Author Interview: Dana Gricken
Q: How did you become a writer?
A: I grew up writing as an act of self-expression. I was bullied at school, so
creating my own world and getting lost in it was an escape for me—a way to cope. When I worked up the courage to show my stories to teachers and family members, they were always encouraging. I discovered how much I loved making stuff up and stuck with it through the years. I started off with short stories and poetry before writing novels.
Q: What inspires you to write?
A: Curiosity! I think writing is one giant game of ‘what if?’. It’s fun to play and
imagine all the possibilities—both in our world and fantasy ones.
Q: How do you develop your plot and characters?
A: For plot, I like to imagine a world where anything is possible. Then I ask
myself what the most outrageous thing is that could happen there. For characters, I’ll take elements from people I know and people I admire. For every type of character—hero, villain, sidekick—I try to step inside their minds and imagine myself as them, feeling their emotions. I believe strong motivations are important for every character.
Q: Could you share some of your challenges as a writer?
A: It can be really difficult to motivate yourself to write when you suffer from
mental illness. When I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety a few years ago, it changed my life. But I love writing and won’t let anything stop me. I remember how rewarding writing is and that gives me the strength to carry on, even on my darkest days.
Q: Tell me about your protagonist. What’s your favorite trait and/or
A: Jessica Prince is the protagonist in my novel, Jessica Prince and the Crimson
Caper. She is a teen sleuth with a love for mystery novels. Most people
underestimate her because she’s young, and that gives her the advantage to catch them when they least expect it. I love how determined she is. She never gives up, not even when others do. And she’s really curious and pays attention to the small details which others can miss—but that can get her in trouble sometimes. She’s not afraid to admit when she’s wrong, which takes courage.
Q: How does your antagonist create conflict?
A: No spoilers, but the main antagonist in my novel creates conflict by trying to
throw Jessica off. They’re constantly covering their tracks and playing mind
games. My antagonist isn’t afraid to resort to threats and violence, especially when Jessica is close to catching them. They have an endgame and won’t let anyone stand in their way.
Q: What are your current/future projects?
A: I’m currently working on an adult fantasy with elements of historical romance called End of the Vampires. Two vampire brothers go back in time to stop a woman from starting the hunter organization that will exterminate their people. But when one of the brothers falls in love with her, he has to decide if her love is worth more to him than his own people. I’m also planning a young adult fantasy trilogy called The Godkillers. It’s set in the city of Olympia where Greek Gods and mortals live side by side. Godkillers are trained assassins who keep the Gods from abusing their power, but traitors are saboteurs are always lurking in the shadows.
Q: Do you have a routine you follow when writing?
A: I have to get up and write first thing in the morning—sometimes as early as
five. I also plot out my novel in a notebook and look down as I write the story on my computer. The biggest part of my routine is accepting ideas as they come. I might get a really great idea as I’m writing and decide to incorporate it, even if I didn’t include it in the outline. Sometimes, my best ideas come in the heat of the moment!
Q: If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
A: I would tell myself that anything is possible if you work hard and stay
persistent. Everything in life is obtainable if you have the courage to ask for it and the determination to make it happen.
Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
A: Write a lot, read a lot, and remember that rejection is never the end. Persistence will become your greatest friend. (Hey, that rhymed!)
Q: What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you?
A: I’m very active on social media, so it’s probably the best way to contact me. On Twitter and Instagram, my username is @DanaGricken. They can also send me a message on my blog, https://danagricken.blogspot.com/, or my email, firstname.lastname@example.org.