Q: When and why did you begin writing?
I originally began writing as a very young tween, around 10 years old. I was really into epic fantasy, mythology, and history very early on and that always impacted what I wrote. I had poetry and short fiction published in student journals and newspapers before letting writing fall to the wayside in favor of visual art. I jumped back into writing around two years ago as a de-stressor, got my first dark fantasy book published, and have never looked back.
Q: What books have most influenced your life most?
Gosh, that’s a hard one. General retellings of ancient myths and legends have always been big for me. I absolutely adore Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, especially the first book in the series, The Gunslinger. Other big influences have been the dark London fantasy King Rat by China Mieville, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, and Penny Dreadful by Will Christopher Baer. All of these books opened my imagination up all the more and allowed my art to flourish and, therefore, made my life richer and more fulfilling.
Q: How do you make time to write?
I am truly a Jack-of-all-trades, so trying to make time to write can be a challenge. I am a tattoo artist in a custom shop, a painter, and an illustrator/book cover designer as well so I have to manage my time carefully. I usually hit the laptop in the evening, after I get home from the tattoo shop. I always have a beer or glass of wine on hand as I write so I can relax and get into the mood.
Q: What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Obviously a good computer with a backup system. I like to keep notepads and pens in my purse, car, and by my bed for those sudden moments of inspiration. I think having a well- stocked bookshelf near your writing desk is an important tool: mine happens to be filled with favorite fiction/nonfiction books, foreign language references, and visual art books (images are as much of an inspiration to me as other people’s words can be). Good music that fits the story or characters is a staple (I always compile a “soundtrack” and burn a CD for each book I write). A favorite beverage or snack can ease the stress that can come with the creative process: a good beer, glass of red wine, or dirty martini tends to be my drug of choice (hey, I’m a tattoo artist–we’re all about the booze).
Q: What do you think is the biggest misconception in erotic romance fiction?
That it’s pornography. In my humble opinion, good erotica is written artfully and with elegance.A good erotica writer can turn hardcore sex scenes into poetry.
Q: Tell about your latest book?
My latest novel, Black Dog and Rebel Rose, was released in August by Solstice Publishing. BD&RR is an erotic horror story in which I pulled out all the stops and threw in all of the naughty stuff that I love, both characterwise and in the setting of the story. BD&RR first introduces the reader to Skriker, the son of a True Native of Hell and a mortal lady of the night. He is a tattooed Harley riding half-demon hunter who specializes in the destruction of all the evils that dwell in the dark, including his own kind. When not hunting, he is a wanton seducer and lover of the female sex; a bad boy in the truest sense of the term! Word of a vampire-infested ghost town draws him in with the appeal of blowing vamp parts all over the place like a kid in a carnival game. In the middle of the hunt he runs (literally) into Rose, a bombshell of a woman with a tragic past. Rose, who just happens to be the now-grown Nephil (half-angel, half-human) daughter of Alexius and Psyche, has become a fierce huntress with a chip on her shoulder. When they decide to run together on the hunt, Skriker finds himself falling madly in love with his new companion, and Rose is forced to deal with unwelcome emotions that she swore she would never acknowledge. Their opposing ancestries lead to an interesting dilemma for both characters. This story is horror-flick gory and truly written with the erotica fan in mind—the sex is graphic and sizzling hot. A very fun angels-and-demons read! This is also my first book to be in print as well as ebook format, which I am crazy excited about.
Q: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That love can truly conquer all–even if your daddy’s an angel with a chip on his shoulder and your boyfriend ends up being half demon.
Q: I know you do your own cover art. Which comes first the art or the book?
Truthfully, both. I love doing character designs/sketches and will create my own images of the characters as I work on the novel; I am immensely picky about how my characters are portrayed (no stock photography for my book covers PERIOD). Drawing or painting a character can help me along with the overall vision and feel of the story.
Q: What are your current projects?
I’m currently working on two new books. The top priority is the second novel in the Psyche’s Gate series. Titled Nephil’s Curse, this story chronicles Alexius and Psyche’s daughter Rose and her journey into adulthood. Skriker and Alexius are major characters, and I introduce my first werewolf characters here as well. My second project, In The Neon, is another erotica offering that tells the story of Skriker’s parents and how they met. I am also working on a comic book version of Black Dog and Rebel Rose, which I am very excited about.
Q: Where can readers find you on the world wide-web?
On my website: http://www.danielledsmith.com
and my blog: http://www.theangelsgate.blogspot.com
Join me on Saturday when we read a sexcerpt from Danielle’s Black Dog and Rebel Rose.
I loved the comment about a good writer turning hardcode sex into poetry. Great interview!