Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Random Question Interview with Danielle Smith


  1. Where can we find you?

Everywhere! J

My Official Website: www.danielledsmith.com

Twitter: @DaniDSmith

  1. What is the link for the best review you have had?

That would have to be the TwoLips Reviews 5 KISSES review for Black Dog and Rebel Rose. That review also won the story the review group’s top two awards: The TwoLips Recommended Read, and the Reviewer’s Choice Award. Here’s the link: http://www.twolipsreviews.com/content/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6262&Itemid=36

3 Why did you choose Solstice?

I received a recommendation from a fellow author on the Amazon.com forums back in summer of 2010 to check them out. I had just completed my second book, BLACK DOG AND REBEL ROSE, which had been rejected by my other publisher, Liquid Silver Books, based on the fact that it was “too gory and horrific” for their audience. They had offered me an opportunity to rewrite the story with gore and horror elements withdrawn, something I was not willing to do. So I was quite open to submitting the book elsewhere. Going by this recommendation, Solstice sounded like a reputable company, so I went for it. Within a month, they had contracted me for BD&RR, and the rest, as they say, is history!

  1. What’s your favorite cover you have seen recently? (feel free to add a picture but please try to keep it pg 13 lol!)

Hard for me to not be biased, since I design my own covers and am Solstice’s senior freelance cover artist. I still must say that I am hugely proud of the cover I just did for my next book, Coyote Night, which just went in to my editor this week. Close runners up at Solstice would be The Choosing, Blood Spiral, Alex, and The Gifted. I feel like I hit the nail on the head with a lot of those covers, especially since the authors were so happy with how they came out. At other pubs, a cover that really stood out to me recently is “Undead” by Isabella Kruger, mostly because of the beautiful painting used on the front.

  1. What catches your attention with other books?

I have to admit—the cover matters to me! Probably only because I’m such a visual person. Other than that, the blurb has to really catch my attention, pull me in. If that works, I might read the first page. That’s the final test and can make or break a book for me. I guess I’m kind of like a publisher/editor in that way. J

  1. Do you treat a book as a book, for the story inside, or do you judge a book by the author and or the way it’s published?

When I purchase a book, I look at several factors: is the cover and design evocative and beautifully done, like someone cared? Did the author’s blurb catch my attention as a well-written, engaging chunk of mini-literature? So often a blurb is poorly written, especially in the self-publishing and small pub world. If an author can't use proper grammar or sentence structure in their blurb, what does that say about their ability to tell a story? I don’t look so much at who published it or what the author’s name is—the beauty of a book and how well the blurb and first few pages catch my attention is #1 for me as a reader. I have passed up plenty of Stephen King books that looked less than stellar, and I won’t touch Stephenie Meyer’s YA trainwreck with a 10 foot pole. I love discovering new unknowns who often rock my reading world more than any big time author could. Many of my favorite authors are cult and foreign writers, for good reason.

  1. Ebooks VS Books (Feel free to explain):

Depends. Ebooks are the wave of the future, green, and cheaper for the reader to buy and the publisher to offer. But there is something so lovely about holding a book in your hand…smelling the ink and paper, feeling the weight in one’s hand. Illustrations look better in print. So I will always be a print book slut…but I appreciate the ebook and all it offers to readers, publishers, and especially WRITERS!

8. If you can have anyone read your book and give you feedback who would it be and why?

Two authors: China Mieville and John Ajvide Lindqvist. China is a British cult author of “weird” fantasy fiction and one of my biggest influences. I would love to hear what he thinks of my grittier, darker work. John is a Swedish author best known for his edgy horror/dark fantasy book “Let The Right One In”, which became one of the top foreign language films of the past decade. He basically wrote the only vampire story I could stand to read recently (anyone who knows me will tell you that I am flat out sick of the vampire and werewolf trend in paranormal fiction), and I would love to engage him in a discussion of the dark symbolism used in his books and in my own; the nature of good and evil, the anti-hero, that sort of thing.

9. What is it that addicted you to your genre?

I’m a sick little meat puppet. LOL! I have always loved dark, gory, and often sexy stories—some of my favorite world mythologies (German, Scandinavian, Celtic, Japanese, Native American) are darker than the scariest modern horror tales. Hallowe’en is my favorite holiday and is more exciting for me than my birthday (my family is giving me a Hallowe’en themed baby shower in October, if that tells you anything). Paranormal fiction allows me to touch on my adoration of these edgier, darker themes, and erotica allows me to create a sensual and daring world where the reader can escape and live out some of their wildest fantasies with a beautiful, gritty cast of characters.

10 Your favorite author.

I’ll give you the short, short list: China Mieville, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Elizabeth Bear, Will Christopher Baer.

11. Favorite color.

Lime green! Crazy happy color that cheers me up on a depressing day.

12. Something your bio’s won’t tell us.

Hmmm…I love veggies way more than fruit. No joke. Gimme a wedge of broccoli over a sweet strawberry any day.

13. Advice to others?

Authors: Believe in yourself and polish, polish, polish. Show publishers that your work is really worth it by presenting it in a professional package that shows that you really care.

14. If you have a day job how do you balance everything?

Thankfully, the plan involves the dayjob going bye-bye in about 6 months and it’ll be writing and art full time. I am pregnant with my first child and want to stay home with her as my mother did with me, so leaving the grind and dedicating myself full time to her and my artistic business is paramount. In the interim, I do much of my creative work wherever I can squeeze in a minute: on lunch, on breaks, and from when I get off work to the butt crack of dawn. It’s like working two jobs right now…but worth every second of it. I DO sleep, believe it or not! My daughter, Iona, who still uses me as a house, demands this. J

15. What does your writing schedule look like.

I write when I can. Weekends are filled with writing, as are evenings going late, late, late. I carry a notebook with me so I can jot down ideas while I’m on the go.

16. Do you find that writing keeps you sane?

Hells to the YES! It’s wonderful to be able to escape into my own world and enjoy a bit of the exotic and fanciful. It’s very freeing, and frequently healing to the spirit.

17. If you could bring one of your characters to life, would you, and why?

Oh, that’d have to be Skriker, my most popular character, if only to converse with him!  It’d be like chatting with myself in a lot of ways…er, or chatting with the “dirty little man who lives inside me”. He’s this tattooed half-demon bad boy who just levels the ladies with his charm, but he’s no meathead. He’s got quite a brain under that spiky blond mane, and would be a great guy to have a beer and a friendly engaging chat with. He has a great easygoing sense of humor.

18. If you had a magical power what would it be?

To heal the sick, like a mythological peller in the old days. I would love to be able to heal children dying of mortal diseases and from terrible traumas—it would be a great gift that I could share with others to give them a chance at life.

19. Do you believe in magic?

Yep. I see it all around us, even in subtle ways. The Universe is a very magical place; science only proves it more and more, in my eyes. I recently watched the documentary “Inside The Womb”, and seeing a baby go from tiny zygote to full blown infant is proof that magic exists. J

20. If we were to play rock paper scissors what would your first choice be?

Scissors! Pointy sharp jab-jab…heeeeeee! So fun.

21. If you could control one of the elements, what would it be?

Fire, because it scares the sh** out of me. I had a traumatic experience at the age of five when my entire neighborhood almost burned down. It was on a canyon and some idiot didn’t know how to use an ashtray, and a ton of folks lost their homes. My mom and I had to flee the flames—it was a pure miracle that our house didn’t burn down. So I am terrified of fire; to be able to control it might make me feel a little less phobic.

22. What annoys you in books?

Characters with no flaws or struggles. I get sick of main characters who are so perfect/powerful/gorgeous/flawless/skilled/badass that there seems to be nothing to make them interesting (happens a LOT in romance and erotica). One trend in a lot of books lately has been the “badass heroine” who in reality is always getting rescued by the hero. LAME. Badass heroines have to actually be badass…if she has to be rescued, there better be a damned good reason! Oh, another thing I find annoying? THE SAME OLD TIRED VAMPIRE AND ALPHA WEREWOLF PLOT BUNNIES. I don’t get how so many people can load a bazillion of these were and vamp books into their libraries and remain entertained—it’s like reading the same storyline over and over again... kind of like listening to The Ramones’ Greatest Hits without the rock n’ roll guitars to keep you awake. SNORE.

23. Have you ever come across a book you don’t know why a publisher published?

Oh, Lord, yes. All the time. I won’t mention names or titles since I want to keep my head secured to my shoulders in the literary world, but let’s just say that there are more than a few authors out there who have written whole series whose editors and publishing CEOs should be given a middle school swirly for contracting their first pitch.

23. Are you a grammar Nazi, or do you find yourself more intertwined with the story to deal with the editing part?

Admittedly, I’m a bit of a grammar Nazi. I read my own books and wince when I run into something that my very excellent editor and I missed. It does happen, but c’mon, kids…this is the publishing industry. Not saying that I can’t overlook a few little boo-boos as a reader, but I have seen self-pubbed and small-pubbed books where a middle school kid would have done better with the grammar. If you are an author, you should know how to use proper grammar. Part of our job is to understand language and how it works. And because I said that, SOMEWHERE in this interview there will be a misspelled word in one of my answers, proving that I’m a big bitch.

24. Do you believe in self-publishing?

Depends. I think in general it’s not something I would choose to do, at least not until I became really well known as a traditionally published author. Self-publishing has a very understandable stigma attached to it because the quality is so incredibly low much of the time. With CreateSpace, Lulu, Publish America, and the like, anyone and their mom can plop down a few hundred bucks and call him/herself an “author”, but if a publisher accepts your work, that means that it is high quality enough that someone else was willing to put their dime on it and take a financial risk, and that usually means they will demand that the product be properly edited and have good design and packaging to boot. I think that says a lot right there. If I ever were to “self-publish”, I would start my own micro-press first and possibly contract a few other author’s stories on top of it. Who knows? I might do it someday. Never say never!

25. Make up a question and have at it J

What is next for you in publishing?

I’m working on my first BDSM erotica book, DEMON’S SLAVE. Very exciting and a little nerve-wracking. Can’t wait to unleash it on the masses!

26. Tell us a joke.

An old maid wanted to travel by bus to the pet cemetery with the remains of her cat. As she boarded the bus, she whispered to the driver, “I have a dead pussy.”

The driver pointed to the woman in the seat behind him and said, "Sit with my wife. You two have a lot in common.”

27. What is the weirdest thing you have come across in your writing career?

A children’s picture book called “Go the F**k To Sleep”. I laughed until I almost peed myself.

28. Randomly tell us what you thought as you were reading these questions.

YAY! Another interview! I’m an interview/promo whore, so I really enjoyed this.

29. Are you a believer in Karma?

Yep. I had $7,500 worth of paintings stolen from a gallery in December of 2009, and I have absolute faith that those mother you-know-whats will get their just desserts whenever it’s time for the Universe to dole it out. Even nasty millionaires with everything handed to them get theirs…eventually.

30. Give a shout out to another writer (you can include their links work etc.):

Gotta give the shout out to fellow Solstice author, Philip Kramer! His edgy and often bizarre fantasy tale “The Cum Queen” is the bees’ knees. Check him out here: http://www.solsticeatnight.com/products/The-Cum-Queen.html

1 comment:

  1. Correction!

    Since I did this interview, I have discovered that my child is a MASCULINE child. Iona is now Ryker. ;-)