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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Twilight Thursday

Welcome Author
Dana Davis

Dana Davis

*hanging my head in shame* - It's just been one of those days for me! Between my oversleeping and browser crashing and now my inability to locate Dana's answers, I am running really late with getting this post up! It's Murphy's Law, and apparently, I live by it! If, in future, you wonder why not much seems to go right for my characters, this could be why! *Lol!*

ME: Thanks for you patience! Dana, the trooper that she is, managed to get me everything I needed! Thanks for being so great this week!!!! Since you've waited long enough to check out her interview, let's get right to it! As taxes are due in the mail by today, we have been asking our authors 15 questions. Speaking of taxes, Dana, are your taxes finished, or do you procrastinate with them? Do you do them yourself or do you have a taxman do them for you?

DANA: Hi, Carrie. Thanks for having me today. Taxes, huh? Well, hubby and I are pretty good about getting those done. We use a computer tax program, which makes it somewhat painless. In fact, we received our refund a couple of weeks ago and have invested that money.

ME: Very smart! Now, as it says, “April showers bring May flowers”. What flowers do you hope to see the first thing in spring?

DANA: March and April are our blooming months here in the desert and we’re in full swing right now. We have fiddleneck, brittlebush, desert marigolds, poppies, lupine, ocotillo, creosote and other desert blooms. Not every spring is this colorful, but we were lucky to get enough rain during the winter months. During heavy drought years, we don’t get much in the way of spring flowers.

Brittlebrush Chuparosa Owl's Clover Poppies

ME: Do you plant your own garden? Why or why not? What type(s) will it (they) be and where is it (are they) located on your property?

DANA: We don’t have a garden because we live on a desert wash and everything would be gone in an instant with all the critters that have access to our yard. Not to mention, I’m not good with plants. We had a cabbage plant once and a desert hare left a trail of dirt across the granite yard during his getaway. Sadly, the cabbage was never seen again. We do have a dwarf grapefruit tree that gives us lots of citrus this time of year. And we planted a dwarf orange tree but it’s still too young to bear fruit. The trees are on a drip line and Hubby takes care of them.

ME: If you could have a garden, what kind of garden would it be, how big would it be and what would you plant in it?

DANA: Well, I inherited a brown thumb from my mother. Hubby lovingly calls me “The Plant Killer”. If it’s not growing naturally in our desert or on an automatic drip line, I’m not very good at keeping it alive. But if I could manage a garden, it would be small with green beans, black beans, lettuce, cabbage, cucumbers and citrus. In my defense, I do have one houseplant I’ve managed not to kill. It’s been almost four years now – a record!

ME: Have you ever considered getting involved with a local community garden? Why or why not?

DANA: They’d probably kick me out after everything died. We don’t have community gardens in our area that I know of. Maybe in the downtown areas but I’m not a downtown kind of girl. Give me the burbs!

ME: For your produce, is the local grocery store just fine, or do you like to hit your local farmer’s market? What is your favorite fruit or vegetable that you do like to get?

DANA: When we lived in Los Angeles, we walked to the local farmer’s market every Saturday at the park. Here in the Phoenix area, the one closest to us is set up like a grocery store and carries mostly local produce and health products. We shop there every couple of weeks, alternating with our regular grocery store. My favorite fruits are mangos, pineapples, bananas and Fuji apples. When they’re in season, hubby and I munch on red seedless grapes and cherries.

ME: Now, that we've learned a bit more about you, let's focus on your writing. What is your main genre (erotica, erotic romance, romantic suspense, etc.)? What was the draw for you?

DANA: My main genre would have to be fantasy/sci-fi. My grandfather worked for NASA and one of my fondest memories is standing on the beach at Cape Canaveral watching the Apollo-Soyuz launch. I loved science and English in school and spent many summers at the NASA facility in Houston and at museums as a kid, so maybe that’s what eventually led me to write sci-fi. And my mother read Grimm’s fairytales to me as a young child. Not the watered down stuff the kids get today, but the real stories with the horror and gore and excitement. I think that’s when I fell in love with fantasy.

ME: Now wonder why we seem to get along so well! I too have been into science too, but mostly since high school and I have always been fascinated with how Disney could take such dark and dreary tales and make them light and furry, but I digress! Besides fantasy/sci-fi, Dana, what elements do you prefer to use in a story and why those elements over others?

DANA: I mix genres at times, like with my paranormal fantasy series, Desert Magick. I love paranormal, horror and comedy so I tend use those elements in my writing. I don’t write standard mysteries, but I love the unknown, and often use mysterious elements in my worlds, too. I have a great-great aunt who worked as a medium back in the early 20th century, so paranormal and mystery have always been a part of my life in one way or another. I’m also a ghost buster and belong to a paranormal investigative team. We investigate claims of ghosts and other paranormal occurrences, debunking what we can, and gathering evidence for the rest. It seems natural to me that I would put those life experiences into my work.

ME: On a lighter note, do you prefer red roses or black roses? If so, does that show in your writing? If so, how? If roses aren’t your style, what flowers are? Do they influence your writing? If so, how?

DANA: Funny, I never liked roses much, or the smell of them. I’m a tulip and daisy girl. Might have to do with me being an April baby. As for how that shows in my writing, the main character in Desert Magick is named Daisy. Hey, she wouldn’t let me give her any other name. I tried. I like bright, cheerful flowers, but I also write darkness into my work. I love when I get to the point in a novel where I can put in horror or suspense. In my novels, I tend to have a bright world wrapped around darkness with the two duking it out for control.

ME: Sounds like my kind of tale! The jury’s still out on this question, so we’re still asking it! - Who decides what you write about, you or your muse? What kind of influence do you have over your story, or is the muse always the one planting the seeds? How do you cultivate those seeds regardless of who plants them?

DANA: I have a gazillion characters in my head shouting, “Pick me! Pick me!” Once I do, they’re never shy about bossing me around. So, I would have to say my muses have a lot of control. I tried very hard once to kill off a character. I thought she deserved it. But she and the others in the novel ganged up on me and told me outright that she wouldn’t die. No matter how many times I wrote and re-wrote her death scene, it just didn’t work. Once I decided to go along with my muses and keep her alive, albeit with some nasty consequences, the scene snapped into place.

There is a lot of craziness in my head but my muses and I tend to work things out. And, of course, I do all the research. When I get stubborn and off track in a scene, they don’t hesitate to come in and straighten me out.

ME: In your opinion, what author had the most influence on your writing? What about their writing did you find so influential and why?

DANA: I can’t say that any one writer influenced me the most because I tend to get tidbits of ideas from various authors. I would have to say J. R. R. Tolkein and the Grimm brothers had the most influence in my early years. But I continue to be influenced by writers today and I enjoy science fiction and dark fantasy as much as light-hearted paranormal books. As a kid, I also enjoyed television shows like The Twilight Zone, Star Trek and Bewitched, so those writers had their share of influence. In fact, before I became a novelist, I wrote and/or adapted several stage plays and spoofs for community and children’s theater.

ME: Wow! Very cool thing to have on your resume! While authors can definitely influence us, inspiration can be everywhere for a writer, but specific people, places and events can inspire certain characters, personality traits or things that happen in our stories. In your current story that we’re promoting here today, Desert Magick: Superstitions, did any one particular person, place or event inspire you? If so who/what was it (were they), how did it/they inspire you and how is this inspiration reflected in your story?

DANA: Up until the Desert Magick series, I had been writing mainly about sorcerers, space travelers and aliens. But I have always been fascinated by my great-great aunt’s medium abilities and the family ghost stories, so I decided I wanted to try my hand at a paranormal/urban fantasy. The challenge for me was to put the story into the here and now, not some completely made-up world like I usually created.

Most characters come to me very clearly during a writing exercise, while looking at art, listening to music, or in my sleep. Daisy, the main character in Desert Magick, was a bit different. She snuck about, peeking around corners, studying me. I had to win her trust. I had to assure her that I wasn’t going to put her on a space ship or in a castle someplace. Once I convinced her I was ready to begin her story, she became almost as bossy as some of my other characters. In a good way, of course. And while Daisy isn’t a medium like my great-great aunt, she spends a good deal of time dealing with the after life.

ME: That's right, you did say that you're a ghost buster on your website! Okay, without giving away anything pertinent to the story, tell us about the hero and heroine (s) of your story. What do they look like? How do they meet (or “did” if this is a second book with these same characters)? What are their personalities – Are they comical cut-ups, are they serious or are they a mix of the two? Please give us a little bit of dialogue from the story that can illustrate this. (Not much, but just a few lines and from a different section than the main excerpt – Thanks!)

DANA: While there are new characters introduced or expanded on in each book, Daisy Rhiannon Hammel-Kavanaugh is a main character throughout the entire Desert Magick series. Daisy is a thirty-five year old inherent witch who runs an online auction business. She’s 5’4” and curvy with short brown hair. She’s madly in love with her husband, Noah, and he with her. Daisy tries to make the best of bad situations and often uses humor to dispel fear. She is perfectly happy with her average life in Arizona. That is, until she finds herself a reluctant heroine in a battle against evil. For me, of course, that’s when the real fun begins.

From Desert Magick: Superstitions – Daisy and Noah:

They continued down the cement trail, followed it under the street bridge and into the wash on the other side, the one that ran behind their home. Just as they emerged from the short tunnel, a shadow moved in Daisy’s corner vision. She snapped her head to see a man, wearing a brown suit and hat reminiscent of the 1960s, standing next to a saguaro.

“Hello,” she said in her neighborly voice.

“What?” Noah said.

“I was just saying hi to that man over—” When she looked again, the strange man was gone. The only tall thing in that spot was a saguaro, a juvenile since it had no arms. “I’m not hallucinating,” she uttered.

“You sure you’re all right, babe?”

She glanced down at Perky, whose interest was on a cactus wren that sang from a nesting hole in another saguaro. The dog didn’t seem to notice the intruder. “I’m either being haunted or else I’m stark raving mad.”

ME: The main characters are usually great, but sometimes, secondary and tertiary characters are known to steal the scenes. Who are the secondary/tertiary characters in your story and what do they look like? What’s unique about them? What is their relationship to the hero/heroine? Have any of these gone on to become scene-stealers? If so, who and how did they do it? (Again, please give us a small bit of dialogue to illustrate this – thanks!)

DANA: If anyone can steal a scene, it’s Bridgette, Daisy’s slightly older cousin. This tall, sassy redhead has gotten them into trouble since they were kids. She comes onto the scene with her own villain in tow and has a body and personality that attract attention, especially of men. Her sassy remarks tend to catch people off-guard. She even surprises Daisy a time or two. She’s bossy as hell and protective of Daisy.

Bridgette stormed into my brain as I was working on Daisy’s first chapter and told me that she would be making an appearance and that I was stuck with her, no matter what. Well, what’s a writer to do when a character is that adamant?

From Desert Magick: Superstitions – Bridgette and Daisy:

Bridgette lounged in the spa in a one-piece bathing suit, designer by the look of it, drink in one hand, chocolate bar in the other, sunglasses resting on her nose, and those bright red locks piled on top of her head. She reminded Daisy of a movie star from decades past.

“Comfy, Miss Thang?” Daisy quipped. She wrapped arms about herself as a chilled breeze swept through the yard.

Bridgette grinned. “Canada’s so damn cold.” She made a sweeping motion with her chocolate bar. “I missed this. There’s diet soda and chocolate in the kitchen. Help yourself.”

“Thanks.” But Daisy stayed put.

Bridgette set her drink on the flagstone, lowered her sunglasses and winked at Noah. “Chocolate’s an aphrodisiac, you know.”

ME: Ooooh, I could almost feel the warmth...almost! It doesn't get that warm up here in WI - okay sometimes it can, but rarely these past couple of years - that I'm not sure I can really get how warm it would be, plus our air is much more humid than out there. Are you ready for the excerpt? Well let me keep you no longer!

Desert Magick: SuperstitionsBLURB: Daisy Hammel-Kavanaugh lives a perfectly average life in the Arizona desert, except for one thing. She's a witch. Her relatives and ancestors consist of various, and sometimes colorful, paranormals. When Daisy is attacked by a mystical, ghost-like figure, she must enlist the aid of those she trusts in her quest to find and eliminate this enemy before he destroys her.

There's another problem. To ensure her success, she must somehow get her hands on a treasured and protected Native American artifact, without pissing off the entire Indian community. Desert creatures, ancient myths, sex and magick abound in Daisy's world but can she trust herself to know what is real and what isn't?

EXCERPT: When she’d had enough exercise, she swam to the beach entry and rested. Movement caught her corner vision and she turned to the wash. A dark figure stood just the other side of the wrought iron slats, under the nearest palo verde tree, an unruly thing with as many thorns as leaves. Daisy couldn’t make out the distinct green bark in the waning light but that didn’t matter. She saw the man.

Her heart tap-danced against her ribs. “Hello?” she said, hoping he was just a neighbor who’d wandered off the marked trail. “Can I help you?”

The figure said nothing so she readied a trussing spell. When the figure didn’t move, Daisy scrambled out of the pool and shrugged her robe on over her shivering body. After she shoved damp feet into flip-flops and wrapped her wet hair in a towel, she took another glance around the wash. No one. The sky had already gone purple and her paranormal blood didn’t give her night vision.

ME: Ooh, anyone thinking of Medium right now?

Want to know more about Dana Davis? Go to her website:
Missed her YA Room blog post and want to check it out? Click here.

5 Moonbeams (comments):

Amber Polo said...

Great interview. Better late than never.

Dana Davis said...

Thanks so much for stopping by, Amber. I appreciate that.

Glad I could send a little warmth your way, Carrie. It's 82 in my house right now with windows open. I'm in shorts! ;)

Unknown said...

sounds very intersting read!!! and i dint think meduim at all though

Unknown said...

i just friended u at face book and myspace and twitter, look for your sign up newsletter

Dana Davis said...

Thank you, blackroze37. I accepted your friend requests so now we're connected. :)