Author Spotlight

 

I had the chance to speak with a talented author, who took time out of her busy schedule to chat with us here at Joyfully Reviewed.  So, without further delay let’s hear from

Dani Harper

It seems that you have always been writing. Did you always see yourself being a writer?
Absolutely. Maybe it's a stray gene from some old Irish roots, but I wanted to write stories before I could read. I had a fascination with books from a very early age.

You have had quite a few "real life" jobs. Do you still have an outside job or are you able to write full time now?
In the fall and winter, I'm fortunate to be able to devote most of my time to writing. Spring and summer are very different! My husband is a commercial salmon fisherman. In the spring, we have a lot of pre-season boat maintenance to do -- like scraping and painting the 40-foot hull! Summer is fishing season and I'm in charge of keeping the boat stocked for its many ocean trips. If we're short a deckhand for any reason, then I go out to sea. I've learned to catch and clean big salmon, and take my turn at the wheel as well. My laptop goes on the boat with me, and if the ocean isn't too choppy, I'll bang out a few lines between catches. When I get back to shore, there are always a lot of fish scales that have to be vacuumed out of the keyboard, LOL!

Tell us about who Dani is?
Well, when I woke up this morning I was Dani Harper, Writer. But that could change at any moment. Thanks to an unruly imagination the size of a small planet, I might suddenly morph into Dani the Pirate Queen while I vacuum. Or Dani Demon-Slayer or Space Captain Dani while I load the dishwasher. I generally have a dozen adventures throughout the day, all in my head. It’s been this way my entire life – and yes, my teachers had their hands full when I was in public school!

So who is Dani really? I'm still learning!

I read that you raised four daughters. I bet that was an adventure. How did you balance raising your girls, working and writing?
As a single parent, I'm not sure I ever felt very balanced! When I worked at the newspaper, my oldest daughter held the fort a lot, and I also had help from my sister. I wouldn't have made it without them! It wasn't until a change of jobs brought me regular hours, that I began writing fiction again. The girls were mostly grown by that time and very supportive (especially when they found out I was writing paranormal, something we all love). They've been a wonderful cheering section all along my journey to publication.

It seems you are an avid reader. Do you have an all-time favorite book?
I couldn't possibly pick a single title. I love so many. I have a lot of keepers on my shelves and they all feel like friends! There are so many terrific books out there that the best I can do is name a sampling of authors that I enjoy, in no particular order ---

Charlaine Harris, Kelley Armstrong, Karen Chance, Patricia Briggs, Kim Harrison, Katie MacAlister, MaryJanice Davidson, Christine Feehan and Sherrilyn Kenyon. Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb and Iris Johansen. In other genres, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Dan Simmons, Dean Koontz, Robert McCammon, Terry Goodkind, Mercedes Lackey.

Tell us some of your other favorite things.
There’s something else besides books? Just kidding --- I love a LOT of things. The sky, especially when it’s full of stars or northern lights. Animals and birds. The hundreds of little creeks and streams that tumble down from the mountains here. Coffee and chocolate. Hiking. Photography. Artwork, crafts – anything I can do with my hands. Gardening. Fishing. I love the autumn more than any other season, adore Halloween and Christmas. Music – alternative rock or modern country. Television – Ghost Whisperer, Moonlight, Heroes, the History Channel and Discovery Science.

Being a romance writer, do you believe in happily ever after? And have you found yours?
Yes and yes. After my last daughter graduated, I decided I was ready for an adventure and went on vacation in Alaska. Got more adventure than I bargained for when I met a handsome salmon fisherman there! We were married about a year later. Maybe that's why writing romance is a natural for me. I've got my own personal HEA every day. And yes, my husband is my very best source of inspiration.

I read that you now live in Alaska. What is it like to live there? I cannot imagine how people cope with the daylight thing.
I live in Sitka, on one of the many islands in southeast Alaska. The climate in this area is not what most people expect -- it's coastal rainforest! As far as extremes of daylight go, we have extra-long summer days and very short winter ones. To experience the true Land of the Midnight Sun, you have to go a lot further north--but you'll still be in Alaska! One of the really remarkable things about this state is its sheer size.

Sitka's a beautiful place. I've fallen in love with the ocean, the big cedar trees and the enormous mountains. Lots of wildlife here, from humpback whales to grizzlies. Sitka has a lot of history too, having once been the capital city when the Russians owned Alaska.

You write paranormal romance. Do you see yourself writing in other genres?
I love to write romance. I’m fascinated by the different ways people come together, and how they react to each other. That makes for an infinite variety of stories to write because no two relationships are the same just as no two people are the same. And I’ve chosen paranormal romance in particular because I've loved all things supernatural since I was a kid – and there's just so much possibility and so much fuel for the imagination!

Someday, though, I'd like try my hand at fantasy and science fiction. I grew up reading those genres and I still love them.

Do you enjoy hearing from readers and what is the best way to contact you?
I love hearing from readers. It's the most rewarding part of what I do. If someone would like to get in touch with me, the best way is by email:  dani@romancingthewolf.com

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Read, read, read. As an editor, I gave up asking would-be reporters what education and experience they had. I started asking if they liked to read for enjoyment. The ones that did were always the best writers, hands down!

How do your stories come to you slowly or all at once?
Usually I "hear" characters talking to each other. And the story builds off that, as the characters reveal it to me.

Yup, it's true -- my characters run the show! Once upon a time I thought the writer was in charge but all that changed the minute I started writing fiction. It doesn't matter what I think the story should be about -- my characters do what they darn well please. It isn't unusual for me to be talking to them while I'm typing. Or yelling things like "You can't do that!" Most of the time, I'm just trying to keep up.

What would a perfect day for Dani be?
Most of my days start out perfectly… My coffee machine is set for 5 a.m. That's when I get up and start writing. It's the best and most productive time of the whole day--it's quiet, my brain is fresh, and the characters are at their liveliest. I stay there until 9 or 10, whenever I hit a plot bump or life intervenes.

A truly perfect day would be if I could stay in that wonderful, uninterrupted zone a little longer. But reality decrees that for the rest of the day my writing will be interspersed with chores and family and errands and whatever crises spring up.

Okay, I have to ask... why should you never transport a male goat in a Ford Bronco?
At one time I owned several female goats (does) and wanted to breed them. I drove out to a farm, with my sister and my youngest daughter, to purchase a buck and we found a wonderful Nubian goat named Henry.

Whenever I'd had to transport any of the does, they had fit very nicely in the back of my Bronco, so I figured Henry could do that too. Lesson One -- bucks are bigger than does. Luckily Henry was very cooperative and we soon had him stuffed into the cargo area.

It was on the way home that we learned Lesson Two -- bucks don't smell very good. In fact, there is nothing on this earth that smells as bad as a male goat when he decides to pee. Which Henry did as we were merrily zooming down the highway. Within moments our eyes were burning and we had our heads hanging out the windows gasping for air.

None of us will EVER forget the rest of that trip. It just got worse from there. And it was more than a month before the truck was fit to use!

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I'm holding a CONTEST just for Joyfully Reviewed readers! To enter, check out my website at www.romancingthewolf.com and find a picture of a GOAT! Send me an email : dani@romancingthewolf.com with the words JR Interview in the subject line and tell me what page the goat appears on. Contest will remain open until high noon, eastern, on December 1st. A winner will be drawn at random from the correct entries. The prize? A decorative tin box of beautiful wolf notecards (The box is about 5 x 7 and the lid doubles as a photo frame) PLUS a download of my full-length paranormal romance, Heart of the Winter Wolf. Already have the book? You can choose two 3-oz bars of dark chocolate instead.

 

     

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