Victoria Danann discusses writing, rock, and the first novel in her The Order of the Black Swan series.
How did you come up with the idea for My Familiar Stranger and The Order of the Black Swan series?
I can’t begin to say from whence the font springs. Sorcerers would say it comes from The Source. Obewan Kenobe would say it comes from The Force. Who knows? To me it’s just our little conduit to the divine. It’s like capturing a tiny speck in a ray of sunlight that takes on a life of its own once it burrows into my mind and begins expanding, building worlds and characters that my biggest challenge is keeping up on the keyboard and, since I was being trained in classical piano before I started school, I’m a pretty fast typist.
In addition to writing, you design the Seasons of the Witch calendars and planners. Did you design My Familiar Stranger‘s cover?
Yes. I do all the graphics including the book trailers.
When naming the characters, did you give any consideration to the meaning of their names?
No. Not the meaning per se. But, I hear words in my head as if they’re being spoken. In that sense I guess you could say that every book is effectively an audio book to me. I’m a fan of the works of the great American playwright Neil Simon who always read his dialogue out loud to be sure it sounded good. I don’t necessarily vocalize my dialogue, but it needs to sound good in my head. So I pick names that are evocative of sex or magic or masculinity or reliability, etc., etc.
What do you like the most about writing paranormal romances?
I just finished writing an interview with my favorite character for Characterfest. My husband came in just as I was finishing and asked what I was doing. I explained and then read it to him. He stared for a few seconds before saying that all these years he had thought it quirky that I enjoy spending so much time alone only to find out now that I wasn’t alone at all.
I guess that sums it up. This morning it was dark and rainy when I woke up. I came upstairs to my study over the garage and, just before I turned on the light, I had the oddest sensation that the room was full of characters who were quietly watching the door and waiting for me to arrive, some patiently, some pacing. A raven hopped off someone’s shoulder onto my desk as if to say, “Time’s wasting.” When I switched on the light they all disappeared. Sort of.
Do you listen to music while you write or do you find it distracting?
Gods no. I have spent a lifetime trying to learn to compensate for sensory overload. The most recent studies about attention deficit indicate that when we, as humans, were evolving those of us whose attention was drawn by every tiny change in sound or atmosphere were valuable members of the tribe because those traits might mean the difference between survival or not.
What can we expect from you next?
The next book in the series is The Witch’s Dream, which will be released October14th.
Do you base your writing on your own past experiences?
Every one of us is defined by our unique montage of experiences. So, in that sense, yes. Of course there are snippets of real life. In My Familiar Stranger, Ram takes Elora to lunch at Serendipity. She returns from the Ladies’ to find him interacting with a party of little girls and entertaining them with French fries hanging from his nostrils. My own spouse did that with one of our daughters and friends and I didn’t find it funny or cute at the time. He got into a lot of trouble for it.
I’ve been told you play rock music. Can you elaborate on that? Are you in a band?
My band, Roadhouse, is on hiatus at the moment. I’m the utility player which means I play keyboards, rhythm guitar and sing back up with some leads. Classic Rock is very boys’ club, heavy on the testosterone, but the experience is pure transcendence and I wouldn’t take anything for it.
In addition to writing, illustrating, and making music, you manage a band, too. Can you tell us about it?
I’m very proud to be manager of Houston’s premier variety band, The Next Level Band. They can play ANYTHING and play it WELL! This is the seven piece core band, but there is an extra horn option and it can be expanded to nine musicians. The book trailer for My Familiar Stranger is backed by my friend, Alicia Brass, singing “At Last”. I have her version on a playlist right by the original – the late, great Etta James. Alicia is better. (Sorry, Etta.)
About My Familiar Stranger
Minutes ahead of inevitable assassination, Elora Laiken is forcibly transported to an alternate dimension similar, but not identical, to her own. She is stranded. Alone. Far from home. A stranger in a “strangish” land.
Of course a girl could suffer worse problems than having gorgeous suitors. Perhaps more importantly, in the midst of an epidemic of vampire related abductions, can she stay alive long enough to choose between an honor debt, true love, or the breathlessness of single-minded passion?
My Familiar Stranger is a full length, stand alone, Paranormal Romance novel that also sets up the foundation for the Black Swan series. It is loved by fans of paranormal romance, fantasy romance, and urban fantasy.
Erotica quotient: A few steamy scenes. No menage. No BDSM.
Genre: paranormal romance
Find My Familiar Stranger
About Victoria Danann
For the past thirteen years, Victoria has illustrated and authored Seasons of the Witch calendars and planners.
Though works of fiction are a departure for her, she has had this series simmering on the back burner of her mind for years. In addition to authoring and illustrating Seasons of the Witch, she plays rock music and manages one of Houston’s premier R&B/Variety/Pop bands.
This series will include some of her actual experience in the paranormal with fictionalized anecdotes from her journals during the years when she was a practicing “metaphysician”, but most of the material is fantasy.
Find Victoria Danann
Win a copy of My Familiar Stranger by commenting on this post with a thoughtful answer to this question from Victoria:
Since the ancient Greeks, and probably since we became sentient, men have been asking the question, ‘What do women want?’ I think I know what the answer is – at least for a lot of us – and it’s related to why paranormal romance is so popular with women and so satisfying to the core in a way no other genre can be. Before I began writing for this audience, I read about two hundred paranormal romance books and realized that there is one element common to almost all and that it can only be expressed in a fantasy world. Can you guess what it is?
Note: You don’t have to match Victoria’s answer to win. She’s always interested to hear what other paranormal romance fans think. The giveaway ends on September 14th.