Tuesday Next series by Jasper Fforde, and the Mayfair Witches series by Anne Rice. I could go on and on with favorite authors and books that I love to read.


Lizzy:
On the fun side, what is your favorite television show and why?


Dana:
I started out in the entertainment industry so television was always a big part of my life. I have a lot of favorite shows and many DVDs of cancelled stuff that I still watch, like Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, Ghost Whisperer, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. For vintage, I love Bewitched. I wanted to be Tabitha when I was little. Who didn’t want to have all that magic at their fingertips, right? Currently, hubby and I are hooked on Eureka and Psyche. We were bummed when Monk and Battlestar Galactica ended. And I can’t forget Ghost Hunters. I love that show, too.


Lizzy:
Where can readers find you, Dana? (Include all links you want, facebook, twitter etc....)


Dana’s eBooks are only $2.99 for the Kindle, and the new prices are coming for the Nook soon.

Website - http://www.danadaviswriting.com

Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/danadaviswriting

Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Dana-Davis/e/B0033HDLVC/

Facebook Fan Page - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dana-Davis-Fan-Page/386658596302

Blog - http://danadaviswriting.blogspot.com

Twitter - http://twitter.com/#!/DanaDavis

SynergEbooks Publishing - http://www.synergebooks.com/index.html

4 comments:

  1. wow, that's amazing creativity; I think I might enjoy the writing process, but it would be an incredible effort to have just one book in me, I can't fathom the juice to come up with new ideas and characters all the time. I can't imagine having a thick skin either, having someone hate my work would be like criticizing my children, my precious babies. I am certainly glad there are others that have the stomach for it, I can read endlessly and I admire writers like Dana so much.

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  2. Thank you for your comments, BlogStalker! Yes, writing is a lot of work and the finished products are just like newborn babies to the authors. I write because if I stopped, my head would explode. =) And I'm very grateful to have readers who enjoy my worlds. Without readers, authors wouldn't exist. So, I offer my sincere thanks to all the readers out there.

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  3. Hi, Dana,
    Enjoyed the interview, as it gave me an insight on who you are. I've always admired you and now I have more reasons...;-) I'm not one to read paranormal, being a mystery/suspense writer..but after reading this, I just might have to try one of your books. Keep up the good work.

    Hugs, Betty,

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  4. Thank you for the kind words, Betty. There's a bit of mystery/suspense in the series, so you might enjoy it. =) Have a wonderful afternoon!

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