Today’s interview features multi-genre author Danielle Thorne!
- You write across so many different genres! What genre were you first attracted to as a writer and why?
I would have to list my primary genre as romance, because that’s the genre of the majority of the books on my backlist. I’m a deep romantic at heart. Of course, that probably makes it weird that I’m so eclectic—in music, art, food, friends, you name it. If we’re here to do what we love in life, I don’t believe we should feel pigeon-holed into one destiny!
The first genre I tackled and still prefer today is historical romance. The reasons are simple: I love research, I love history, and I get excited about taking a reader away from everything they know today and into another world.
- A Pirate at Pembroke is your next upcoming work. What inspired that story and how does it stand out among your others?
I started thinking about this storyline after watching the BBC’s latest version of Jane Eyre some years ago. I never grew particularly fond of Mr. Rochester, and I wondered if a mysterious, dark stranger living in a dilapidated old manor couldn’t be a little more charming and selfless. Thus, the pirate from Pembroke was born.
- Do you find there are central themes or elements that are unique to your books? (For example, are you drawn to anti-heroes, antagonists, certain settings etc.) Why do those things stand out to you?
I feel all my books, rather unintentionally, center around self-discovery. Whether it’s the hero or the heroine, I like characters who have misgivings about themselves and find someone to push them to become all they can be.
- One pro and one con about writing in each of your respective genres?
Hmmm… Well, writing historical romance is a joy because I love research, but one drawback would be the self-doubt that comes with wondering if you’ve captured the era and the people correctly. When it comes to contemporary romance, I think there is ease in the story development because it’s present, but gosh, it can be difficult to compete with the romance market in general because of the different heat ratings.
Paranormal, I’ve found, is a completely different ballgame. I never intended to write in the chills and thrills genre, but my young adult series, Death Cheater, just sashayed right into my head after a family vacation one year. I’m a deeply religious person, and spirituality is not something I shy away from, so writing paranormal came easy to me because I could give it an inspirational flair. The biggest con of paranormal for me is, seriously, some of the late-night creeps that comes along with it.
- What are the characters in your most recent story like?
In a Pirate at Pembroke, I wanted to shy away from the stereotypical damsel-in-distress or strong-willed woman and work with a heroine who was rather ordinary. Sophie Crestwood is young but mature. She’s a traditional “good girl” who understands her family’s expectations and takes her position in society as matter-of-fact. She’s a little vain, so it takes quite a turn of events for her to somewhat rebel against the standards of the day and listen to her own heart.
As far as my hero, Captain Edward Murdock, I tried to add more depth to the loner/lost soul archetype by smacking him right into the middle of a life crisis. He was once carefree and ambitious, but a horrible event forces him to re-evaluate what is important in life just as the story opens.
- What is/are one or two pieces of advice that you learned while publishing your first book that you wish you had known before you started?
I was traditionally published first. I consider myself a hybrid author now—but I dearly love writing as an Indie. There’s so much freedom and control.
It is so difficult to get your first few books published, and that makes one easy prey to those who are running on empty, thriving on ego, or seeking to take advantage of people. Always do your homework before you submit and do even more after you’re offered a contract. That applies to indie publishing, too! It’s a must to read the fine print and ask around before you work with editors, cover artists, and stock image companies. Know your suppliers.
- How old were you when you published your first book and how has your process changed since then?
Oh, goodness, it was a long time coming. I was first published in 2008 when I was 38 years old. I started writing stories in second grade, joined the school newspaper in high school, but when I reached college, I sold out to another major outside of English or Journalism because I didn’t believe in myself. It was a mistake. For years I continued writing, and the Internet opened doors wide for me, but I didn’t get dead serious about full-length novels until my youngest child started kindergarten, and I had grown up, too.
- How does your marketing strategy evolve for each of your works?
Marketing is a fluid process. The outlets are always evolving. In the early years, I depended a great deal upon author and writing membership organizations, personal social media, and lots of loot—pens, bookmarks, etc.
As I zeroed in on my preference for the e-book industry, I expanded my social media to focus more on networking, promotional ops with top influencers, and blogging and interviews. One thing I’ve learned is, you can’t slow down, and that can be an exhausting part of going indie.
- Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I sometimes wonder if I could increase sales by writing books targeting popular trends and fads, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it isn’t for me. I write from the heart; that means I write what I love, what I dream about, and what I like to read. One of the compliments I often receive is a thumbs-up for originality, so I think it works for me. I don’t want anyone to put down my book and think it sounded just like something else they’d read before—besides the classics, like Jane Austen’s books, which have inspired me.
- What writing accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am proudest of my first published novel, The Privateer. It was years in the making and required great sacrifice. I raised four sons, which meant I often put my writing on the backburner for long periods of time so I could focus on my eternal role as a mother and wife. Sometimes, it’s hard to see authors I worked with in small forums in the late 90s and early 2000s trending nationally and internationally, while I’m still playing catch-up. I tell myself that it’ll all pay off some day, and most importantly, that I gave everything to my family first—and it already has.
- What do you owe to the real-life people who inspired your characters?
While some of my closest childhood friends may or may not have influenced my character developments, most of my work is pure daydream evolution. I love sea stories, Tolkien, Rowling, and Austen, of course. Some of my characters were inspired by characters in books: Captain Jack Aubrey from Master and Commander, Emma from Emma, and I’m not going to lie, Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow, really broadened my horizons. The Pirates of the Caribbean movies were the jumpstart to my West Indies research that began many years ago in the upper floors of a Memphis city library, and I found myself later seizing opportunities to travel all over the Caribbean. The Age of Sail definitely shapes me characters and my work.
- What’s your favorite writing-related memory?
The memories most dear to me are those childhood moments when I showed my little poems and short stories to my parents, and they would cheer me on. To this day, my dad is the only member of my family who has read every single one of my books, romances and all. He never stops bragging—it can even be embarrassing sometimes—but it means the world.
- What’s a favorite moment you’ve had with a fan/someone who’s read your work?
I had the opportunity to attend an LDS Storymakers conference in Utah a few years ago and ended up sharing a table with a new author who’d been nominated for an award. As everyone introduced themselves, a couple people graciously complimented me on my books, telling me they’d read and enjoyed them. Traveling all the way from Atlanta, Georgia, I felt quite like the fish out of water, but that moment seared itself into my inner “happy memories” wall.
- One thing more people should know about self-publishing?
I think the most important thing a new author needs to understand about self-publishing is that it still takes a village. That means networking with sincerity and honor, being loyal, and finding the courage to put yourself out there no matter what it takes.
Thank you for the great interview, Danielle! Don’t forget to check out her website and buy her books! www.daniellethorne.com
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As always, keep making magic, word weavers!