Monday, 8 October 2012

Author Spotlight - Q&A with Danielle Thorne

STEPH: I don't know much about "Death Cheater." What's it about?

DANI: Death Cheater is a young adult paranormal for all ages, set in West Tennessee and the fictional town of Omega. It tells the story of Athena Gray, who has lost her grandfather and is trying to get through high school without anyone finding out that she has a strange ability. She's able to see death and in some cases reverse it. When a dark spirit shows up in Omega and tries to blackmail Athena into using her powers for evil, her secret and her family and friends are in danger.

STEPH: How long did it take you to write?

DANI: I was very inspired by Athena's story once I had the idea, so it was a very quick writing process compared to my previous work with environmental and historical romances. It was a fun experience-- when you really enjoy what you're doing time flies.

STEPH: How much research did you have to do?

DANI: I'd visited and been inspired by ancient burial mounds in Pinson, Tennessee. There's a haunting atmosphere in that park, and it gave me a lot of my story ideas. The only research I needed for Death Cheater was to study the Chickasaw nation of that region and prehistoric people who dwelled there.

STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story within?

DANI: I love the cover of Death Cheater. Jenifer Ranieri did an amazing job capturing the very essence of the story. The woods of Omega are Athena's haven, but once they become dark and dangerous she loses that safe and comforting place. Athena has experience with insects and butterflies fluttering to life once she touches them, and her own journey throughout the story is a type of rebirth and realization of her strength and courage. I thought a butterfly was a perfect symbol to represent her story.

STEPH: Athena Gray is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weakness?

DANI: Athena's greatest weakness, like so many of us, is that she doesn't know how strong she is. She's insecure and suffers from real social anxiety, but she has courage that not everyone has; she's able to be true to herself no matter the circumstances, and she faces her fears with great courage.

STEPH: What does Dan find appealing about her?

DANI: Dan Lipinsky is Athena's new best friend. He's one of the most popular boys at school, but despite Athena's coolness toward others he sees right through her tough exterior and seems to understand her insecurity. Dan admires that Athena is smart and not a follower.

STEPH: What is the theme of the novel?

DANI: The theme of Death Cheater is enduring the little things and standing up to our darkest fears. My hope is that readers will be inspired by Athena carrying on despite her fears and the obstacles thrown in her path.

STEPH: As a writer, where do you draw inspiration from?

DANI: I’m often inspired by the places I visit. I love to see new things, even just a quirky road sign along the highway that may be funny or curious. I've learned to become an open minded-observer of the little things around me. For me, history and nature are full of stories waiting to be told. And the parts of ourselves we keep hidden from the world are great character traits waiting to be explored and analyzed.

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

DANI: I have a Kindle Fire at this time which I love reading books on from online, but I do wish I could find a PDF program that would give me text size options and better control for reading other files on it.

STEPH: Fun question: Are you going to dress up for Halloween this year? If so, what are you going to be?

DANI: I dress up every year and help my neighbors and neighborhood pull off a great Haunted Mansion and pirate tour. Last year I dressed as a voodoo woman a la Pirates of the Caribbean and this year I will probably play that role again. It's a good time.


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