How long have you been writing?
My first piece of absolute fiction I can recall writing was in fifth grade, so about thirty years. It was a class assignment and we were supposed to write a story about cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving. I didn’t understand when the assignment was explained so I did the assignment wrong. However, it turned out we had to read our finished story aloud. Both fortunately—and unfortunately—I wasn’t called first so I realized my mistake. When I got in front of the class for my turn I completely winged it so I don’t even have the first thing I ever “wrote”. I got lots of laughs and the only thing I was deducted for (at first) was the fact that Turkeys do not, in fact, take just a few minutes to cook. The unfortunate part of this tale…when I had to actually TURN in the paper my mistake and quick thinking were revealed and my B+ became an F. Surprisingly this did not sour me to the joys of writing fiction. From that point forward I did fairly well on all creative writing—and was sure to listen more closely.
When I hit my early teens I focused more on poetry…it was quicker, easier, and it was harder for someone to tell you it was done wrong. Mostly I just didn’t have the focus for fiction at that point. As I grew older that the short stories started taking over. I played at writing a novel but it never went anywhere…mostly because I have reams and reams of notebook paper written in faded ink…or worse, faded pencil. Then suddenly I accidently found myself writing a novel when I thought I was writing a short story …that one, of course, is the one that got published. Go figure!
When did you first consider yourself a professional writer?
I was published throughout high school and college, mostly flash fiction and poetry, but I never considered myself professional until my first novel came out. Of course, at that point I was more professional than the novel was, but that was a whole other matter. That novel was Yesterday’s Dreams, an urban fantasy based on Irish mythology…basically Irish elves in New York City. It was picked up by a very small, small press. They didn’t put much effort into the professional aspects of my novel and I didn’t know enough to tell the difference. I also didn’t know what I should be doing while they weren’t doing what they should have been doing, so my new status as professional author was a technicality. I’ve since grown into it.
What genre do you write?
Speculative. Pretty much almost anything speculative. Fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk, horror, science fiction, military science fiction, science horror. No…I’m not just making things up here. I like cross genres and I love taking reality one or more steps to the left into the fantastic…past, present, and future. Mostly I don’t write drama, mainstream, true-to-life type stuff. No romance or erotica, either, because I know where my strengths and interest lie. Not that I couldn’t write any of those, but I wouldn’t be as invested in it because those things don’t interest me from a storytelling perspective.
What is your favorite theme/genre to write about?
I love anything myth- or legend-based. Mostly urban fantasy because the foundation of the “real” world allows me to focus on layering the fantastic elements for a rich, well-woven story. I can’t say I have a favorite theme, but if I can make a literary allusion in some way to add layers of meaning, that really gets me going. I also love to build myths, legends, and religions for my fiction. Considering I stared out writing myth-based fiction by mentally reverse-engineering ancient myths, this isn’t really surprising. I was always wondering what “real” world situation could lead to the creation of the myths and legends. My English teachers loved me when myth studies came up. My fellow students…not so much.
If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
Oh, my…can I chose “kept woman”? No…oh well. There are several next-best-choices I could make…all of them have a creative aspect. Chef, costume designer, special-effects make-up artist. I love anything that lets me make stuff, basically. Creating things really gives me a charge. Of course, most people who know me would tell you that I should be a PR person, without a doubt.
The other parts of Danielle's interview will be posted as shown below:
Part Two--Dean, tomorrow
Part Three--Terri, Wednesday
Part Four--Theresa, Thursday
Part Five--Emily, Friday
Award-winning author Danielle Ackley-McPhail has worked both sides of the publishing industry for over seventeen years. Her works include the urban fantasies, Yesterday's Dreams, Tomorrow's Memories, the upcoming Today’s Promise, and The Halfling’s Court, and the writers guide, The Literary Handyman. She edits the Bad-Ass Faeries anthologies and Dragon’s Lure, and has contributed to numerous other anthologies.
She is a member of the New Jersey Authors Network and Broad Universe, a writer’s organization focusing on promoting the works of women authors in the speculative genres. She can be found on LiveJournal (damcphail, lit_handyman), Facebook (Danielle Ackley-McPhail), and Twitter (DMcPhail). Learn more at www.sidhenadaire.com.
Website and/or blog www.sidhenadaire.com,
Amazon author page http://www.amazon.com/Danielle-Ackley-McPhail/e/B002GZVZPQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1331314265&sr=8-1