Today I welcome one of my fellow authors involved with the Indie Collaboration Halloween anthology – Darker Places.
Name: Dani J Caile
Please tell us about your work with the Indie Collaboration. I became a member of the Indie Collaboration some time ago, but it kind of passed me by. I wanted to write stories for these anthologies but I was so busy elsewhere that it never seemed to happen. Until now. I caught a Facebook post by Donny and I thought instantly that “Hey, it’s time to tell that story.” I will surely be more involved as the months go on. The IC can only be a good thing for all of us, including writers and readers.
Where did the idea for these stories come from? This is the first one I’ve written for the IC and as with all my stories, it came from my experience. Without some reality, a story isn’t real. Everything I write, from novels all the way down to a zhong, has a reality. This particular story in Darker Places is very close to the truth.
Do you have short stories in other anthologies? Only outside IC at the moment but I hope to be in more. There’s a Steampunk anthology “Circuits & Steam” by Three Fates Press which sells well at US fairs and conferences but has yet to be set up on Amazon, and 2 future anthologies with the same publisher to come, one anthology about strange passengers on a desert bus and another in honour of 50s/60s horror movies.
I’m also a longtime member of the Iron Writer Challenge (www.theironwriter.com), a Flash fiction writing ‘competition’ which is excellent for tuning your writing skills. I have stories in their first anthology, “Ironology”, the first year of Iron Writer Winners. That will come out in a few weeks, hopefully, and almost 10% of the book are my stories. I also write up everything and anything in the Iron Writer, both the weekly challenges and any other extras and have created 3 six-month anthologies so far on Smashwords for free, ‘Dani’s Shorts3’ being the latest.
Please tell us about your other works. I’m waiting for some cover art for my latest novel, “How to build a castle in 7 easy steps”, also from Three Fates Press, though they say 2015 is the foreseeable release date. I do, however, have a self-published back catalogue which is on Amazon. There are almost 1000 copies of “Manna-X” out there…somewhere…
Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…)
Solid plot – you need a framework to hang your ideas.
Great characters – these speak to your reader, communicate what you want to say.
Great world-building – your characters and plot need a believeable place to live.
Technically perfect – when everything else is done, get it right.
What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers?
1. Write what you want to write. If you’re writing to a set genre/agenda given to you, try and keep it ‘you’. No one wants yet another clone.
2. Improve. Never sit there and think you can write. Write better.
3. Have fun. Make friends, make contacts, have a laugh, but above all, write.
Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? I’m an ex-pat in Hungary and I’m a little out of the mainstream. I read “God is not Great” by Christopher Hitchens the other week and I’ll be reading it again and again for the rest of my life. It’s such a good book. I also read a few ebooks from some Indie authors I know and I’m reading Laurie Lee’s “As I walked out one Midsummer Morning” at the moment. I’m a sucker for a smooth classic. Enjoying every page.
What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews, in your opinion? Reviews are bread and butter to an author, especially an Indie author. Without them, there’s no opinion as to the quality of your work. Some have to be taken with a pinch of salt, those written by friends and good-wishers, and that’s why I always read the bad reviews. Among those you’ll find the truth.
Do you think Indie authors get a bad press? Why do you think this might be?I’ve been reading ebooks from Indie authors since 2011, I’m probably getting close to 500 or so now. Unfortunately, with most of them I didn’t even reach the second chapter, I couldn’t. The quality was atrocious. Once in a while I’ll find an Indie author who can write and sometimes I come across one who can also write something ‘different’. My readers say I’m in that last group, but those who aren’t in either of those two I’ve just mentioned destroy the image of the Indie market and bring down any chance a quality Indie author has of breaking into the limelight. Usually they’re the ones with the loudest voices, too.
Who are your influences? Too many to name. Readers say I’m a cross between Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, which can’t be a bad thing, though I have a more classic background, for example I love Aldous Huxley’s work. Hemingway is also a hero of mine, as is Shakespeare, Donne, Beckett, Chekhov, Milligan…the list is endless, as I said. I am influenced by everything I sense and experience.
What can we expect from you in the near future? Well, “How to build a castle in 7 easy steps” is coming soon, that’s going to be big. I’m also keeping up with the Iron Writer Challenge, perhaps even get to the Annual Final again this year, and I hope to write some stories for other IC anthologies. The thing for a writer is to write, but your stuff needs to get out there and be read…thanks for the interview!
Book links, website/blog and author links:
Smashwords (free books): https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/2766
Other posts about the Indie Collaboration: