Did January flash by for anyone else? I mean it can’t be February, that’s preposterous oO
Since it is already February despite my protests, it’s time for another author interview! I don’t have that many left by now, so savour them while they last 😉
My guest today is Daley Downing. Daley is a self-published author from upstate New York. She’s also a stay at home mother, dance teacher, and an autism awareness advocate – so, to summarise, she’s Super Woman. Daley currently spends most of her time with her family and the cat. Other than writing, she loves ballet, reading, history, and music.
Hi Daley, and welcome to Cookie Break! Congratulations on publishing the first novel in your series The Order of the Twelve Tribes!
Could you tell us a little about your book? No spoilers, please! 😉
The first book in my contemporary fantasy series is about 3 different families that are all connected to the same secret organization that protects the world from things that go bump in the night – or, basically, monsters. The families each have a different role, and their own internal challenges. In this first instalment, I’m introducing the organization as well as the individuals in the families. It’s a case of “getting to know you” both on a “big picture” scale and in a more intimate way.
Would you mind sharing an excerpt with us, or a favourite quote?
I’ll go with quotes.
“She’ll be fine. We need to get out of here. My wings are about to pop.”
Did he just say wings?
“Aren’t you going to change before we leave for the church?”
“Nah, God won’t care that I showed up in khakis.”
Do you remember what sparked the idea for this novel?
There were a few things. One, I used to watch (way too much) “Supernatural” (an American TV show), and I had such respect and awe for what the main characters went through, to save the world from evil all the time, and I thought, “There should be some underground government agency or something that helps these guys!” So, that was a definite spark in my imagination. Just what would that agency do? How would they defeat the monsters? How might they behave towards the rest of the (unsuspecting) world?
Two, after I read “The Mortal Instruments” (by Cassandra Clare), I was really interested in some of her unusual ideas about angels and demons and approaching how to write about such an ancient topic in a new way.
Three, when I read the “Warriors” series (by Erin Hunter), I was really impressed by how well thought out the structure of that world was – everything from the hierarchy of the Clans to the Warrior codes and the obvious history the author had developed behind the world-building.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I’m working on the further instalments of this series.
What draws you to the genre you write in? Have you always been drawn to it?
Yes, I’ve always been drawn to fantasy. I’m not completely sure why, but I think a lot of it has to do with the possibility of magic and the chance for anything to happen.
Who/what is your writing inspiration?
Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman have played a huge part in how I think of developing characters, how to reveal plot points, and world building. And Douglas Adams for creative ways to provide necessary background/information (hopefully) without overwhelming the reader.
What do you do if inspiration just won’t come?
Throw a fit. (Am I allowed to admit that?) Not quite. Generally I go away from the work for a while, and re-read a book that previously inspired me, or focus on a different type of writing – for example, I went on a short story binge several months ago when I was really stuck on novelization.
Which part of the writing process is your favourite, and which part do you dread?
My favourite part is probably the creation – there’s something really exciting and invigorating about seeing that first draft appear on paper after only existing in your head. I dread writer’s block. It is just BAD.
What is your number one distraction?
Children. For sure, children. I have two kids that evidently enjoy exploding their world on a regular basis. So that makes it hard to get writing done some days.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Definitely a plotter! I don’t necessarily follow outlines or write down a bunch of notes, but there has to be intense planning going on. I might try a number of approaches to reach the same outcome, but it’s never just an impulsive decision.
Often I’ll spend several weeks to months developing an important plot point, as well as character backgrounds, and things that I need to know before the reader does. Once I have those set in stone in my mind, it generally changes very little on the page.
Tea or coffee?
Tea is my favorite and foremost hot beverage. I sometimes have coffee more for caffeine purposes than for enjoyment.
What are the most important three things you’ve learned about writing, editing or publishing (or all of the above!) since you started your journey?
Writing is a different process for everyone. Yeah, there are rules – in terms of linguistics, and great guidelines — for example, on how to plot and reveal certain character traits, in ways that make sense to the reader. But there doesn’t have a hardcore method that every writer must stick to. It depends on what your story is meant to be – and only you can determine that.
Editing also depends on finding a method that you think will produce the best results for what you’re trying to achieve with your book. Some authors really appreciate other people trying to figure out solutions to issues they’re having. Other authors really aren’t sure about that. (That’s me.)
Self-publishing is also a journey. Since I tried for over a year to come up with the funds to “traditionally” self-publish (through Amazon.com or something similar), and still couldn’t get there, I figured that literally doing it all myself – the printing, the promotion, the selling – would have to suffice to get started. At least it gets my work out there, being read, rather than still sitting in my house.
Not that my ultimate plan would work for everyone. But I got really tired of waiting. The fact is, I honestly don’t care if I never hit the bestsellers’ list in the New York Times. I just feel the need to write, to tell these stories, and to share them with others. And I didn’t want to keep waiting for the “perfect” time.
What’s your favourite quote on writing?
“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.”
– Neil Gaiman
“If you don’t turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else’s story.”
– Terry Pratchett
“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”
– Douglas Adams
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
To know what the voice of your story is, and to stay true to it.
Where else can we connect with you?
Right now, I have my blog, The Invisible Moth, and I’m available via email with questions about buying novels. (Please everyone subscribe to me and order stuff from me! Ahem. Moment of shameless begging is passing…)
Thanks so much for having me, Sarina!
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