Author Spotlight Interview: Dana Claire
Today’s interview is with young adult author of action packed, romantic fantasy fiction that will keep you up at night, Dana Claire. It was an absolute pleasure to get to know more about her writing style, life outside of writing and upcoming projects!
HG: How would you describe yourself to somebody who isn’t familiar with your writing yet?
DC: I am a hopeless romantic and an action junkie. Toss a couple supernatural, magical, or sci-fi ingredients mix it in a bowl with high school angst and love, add a dash of imminent threats and viola, my Young Adult book babies are born. If you love exciting, spine-tingling moments, with chaptering ending hooks, you’ll be smitten with my writing. I like to tell my readers: Come for the romance, stay for the non-stop action.
HG: Fantastic. You have mentioned that you’ve been writing since you were a young girl and always dreamed of seeing your name on the spine of a book. Tell us a bit about your publishing journey.
DC: My journey started as a zealous toddler creating imaginary worlds between the pages. My room overflowed with books, a sea of rainbow-colored spines. And every night, my mother and I would cuddle and read together. I’d construct my own version of my favorite bedtime tales and my parents would happily play along. Later, my mother encouraged me to pursue a life-long dream to be a published author and write stories that would appeal to young people. We had made a promise to co-author a book together, but unfortunately it never came to fruition. After I graduated college, my mother became fatally ill dying two years later of cancer at a relatively young age. It took some time before I processed my grief, but I knew that my writing dreams needed to be fulfilled; as much for myself as for my mother. But the pain of her loss was too great that I didn’t revisit our shared dream until 2020. Determined to make good on my promise to my mom, I buckled down and wrote the stories that had consumed my mind for years. My first book, The Connection, book one of a trilogy was published later that year. Today, I have three published books with a paranormal romance called Hunterland purchased by CamCat Books to be released February 7th, 2023.
HG: I’m sorry for your loss. How inspiring that you continued to fulfill your shared dream. What have been the challenges you’ve faced in your publishing career?
DC: I’d say my biggest challenge started for me after I wrote my first novel. I sat at my computer staring into the illuminated screen and said, “Now what?” At first, I hadn’t a clue about self-publishing or traditional publishing. I researched and tried to wrap my head around the pros and cons. Then I decided to try each path and realized there is a common challenge for both, marketing. You may have written a scintillating tale, but no one will know about it unless you market it to the public. Exhausting all efforts on my own, I turned to a publicist. I’ve since been retained by The Next Step PR firm and boy did that make a difference. Kiki Chatfield, the CEO and owner, champions for me weekly. She even sits on calls with my publisher to ensure we have the best marketing and sales plan for my books. Writing the novel is the easy part, letting the world know you and your work exist, now that’s like competing in the Hunger Games, survival of the fittest.
HG: Totally! So glad to hear that you’ve had a positive experience with your publicist. Is there anything you’d do differently? Advice to aspiring authors?
DC: I have so much advice, I could talk about it for an entire week and still not be done. But I’ll shorten my answer to save the readers from my soapbox. Aspiring authors, hear me roar! Take the time to learn the industry. Go to conferences, online/virtual events, speak to other authors, and do your research. And stay positive! Do not let self-doubt cloud your ability to fulfill your dream. You are good enough. Your story does need to be heard. And you do have an audience for it. Many writers get caught up in the insecurity of a lonely occupation. Make friends in the industry by joining writer groups, going to events, and staying connected online. My success as a writer is only partially from my deliciously captivating stories, the rest is from the love of my fans, my friends, and my family. Without them, I’d be still living my stories in my head rather than seeing them in print.
HG: Love that advice! Tell us a little bit about your actual writing process. When and where do you write?
DC: My writing process is not a sexy process but it works. Just like in any job occupation, time management is key. I schedule time to write whether that is early in the morning, nights, and/or weekends. I make small goals, 1,000 to 3,000 words per writing session or one to three chapter edits a day, whatever my work needs at the moment. I have distinct stages, writing days, line-editing days, character development days, etc. I also make time for marketing because as much fun as writing is, if I don’t advertise my work, no one will receive the blissful enjoyment of reading my books if they aren’t aware of it.
HG: Fantastic. Tell us a bit about The Blood Light Trilogy. What can readers expect? Is there a release date set for the final book? What feeling do you hope readers are left with when they finish it?
DC: The Blood-Light Trilogy is about two worlds in danger of extinction coming together for a common goal, survival. The two main protagonists are from two different planets both realizing their intended lives are about to change and that the balance of the universe lies in their hands. I hope readers feel empowered by my characters and their journey to save the worlds. At the end of the day, they are fighting for what we all are, the freedom to be who we are and love who we want. It’s a powerful message and one very relevant to current times. The Reprisal, book 3, does not have a release date yet. The goal was winter 2022 but because of other contracts, my PR firm and I are rescheduling the release date. But have no fear, 2023, is just around the corner. I can’t wait to share the final installment of Beatrice and Cash’s journey.
HG: That’s awesome! For fun, if the trilogy was turned into a movie, who would you cast as the main characters?
DC: This is one of my favorite questions. I’m so glad you asked. If The Blood-Light Trilogy was turned into a movie, Beatrice Walker, the female protagonist, would be played by Danielle Campbell. Danielle is best known for her character on The Originals TV show and has the most stunning hazel eyes. Without giving anything away, Beatrice’s eyes are significant in the storyline. Cash Kingston, the male protagonist, one of the most fun characters I have ever written, reminds me of Hero Fiennes Tiffin who I love in all the After movies. Hero has this sexy, bad boy look but also appears to have a gentle side. He’s like a gobstopper, hard exterior, soft center.
HG: Oooh, great actors! What can you tell us about any other projects you have in the works?
DC: I’ll admit, I am terrible at keeping secrets so to not get me in any trouble, I’ll keep it short! I’m relaunching The Reclaimed Kingdom November 15th, 2022, with extended content and a new cover. TRK is a retelling of Robin Hood with a female lead. It’s a fun-loving classic trope with a twist. The loveable motley crew of ruffians, the Band of Brothers, and Dru, the female Robin Hood pilfer from the rich to feed the poor while challenging the wicked Queen from her cruel power. My PNR, Hunterland, will be released February 7th, 2023. An enemies to lovers tale of a badass monster hunter falling for a girl caught up in supernatural serial killings. Later that year, The Chameleon Curse, a magical realism novel will be released (date TBD). And I’m currently pitching a historical fantasy fiction trilogy based on Greek mythology to agents which is hush hush! So, shhh don’t tell anyone!
HG: Lots of exciting things to look forward to! Switching gears, what do you enjoy doing when not writing?
DC: When I’m not writing, I’m staying active. Having been on QVC as a fitness co-host and featured in fitness apps and streaming TV, health and wellness are major hobbies of mine outside of writing and business. Both my husband and I like to hike, travel, ride bikes, anything that keeps us moving and grooving. When not soaking up vitamin D, I’m indoors teaching hot yoga in Los Angeles, California. I’ve had some fabulously famous students including Vince Vaughan, Alecia Moore (Pink), Gina Rodriguez, Zack Efron, Brooke Burke, Ryan Phillippe, and more. I’m humbled and honored to be in a side profession surrounded by some of the most caring, thoughtful, and aware people I’ve ever met. Staying active offsets the many sedentary moments in front of my computer. I’m fortunate to have such a work life balance.
HG: Incredible! If you could ask your author idol one question, what would it be?
DC: What’s your favorite conference you’ve attended to either talk about your books, or listen to other authors speak and why? I’m so curious to hear this question answered. I’m loving the conferences and events I’ve attended in the literary arena as of late and I’m curious what my favorite authors think and if there’s an event that’s flown under my radar that I should attend. You know like a secret exclusive author conference that only the big wigs get invited to 😉
HG: For fun, before we wrap up, let’s do a fast five! First one…coffee or tea?
HG: Bonfire or fireplace?
HG: Are you a morning bird or night owl?
DC: Hoot Hoot – Night Owl
HG: eBook or paperback?
DC: Ebook so I can read at night while my hubby sleeps.
HG: Tropical beach or rustic mountains?
DC: Tropical Beach
HG: For readers that want to find out more about your stories and keep up with you, where should they go to connect or learn more?
DC: I am now sharing my stories through speaking events and book signings, introducing more readers to the worlds I’ve created in The Blood-light Trilogy and The Reclaimed Kingdom. I recently attended WonderCon in Anaheim, CA for a book signing and promoting my new novel, Hunterland. This is only the beginning: I will also attend other writers’ events this year, including Comic-Con in San Diego, Authors in the Bluegrass, LitFest, YA Lit Summit, PNWA Conference, GLAWS, and Writer’s Digest. I also love hearing from fans. My email address is public: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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