Aurora is pleased to welcome Dana Davis, a four time award-winning author of fantasy and science fiction. Dana recently signed multiple book contracts with SynergEbooks Publishing. Her latest YA fantasy, Breach of Worlds is now available.
Dana has always been a sci-fi/fantasy fan, but when she was a kid, there weren't a lot of sci-fi/fantasy books with girls as the main characters.
"I felt cheated that boys got to do all the fun stuff in novels. My young adult books are written from girls’ perspectives. There are, of course, boys and men as strong characters in the books, but I tend to have a girl as the main character," she said.
"If you weren't a writer, what would you be?" I asked.
"Hmm, that's a hard question because I really love my work. But if I had to choose a different career, I would probably be an archaeologist, an astronomer, or perhaps a paranormal researcher. I love the unknown and the quest of finding answers. I think I'm a researcher at heart."
She uses books and the internet quite a bit, but she also travels and takes part in local activities that are relevant to her books.
"My ancestors were Celts from Ireland, Scotland and England, so I sometimes use my own genealogy and family stories in my work. Fictionalized, of course," she said. "And there's nothing like traipsing through a real castle in England or Scotland to get the feel for a fantasy story. Currently, I’m scheduled for a local ghost hunt with a paranormal investigation team and plan to use my experiences in my paranormal books."
She always has a number of projects going. Currently, she's writing an adult paranormal fantasy series for her publisher and will soon be doing a final edit on her young adult sci-fi novel Quest for Freedom for an upcoming deadline.
"The audio book and eBook are scheduled for release this year," she told me. "I'm also planning a series expansion from a previous novel for young adults that I hope to get going on in another year or two. Busy is my middle name these days."
"How much of your writing is based on your own experience?" I asked.
"Actually, more than I like to admit sometimes. I don’t do it on purpose, but I have written entire scenes then realized when I went back over them that some of the stuff I put my characters through actually happened to me as a kid. In Breach of Worlds, for example, my main character, Nara, escapes from an orphanage. In the beginning of the book, she’s scared and trying to keep strangers from noticing her.
"As a young kid, I was walking home from school in the rain when a car pulled up and offered me a ride. My mom was big on teaching about stranger danger and I thought I was going to get nabbed right then and there, so I ran all the way home. Now the woman in the car was probably just concerned that a little kid was out in the rain by herself, but I used those strong feelings when I created that scene and didn’t even realize it until after I had written it."
Dana told me she would drive herself nuts if she didn't have a computer—mostly because she has really bad handwriting.
"Half the time, I can’t even read it," she admitted. "I used to get called down for it in school. And I tried working on an old typewriter once, just to be chic, but gave that up as soon as I had a typo to correct, which was pretty much the first paragraph. I love technology so computers are perfect for me. Otherwise, I might never get any books finished."
Dana and her husband love to travel and, every year, try to take a trip to someplace they've never visited. They plan to go to Egypt for their next big trip. Other hobbies include reading, of course; downtime with a good movie or TV show; or playing computer and video games.
"For physical hobbies, I hike, bike, dance, and swim," she said. "Hubby talks me into tennis now and again but I'm not very good at it."
In Dana's latest YA fantasy, Breach of Worlds, the character of Nara is eleven in the beginning of the novel and fourteen by the fourth chapter. Dana said she can see somebody like Alyssa Shafer or Chloe Moretz playing the younger Nara in a movie with an actress like Dakota Fanning playing her as a teen. She would choose Marcia Cross to play Mirin and a George Cloony or Harrison Ford type playing one of the male leads—Tanith.
She's not sure she would want to be a character in her own books, because "they have to go through some nasty stuff before the end of my books. So, honestly, I don’t think I would want to be any of them for very long. One rule of writing is to create conflict for characters, otherwise no one would want to read about them, so that's what I do. Though if I did become a character, I’d certainly want one with lots of power, like Mirin in Breach of Worlds, so I could defend myself. And it might be fun to be a bad guy for a day."
"What challenges do you think the youth of today face that you didn’t?" I wondered.
"We have a load of technology that tends to create instant gratification, while keeping people physically isolated, and I think the challenge for young people today is to find a balance between the exciting world of technology and the unpredictable world of people. In fact, being a Star Trek and Star Wars fan as a kid, I’m a bit envious of all the technology today’s kids have at their fingertips. When I was young, we had computers, but they were clunky and as slow as mud, and we certainly had no internet. Cell phones were the size of bricks and cost as much as a house. Okay, maybe not that much, but I certainly couldn’t afford one. And I imagine the coverage was pretty bad. Texting was unheard of, cameras used film, and cable had 20 channels on a good day. As a self-proclaimed hermit, if I had access to the technology back then that we have today, I probably wouldn’t have left the house, except at my mother’s insistence."
Finally, I asked her what advice she would give to her readers.
"Whatever you decide to do in your life, be patient and persistent and educate yourself. Even if that means discovering a second career. I started out in the entertainment industry and Hollywood, so writing books is a second career for me. I was always writing something on the side during that time but never thought of doing it full-time. In the mid-90s I decided to leave the entertainment industry and go back to school for a writing degree. I had to do a lot of work and it took me years to get where I am today, but I absolutely love being a writer."
Author Bio: Dana Davis is a four time award-winning author of fantasy and science fiction. She studied with Nebula Award-winner Sheila Finch and received her creative writing degree from California State University, Long Beach. She recently signed multiple book contracts SynergEbooks Publishing and her latest young adult fantasy Breach of Worlds is now available.
When she's not writing, she loves to read and travel. Just try to keep her away from ruins and old cemeteries. Dana lives in the Arizona desert with her husband and two insane birds, where she is currently writing another book. Her website is http://www.danadaviswriting.com