We finish today relaxing in western Montana, looking out through at the snowy mountains drinking wine. I don’t think this is actually Danica’s house on the left, but it might be.
Easing back with a glass of wine, mountains, relax, relax…oops, almost forgot about the interview.
1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?
I could give you the answer my publicist and editor’s would probably like you to have (the same one that is floating around the entire internet), but instead I’m going to delve a little deeper.
First, let me start of by saying I live in a college town in Montana where I’m surrounded by truly incredible people. I like to think of myself as a nerdy cowgirl. I’m cool, but I’m hardly the most fascinating person in my city… I’m surrounded by activists, biologists, MSN big guns, IBM hotshots, and women who are actively working to make the world a better place.
That being said, I aim to make a difference in my reader’s lives.
With each of my books my goal is to show the world for what it really is and to provide an escape. Life is hard, and to make good fiction, the character’s lives must be as true to life as possible. Yet, unlike reality, in fiction the characters have the chance to fix the wrongs and mend their hearts.
That being said, I always try to have my readers finish the book with a feeling of hope in their heart.
2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?
One of my favorite hobbies is rockhounding. I love to hike around crazy places around the world and look for interesting minerals and rock formations. My husband doesn’t have to buy me jewelry for birthdays; instead he gets me interesting and beautiful mineral specimens. (I’m currently under the spell of malachite.)
I meant what I said about the nerd thing…
3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as rock star?
If I hadn’t actively pursued writing, I have absolutely no clue what I would have become. I guess my dream job would have been a business owner. I love being my own boss.
4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?
I always love Jodi Picoult’s books. Her writing is poignant and deep, and it always touches on the moral ambiguity of real life.
I also love B.J. Daniels’ work. She is not only a wonderful writer, but a beautiful person.
5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four hour layover at the airport, why would your book(s) be great company?
That’s easy… The books I write are fast-paced and easy to read. They’re the perfect pick for a travel day as you can finish them by the time your feet touch home.
6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.
I have become a plotter. Before I ever start writing I do a great deal of research into the background of the plot and then I sit down and hammer out the details. I try to write 1-3k words a day until the book is finished. Then I set it aside for a couple of weeks (if I can) and come back to give it a thorough once-over. I cut away at it until it’s ready to go. Then I read it again before sending it to my beta-readers. They give it a read, send me their notes, I make the changes, and then it’s off to the editor/agent. After they go through it, I normally two/three rounds of editing before it hits the shelves.
7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”
If this is your first book, write the thing that scares you the most… use the idea that you’ve been rolling around in your head for years, but are afraid it will offend people. Just do it.
8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?
Pretty much exactly that. I step on toes, but over the years of being a writer I have come to accept the fact that no one reads the same book. What a reader takes away from a book may be something completely different than what I’ve intended (for both bad and good) based on what is going on in their lives. Therefore, instead of trying to make everyone happy, my goal is always to write the best book I can and hope that it makes most readers walk away with a feeling of hope.
9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?
Like most writers, I couldn’t stop writing. I currently working on book 2 and 3 of the Montana Heroes Series with Harlequin Intrigue and I’m also working on a new three book paranormal romance series (the Irish Traveller Series) with Diversion Books.
10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?
I’m willing to share (but you can always check out my website:
www.DanicaWinters.net or chat with me on
Twitter @DanicaWinters or
I’m pretty open and honest, so if you ask a question I will answer.
Here is the “unofficial” book blurb for Dust Up With the Detective (Book 2 of the Montana Heroes Series, being published mid-September 2016):
One bad decision can cost you your life…
When she was young, Blake West had been in a rush to escape the a mining town in Montana where she’d been born and raised; instead, a single decision left her with a child and dreams that are now nothing more than a distant memory.
To support her daughter, Blake has taken a job as a Sherriff’s Deputy. Her days are filled with little more than automobile accidents and drunken brawls until the day Detective Jeremy Lawrence’s brother goes missing.
Together Blake and Detective Lawrence must uncover the clues about his brother’s possible demise, all while keeping a safe distance from the feelings that surface between them. As the mystery unfolds, only one thing becomes clear—not everything is as it seems and sometimes, even in rural Montana, the bad guy wins.
And the blurb for Once a Gypsy (Book 1 of the Irish Traveller Series, being published November 2016):
Helena has never fit in with her Irish Traveller family. Aside from her opposition to marriage and her determination to attend university, Helena holds a secret that would make her even more of an outcast: She has the gift of the Forshaw, the ability to see the future.
When she meets Graham, a handsome country man who promises to teach her to control her powers, Helena resists. She is afraid of the damage her abilities might do, and any involvement, especially romantic, with non-gypsies is forbidden. But fate has other plans for Helena’s clairvoyance―and her relationship with Graham.
Smoke and Ashes
Montana Heroes Series
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue
Date of Publication: May 1, 2016
ISBN: Paperback: 9780373699070
Large Print: 9780373749614
Number of pages: 224
Word Count: 50-55k
Cover Artist: Harlequin Intrigue
Montana’s bravest…and hottest
With a mysterious arsonist on the loose in Missoula, fire inspector Kevin Jensen saves more than Heather Sampson’s house. The sexy single father rescues her from an abusive marriage—and discovers his own past failures don’t have to rule his life. Especially when sparks between him and Heather ignite irresistible desire.
But who’s the arsonist? Why target Heather? What’s his shocking motive? When Heather faces off with him in a brutal attack, she needs her “white knight” as much as he needs her. Both have looked into their souls and risked their broken hearts for each other. Now Kevin will have to risk his life and his heart.
He looked down at Heather Sampson as he pulled the matchbox from his pocket. The box dropped from his hand, spilling matches on her bedroom floor in a heap of deadly promise. Crouching down, he scooped them back into the container, careful to move quietly, afraid that at any second she would awaken and find him standing over her.
Her eyes were closed and her lips slightly parted, as if she waited for a kiss from her Prince Charming. She should have known better. There was no such thing as Prince Charming. There were only toads and a precious few men like him—men who worked to make everything just.
The sad truth was that there was no justice in marriage—at least not in any of the marriages he had witnessed. No. Marriage was one lie after another. One hurt feeling masked with a fake smile, only to have another lie strip it away. It was an endless cycle of pain.
What was the point? What was it all for?
As far as he could tell, it was for nothing more than ego and some idealistic hope that if they acted happy, if they faked it well enough, maybe they could finally believe it themselves.
He was here to make her a martyr, not that she would understand, but this was his chance to show her and the world what her marriage truly was—nothing more than smoke and ashes. A fire that had yet to burn itself out. But at last the time had come. The hour was here for him to stoke the flames and let them consume every crumb of her failing marriage.
The inferno could have it all.
He walked out of her bedroom and made his way downstairs, where the glorious scent of gasoline filled the space. Unlike the others, Heather’s house would go up in a flash. In one giant fireball the whole charade would be over—the secrets, the lies, the fake smiles and hurt feelings. It would all be gone, and all her pain could be for a higher purpose.
The night air blew into the house, diluting the gas’s perfume. He made sure to leave the door open as he stepped out and walked toward the garage. A puddle of gas sat on the sidewalk, just waiting for him.
He struck the match.
It was so much easier this way.
The fire’s smoke curled skyward, creating a trail that led to the heavens. If he had his way, life would be better and she would be free.
About the Author:
Danica Winters is an Amazon bestselling author who has won multiple awards for writing books that grip readers with their ability to drive emotion through suspense and occasionally a touch of magic. Most recently, Danica was the winner of the Paranormal Romance Guild’s Paranormal Romantic Suspense Book of the Year Award and Chanticleer Media’s Paranormal Book of the Year for her novel Montana Mustangs. She is currently the finalist for the Chatelaine Award.
When she’s not working, she can be found in the wilds of Montana testing her patience while she tries to understand the allure of various crafts (quilting, pottery, and painting are not her thing). She always believes the cup is neither half full nor half empty, but it better be filled with wine.
Danica Winters is represented by Nicole Resciniti and Lane Heymont of the Seymour Agency.
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