Hello, and welcome to a very special series of interviews!
AC Adams and I have put together a little anthology, and it's coming out on November 15, so I'm interviewing some of the authors involved.
Today we have Dani Hermit!
Star Trek or Star Wars?
Slightly partial to Star Wars, but only because I’ve had more exposure to it. I’m sloooowly catching up on Star Trek and enjoying every minute of it.
A book that pleasantly surprised you?
This is going to sound weird based on me being a gay romance writer, but The Host by Stephanie Meyer (yes, the Twilight lady). I picked up a copy at Goodwill or some place and didn’t even realize who the author was until I’d already started reading it. It was an interesting take on the old “aliens take over the planet” trope and the romance was a very pleasant surprise.
Coffee, tea, or cacao?
I love tea best, but I will never turn down a warm beverage of any kind.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I love answering this question because it always brings back my first moment when I realized that people wrote books. I was like 12 and hanging around the public library trying to find a new book to read. I was staring down the row of shelves and it just hit me that every book here was written by a real person, just like me. I was overcome with the idea that I could be a person who wrote books. That knowledge never left me, even when I struggled through trying to write and publish.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?.
My first “book” was a series of scripts for a comic book I never made (due to lack of drawing skills). I was in eighth grade and they were HORRIBLE. I still have a few of them, hidden away in a box that will never see the light of day again.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I watch a lot of TV with my partner and I’ve been known to crochet little plush monsters and great big blankets. I also devour books, especially cheesy romances.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Writing is a skill set as much as it is a natural born talent. When I started out seriously working towards being published, I was shocked and appalled at the quality of story I was turning out. The raw ideas were good, but the execution was… **cringe**. I didn’t publish a novel for another ten years after that, taking the time to work on my skills (and wrestle my demons). Even then, I wasn’t prepared for the reality of publishing, but I am learning and getting better at everything every day.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have written and published 20 books with my partner, and none on my own (yet.) Thus far, I think my favorite was the now out of print Ghost House. Something about those characters and the idea of exorcists and demons really appealed to me.
Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Read all the things and write all the things. Don’t limit your reading just to your genre and don’t be afraid to write things that will never see the light of day. Even silly little fanfics will hone your writing muscles.
What is the first book that made you cry?
I don’t even know the name of it anymore, but there was this book I read in grade school that was about a tree that was cut down to make a telephone pole. It had a tree girlfriend that grew next to it and she was cut down too. I cried. Then at the end of the book, the tree had a single root left, so it grew back into a tree. And the telephone pole next to it turned out to be his tree girlfriend who grew back too and they sent love messages along the electric cables to each other just like they used to do with the birds who lived in their branches. I cried some more.
What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
I don’t usually talk about this kind of stuff, but what really bothers me are vanity presses who prey on new authors. Anyone who is looking to publish, remember - absolutely NO publisher will ask you for money. Not for anything. Money flows from the publisher to the author, not the other way around. If they come asking for money, run away.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I actually do. Dani Hermit is definitely not my legal name. When I started out, I didn’t want people who used to know me to find out I was publishing. But as time went on, I realized that I didn’t actually care but I’d already built a brand with my pen name. I just kept using it.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I think the best books have a balance of each. But since I write romances, I think I skew more to giving readers what they want. I know that I’m not reading romances to be shocked. I know that there’s going to be a happy ending and that’s why I’m here. So I assume that is what my readers want. I have to fulfill the promise of a happy ending no matter what drama I drag my characters through to get there. ;)
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A very nervous housecat. Like, I want you to leave me alone because I’m scared of people, but also LOOK AT MY TOE BEANS. Which, in this analogy, are my books. LOL.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
SO many. So, so many. Not everything is suitable for public consumption. Some of them are a mess in need of editing, while others are self-indulgent tripe. But every time I worked on a different project, I learned something about myself and I made myself a better writer.
What do you have coming next?
I’m working very hard on the editing for several serial stories with my partner Curtis Star. They are posting on Kindle Vella & the Radish app right now. We have a couple new projects creeping around behind the scenes that we’re not quite ready to talk about.
On my own, I am working on the second book in my Silver Hall Alphas series, a MM romance series about dominant Omegas set in an mpreg omegaverse. Book 1, Alpha in Chains, is posting right now as a serial and I am hoping to release it in ebook & paperback after the first of the year.