Ester: Today I’m speaking with Danica Avet. Welcome, Danica. First, how long have you been writing?
Danica: I’ve been writing off and on since I was a teenager, but I didn’t decide to write seriously until about three years ago. Four full-length manuscripts later, I have three books signed and an agent. It’s been crazy.
Ester: I bet. How did you get started in your writing career?
Danica: I read voraciously. I remember when I was 15, I sat down with my little electric typewriter and started writing a story about a girl coming home to south Louisiana. I think I wrote about fifty pages before I stopped. The story was awful, but I never really gave up on the idea of writing. I spent the next few years trying to write different stories, but never got anywhere with them until recently.
Ester: What genre do you write in and why did you choose it?
Danica: Right now, I only write paranormal romance. I love the paranormal romance genre because the sky’s the limit on what you can write about. Besides, it’s so much fun to take old legends and myths and remake them in my own world.
Ester: That’s what I like about it too. What was your first published work, Danica, and how did you get published the first time?
Danica: Ruby: Uncut and on the Loosewas my first published book. It was released February 2011. I’d spent nearly two years trying to hook up with an agent or an editor. I had several nibbles, but no luck until I bit the bullet and submitted the story to Siren Publishing. They wanted it and here we are.
Ester: I take it, Succubus-in-Waiting is your second book?
Danica: Yes, it’s the second book in my Veil Series. I’m so excited! I have a third book in the series which came out last spring, Lifestyles of the Fey and Dangerous.
Ester: So how did it go with the agent?
Danica: I actually signed with an agent a week after my Veil Series was signed with Siren. I’d sent Nalini Akolekar with Spencerhill Associates my fourth manuscript–book one of an entirely different series–at the end of November and got the call before Christmas.
Ester: What a nice surprise.
Danica: Yes. It was a very Merry Christmas for me.
Ester: Danica, who or what influences your writing?
Danica: I pull a lot of my story ideas out of thin air, but I have to credit my family for being such a big influence in my writing. They have such wonderful (embarrassing) stories and such powerful personalities that I have to fit them into my stories somehow.
Ester: What is the hardest part of writing a story for you, Danica?
Danica: The beginning always gets me. It has to be perfection before I can move on, otherwise, I’ll agonize over it throughout the entire book. My current WIP has been rewritten at least a dozen times because I can’t seem to get the beginning where I want it. I’m hoping my latest attempt will stick.
Ester: Do you have any writing rituals or quirks?
Danica: Titles are a biggie for me. Some times I can’t write unless I have a title. I will drive myself insane trying to think of the perfect title. The only exception to this rule was the book my agent has. I had no idea what to call it and ended up taking a poll on my blog for a title.
Ester: Well that seems like an interesting way to get feedback. So you currently work with Siren Publishing. How is that going?
Danica: Alison is wonderful. I’ve been very lucky with my edits for Siren.
Ester: Speaking of titles, did you get to keep the ones you chose?
Danica: I did get to keep the titles I chose for my Veil series books. My book in the new series wasn’t so lucky.
Ester: What happened?
Danica: My agent suggested a title change and I took it. We were both pleased with the new title.
Ester: Did you have a say in the cover art on your book?
Danica: I was given a questionnaire to fill out about what I would like to see for my cover art. I can honestly say that my cover artist has delivered and then some. She’s done an amazing job of portraying my heroine’s personalities.
Ester: Danica, what are some of your hobbies or interests other than writing?
Danica: I spend a lot of time with my family (for inspiration you know). I love to fish and when I get a chance, I head out with my brother-in-law as much as I can. Other than that, I love to read, listen to music, and watch Ghost Adventures.
Ester: What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Danica: Get a critique partner or three. You’d be amazed at the things they find in your manuscript! I have three critique partners and each of them brings something different to the table. Two of my critique partners are published authors as well. They’re a group of talented, sassy ladies whose comments make me crack up while I’m reading their critiques. They all help me polish my work to an amazing degree. Another thing I recommend is making a lot of friends in the writing community. There’s an amazing amount of information out there just waiting for you to find it. Friends help you discover that information and also keep you grounded. I found my critique partners on Romance Writer’s Community and I wouldn’t trade them for the world! Besides, I love reading what they have coming out next.
Ester: Do you have any amusing, inspiring, or horror stories about your publishing experience?
Danica: Not my publishing experience, per se, but I do have an agent horror story. Last year I got “the call” from an agent and she loved the second book in my Veil series. She wanted to represent me and I agreed. While we were waiting on the contracts to be drawn up, she sent my manuscript to several big publishing houses. After about a month, I received an email from her stating that she was no longer at the agency and she wished me luck. I was left in limbo because no other agent would touch the story since I’d been submitted to too many houses.
Ester: Wow! That is bad. On a happier note, how did you celebrate your first contract?
Danica: My entire immediate family raided Outback Steakhouse for a celebratory dinner. I had a blast. I had to explain to my 20-something year old nephews that yes, Siren was a serious publishing house, and yes, they were going to pay me for my books. They’re protective of me.
Ester: Do you write full-time or part-time, Danica?
Danica: I write part-time. I wish I was a full-time writer, although I fear I’d read more than I wrote. *Cringe.* In my day job, I’m an environmental assistant which means I deal with dry documentation. The upside of that is that I get to see good-looking men in hardhats on a regular basis.
Ester: Hmmm, that leaves a lot to the imagination, doesn’t it? Do you think a web presence is important for unpublished authors?
Danica: I actually think unpublished authors should start out with a blog and write on it at least 5 times a week. It gives people a chance to sample your writing style. Also, hooking up with other writers on Facebook and Twitter is helpful to learn more about the industry, craft, and any upcoming events.
Ester: I want to thank you Danica for spending time with me. I appreciate it. You can find Danica’s Succubus-in-Waiting at www.bookstrand.com/succubus-in-waiting. You can also find her at www.danicaavet.com. Danica resides in Louisiana with her dog and two cats and has total domination of her remote control.