Today is the first Author Spolight! It’s something I used to do years ago, my own special way of supporting other authors and sharing the love. Our first author spotlight presents Dani Carlisle!
Alex Apostol: Tell me a little about yourself.
Dani Carlisle: I’m a non-binary author and parent from Canada. I love to bake, clean, write, listen to music and go for walks. I’ve been writing poetry for eleven years and wrote my first novel when I was thirteen.
Alex: Wow, thirteen. That’s impressive! What genre(s) do you like to write in?
Dani: When it comes to novels, I typically write queer romance/drama. Although, I write all kinds of poetry. It’s much more personal whereas my novels are non-fiction and don’t relate much to myself.
Alex: Are you traditionally published, independently published, or both?
Dani: I am self-published through Tellwell, a Candian self-publishing agency, and I also post my writing on my website and my social media.
Alex: What made you choose the publishing path you’re on?
Dani: I was tired of vanity publishers and people not being interested in my work; plus, I really wanted to be a part of my novel’s publishing process and be connected to it somehow.
Alex: I totally get that. I like to have control of all aspects of my publishing, even cover design. Why did you choose to write in the genre you’re in?
Dani: When I began writing my book, I had a vague idea of where I wanted to go with it. Throughout my writing process, the genre it became sort of formed itself, and I just went with it. I think it’s important to have more accurate representation of LBTGQA+ individuals in media, characters who exist for more of a reason than to add “diversity” to a plot.
Alex: Diversity has always been important to me as well. Kudos! When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Dani: I have wanted to be a writer since I was in elementary school (age 6 or so) and I’d write short little stories about my friends going on camping trips or having sleepover parties.
Alex: Tell us a little about your writing processes and your writing space.
Dani: It’s very disorganised, to be honest, but oddly I’m very meticulous when it comes to planning. I always design my characters first, a basic outline, which I’ll come back to and edit once I explore their character a bit more. I normally plan out an entire novel chapter by chapter before I begin writing, and rearrange or edit if I feel the need as I go. That way, I find it’s easier to make sure loose ends are tied up and all a reader’s questions are answered.
Alex: Your writing process is very similar to mine! In fact, that’s why I designed my Novel Notes journals because it helps me in all those aspects. What are your favorite books to read?
Dani: I’ve always loved Jodi Picoult, and truthfully I might’ve gotten ideas for some of my future stories from her work. I also am a big fan of John Green, and any type of romance or thriller/horror story.
Alex: To be honest, I have not read Jodi Picoult or John Green! I have such a long to-read list, but I have seen movies adapted from John Green’s work. What does marketing look like for you? Are you an avid believer in social media or do you like paid advertisement more? Do you DIY or do you have someone else or a company handle it?
Dani: I like to market myself using paid promotion on social media, and word of mouth. Although it’s much harder to market your work without the help of a professional, I think it ends up being a lot more rewarding. During the editing process of my story writing, I enjoy posting snippets on social media and my website, and promoting it to try and gain interest before the book is published.
Alex: That’s a great marketing tip! If you have to do any research for your books, how do you like to accomplish this? What is your organization of research like? How long do you usually spend on research?
Dani: Most of my books involve avid research, and that’s because I want to know what I’m talking about. I use books, the internet, and I ask around if I know anyone with information on the topic I’m researching. My research is very disorganized; once I find what I’m looking for, I just jot it down in my story planning to come back to later. I’ll spend anywhere from 2-3 hours a day researching usually, when I get into the mood to. It’s hard to get into it otherwise. With all the research I did while writing Whiskey Cult, the whole project took me five years to finish.
Alex: That’s true dedication and a ton of research! Tell us a little about your latest or upcoming release.
Dani: My latest release, Whiskey Cult, is a 600+ page non-fiction novel about mental health, addiction, falling in love, trying to learn self-love, and coming out. I’m very proud of it because, not only did it take me half a decade to complete, I also relate to many of the characters and circumstances. My upcoming release, which I’m currently about halfway through, is called Lavender Rose. It’s about a family’s search for their abducted child, and the battle of a lifetime.
Alex: Both of those sound so interesting and like they would touch the hearts of a lot of readers. And 600 pages is no small accomplishment. That’s impressive! Of all the characters you’ve created, who is your favorite?
Dani: Although I have many favorite characters, I really have a soft spot for Finn, the protagonist of Whiskey Cult. I think it’s because I see a lot of myself in him, and after 5+ years, he’s really become a part of me.
Alex: I think when we’re writing characters we tend to put ourselves in them somehow no matter what. For me it makes it easier for me to imagine what they’re going through in the story emotionally. And also, write what you know, right? Well, that concludes our first author spotlight! Thank you, Dani, for being a part of this. I’m delighted to share your stories and advice.