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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Victoria Danann Q&A from Interviews


PART ONE: THE BOOKS

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 use 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?

Can you describe your favorite character?   And which of your books is he/she in? How do you come up with your characters?

I've made it no secret that Sir Rammer Hawking is my fav. He's in every book and probably always will be. I can't answer the second part of this question because it never feels to me like I create these characters. It feels more like I'm reporting or chronicling the lives of this particular group of people who live in another dimension similar to our own. 

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.


Why this genre(s)? 

I'm glad you asked. It goes hand in hand with the question I like to pose, which is, "What do women really want?" I believe the answer to that can be found in paranormal romance. I'm a romance writer who uses paranormal elements as a vehicle and not the other way around. I believe I know what women really want and that it's not possible to achieve in a believable way in the realm of humanity. If we know that love with a human is forever - until it's not, then we need to look outside humanity for forever. Love with a human plus offers a permanent spark: a male who only has eyes for his mate, not just during the three months when brain chemicals are doing the love thing, but forever.



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

Do you write full time?

Snort.


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 writing.


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. 


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".)


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.


What are the hardest scenes for you to write? Suspense? Sex? Dialogue? And why? 

Sex scenes are hard for me. I'd love to skip them, but they serve the story so steamy writing and I are stuck with each other. It's hard because there are only so many different ways to describe acts that are mechanically simple without much variety unless you're venturing away from a healthy view of sex that is psychologically and emotionally sustainable. I hate reviewers who make comments like, "the sex was boring and repetitive". Although this hasn't been said about me yet, to my knowledge, I resent it for other authors. I mean, it's hard to find completely original ways to describe fitting tabs and slots together.


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.)


What do you think are the qualities that make up a "hero"?

For me, heroes are not defined by qualities at all. What makes a hero is an action that involves personal risk without personal gain. It is a potential sacrifice for another person or principle or for a perceived greater good.


What are your favorite types of heroines? Do you like the damsel in distress who needs saving or the kick-ass variety? Why?

I don't relate to D.I.D. - at all - on any level - and get very impatient with a portrayal of woman as child-like. I appreciate kick-ass when there is an explicable reason why she can take punches like Mike Tyson and wipe the floor with brutes. My favorite, however, is somewhere in the middle - just your ordinary femme who faces the world every day with the vulnerability of lesser strength and a vagina. It takes courage to do that without a berka.


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

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.) 



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 to 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.

c. This one I just stole from one of my assistants yesterday. "This is my story. It will go the way I want, or I'll end it here." - Tidus, FFX


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.

Greatest joy? 

Reviews.

Greatest aggravation?

Reviews.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want to have with you? (you have food, water, shelter, all the necessities, so nothing mundane) 

a. An iPad with uninterrupted WIFI and a perpetually replenishing iTunes account for purchasing books, music, TV, movies.
b. A lifetime supply of toiletries including hair and tooth brushes, shampoo, soap, nail files, etc.
c. Rammel Hawking.

If you could travel back in time here on earth to any place or time. Where would you go and why? 

If I could take all my experience with me, I would go back to about age sixteen and give myself a do-over.