Danny Adams. Author of the just-released LEST CAMELOT FALL early medieval historical novel, through Musa Publishing.
As for where you can find me… Oh, I bounce back and forth all over the place. Ironically I don’t have a specific author page (yet, though I’m increasingly conviced of the need for one), but I can be found most any time elsewhere.
Twitter: Madwriter1970 or twitter.com/madwriter1970
2. Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?
I’m interested in almost everything, but a handful of activities get the lion’s share of my non-writing time. Reading (of course… can’t be any kind of writer without that), hiking and other calls to the outdoors, anything history-related, and as I put it on my bio pages, “Getting into things”. I’ve found that getting into things is critically important if you want to be a writer.
3. How long have you been writing? How many books have you written? They don’t have to be published.
I got seriously interested in writing when I was 12 (which is to say, 1983), after a visit to my uncle, who is better known to writing world as the science fiction author Philip Jose Farmer. My first published book was a dream come true in the form of a collaboration with him on a short SF adventure novel called The City Beyond Play. (As it happened, that was also the last of his books that came out while he was still alive.)
TCBP and Lest Camelot Fall are the two published ones. As for the rest… geez, I’ve definitely done my million words of crap. But as for last ten years or so, that would be eleven finished books. Some really aren’t ready for prime (or any other) time. Others I’m frenetically shopping.
4. What genres do you like writing the most? And why? Is this genre the same as the one you prefer to read?
My novel writing lately has been all straight-up historical, plus one historical fantasy about the ancient Sack of Rome. Nearly all of my shorter stuff, the short stories and poetry is science fiction and fantasy, and has wriggled its way in places like Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine. These do tend to be the genres I prefer reading. And in a sidelong way, I read the same subjects in non-fiction (though I don’t write non-fiction books): Most of that pile is history and science.
And why? I read history to see where we’ve been, science fiction to see what could be, and fantasy to see the things that likely won’t be but really, really wish could happen. And because for my money that’s where some of the most vivid settings are being written nowadays. Half my reading pleasure is feeling like I’m immersed in wherever the book carries me.
I’m writing a series of straight-up historicals about Arizona, a place I have family connections to and have loved most of my life. The first book starts at the end of the Ice Age and that last book ends in the present day. They follow the same three families through generations. I always wanted to be another James A. Michener and this started out as one giant epic, but I gritted my teeth recently and broke it into a series, since I’m not entirely certain people buy many giant epics nowadays. On the up side, breaking it into a series meant I suddenly had two more finished novels, and the third one is nearly done now. (See above comment about frenetically attempting to sell.) One more to go.
6. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?
I start by asking questions. This tends to work the same way no matter the genre: I take a place I love (real or imaginary) and want to dive into head-first, then start wondering what happened there, how it influenced what happened elsewhere, and what kind of people lived there. Answering the first two questions tell me the events of the story; the latter gives me my characters. I don’t so much outline as come up with story notes you could lump under the tite “Here’s what happens in the book”. I go through a frenzy of pre-writing that fills a bunch of pages, along with a few months of research if necessary, then settle down (a bit) and get more orgainized.
Lest Camelot Fall came about because I wanted to know what happened to the Knights of the Round Table after Arthur died, and I was inspired to get to work answering that question after reading Jack Whyte’s fantastic Chronicles of Camulod series.
7. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?
Overall I’m a pretty rotten and subjective judge of my own work, so I’ll answer with what I’ve heard from other people. I’m told my strengths tend to be characterization and setting, making the reader feel like their peeking in on flesh-and-blood people in a real place, along with good dialogue (which I consider as much part of the setting as the characters).
For weaknesses… well, it varies from book to book. But the repeating theme is that I have more of a struggle with action and military scenes. Those tend to be too long and drawn out, at least in my drafts, since I guess I tend to be more introspective and enjoying laying things out in great detail.
8. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?
I’m still trying to figure that out. My personal favorite thing when it comes to discovering new books, though, is reading book review blogs, especially the ones featuring indie and self-published works. So naturally they were the first place I turned to when it came to marketing Lest Camelot Fall. Just as I write what I like to read, I prefer marketing via the sites I read as well. Which makes sense; their audience is my target audience too. As for tips, I’m all ears myself!
9. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?
It’s a long hard slog that’s full of never-ending hard work and heartbreak. It’s also the best job in the world and you’re bloody lucky to want to do it.