Thursday, December 16, 2010

Falling in love with your nightmares...

Did you run to greet the darkest shadows in your room when you were a child? Probably not.

Danielle Bourdon did, and she's written about one shadow she longed to catch. She didn't even capture him within her book - but gave us, instead, as much as she saw of him. He was elusive and aloof, for years, in her mind. He remains exactly that way in her text. I have someone in mind, who emulates that exactly, but, let's see if we can draw that comparison out of our author.

Years back - six or seven at least - when she was just 11, Danielle marched to the cockpit of a Southwest Airlines 707 and demanded paper from the pilot. Nothing he was doing seemed important at the time, she had a story to write. Never published, and now at over 5,000 pages, she hopes to complete it next year. It - I'm told, by sources within her family - is about a dog they never owned. She was their 'funny' child for years, and they were relieved when it turned out to be the funny type of 'funny'. (But, none of her dolls kept their heads for long.)

Mention shrunken heads within earshot, and she will come over to the conversation. The grin never fades, even when she enters that frame of mind. Others go all creepy/twisted when they indulge their love for ghoulish things; Danielle goes more 'Edward Scissorhands'. Adorable, but deadly. She killed a perfectly sweet character in Dréoteth, and it shocked me that she did. Snip, snip...your throat is came too close! Grin!

Eww! That sounds just like her dragon. He is fascinating. Fascinated is a better way to describe him. That is his only human quality. Beyond that one connection to us, his unbound curious interest in us, we are, after all, only meat. But you look at him, and fall in love. Danielle did; she loves this dragon, and he loves nothing like her. It is a stunning thing, to read such text, and see her grin, and the life in her eyes - and know - Dréoteth will be owned by nothing human, not even she who wrote that he breathes. He is a pure nightmare, which she still dreams and pursues.

Well, hell. I'm really repeating a lot of this very review of her book.
She is passionate about writing; stresses out when she cannot sit still to do it. And, one of the reasons I adore her, she is adamant about self-publishing, vowing to hold her own against threats of traditional publishing. It would please me to see her pestered to allow it. I believe it would only take a single read, and some lucky agent would have a lot less work for a good while. One of them should try.

Time to listen to Danielle! About that Dragon, will she agree with my guess, to a comparative character? Let's ask:

“I ask for so little. Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave.”
"I never ask, I take; fear won't keep you alive; love is a lie. Humans are only ever two things: prey, and food."  -- Dréoteth's take on the Labyrinth quote.

How long have you known the character Dréoteth?
Since 2004 or 2005, I believe.

How many more books will see him?
I have a sequel in mind, or at least the premise, but I'm not sure when I'll get to writing it. Probably one more book but not two.

Did you knit that sweater you are grinning behind?
I did.  It's yellow with a sunflower pattern.

I wanted to put Danielle's new book cover up here, along with the old version. I love the both, but you will see the bottom one in all the retail outlets now. She brought her monster to life perfectly, matching my imagination in a miraculous way.

Why vampires for your second novel? Why not a half-dozen more dragons?
The concept for Bound by Blood had been established, the story all but written. It's one of my favorite stories, so I decided to go with that rather than write the sequel to Dréoteth at the time.

Did Kimberly come to you, to co-author? How did your partnership begin?
I've known Kim for ten years or so. We were talking about the story on the phone one day and I mentioned turning it into a book. Three months later, we published.

Did you role-play while writing – you taking one character, she taking another?
How it worked was that we wrote different scenes, then went back over each other's writing and layered in our own touches/style. It’s the first time I've ever co-authored any book.

Click here to see the trailer

I have completed my read of 'Bound by Blood'. You only need to know this much - I love Danielle's writing. Many would judge this novel to be a modern piece with period themes, and I really believe it is opposite. Ms. Bourdon writes classical elements without effort, also without most of the ponderous language. (No, it is a mistake to think that language alone makes a work classical.) 'Bound by Blood' is a classical horror, with modern elements placed around it. Here is the link to my review.

Danielle loves to play with her cover art, doesn't she? Not a thing in the world wrong with that. This art at the left is the Kindle cover for 'Bound'.

Are you Wildbloom Press?
Yes, I am! When I went to publish Dré, I kept reading that it was better to have a separate name for publishing. Twitter happened to be open on my desktop, so I snatched the name from my account there. I'm so inventive.

Was Sheba mad that you didn’t include her in Dréoteth?
She was. I have lasting scars for my negligence. (Sheba is her cat.)

What are the 4 short stories you’ve written?
The Haunted Carousel, Whiteout, I Am Ellis Moore, and Petrified. I have another handful that will go in the collection I'm working on.  The horror shorts have been a blast to think up and write.  It's very possible there will be another collection because I can't seem to shut the horror spigot off yet.

Oh, she wasn't looking far enough into the future in the original interview. Danielle has indeed been busy, tossing out three short stories and her collection of tales. They can all be found easily here at Smashwords. And here are the books you need to get. (The bottom cover is a teaser - that's her WIP)

Danielle's next novel - Sin and Sacrifice
Watch for it, perhaps Summer, 2011

More than 1000 people follow you on Twitter. How difficult has the effort been, to market your books for yourself?
For me, the marketing part of this process is a challenge. When I get absorbed in writing, I forget to promote and market and that's never good. There's a delicate balance somewhere but I've yet to find it.

Here's the link to her website:

They say Texas is ‘like a whole other country’. Where is your favorite place in the whole State?
I'd have to say where I live. Weatherford. It's prettier here than in the southern part of the state, I think.

We make a great deal of the ‘journey' we are on, bypassing the traditional publishing process where we can, and are forced to do so. Are you a query-nut, as some of us are? (I am a reformed query-monster, by the way; and I know the answer to this, but want others to hear your thoughts.)
After much consideration and thought pre-publishing, I decided not to query anyone and do it myself. So, I've never sent a query letter. Ever. I always intended to however, but it seemed the wrong story at the wrong time, and I ended up doing both on my own.

What was the subject of the first novel you wrote: the one on that plane ride when you were three years old? Did the text survive?
LOL.  It was a 'romance' story centered in--guess where?--Weatherford, Texas.  I've still got that thing somewhere in all my papers. A handful of years go I ran across it and had a good laugh.  And I was 11!

Have you ever put an ex-boyfriend in a novel, and had him squashed by a monster?
No, but that's an excellent idea.  Dréoteth salivates at the thought.

What was your Nano subject this year?
At the last minute, I decided not to participate. This year was just too stressful and I know my limits. If I set a goal, I really get down on myself if I don't meet it. I completed it last year, so I'm happy that I've conquered the Nano competition and won.

You are really hard on yourself to write on a regular basis aren’t you? Taking a break actually causes a bit of panic?
I am. This stems from trying to finish a novel (four of them, actually) for the last nine years or so and being unable to do it.  My problem was editing. I'd write the first chapter, then go back and edit until the story was nearly unrecognizable. I didn't know how to get past it and it was very frustrating. Nano taught me it's okay to write a crappy first draft and go back later to revise. The system works great for me now.

Is your horror collection still on track for an early spring release?
Yes, it is. I thought I'd have it done early but I worked longer on Whiteout, a story I've submitted for another anthology. So far, the release date is Valentine's Day. Blood goes great with chocolate.

Which cartoon do you prefer, Samurai Jack, or The Last Air Bender? (This causes fights in our house.)
I can honestly say I have no idea what either one of those cartoons are!  I rarely watch TV.

Dragons have seldom been given the qualities that Dréoteth seems to possess. What drove him to be so human, in your mind?
Dréoteth has always been very conflicted in my mind. Even when I made him and I wrote journal entries for him, I was fascinated by how he evolved from a creature with no respect or care for humans to one that finally admitted they were more than just food and something to hunt. I found the challenge of making him more than just a beast, very fun to write and different than most other dragon stories I'd heard of.

You make much of his attraction to human creativity. He is lured to it, almost against his will. What sparked you to bring that detail out about him?
The idea for him to be enchanted with art that humans create came about during a scene I wrote. In Dréoteth's head, he doesn't have the talent or patience to make those things but finds them irresistible when he's around them. It seemed a very realistic plight and turned into an aspect of his personality that I loved.

You created two 'facts' about dragons that stunned me.  Their birth in human form, and their creation by the Fae.  I honestly believe those to be wholly your own devices. Were they? Were they influenced somewhere that I cannot find?
In my other writings, I'm known for taking myth/legend/ideas and twisting them to my liking. I've rewritten history for the Djinn and the Faes already, along with what I did for Dréoteth. I wanted something to further complicate his actions toward humans and being born as one because of a curse seemed the perfect way to do it. There was no outside or other influence on that decision at all.

Do you leave the windows down when you sing in the car?
I sing with the windows up!

Do you lock yourself away when you write, to become one of your beasts?
With two boys, that's a luxury I don't have. Although it comes close when they go to school and the house is quiet. That's when I get the best and most work done. I put headphones on and away I go.

Who have you read, who can actually scare the daylights out of you, still?
Dean Koontz. I love his writing. His pacing and rhythm are sublime, and he touches on things in his stories that resonate as truly scary.

So, team Edward, or ‘what’s-his-name’?
Who's Edward?

Vampires really shouldn't sparkle, should they? It’s okay, you can tell us.
I have to admit that I've never read the books or seen the movies, but my gut instinct says… no.  Since this is the last question-- I have to add a big thank you to Joel for the interview and the time he's dedicated to all this. So, thank you!

Oh, you're welcome, but I am hardly done. You are too shy - we shall change that. I am not using the royal 'we', but referring to the band of crazies riding the sideboards at BestsellerBound. They are each going to send you a single question, which you will answer, and I will append to this interview.

Interactive abuse at its finest.



  1. Thank you so much for such an awesome interview, Joel!


  2. Hi Joel and Danielle. I wrote a really long comment and lost all of it thinking I was done when your message about reserving the right to approve and remove.... came on after I hit post comment (thought it was what usually comes up about comment will appear after approval...) I just don't have the energy to start again. Loved the interview and the prologue to the interview and love Dean Koontz (my idea of a visionary) and can identify with it taking 9 years to write four novels (my experience, too) and admire Danielle's marketing skills (all those Twitter followers!). Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thanks for the comment, Margaret! Glad you enjoyed the interview and it's nice to see another Koontz fan out there. :)


  4. Sorry the form played dead for you Margaret. Not really sure what it did wrong. I'm tickled that you smacked it, to be heard after all. :)

  5. Another brilliant interview here in Joel's world. Joel, you truly should have his own talk show. Danielle, I enjoyed getting to know more about you! More incentive for me to hurry through my to-read list, so I can get to yours.

  6. Thanks, Darcia! He does great interviews. :)

  7. So, Danielle? What is the story about that cover, for Dreoteth, which you have posted on the BestsellerBound Goodreads group shelf? That guy is the most perfect match for my impression of a fiction character - it shocked me to see it. Is that new? Which is your chosen cover?

  8. Hi,Joel!

    Yes, that's a new cover for Dréoteth that I made a couple days ago. I wanted something new to depict more what the story was about, since a few readers had mentioned that although they love the other cover, they wouldn't have known it had to do with a dragon.

    It took me awhile to find the guy that I used, because I'm so particular about how I imagine him in my head, but I think it's probably one of the closest matches I could get my hands on, considering.

    I also got lucky and found a blue/black dragon that pretty closely fit what I wanted, which was a surprise and a pleasure. I'm hoping the cover changes will take affect all across the GR site and elsewhere as systems update.

    The print copy cover will likely stay the same for another month or so while I get these new stories I've been writing/publishing out the door!

    Thanks for the question! :D



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