Who am I talking about? Donna Maree Hanson. She is my guest author this month and I'm so excited! I gave her complete open rein as to what to write, and this is what she says about herself:
How reading helps my writing
I like reading. I love being absorbed in a book and being so involved I don’t want to stop until the story is done. I read lots of different genres, crime, romance, science fiction and occasionally literary type books (those contemporary stories where it’s about the words and the character rather than about the plot). If it hooks me I’m there. If it hooks me a lot, I don’t move until I’m done. I have had some impatient children/ partners who want to be fed or something and I’m nose deep in a Georgette Heyer and won’t move. Sigh. I love being that indulgent with a book.
Reading fabulous stories inspired me to write. I am from that school of writers who consider reading very important for a writer. I recall very early on a writer giving a talk about how aspiring writers had to read, read and read. This author said that reading allows your mind to absorb story rhythms and flows and by osmosis a writer will pick that up. Another author, Jack Dann, said at his workshop many years ago that if you like a passage you read, copy it down, study it and understand why you liked it, why it was good. I don’t think I’ve done that but I do study texts more now to look at an author’s technique, see how they have done something. Not so much to copy them but see how a certain thing can be done. Sometimes a novel or a way a novel is written gives me ideas or even confidence. For example, I might think they’ve done something daring and then that leads me to be daring too.
There are opposing schools of thought on reading within the genre you are writing. Some people believe you should be across the genre, know where your work fits etc. Others don’t read in their genre because they don’t want to accidently influence their work. This happened to me with my dark fantasy series, Dragon Wine. It has dragons in it. I didn’t want my dragons to be clichéd or like someone else’s take on dragons. So I didn’t read any books with dragons in them. I’ve been told that my depiction of dragons is a bit different, that they have a different edge to them. That pleases me because that is what I was going for.
When I was writing Dragon Wine (Shatterwing and Skywatcher) it came out quite dark and there are things in the story that are disturbing. When I started writing this book back in 2003, dark fantasy wasn’t a thing. I hadn’t read a dark fantasy. I’ve had feedback from editors and readers that the story was too dark. Now dark fantasy is a thing. So I’m not writing the most dark and nasty fantasy out there. One reviewer did say it was ‘grim’ dark, which is about a dark and depressing as you can get. Dragon Wine has a layer of light in it so I’m hoping that’s enough to shrug off the grim dark label.
Dragon Wine Book 1: Shatterwing by Donna Maree Hanson is free in e-book for a short time. As part of spreading the word about Shatterwing Donna is doing a blog tour and offering a give away of a hard copy of Shatterwing. Winners will be drawn from people who comment during the blog tour. So leave a comment to be in it to win.
What is the book about?Dragon wine could save them. Or bring about their destruction.
Since the moon shattered, the once peaceful and plentiful world has become a desolate wasteland. Factions fight for ownership of the remaining resources as pieces of the broken moon rain down, bringing chaos, destruction and death.
The most precious of these resources is dragon wine – a life-giving drink made from the essence of dragons. But the making of the wine is perilous and so is undertaken by prisoners. Perhaps even more dangerous than the wine production is the Inspector, the sadistic ruler of the prison vineyard who plans to use the precious drink to rule the world.
There are only two people that stand in his way. Brill, a young royal rebel who seeks to bring about revolution, and Salinda, the prison’s best vintner and possessor of a powerful and ancient gift that she is only beginning to understand. To stop the Inspector, Salinda must learn to harness her power so that she and Brill can escape, and stop the dragon wine from falling into the wrong hands.
Dragon Wine Book 2 :Skywatcher, the follow on book is also available in ebook and print.