Monday, October 17, 2016

7 Questions For: Author Danica Davidson

Danica Davidson is the author of the Overworld Adventures book series for Minecrafters, with the books Escape from the OverworldAttack on the OverworldThe Rise of HerobrineDown into the Nether, a The Armies of Herobrine and the newly released Battle with the Wither. She is also the author of Manga Art for Beginners and  Barbie: Puppy Party

And now Danica Davidson faces the 7 Questions:

Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?

The Iliad, the Odyssey and Ovid’s Metamorphoses

Question Six: How much time do you spend each week writing? Reading?

As much as I can (and it still somehow feels like never enough). With my Minecrafter novels, I’ve gotten into the habit of getting the first draft completely done in a week, give or take a day. That’s a lot of writing! But my deadlines have usually given me about six weeks to write the book, so I’ve had to move fast. Then I take a little break from it before I go back and revise. 

Question Five: What was the path that led you to publication?

I started seriously submitting my work to agents and editors when I was in middle school. I was writing novels at the time and all I’ve ever wanted to be was a professional author. Everyone tells you to be ready for rejections, but I never expected the sheer number of them on my way to selling my first book. When I was in my senior year of high school, I was in a situation where it was important I start making my own income, so I went to the local newspaper and asked for a job. I started out as a freelancer, covering dramatic, stop-the-press events like the local tractor pull (okay, it wasn’t dramatic).

I’d send my published articles to other places, trying to get in. I started writing for an anime magazine (I’m a big fan of anime and animation), and that helped open more doors. Eventually I was writing articles for MTV, CNN, The Onion, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and other publications. All the while I was still trying to sell my books and was stacking up rejection letters. More than a decade after I started submitting, I got an agent who was impressed with my writing and all my publications and wanted to represent me. Some months later, I’d sold my first book, Manga Art for Beginners.  

Question Four: Do you believe writers are born, taught or both? Which was true for you?

For me, it just came naturally, though I think we all need “teaching.” Since I was little, I made up stories. I used to dictate stories to my parents when I was three. I wrote my first chapter book when I was seven. I just wrote.

But it’s also important to learn how to edit, how to portray characters, etc. Some of that can be done from studying how other writers handle it. It also helps to find an editor who’s willing to look over what you have, because writers tend to be too close to their work, especially at the beginning. 

Question Three: What is your favorite thing about writing? What is your least favorite thing?

My favorite thing is the act of writing, especially when the words come as a rush and it feels as if you’re just taking dictation from your brain. Sometimes it’s harder to get the words to come, but when they do come in a rush, it’s the best.

My least favorite thing is more the business of publishing. For instance, getting an agent is agony and it took me years. Then you have to publicize your book, but a million other people also want to publicize their books, so everyone’s vying for attention. I just want to write and let the books sell themselves, but it usually doesn’t work that way. It’s very time-consuming and takes time away from actual writing, but it’s part of what you have to do to be a professional writer. 

Question Two: What one bit of wisdom would you impart to an aspiring writer? (feel free to include as many other bits of wisdom as you like)

My best advice for writing is “to write.” I hear from people all the time who say they want to be a writer, though they’ve never written anything down. It’s like they’re scared to put something on paper in case it isn’t perfect. No rough draft is perfect, but getting the words down is important. 

Question One: If you could have lunch with any writer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

Anaïs Nin, a French-American writer I discovered in high school. She writes for adults, not kids, so she has a very different audience than the ones I have with my Minecrafter, manga and Barbie books. She kept a diary her whole life and parts of it have been published, and some of it is the most real, authentic writing I’ve ever read. She describes things I’ve felt but never heard described before. That’s what all writers want to do.

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