In celebration of the release of book 5 in the Order of the Black Swan series, here is an interview with the multi-talented author, Victoria Danann.
You’ve done many things in your life before becoming an author. Which was your favorite of those careers and why? Have they lent any advantage or perspective when it comes to your writing?
I’m sure that, if I live long enough, every experience will end up on the page even if they are distorted like a house of mirrors. I take something away from each one, even the crappies.
My Familiar Stranger is a very strong character piece, though not without its action. A Summoner’s Tale is written in a slightly different style with its flashbacks and novel excerpts. Characters are noisy when trying to write, what influenced how you wrote?
As I try to stress, The Order of the Black Swan is not a series in the customary sense. It’s an ongoing story told through installments. I never direct the story. It directs me to the point where I feel like I’m reporting on doings in Loti Dimension rather than creating. I joked the other day that I could have named the work “The Loti Dimension Quarterly.”
Do they ever give you a break or do they keep you from sleeping with their nagging? Who’s the most vocal of the characters?
Characters never keep me awake. However, once I’m down to the meat and bones of translating my extended outline into novel form, I frequently wake with details to include.
Ram is your favorite character from your books. Are there any characters that you don’t like at all?
I like them all, but I’m not nearly as big a fan of Deliverance, the incubus, as some. It slays me that he has fans and I’m mystified as to why.
Is Ram the only character you’d bring to life, if possible?
I don’t think I’d bring Ram to life. He’s a lot of trouble and he belongs to someone else.
What made you settle on the term ‘alien’ when now referring to Elora from certain character’s POV?
It’s shorter than interdimensional expat.
Is it important to you in your books, books or other things in life that influence you, relationships/etc, that the women are strong and hold their own?
Absolutely crucial. I am a feminist who has faced the most difficult front of all – home. The hardest campaign to wage is for feminine equality if you are a heterosexual woman because the battles have to be fought in your own kitchen and your bedroom. As a double Libra, my core is about justice and ain’t nothin’ just about one gender holding power over another.
What’s one thing a writer could do to/with their characters (besides acting OOC) that would cause you to stop reading any more of their work?
I have some personal erotica boundaries. For one thing, any hint of dubious consent crosses an author off my list. I don’t like to see the words pain and pleasure used in the same sentence.
When you have time to do some reading, what do you find yourself reading the most?
I get on kicks. I just finished reading every motorcycle “romance” that looked decent. I use the term romance loosely here. Something about the sordid lifestyle is fascinating in the same way it’s hard to look away from a rattlesnake.
Who do you think have been the most influential authors (any time period)? What do you think has happened for this?
- Shakespeare tops the list. He is in a class by himself as poet and playwright. As a feminist, it’s hard for me to read most of the work, but I’m a sucker for Romeo and Juliet.
- Through the work of Euripedes we learned that there are seven basic plots.
- The fact that Jane Austen’s work has endured says everything about her romances.
- Last, but not least, I’m adding Stephen King, whose work and contribution will also endure, I believe.
Here we have social commentary, tragedy, comedy, history, romance, and horror. And thousands of years later, people reference humanity in masculine terms.
Recently there was a list of most loved and most hated books on BookRiot.com (as submitted by that site’s users). Many books were on both lists, and most are the cannon of what’s taught in schools. Any thoughts on what should be the requirements for which books are chosen to be taught? (For example, I agree with a lot of the list of most hated, but it’s obvious these books pull a strong reaction from readers, to the point it’s polarizing. Should the proposed literary value or strong reaction dictate what’s taught?)
Don’t get me started on education. I have a lot of opinions and ideas on the subject and would really love to turn it on its ear. I think that there should be some guidelines about inflammatory material and young minds, but basically I think each teacher should be able to choose the books they want to teach. Why? Because a teacher who feels passionate about a work of literature is going to have so much more impact on that students view of books and reading than any particular work.
If you were a gemstone, which and why? Ruby. Love the power and richness of red. Love the name.
Which fruit would you be? I just wouldn’t.
Scent? Dragon’s Blood resin.
Favorite coffee drink? Mocha
Favorite place to be? My own workspace.
Best way to ring in the New Year? I’ve got to go with Times Square. I was there for the turn of the millennium and it was memorable.
Boxers or briefs or commando? Commando, but only if pants are washed every day.
Been in a fist fight? Ew. No.
Most annoying cliche? Hate it when people use “literally” incorrectly.
Overrated series (film/books/TV)? TWILIGHT!!!
leading man: Angel, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Angel”
leading woman: Buffy, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (TV, not movie)
villain: Agent Smith, The Matrix, played by Hugo Weaving
sidekick (good or bad): Xander, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”
genre to read: PNR
franchise (any media): I’m thinking you can guess. 😉
Thanks, Victoria! Here’s to well wishes that this installment does as well as the others!