Project Wonderful

Monday, April 20, 2009

Author Interview with Danielle Thorne

What are your favorite books and authors to read? If I’m going to read a book, it has to have romance or adventure. I love Jane Austen and have read all of her books. My favorite author though would be Patrick O’Brian. He wrote MASTER AND COMMANDER and turned it into an addictive series. I don’t see how anyone could get enough of Jack Aubrey (O’Brian’s hero). As far as just picking up a paperback to hit the beach, I love Clive Cussler.

Can you tell me little about what got you started in writing?
I had a lot of encouragement in my childhood. After winning an Honorable Mention in a national poetry contest with Scholastic, I felt like I really had a talent I could strive to cultivate. I didn’t always pursue publication because it wasn’t the right time, but I have always made writing a part of my life. It’s the portal through which I express myself.

Do you have a routine when you write?
I write during school hours when I have the most quiet. Raising four sons, three of whom are teenagers, makes for a lot of distraction (but in a good way). Sometimes it’s almost too quiet and I have to run a fan for white noise! I also stay up and write through the night when I’m into a project. I have to balance writing with other responsibilities life, so that takes some juggling. The important thing for me is to schedule and commit to writing times so I make progress. It’s too easy to come up with excuses for why you can’t.

Do you have any tips for a writer starting out? Besides “Just Do It,” I think I’d have to advise getting some good books. There are a lot of books out there that explain the fundamentals, and they really can help open your eyes to the technical process if you’re new at it. One book I came across that helped me tremendously was HOOKED, by Les Edgerton. I was having a hard time with my first few chapters and he helped me see what I needed and what I didn’t.


You just released a new e-book called The Privateer. Could you tell us a little about it?
THE PRIVATEER is my take on what kind of men actually lived and endured piracy during the Golden Age. My hero, Julius Bertrand, secretly privateers for the British. He has a pardon for past piracy and uses his experience to seek fame and fortune. Unfortunately old enemies want him out of the way when a secret shipment of diamonds sails through the Caribbean. Their attempts to get rid of him puts people he cares about in harm’s way.

What made pirates appealing? Are they better than ninjas? (laughs) Where TREASURE ISLAND made pirates intriguing, I think Disney’s take on pirates with the 2003 film has given them a whole new image of charm and appeal. Everyone loves a rebel, and pirates glam up the whole rebellion thing with ships, sword fighting, and buried treasure. It’s a pity that the truth is they were cold-hearted thieves and murderers; we all want to believe there had to be one good guy in the bunch to redeem them as a species. As far a ninjas, pirates were a lot less honorable. They were out for themselves and I don’t think they got quite the same kind of training. If you put Bruce Lee and Jack Sparrow in a room, much as I love old Jack, I’d have to put my money on Bruce every time.

How does The Privateer's setting and characters compare to what readers may be used to seeing about pirates in pop culture (like in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies)?
That’s a good question and I’m glad you asked it. THE PRIVATEER is not a tribute to the Pirates of the Caribbean series. It certainly did inspire me to ask questions like, Could there really have been good pirates? Could a British officer and a pirate ever form a friendship? And what kind of smart, plucky female might actually fall for a plunderer? THE PRIVATEER is set around the same era, 1729, about a decade after Blackbeard’s demise. I took artistic license and created my own island, San Madrid, but I set it in the Leeward Islands between Antigua and St. Kitts so that I could use their history and political figures to put a story together. My hero Julius Bertrand would probably have tolerated Jack Sparrow but only to a degree. I think Jack would make Bertrand grudgingly laugh. Bertrand has a pirating past and will do what he must to get ahead, but there is a noble streak running through him. He works with the British Navy and this gives him a sense of self-worth. Though his seeking social status colors him somewhat shallow in the beginning, this is what opens him up to love and putting up a fight when his past comes back to haunt him. Maybe if Jack Sparrow would have had that taste of acknowledgment, the movies would have ended differently.

Do you have a favorite part in the book? Once the true action begins to unravel, as one reviewer has said, it’s a runaway train. I love the chase sequences aboard ships in the final chapters. My battle scenes are all figments of my imagination and long hours of research melded together. Of course, I have never lived aboard a wooden ship of the line and engaged in combat, so I hope I did the scenes justice. It is an amazing feat to wage war by floating vessel with all that fire power. Those passages were my favorite to write and are still my favorite to read. I do have one special scene that is dear to my heart. My favorite emotional turning point would be when Bertrand realizes he has nothing left but a girl who loves him. In that moment, he understands nothing else he had, has, or will have, will ever matter as much as being cherished. He goes so far as to contemplate piracy--that past he has let go of--in order to get her back.

Would you fall for a pirate? If I were a literary character, absolutely. Despite that the Golden Age was a terrible time, in many respects I do believe there were some good men out there, even some good pirates, who meant no harm. The courage it takes to live a life at sea--who wouldn’t want a man with guts like that? As far as in reality, those pirates are some nasty villains. I wouldn’t want to rub shoulders with one in real life. It’s much easier to take risks from behind the pen.

Author’s Website: www.daniellethorne.jimdo.com
Publisher’s Website:
www.awe-struck.net

24 comments:

Danielle Thorne said...

Thank you for the interview, Shannon. I hope your readers enjoy the interview.

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Danielle and Shannon, I loved the interview and Dani, your enthusiasm for this story definitely came shining through. The cover is exciting and evokes all kinds of visions of love and treasure on the sea under the full moon. I'm really looking forward to some quiet time (without interruptions)to read this one.

Author Ernie Johnson said...

Hi Danielle;

I wish you well with this. It sounds fascinating, to say the least. You've got intestinal fortitude to write a manworthy book.

Nice interview, Shannon

Ernie

Vanessa Kelly said...

Hi Danielle. Congrats on the book. I love pirate heroes - the ultimate alpha male.

Kimberly said...

Great interview, Danielle! Pirates and pirate novels have always held a special place in my heart and on my bookshelf. I look forward to adding this one to my collection!!

John Wayne said...

With the recent headline news of pirates, readers will get a chance to see a little history of pirateering in the 1700's. This one appears like it will have a happy ending with romance being involved. Good luck! Have you pitched it as a traditional book as yet? I'm still unconvinced eBooks are a new phenom. I've had one out on the market for three years and it gets rare notice. Of course, I live in the South and we still want to read our books and newspapers with them in our hand.

Keta Diablo said...

Danielle,

I had no idea this was about pirates! My all-time fave subject. I'll have to buy it now so I can read about those battle scenes and your wild imagination.

Best of luck, Keta Diablo
http:ketaskeep.blogspot.com

HeatherB said...

Danielle, great interview! Now I am going to look at the publishers link and check it out! Congrats on the 4 boys, you KNOW there is a special place in heaven for moms with all boys, right? hehe
Heather
www.blazeofbeauty.com

Kim Richards said...

I agree with you on how we glorify what were criminals of their time. It makes you wonder what the future generations will make of some of ours.

The book sound very interesting.

Kelley said...

Hi Danielle, from a fellow Awe-Struck author. I have seen other posts of The Privateer and will add it to my reading list. Love the cover!

Brian said...

A great interview Danielle. Knowing you a little already it was great to get a more in-depth insight into you and your work. Well done, and my best wishes for your future literary success.

Well done on a great interview job Shannon. I learned much about Danielle and her work.

Brian L Porter
Author, 'A Study in Red - The Secret Journal of Jack the Ripper'.

Redameter said...

I love your cover. Who did it, and did you have a say in how it came out?

danie88 said...

Hi Danielle,

great interview! I love a good pirate story! :)

Miss Mae said...

This was a superb interview, and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more of Dani's book. I've read an excerpt, and loved it. I'm hoping to find some quiet time myself (um, first I better find the definition of that!), so I can read this book. I'm definitely intrigued!

Linda Swift said...

Great interview, Danielle. You've given me a whole diffeent outlook on pirates! And I can't wait to real your book which I've already bought. And no wonder you are such an energetic person and write such energetic stories. With four boys, how could you do otherwise?
Linda

Danielle Thorne said...

Thanks for visiting Confuzzled today and for your comments. They are appreciated so much.

Re: my book cover--the artist is Mia Romano who was fantastic to work with. She did both of mine and did some amazing professional jobs--and I could actually afford it. A real sweetheart and open to the author's vision with great ideas of her own. Quick turnaround, also. It is my hope to be able to use her every time!

MarthaE said...

Hello Danielle & Shannon! Very nice interview! I like your book premise. Nice cover too! I think pirates do get glamorized occassionally. There is that moral dilemma even for the privateers in war time... sort of like Robin Hood. Best wishes for success with the book (and with your 4 boys too!)

Anonymous said...

Danielle, I was wondering, do you still write poetry, and do you see any professional opportunities in it?

Nicole said...

I love to hear about a book from it's author. Good interview! Thanks-

Danielle Thorne said...

In reply to the poetry query: I don't write poetry very often anymore unless I'm venting. As I began writing fiction I soon realized that alot of my purple prose was poetry. I had written descriptively for so many years-I had to stop trying to write poetry AS prose. That was a tough habit to break.

I have never found poetry to be very lucrative, but some people do seem to do very well with it. The important thing is to just write what you love. You can find some way to profit with it later--but no matter what it is, it will take alot of hard work.

For poetry, I recommend subscribing to The Best Free Poetry Contests Newsletter. I don't have the link on me...but it's a great ezine and site.

Danielle Thorne said...

In reply to the poetry query: I don't write poetry very often anymore unless I'm venting. As I began writing fiction I soon realized that alot of my purple prose was poetry. I had written descriptively for so many years-I had to stop trying to write poetry AS prose. That was a tough habit to break.

I have never found poetry to be very lucrative, but some people do seem to do very well with it. The important thing is to just write what you love. You can find some way to profit with it later--but no matter what it is, it will take alot of hard work.

For poetry, I recommend subscribing to The Best Free Poetry Contests Newsletter. I don't have the link on me...but it's a great ezine and site.

Danielle Thorne said...

Correction: The Winning Writers Newsletter

William said...

Hello Danielle,
Sounds like a great story and I will definitely put it on my list to download. Would appreciate a mention of my Book, "Fires of Belenus", which is a Adventure with a touch of romance set in ancient Gaul. I suspect you might like my story as well. As for your story, I am fascinated with stories about Blackbeard and Kidd. I relished all the O'Brian books and Forester as well. I am not big on "plucky" females. My heros have to be imperfect males or females or others, which is one reason I admired Jack Sparrow, but generally those Disney pirate movies were made for kids. If I were you, I would be greasing the paper with a modern day pirate tale, before the tsumani hits. Also, that is a great cover!

Take Care
William Russeth

Chiron said...

Wow, great interview! Danielle, your book sounds just amazing. You obviously have done your research and come up with an amazing plot.

I also really loved reading about your writing process. It's always fun to catch a glimpse into an author's life!

Smiles,
Chiron O'Keefe
www.chironokeefe.blogspot.com