Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Author Interview: Dana Ellington Myles

Hi there everybody! First off I want to apologize that the word verification for comments has been turned back on due to numerous spammy comments. Sad day! I hope you will all still comment though, because I love to know that people are reading!

Today I want to introduce you to Dana Ellington Miles! Hi Dana, and thanks for joining us today! To start off, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

Since the age of seven, I cannot remember when the written word was not a part of my life. I didn’t consider myself a writer though, despite having excelled in writing at school, or having kept a journal since I was fifteen. It wouldn’t be until my late twenties when I made the connection that I’d been writing for almost as long as I’d been reading, thus I felt it was okay to admit, I was a writer. From there it wasn’t long before I knew I was destined to wow the world with my short stories, novellas and novels.  At the time of this writing, I have three books in print. I didn’t go through a vanity press, or spend the days sending query after query to publishers and literary agents. Instead, I did everything except the printing and binding; from book cover design, to buying my own ISBN and building my own website. I found a book manufacturer close to home who took my manuscripts and turned them into printed and bound masterpieces.  I continue to write and self-publish, looking forward to the day when I write novels for a living.

So interesting! Thanks for all that info about your publishing route. Why do you think someone like your books?

They’re entertaining, and great if you’re looking for light reading to fill in any down time in a busy schedule.

What made you decide to be a writer, and when was that?

I was born a writer.  I made the conscious decision to pursue it as a career in 2008.

How old were you when you finished your first book?

I was 38 years old.

How long did it take you to write it?

Many, many years as my first book was a collection of short stories and such I’d had written over a span of 10 years.

Do you have any published works?

I have three published books (both print and e-version); I had columns published in a community newspaper several years ago, and I have a short story in an e-book currently on sale.

Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo? If so, how many times?

I’ve made the attempt at least five years.

That's great that you've kept on trying even if you didn't win. I love that! What do you do to keep yourself going when you aren’t motivated?

Not a thing.  It’s rare that I don’t want to write so when I don’t feel like it, I take it as a sign that my muse wants us to rest.  At those times, I keep busy doing other things I enjoy.

Definitely some great advice. What do you like to read?

My first love was horror; I was a Stephen King fanatic.  I’d sprinkle in a little Edgar Allen Poe, Anne Rice, Dean Koontz, or Peter Straub, but for the most part, if there were ghosts, demons, or some other supernatural entity, I was there. But then, I got turned onto Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, and Kim Harrison.  So now, I’m a monster romance, horror, mystery fan.

Are there particular writers that you admire?
I’m a fan, even though I don’t read them much, of writers from the 1800s.  I know, it’s weird, but the turns of phrase, the lyrical ways they put words together; the lush descriptions of settings.  I think the English language has devolved considerably so it’s refreshing to read Mary Shelley, Jane Austin...I’m enjoying The Complete Sherlock Holmes right now and Sir Author Conan Doyle has renewed my love of the language. 

I am also a fan of older English, especially in Jane Austin's books. What have you learned about writing from reading the books that you love?

First and foremost, I’ve learned how lazy I’ve been with my vocabulary.  I need to increase my knowledge of words so I can begin to vary and enrich my word choice when I write.  In doing so, I think my overall story telling will become better because I’ll be more able to bring a scene to life yet still remain succinct and clear.

If there was one author you could meet with and learn from one on one, who would you choose?

That’s a tough one.  From the authors I enjoy who are living, I’d chose Dr. Maya Angelou.  Man, to be seated at her feet just listening to her advice would be a most awesome experience.  From the dead authors, any of the women authors from the 19th Century.  Would love to get their perspective on what is was like finding any type of success in an era and a field that was so opressive.

A very interesting choice! What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?

WRITE.  Put words to page as often as you can.  Next, never settle – keep striving to perfect your craft.

Any advice for the editing process?

Don’t take it lightly.  Editing is so crucial to showing you are a conscientious writer and care about your readers. 

If you could do everything over (writing your book, or publishing, etc.) would you change anything?

I’d take my own advice about editing.  My first self-publishing effort was not my best (laugh).  I didn’t have anyone read my work before I sent it off to the printer and I had given it a cursory look over myself.  You always need fresh eyes.  I got the proof from the printer, did the dance of joy, and promptly ordered fifty copies.  Sold ‘em all too.  THEN went back and looked at the proof.  It was ugly. 

Is there anything particularly helpful you have found as you have written/edited/published?

The indie writing community has been invaluable; I’ve met so many key people by networking with this huge group of folks – utilize the social networks to find the many groups out there.

Fantastic idea! I've experienced the same thing. Now for some more general questions: I always have to ask this, just for fun! What did you want to be when you were little?

A vampire.  Seriously, I wanted to be an immortal, blood sucker.  Mind you, I saw myself as being cool, and you know, powerful.  I was only going to feed on bad guys so I guess you could have considered me a Vampire Bat Woman. (eh, eh?  see what I did there?  Not so funny, huh.  Sorry.  Ahem)

So awesome! Secretly, I wanted to be Peter Pan ;) Do you plan on being a fulltime writer, or do you have other career plans?

That’s the plan – being able to leave the world of the corporate rat race behind and live comfortably, trotting the globe and writing novels for a living.

Gosh, that sounds fantastic doesn't it? That's what I'm aiming for as well. How long have you been writing?

It seems as if I’ve been doing it forever, but the reality is more like twenty years.

What do you write? Specific genres, ages groups, etc.

I made up my own genre.  I call what I write, Transformative Fiction for Women.  The more popular genre would be, Chick Lit.  There’s a little romance tossed in for fun, but mostly, I write fiction for women ages 18 to ancient; I want my fiction to leave women feeling empowered; it’s all about raising self-esteem.

Why that particular genre/age group?

It’s where I am in my life and since my writing is just a reflection of what’s going on in my life, here we are.

Ebook, paperback, or hardcover?

So far, just e-book and paperback.  I’m self-published so have to go with what I can afford and right about now, hardbacks are a touch outside my budget.  (smile)

What are you currently working on?

I’m finishing up edits on my second full length novel. I am in the beginning stages of pulling together another short story collection, and I have three novels on the hard drive in various stages of outline and initial scene drafting.

What makes your writing unique?

I’d like to believe my themes set me apart as well as the fact that I don’t write in any particular genre.  I hope my writing is universal and appealing to a wide variety of readers who enjoy fiction involving female leads.

Do have any writing rituals? Treats you have to have, places you have to be, etc.?

Nope.  Pretty much wherever, whenever, if I’m struck with inspiration, I write.

What are some of your hobbies besides writing and reading?

I love 3-D puzzles, going to movies, and spending time with good friends, just hanging out.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what do you listen to?

I listen to music or I’ll have the TV on, or I’ll sit in silence.  It really doesn’t matter whether I have background noise or not.  When my muse commands me to write, I write.

It has been so great to have you here today Dana! Thanks for your time! Finally, where can people go to learn more about you and your work? and Satin Sheet Diva on Facebook.

No comments:

Post a Comment