Tuesday, 9 April 2013
Author Interview: Dana Newman
Dana Newman, like Katica Coleman, the main character in Found in Prague, is a second generation Czech-American. Her childhood was filled with dinner table stories about dynamic adventures of life in another land during another time. After graduating from the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida in 2008, she set off on her own adventure with Prague as the destination. To write this book, she has woven the vivid stories from her childhood into her own travel experiences and then sprinkled a little fairy dust on top.
Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?
I form a general idea then use my own fantasies, wishes, and experiences to let the book flow forth. I love writing fiction because I can make the characters do whatever I desire them to, and I can make the world react around them however I see fit. Too bad real life isn't that way...
Do your characters ever want to take over the story?
As boring of an answer as it may be: no, this has never happened to me! I generally know exactly who my characters are, and I am the one directing them within the story…at least I think I’m the one in charge :)
What is your favourite food?
My favorite dinner food is moist, fall-off-the-bone BBQ baby back ribs, but my favorite sweet food would be a rich, fudgy chocolate cake with fresh strawberries and either vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
If I did not have to work, my biological clock would set itself to waking at 11 a.m. and going to sleep at 2 a.m. With that schedule I would be awake and rested all day long!
Where do you dream of travelling to and why?
I dream of traveling to a place with warm, sticky weather where I can frolic in majestic waterfalls and the shallow streams that meander from them.
Do distant places feature in your books?
As the title suggests, Found in Prague takes place in the magical city of Prague in the heart of Europe.
Do you listen to music while writing?
No way. I can’t focus on my writing with any background noise in the apartment. Therefore, my husband has invested in a great pair of “surround-sound” headphones for his video games! :)
Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?
Found in Prague was written to be a modern fairytale love story set in the most romantic place I had ever been. Forget Paris, Prague is where a girl’s heart can really be stolen! Among the winding cobblestone streets and enchanted snow-covered castles it’s hard not to fall in love. I wrote the book to inspire the same kind of passionate interest in Europe that The Villa by Nora Roberts inspired in me when I was in high school.
What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?
I’ve learned that formatting a 260+ page document in Word is a humungous pain in the butt; that while I spent three years writing my book, publishing is just the beginning of the work rather than the end; but most importantly, as challenging as it has been, I’ve learned that I can do it! :)
Is there anything you would do differently?
A part of me wishes I had worked harder to find an agent who would have in turn gotten my book published with a large publisher, but then another part of me is glad I went the self-publishing route, because had I gone with an agent they doubtless would have wanted me to change things. And there’s not a single part of the book that I would feel comfortable changing! The story is the story and simply cannot be changed.
Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?
I would not say that my writing has been influenced by anything or anyone in particular. Found in Prague was written in a style that I, myself, would enjoy reading both today and when I was a teen. I have always loved reading YA books by Judy Blume, so perhaps her books have subconsciously influenced mine.
Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?
Your first draft is not your last! Your second draft is not your last! Your third draft is not your last. Once you are totally, completely sick of reading and editing your book for the bagillionth time, you are still not done! You will know when you are done, but don’t finish prematurely just because you are sick of working on it. Put it away for a month, two months, a year if you have to—coming back calm and with a fresh perspective will always help.
What are three words that describe you?
Energetic, extroverted, impassioned
What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?
My absolute, all-time favorite book in the whole wide world is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. I read the abridged version in high school, the full version while living in Prague, and now I’m listening to the full audio book (56 hours on 8 CDs!) with my husband.
Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book
After receiving an odd email during her first semester of college, Katica Coleman traverses fearlessly across the Atlantic Ocean to Prague in the heart of Europe looking for answers to her family's past but ends up finding so much more. Katica quickly learns that it's easy to fall in love while meandering through the winding cobblestone streets, snow-covered castles and aromatic crepe cafés of the magical country that is her family's homeland. But is the charming Czech boy with the intoxicating accent and cool, charismatic gait someone she should let herself get lost in? He always seems to come to her assistance at just the right moment, but can he really be trusted? Katica cannot help but wonder whether she should listen to her wary gut or give in to the giddy waves of excitement coursing through her body....
Any websites/places readers can find you on the web.
Thank you, Dana and good luck with your book!