Sunday, 25 July 2010

Author Spotlight Week - Q&A with Danielle Thorne

STEPH: I'd like to welcome Danielle Thorne to the Author Spotlight this week. Danielle Thorne's first release with Desert Breeze is "By Heart and Compass." Dani, can you tell us about your latest release, BY HEART AND COMPASS?

DANI: I'd love to, Stephanie. Thanks for having me this week.

BY HEART AND COMPASS is about stepping out of your comfort zone and truly following your heart. Whether it's love, trust or the opportunity to chase adventure, most people hold back because of that niggle of doubt that tells us dreams can't come true. In this adventure, Lacy Whitman finds an antique diary that hints at the location of a long lost shipwreck, and she has to gather her courage to face making a discovery that is more than just pages in a book. She also risks falling for a cynical yet vulnerable dive instructor. Life is all about taking chances and living, and that's what I like to write about.

STEPH: I notice you are drawn to water themes. What's the attraction for you?

DANI: The first time I saw the ocean I was 19-years-old. It had a profound effect. For me, it is a gateway to another world right here on our own planet. Since getting scuba certified a few years ago, I have become very passionate about sea conservation and environmental issues. I had the chance to dive off the coast of Mexico this April, just days after the oil disaster struck in the gulf. It's hard not to wonder if I will ever be able to again down that way. The effects of this crisis break my heart—but I do have my writing to bring the joy and adventure of the sea to other people.

STEPH: What was the inspiration behind BY HEART AND COMPASS?

DANI: I published my first novel, THE PRIVATEER, after over twelve months of in-depth research. The Age of Sail is a fascinating time to me. These were a type of courageous men that you don't see often anymore. When I was finished, I knew I someday wanted to bring the past into the present. Since Blackbeard's ship, The Queen Anne's Revenge, was discovered off the coast of North Carolina, I have enjoyed following the excavation and research that is made available to the public online. These events inspired me to think about what it would be like to discover my own pirate ship. Of course as a teenager I was in love with the pirating adventure film, "Goonies," so I'm sure there was some subliminal influence there as well.

STEPH: Do you cast your characters? If so who are the leads?

DANI: I actually start out with names popping into my head when I create a character and the general personality follows. Then I do think about books, film and television and consider people, real and imaginary, that might be similar. But on a whole, no, I do not cast characters in the general sense of the word. However, I do find it very entertaining to talk and read blogs from other authors that do.

STEPH: Are you a plotter or a panster?

DANI: Plotter. I don't have that ability of being able to write and just "know" where to go. I need to plan out my story with highs, lows and then let the characters get from A to B, all on their own. I definitely use plot points. I don't like to waste time and hope not to ramble!

STEPH: Do you write any other genres? If so, what?

DANI: Besides contemporary, I write historical, which comes natural to me with my love of research and genealogy. My first Jane Austen-inspired Regency will be released this winter and I'm looking forward to the response. I also have dabbled in juvenile fiction. I finished my first manuscript, DANNY BOY, many years ago. This Huck Finn-type adventure is my baby and we're still looking for a home.

STEPH: What types of books do you like to read?

DANI: I'm very eclectic when it comes to almost all areas of the Arts. Although I primarily pickup romances of varying sub-genres, I also like historical non-fiction and good government suspense adventures.

STEPH: What's the last movie you saw?

DANI: I just saw the new "Alice in Wonderland" with Johnny Depp. Of course, I am a huge Depp admirer, but it's more of a sisterly affection, I'm not a rabid fan. Maybe it's because sometimes he reminds me of my brother? (Laughs) He is one of the most brilliant actors of our generation and it's a shame he does not get the credit he deserves. No matter what film I see him in, he always becomes his character—he is never himself. I could only hope to be able to stretch myself and write with as much abandon as that man can act. Anyway, I loved the film and thought it was brilliant. It's a new favorite.

STEPH: Do you have any Desert Breeze authors or books you'd like to recommend?

DANI: I have read several Desert Breeze titles and have never been disappointed. That's why I am thrilled to be published by this House. Currently, I am following the Future Imperfect series by P.I. Barrington. Also, the sweet romance, NO OTHER is on my reading summer list, as is THE HUNGARIAN, which is sounding like it's going to be an amazing read.

STEPH: Thanks for being here today, Dani.


  1. Hi Dani and Steph,
    What an interesting chat! Beautiful cover on your book, Dani. Could you tell us a little bit about how you envisioned this? Good luck with your books. And hats off to you -- 4 boys!!
    Big hugs,

  2. Dani,

    I enjoyed your interview. I'm A plotter too but I admire authors who can just sit down and start writing. Good luck with your books.


  3. Good morning, Dani--I read your post with joy. Easy to read and understand, and very straightforward. I read the excerpt for By Heart and By Compass--and yes, it's on my list. Now, to get to that list. I own a netbook, specifically to read pdfs--plus I have all my mail on there and on trips, I whip it out and read. However, I've read all the pdfs and need to load up again.
    Congratulations on the release of an intriguing book. Celia

  4. Hi @Gina--all the credit for the cover truly goes to the cover artist, Jenifer Ranieri. I had some ideas of what I thought would work but she really took them and ran with them. I love the perspective, it's very unique.

    @Celia--Thx for coming by, Celia. My dad just got a netbook and he loves it. I'm trying to convince him it's as good as an e-reader and to get busy with that!

    Thx for coming by, Barri!

  5. Hi Dani!

    I am positive By Heart and Compass is as good as your first story, The Privateer. Already from what I've read of Max, I know I want to get to know him better!

    Congrats on getting this book to the public so quickly!


  6. HI Danielle,
    This sounds like a must read and I'm adding it to my TBR list, for sure. Also sounds like you have a bit of mermaid in the blood. LOL Congrats on the new release and wishing you great reviews and mega sales.

  7. I just finished By Heart and Compass and I enjoyed it a lot. Lacey is a great character and Max is a nut that Lacey has to crack. I felt like I was on the hunt for buried treasure with them! I agree Rebecca, Dani must have some merimaid in the blood.


  8. Hi Danielle, aka The Sea Lady. I have read By Heart and Compass and loved it. When I can't put a book aside even if I need sleep, I judge it a really good read. And this one passed the test! I wish you much success with it. Linda