Monday, 3 January 2011
STEPH: I don't know much about The Privateer. What's it about?
DANI: The Privateer is about a West Indies privateer with a pirating past. Julius Bertrand is doing the best he can to make it in society while carrying out clandestine work for the government. When a new doctor and his precocious daughter arrive to his island colony, Bertrand finds himself distracted by the idea of choosing a wife. His ambitions lead him to make regrettable choices that almost kill him and those he loves when his past catches up with him.
STEPH: I understand this is a re-release. How did it find a home with Desert Breeze?
DANI: The Privateer was contracted in 2007 with another company that sold out months before publication. Unfortunately, it saw little editing, and the new publisher did not honor the contract or my other subsequent books there. When The Privateer's sequel, By Heart and Compass, published with Desert Breeze, we discussed moving it to join its companion, and fortunately for me, it all worked out beautifully!
STEPH: How long did the story take to write?
DANI: The Privateer took me over a year to write, as it required massive amounts of research (including my first trip to the Caribbean). I was new to the Age of Sail genre, as well as early eighteenth century life in the West Indies, but my attraction to this period as well as my love of non-fiction history made it easy to garner the information. It opened up my imagination and made The Privateer truly an adventure to write. The Privateer was my first ever completed novel.
STEPH: Did you have to do a lot of research on the story?
DANI: Tons. I spent many long days on the upper floors of the Memphis City Central Library digging through old West Indies journals when I wasn't glued to documents online. I also read and reread the entire Jack Aubrey series (Master and Commander) written by Patrick O'Brian. His novel, Post Captain, inspired my story. I do not profess to be an expert, but I gave one hundred percent to the accuracy and atmosphere of this time. Age of Sail research is a continual learning process since I don't have a ship in my backyard.
STEPH: Do you cast your characters? If so, who are the leads?
DANI: My hero, Julius Bertrand, is a complete figment of my imagination, a probable patchwork of people I have known or read about. His companion, British officer Shane Adair, was inspired by Patrick O'Brian's Jack Aubrey. However, I did yearn to make him cleverer and less clumsy than O'Brian's lovable sea captain. As you can see, I’m don't usually type cast, but I do confess my heroine was based on the beautiful actress, Nicole Kidman, who takes my breath away.
STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? Which one?
DANI: Yes! I have a Sony Reader, about a year old, that I love very much. I wouldn't turn my nose up at a Kindle though!
STEPH: How long have you been writing?
DANI: I started writing in second grade and received my first national recognition at fourteen years old. Poetry came natural to me, but working up to novels has taken a lot of study and perseverance. For me, short story writing is the most difficult. I always find it a challenge and admire anyone who can create a strong message in so few words.
STEPH: Which state do you live in? Can you tell us a little about it?
DANI: I currently live in Georgia, although I was raised in Tennessee. I'm a bit of a gypsy, being born in Chicago and having lived all over the South. I've also lived in Idaho and Oklahoma. My favorite thing about Georgia is I'm only a few hours away from the Smoky Mountains in one direction, and the beach in another. I love the people here, the landscape and the culture. Living less than an hour from Atlanta is a blessing, too, because I love Theater and museums. Of course, my favorite place to visit is the Georgia Aquarium.
STEPH: What's your writing space like?
DANI: My office is a small converted bedroom with a small secretary, bookshelves, filing cabinet, and a craft table heaped with every gadget you can think of, from a laminator to printers to a postal scale. I also have my other interests crammed into other corners—couponing supplies and Cub Scout stuff.
STEPH: What country would you like to visit that you haven't yet?
DANI: I am dying to visit England, which is the primary country of my ancestors and the focus of my historical research for novel writing. I've done my genealogy back to the 1700's in two northern coal mining counties (as well as in Wales). I dream of walking where my ancestors walked. Plus, I want to sneak a visit in to Jane Austen's neck of the woods. And Whitehall. Who wouldn't?