Stopping by for her blog tour in celebration of her second release in the Mageri series, please join me in welcoming Dannika Dark to Pure Textuality for an interview! Also, be sure to see the bottom of the interview for your chance to win a Kindle copy of Twist!!!
Jena at Pure Textuality [Jena]: When did you decide that you wanted to be an author? Or was it something you’ve always wanted to do?
Dannika Dark [Dannika]: I could probably look back in some of my high school diaries and find the exact date, but it’s been a long time. I just never thought it would be a reality until self publishing came along. It is so difficult to get your foot in the door through a publisher, and even then there’s no guarantee of success. I’d been wanting to do this for such a long time that it was imperative to seize the opportunity, because life is too short.
[Jena]: Was writing something that came naturally to you or did you have to “cultivate” it? (schooling and such)
[Dannika]: I never went to school to learn how to write. I think so many people do but they never have that great idea. The cultivation came from years of nurturing this outlet by simply writing. I think you also have to be a reader. I’m passionate about reading, although now it’s more of a time issue to tackle my TBR list due to publishing deadlines.
[Jena]: Is there a particular character that you favor in the Mageri series?
[Dannika]: I think Justus is always going to be a favorite for me. We see other characters step forward in prominent positions, but I think he centers the story. If it wasn’t for Justus, I would have never written the Mageri Series. So, it’s hard not to love the man. He’s got a prickly personality, he’s a hardass, and women cannot keep their hands off of him. Yet, we see softer moments between him and my protagonist. It’s important when developing a character not to show all the cards. In reality, we’re all complex individuals. We show the world what we want them to see, or what our own life experiences have made us to be, but it’s not always who we are – not completely. I don’t want to make a character into a caricature. So there’s always glimpses of another side to who they are. I give him a lot of credit because he really did inspire me to write this series, and even though I love all of my characters for different reasons, Justus gets the spare key.
[Jena]: Is there a character that we would all be surprised to find out that you hate?
[Dannika]: Yes. I can’t say more because it would be in book three. It’s not a huge shocker, and my readers have no clue who I’m talking. But I’m sure a few will back me on this one. 😉
[Jena]: Is there a character you would consider expanding into a series of their own?
[Dannika]: Yes. In fact, I have. Can’t say who, can’t even say if the readers already know them. But I have written another book that was a planned series with this character. Whether or not it will be or remain at one book remains to be seen. Don’t you have elusive answers? 🙂 I will say who it’s not, and that’s Simon. Reason being I think he would have an awesome series of his own and then maybe he would stop complaining that I don’t write enough scenes with him in it. What would really be interesting is to write the book in first person POV from Simon’s perspective. It’s not something I plan to do, but I can only imagine the antics that man would get into.
[Jena]: When you started writing Sterling, did you intend to make it a series or was it originally a stand-alone book?
[Dannika]: It was a very long book when I wrote it. The way my writing goes is I do not outline a beginning and ending and fill in the middle. I take the journey with my characters, and often go back and do a few drafts. During the first draft, if that book is meant to be a series, I’ll know halfway through. I started getting ideas about a twist, and had already created a bit of one at the end of Sterling. I did not begin the book with the intention of it becoming a series, but when it was all said and done, I had written four books before leaping onto a new series. When I started drafting out book three just recently, I realized there were going to be a few unresolved things I wanted to expand on, and that would require a book five. It’s going to be a huge challenge, because I’m going to have to do a lot of work on book four to accommodate this. It’s not fair to my characters if I cut short, nor my readers. I’m not the kind of person who looks at series writing as a cash cow – something to continually milk until Bessie is udderly dry. (sorry, bad puns) I write until I do not have the inspiration to continue, otherwise the story falls flat. I’m a huge series reader, and get disappointed when authors drag it out far longer than they should. I’m also excited about writing new characters and stories, so it becomes difficult to devote my entire life to just one.
[Jena]: Do you have any idea how far you’re going to carry the series or is it open-ended at this point?
[Dannika]: I never like to leave a door completely shut. I will say that I’ve written four books, and I do plan to write a book five. When that will happen, I’m not sure, because writing an entire 100,000 page novel and then going back and working on the drafts is time consuming. It will require more work than the previous books. How the series will end is not written in stone, although I have an idea. It’s hard to think about because in real life, there is no “the end”. Life goes on. We know the characters will go on, and things will happen. With each book, I took time writing the end because I wanted readers to be satisfied. I’m not a fan of cliffhanger endings. Although who is to say that I won’t pull that one out of my hat one day? 😉
[Jena]: With the release of Twist, do you think that the fans will be happy with the direction your character(s) go or can we look forward to a shocker moment?
[Dannika]: I wisely chose to the title for a reason. There are a couple of twists in the book, but I think there’s one in particular that will take readers by surprise, because book one in no way sets us up for this. Will they be happy? Well, I hope so! Most of the readers that I’ve talked to are extremely happy, but those who are not do not seem to want to leave the series because of it. Each book will have revealing moments, and how much of a shocker that will be it’s hard to say, because I’m not sure how much the readers can see what’s coming. I like to send them on a journey down a dark street and make them turn corners. They may hesitate before taking a left – expecting something will be there – but they may not know what it is. I kind of like that idea.
[Jena]: Both Sterling and Twist have beautful covers! Who is your artist?
[Dannika]: Thank you so much! Oops, did I just reveal who my cover artist is? I love creating digital art and have been doing this for a couple of years as a hobby. I designed both covers and I’m currently working on the cover for book three. “Sterling” was a pretty risky move, because in Urban Fantasy, you don’t see many cover models in that pose with no burning cities behind her. It’s important that each of my covers embodies the spirit of the character and the book, so I layer upon layer the images until I have the concept that feels right. It means a lot when I receive compliments, because I take just as much pride in the artwork as I do with what’s inside.
[Jena]: What are your plans for future books? Any new releases after Twist on the horizon?
[Dannika]: Book three is due out this Fall and I’m SO excited! I will do the title reveal and the cover reveal soon (mostly because I procrastinate). I’ve written a novella that I’d love to publish and see what readers think, but I need to give it a test run on a willing victim and do more editing to it. There’s more coming, because I’ve written about four other series books. I kept jumping onto a new series because the ideas wouldn’t stop. When I got to the last one, I realized that that these books needed to be published so that I could write again. That’s why novellas are great; they give you the opportunity to write between editing. I fell in love with the Mageri series because it was my first one, even though I felt like my more recent books were better. You never forget your first love. Hopefully readers will be in for the long haul and be excited about each of the books that were born from the Mageri Series.