... Dawn Napier
1. Tell me about your book, Storyland, and where you got your inspiration for it?
Storyland is a horror/fantasy novel about the end of the world. Human nightmares and fairy tales have come to life and want to kill everything that moves. The idea grew organically from a discussion on an Internet forum about dragons. I made the comment that fantasy stories about dragons are almost always set in medieval times, and someone else responded that in modern times our weaponry would make dragons less of a threat, so the story wouldn't be as exciting. I thought that that was not necessarily true, if you took away some of our technological advances and gave dragons the sort of slinky, sly lifestyle of a coyote. Coyotes can survive anywhere, even in big cities. I wrote a few short stories set in this world I envisioned, where elements of fantasy would have the advantage over human technology. Those short stories became Part One of the book, and then in Part Two, I blended elements of Part One to create Alicia's own personal story.
2. Do you admire your own work?
Most of the time. I'm not completely satisfied with it, and I know I have a long way to go. But I know I can entertain people, and the more I do it the better I get.
3. Have you ever read or seen yourself as a character in a book or movie?
I guess I could be a female version of Walter Mitty.
4. What’s the most blatant lie you’ve ever told?
"I love your poem. Don't change a word." This was to a frenemy. I was a very passive-aggressive teenager.
5. What sort of Starbuck’s coffee would your characters order? Simple coffee, complicated soy-non-fat-extra-espresso-half-caff-nightmare?
Alicia would definitely get plain black coffee or a shot of espresso. She doesn't have time to sit around and sip a latte. Places to go, vampires to kill.
6. What’s your Porn Star name? (To get this you add the name of your first pet to the name of the street on which you lived as a child.)
7. Which book do you wish you’d written?
A Game of Thrones. A Song of Ice and Fire is the most amazing series, so rich and deep.
8. What was the point you realised that being an author was no longer a dream but a reality?
I don't think I ever treated it like a dream. Being an author always felt like something that I was going to make happen eventually. There were times when it felt like a very distant reality, but a reality nonetheless. I'm still not 100% where I want to be yet, but I'm getting closer all the time.
9. How do you handle working with an editor without letting pride get in the way?
After the first five hundred rejection slips, you've already had a lot of practice at swallowing pride.
For me, the initial viewing is the worst. I take a deep breath, open the file and read as fast as I can. It's like ripping off a bandage. Once I've done that, I can go back and approve the corrections without fuss.
10. How do you deal with brilliant ideas that pop up while you’re writing something else?
I have a special notebook where I jot down ideas as they happen. If it's a piece that I know will be very short, like a single day to write, I'll take a break from the main project to write it really quick.
11. How did you chose your genre?
I didn't, not consciously. I started writing stories when I was six or so, but most of them were just imitations of cartoons I'd watched. The first really original story I ever wrote was a ghost story. I'd had a scary thought, and I wrote it down to get it out of my head. The story scared the hell out of me, and I loved it. I've been addicted to horror and dark fantasy ever since.
12. What sort of environment do you write in? (e.g. quiet room, a cupboard with headphones on, in a death match with the cat for control of the keyboard)
I write longhand in a spiral notebook, anywhere I can. Whenever I have more than a few minutes to sit still, I'm scribbling. I write at the library, on the couch in front of the TV, sitting in the middle of the kids' bedroom floor supervising their cleaning skills, anywhere at all.
13. Would you rather be the good guy or the bad guy in a movie?
Definitely the good guy. Good guys get to live more often, and when they die it's always in a really meaningful way.
14. What was your favourite subject at school?
Cultural anthropology. I had a teacher who I loved. He would have made a good Dead Poet Society-type protagonist.
15. Do you prefer blue or black inked pens?
Black ink, definitely. I like a dark, thick line.
16. Is there a message in your novels you want the readers to grasp?
I write to entertain my readers, and any message that they find that pleases them is good enough for me. I often have a theme in mind when I'm polishing the story, but it might not be the same as what a reader could discover.
"Creatures of fantasy and nightmare have returned to the real world, and human beings are now an endangered species. Fairytale monsters have come to life, and the lessons they teach are grim.
Out of the ashes of civilization's ruin rises Alicia, a gritty young girl born and raised in this terrifying new world. With a pistol in one hand and her trusty machete in the other, Alicia forges through nightmare after nightmare in search of a safe haven and trustworthy friends."
“What’s your name?” Alicia asked the gorgon.
“Janelle. You? I’m guessing it’s not really Samaritan, first name Good.”
“No. It’s Alicia. Thanks—for being here.”
“Nah, thanks to you for being so sweet. Most folks don’t even look at little Drake, let alone give a crap what happens to him.”
Alicia walked over to the beat-up cardboard box and looked down at the baby again. Drake stirred and yawned, exposing a pink forked tongue.
“The magic’s getting stronger, isn’t it?” Alicia whispered.
Dawn Napier grew up in Waukegan, Illinois and upstate New York. Her earliest memories are of re-imagining favorite cartoons on paper and inventing her own. She has a husband, three kids, and a ridiculous number of pets. She reads adventure fantasy, horror, science-fiction, or anything else that takes her away from it all.