My name is Danielle E. Shipley. And if you’re looking for me online, I’d recommend you try my blog, Ever On Word (https://everonword.wordpress.com/),
my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Danielle.E.Shipley.Author),
and on Twitter (@DEShipley / https://twitter.com/DEShipley) – not necessarily in that order.
2. Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?
I’ve recently begun teaching myself to play the lute. I’ve long adored music, and have been envying my favorite minstrel characters their signature instrument for years, so it’s a life goal come true to finally have one of my own. Hanging out in forests is also a treat, even if I’ve yet to run into anything there that can strictly be categorized as magical.
- What got you writing? Where do you find your inspiration?
I’ve been writing for fun pretty much my whole life. I’ve always loved books too much to only read them; I had to make new ones of my own. As for inspiration, I mix it up – I might draw from my own life, or firmly eschew reality in favor of life as I wish it could be, or just watch my characters interact and more or less transcribe it for posterity.
- While you have written other things, The Wilderhark Tales is your one series, how does it feel to be letting these characters go?
I feel like it is and isn’t a goodbye. I’ve put a lot of myself into this series, and it’s been great to be there. But after 2+ years, I’m keen to move on to other things, so it’ll probably be a while before I write anything new in this world again. That said, some of these characters mean too much to me for this to be the end of us. They’ll still be hanging around my head and heart, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
- Now that they are being put to rest, do you have any writing plans now? If not just make something up…
First up, I’m going to try to make myself take a breather. I’ve been pushing myself at a pretty furious pace for a while now, so the voices in my head are advising a sabbatical. That won’t last long, though, because I’ve got my eye on next summer to launch the first installment of my follow-up series – the “Outlaws of Avalon” trilogy. It’s Robin Hood meets Arthurian Legend meets a whole lot more. I’m super excited to get it out there!
- 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?
My first step is to pull up an MS Word doc and brainstorm with myself. The notes will typically start out as a rambling, all-over-the-place mess, and ideally end with a fairly comprehensive outline of what I want the story to be. If I’m having a hard time pinning down a character, I’ve been known to sit them down for questionnaires of various lengths. They don’t always appreciate my nosiness, but hey, if they want to be represented correctly, they’ve got to let me into their headspace. I prefer to tackle my projects one at a time, though my muse will frequently have other ideas.
- What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?
The part that comes easiest to me is letting my characters run around on a loose leash, so they ring true as people and make me look clever with their dialogue. Describing environment, on the other hand, is a lot more challenging. I can have trouble visualizing the details beyond the talking heads, so it takes an extra effort to give my readers a sense of place.
- 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?
The process to figure out what captures people’s attention is ongoing. My strategy so far is one part yakking about it on social media, two parts yakking on entirely different topics to fool the public into thinking I actually have a life outside of the worlds in my head. And on those occasions when I find myself in face-to-face interactions and they ask me what’s new, it’s convenient to be able to point to the books’ page on www.deshipley.com and say, “Read all about it!” If I’ve got one tip, it’s “be open to opportunities”. Sometimes you have to go to people, sometimes they’ll come to you. Look alive, be friendly/enthusiastic/courteous, and you’ll find places to get your horn tooted.
- What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?
If you want this, give it your time. Give it your energy. Give it your all. But for pity’s sake, hold onto the joy of it. Because that’s the one thing that you don’t have to earn or luck into. It’s yours from the start, and it’s the best part.