I have a great author interview for you today! Joining me in Behind the Quill is Davonne Burns, author of Sorrows Fall. When I read the first chapter of this novel on Davonne’s blog, I just had to have her as
a guinea pig for my evil experiments to take over the writing world guest for my interview series. Lucky for me, she had a few spare moments to chat.
Here’s what she had to say:
Me: What is the first thing you ever wrote? How old were you and what happened to your work?
DB: I didn’t discover my love of writing until high school. I’d always read anything I could get my hands on but my main focus had always been art. Then I took a journalism course. My first articles were in-depth pieces about student rights that were published in the school paper. After that I took a creative writing class. Writing poetry and short stories was fun and my teacher entered a lot of my stuff in contest. My poetry won awards and a one-act play I wrote won a state contest.
Me:Tell us about publishing Sorrows Fall. What did you do and how did you feel?
DB: It took me nearly ten years from concept to published novel. So it was very exciting when I finally got it published. It still gives me a little rush to see it in print or on the internet.
Me: Does your significant other read your writing? What about your parents?
DB: My husband is not much of a reader. He hardly even reads my comic book collection. ^_^ I learned in high school that my Mother cannot handle reading what I write at least not the fiction.
Me: If Sorrows Fall was made into a movie, who do you picture playing each characters part?
DB: I had to think about this one for a while. Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t think Sorrow’s Fall is very well suited to being a live action movie. There are too many aspects that would be lost in a live action. Now if I could get Yoshinori Kitase and Tetsuya Nomura, who produced and directed Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, to make a movie of it I would be beyond thrilled.
Me: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
DB: I think chapter 12: Breakfast with Dragons was my favorite to write, but mostly because it was so difficult. I had to spend a long time getting the action and the emotion balanced correctly. So much happens in such a short time in that chapter, yet it’s hugely pivotal to the rest of the plot. I had to find a way to describe an emotion without once naming it or giving away exactly what it was. That was hard and I’m still not sure I accomplished it.
Me: Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
DB: I would love to go back to the Clan Wars, so much happened then that has a huge bearing on what is happening now in the series. I’d also like to explore Drake and Zulyekha’s relationship more. They have such a tragic story. They sacrificed so much to be with each other yet, they cannot overcome who and what they are. I’d really like to explore that dynamic. A relationship that was once full of love but that has boiled down to a mere business partnership over the years due to outside pressures and internal strife. Zulyekha I think is a very pitiable character and I’d like to be able to tell her story at some point. I think I’d like to explore the themes of trust and acceptance more. Sorrow’s Fall was more about how we allow ourselves to be manipulated by those we admire, like or feel an obligation to, so I’d like to grow beyond that.
Me: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
DB: The toughest was when I was told my protagonist was a nasty little bastard. I’d worked so, so hard to make him sympathetic in spite of the things he does and to hear that kind of broke my heart a little. The best compliment I got was from a young gentleman in England who read it as part of a group. He said it changed his outlook on life. What more could an author possibly ask for?
Me: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
DB: My friends say it’s my penchant for getting ‘into character’. I tend to act like my characters when I’ve been writing them for long periods of time. I don’t even realize I’m doing it until one of them who is familiar with the character points it out.
Me: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
DB: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. It’s one of my favorites and was the one that I guess you could say, inspired Sorrow’s Fall. Then there was The Book of Three, I read that series so many times. King Horn was another one. That one was translated from a very old Welsh manuscript and the story was amazing. I also have to say that reading The Amazing Spider-Man influenced me a lot. Somehow over the years the writers managed to keep me interested and coming back and to have Peter grow as a person and a hero. This always fascinated me. I can only hope I manage to do the same.
Me: When you aren’t writing, what do you like to do?
DB: When I’m not writing I like to watch anime or Japanese drama’s. I also still draw a fair amount. Those are the things I like to do, though usually what I actually end up doing is cleaning, cooking and taking care of kids. ^_^
Me: What are your three favorite forms of procrastination?
DB: Reading, watching anime and if I get really desperate . . . cleaning. Though that’s usually when I’ve a deadline to meet . . .
Me: What would YOU like your readers to know about this book or you in general? What do you want readers to see in your books?
DB: I would like for them to see some part of themselves. I know an intergalactic assassin with telepathic powers might not seem very relatable but I tried very hard to make him as human as possible.
Me: Tell us about your current or upcoming release. Will you have a new book coming out soon?
DB: I am currently writing the second book of the series, Sorrow’s Despair. It won’t be ready till sometime in 2013 though.
Me: What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring authors?
DB: ^_^ everyone always asks this and the best advice I can give is, write. Write every single day and don’t be afraid of criticism.
Me: Great advice, Davonne. Accepting all types of criticism is very important for writers. Some of it can be wonderfully constructive, but when the trolls come out we have to learn to let it all roll off our backs. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me.
Here’s a little more about Davonne:
Having learned to read by age four, Davonne hasn’t stopped since. At age seven, she read The Yearling and learned something wonderful, books were populated by real people in real places. She never went back to the kids section again.
Her mother, recognizing the need for more substantial reading material, introduced her to Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov and Jules Vern. Thus a life-long love of science fiction was born. It was after reading Ender’s Game in middle school that the desire to write became overwhelming. However it would be nearly ten years before her first full novel Sorrow’s Fall was completed.
Davonne currently lives in Nixa, MO with her husband and two young children in whom she is instilling a healthy love of all things geeky. She is currently in the midst of several projects including Sorrow’s Despair, the sequel to Sorrow’s Fall, along with an as yet untitled sci-fi novel set on earth in the distant future. Other projects include a YA novel set in central Missouri, Burn Out.
So, what did you think? Do you have other questions for Davonne Burns? If so, post them in the comments and I’ll see if I can get her answer a few of them for us.