Saturday, August 23, 2014

Willow Danes, Author of Captured

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Today we are interviewing Willow Danes, author of Captured, the first book in the science-fiction romance series Warriors of Hir.

Describe the plot of your book in a few sentences.
Jenna McNally is tending to the heartrending task of clearing out her grandfather’s cabin when she’s knocked off her feet by the impact of a nearby plane crash. She races into the snowy North Carolina woods to help and discovers that this is no plane that’s crashed.

Ra’kur’s people have been brought to the brink of extinction by war. After years spent searching for a compatible mate to bond with, an enemy attack lands him on a backward, primitive planet and right to the very female he has been seeking. And a Hir warrior’s first task in claiming a mate is to capture her . . .

Who (age, gender, etc) do you think would most appreciate this book?
Over 18, due to language and sexual situations.

Who was your favorite character to write?

I loved both Jenna and Ra'kur and they were so much fun to write! You know you have a great character when they just seem to jump right off the page.

How long have you been writing?
Since I could! Maybe 4 or 5 years old. I used to write stories with illustrations done in crayon and publish little books made of construction paper and yarn to hand out to people. Yes, really.

What is your favorite book?
I have so many!  I love historical, Romances, Sci-fi. Nope, too many to name. :)

What genre do you read most frequently?
Probably historical and Sci-fi although I most often write Romances.

How do you think you've evolved as a writer since when you first started?

I wrote my first complete novel at 20. It was AWFUL. It took me a while to understand that it's completely okay to write a couple books before you get good at it. And don't show your novel to friends and family. They can't help you and may do you a lot of harm. You need a developmental editor you respect or a workshop or a couple of beta readers who know how to give honest but helpful feedback. Never, never, never give up.

Are there any aspects (e.g. character building, world building) of your writing that you've been practicing?
Cheat sheets! I keep a running log of everyone's name, family, eye color, etc. so my editors and I can keep track. When you write Sci-fi you aren't going to use standard names so spell check won't catch it if you accidentally change the spelling of a character's name (happened to me but I have a sharp editor!) from one chapter to the next. It can get pretty complicated when you're building new worlds.

As a writer, one would assume English was your favorite class in school. If that was not the case, what was and why?
I love history—to me it’s like kindergarten story time again. I learned a lot about world building from studying ancient civilizations—like trade, the role of religion, gender politics and how the geography of a region shapes the evolution of a society.

How do you feel about the increasing popularity of ebooks?

As a Romance writer I love it!! Believe it or not, a surprising number of my readers are men and being able to download a book to their iPad or kindle means they WILL buy a book they wouldn't have if they were forced to carry around a paperback with a 'bodice-ripper' type cover.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?
I want to make it to the New York Times bestseller list!

What is the most impactful experience you have had with a fan?

I got my first email from an actual fan a few months ago and I was floored.  I had a fan!! And she was delighted when I wrote back to her. Really made all the late nights and hard work worth it.

Have your family and friends been supportive of your writing?
Yes, my boys are very proud that their mom’s a writer—although they aren’t permitted to read any of my books since they’re intended for adult audiences.

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like (e.g. editing)?

I worry when I do research for historicals and it can be tedious to track down very minute (but important) details because people just didn’t record them. Believe me, people who read Romances read A LOT of them, when you slip up they’ll catch it so it’s important to document your sources. Sometimes though, popular misconceptions, like women always rode sidesaddle—they didn’t, that began after 1450 in England—means you got it right when you have your 1437 heroine ride astride but your readers will say that’s incorrect.

Have you ever had writer's block? If yes, how'd you deal with it? If you have not had writer's block, why do you think you haven't?
I get writer’s block with EVERY SINGLE BOOK. I write the first half (100-150 pages) like crazy, can’t type fast enough then I just  . . . get stuck. The whole ‘I don’t know what happens next and anyway this whole book sucks’ gets me. When I feel that coming on I have to do something else. Binge watch shows on Netflix, bake, workout, put Modpodge and glitter on my shoes (yes, really). Pretty soon I have at least a later scene that I write down, or maybe the very last scene and I just keep doing that, back and forth, until I have a finished book.

Do you write with a computer, typewriter, or pen and paper? Why do you use this tool?
Laptop!! I write at odd hours and in bed, sometimes at 5:30 am or 10 pm, and I always need to look something up so I need WIFI.

What do you have in mind for your next project?
Next up is Taken (Warriors of Hir, Book 2)!

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?

The Warriors of Hir is a wonderfully fun Sci-fi Romance series and I’m really looking forward to releasing the new books. Also, at the end of each novel you get to meet the hero of the next book!

More Information
Buy the book on Amazon
Check out the book on Goodreads

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