Welcome to my first ever author interview – AHHH! You should all know by now how much I adore Danielle and her brilliant Wormwood series. She isn’t only one talented writer but also an incredible person and friend. She holds a special place in my heart and this is why I really wanted my first interview to be all about her and to shine a light on her brilliance!
Danielle was more than happy to oblige (because she’s awesome) and answered my questions with as much depth and heart as I was hoping for.
First of all, thank you so much for this terrific honour, Sarah! I’m truly touched that you invited me to do this author interview. Your first one!!! Okay, here goes…
✾ Your Wormwood series is about angels sent down to eradicate humans. What made you choose angels?
My original idea was aliens, but my husband talked me out of going that route because it was too common. He was right! So I tried to think about other ways the world could end and started researching old stories and folklore about the apocalypse. I ended up being intrigued by religious mythologies about the end of the world and loosely based Wormwood on a melding of these stories. The three main influences are Christian, Hindu and Babylonian. Angels are drawn from the Christian stories. Kali is from Hindu scripture, while Tiamat and Merodach are Babylonian.
✾ How do you come to the decision of axing off a character?
Not easily. I spend a lot of time developing my characters, and it’s painful to pull the plug on them. Sometimes I do it for realism (in a harsh world like the one I’ve created, death is necessary for the story to be believable), and sometimes a certain death is an essential puzzle piece within a grander picture.
✾ Tiamat is an unusual name, where did it come from?
Tiamat is the name of the monster of chaos from ancient Babylonian mythology.
✾ Who is your favourite out of all the Nephilim?
Tiamat. Absolutely Tiamat!
✾ How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
None. If I don’t love the idea enough to finish it, then I won’t start it.
✾ What kind of research do you do and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I do most of my research online, but I also contact experts, and I do “field” research. I spent about 6 months collecting information and writing notes before I wrote a single word of Wormwood. I also continued research after I began writing. I’ll look up anything—from background stories about names to the stages of decay after a person dies (yeah, it’s nasty, but necessary). I also do hands-on research, which is my favourite. The absolute best was when I spent a day learning about crossbows. Shooting bolts into targets was so much fun!
✾ How did publishing your first book change your writing process?
I don’t think my writing process really changed after completing book 1. Because I don’t have much time to write, it took me about 5 years to finish Wormwood. I had most of my routines figured out by the time I finished.
✾ What did you edit ‘out’ of Wormwood or Angel of Shadow?
I’ve made quite a few cuts, but the most notable ones are a prologue from Wormwood (Tiamat’s birth and later, his mother’s death), and an entire chapter about Bram from Angel of Shadow. It wasn’t easy to cut them, but Tiamat’s prologue gave too much away about him when I wanted readers to be unsure about trusting his character, and Bram’s chapter never quite fit into the story properly. I loved both of these, however, so I’ll be putting them to good use. I’ll be offering Bram’s chapter to readers on my newsletter list. As for Tiamat’s prologue, I’m considering using that in Wormwood’s prequel, Monster.
✾ Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad reviews?
I read every word of every review and take it all to heart. So a good review can be inspirational and motivating to me. But a bad one…? Well, what human being would be unmoved by someone publicly trashing their work? It’s soul crushing. I’m very fortunate that I haven’t had many bad reviews, but like any author, it’s happened. After being devastated by a particularly nasty one, a friend gave me some great advice. She had me look up bad reviews on some of my favourite authors—writers who I thought were brilliant. That gave me perspective. A bad review still hurts, but now I remind myself that not every book is for every person. So that helps. As for good reviews, well, they’re like oxygen. They fuel my writing and drive me to deliver the best possible story to my readers. In fact, it was due to the enthusiasm from readers and reviewers (like Sarah here!) that gave me the inspiration I needed to dig in and finish Angel of Shadow.
✾ What is your writing Kryptonite?
Anything! I will wander off and do house work, rewire the electricity and learn to speak Spanish when I should be sitting down to write. Seriously! I’m so bad. Distractions and a need for perseverance both prove to be my biggest writing hurdles.
✾ If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
✾ What advice do you have for new writers?
If you’re going to do anything, do it well. Polish your work. Send it off to some beta readers for feedback and then revise. Polish it again. Send it to be edited and then fix what you need to. Don’t ever self-publish or query a sub-par manuscript. An agent or publishing house won’t give you a second chance. Join some author groups (Facebook is a great place) to make connections and hear advice. And finally, enjoy the process. Writing can be hard work, but remind yourself to love what you’re doing. Love your characters. Love your story. That will make all the difference in the world.
✾ Will Tiamat and Kali get a happily ever after ..? (this one is just for me ☺)
Ah, Sarah!!! You know I can’t say! But… maybe I can hint that you’ll be happy with the outcome of the trilogy. Very happy. I promise I won’t let my readers down. I hope that will do for now! ☺
Congratulations on conducting your first author interview, Sarah! It was an absolute pleasure and an honour to be a part of it. Thank you so much for asking me!!!
Thank you so much Danielle for answering my questions with sincerity and passion! You know I love you! ❤
I hope you enjoyed my very first author interview guys!
Until next time ❣