Danielle Girard interview with David Alan Binder

posted Apr 6, 2017, 4:25 PM by David Alan Binder

Danielle Girard interview with David Alan Binder

 Bio from her website:   It started on a winter night in 1977 near San Francisco. The rain had drizzled on and off for three days, and the constant patter on the windows had finally stopped. Lying in pink flannel sheets, Danielle pulled herself into a ball, curls falling across her face as she squeezed her eyes against the dark. Every noise reverberated in her brain and sent her pulse drumming. She tossed and turned with each creak, every whisper. When she heard the groan of the floor in her own room, she bolted upright. Heart pounding, she squinted into the dark. A scream stopped cold in her throat when she saw him.

He stood almost as tall as the door. A dark hood covered his face, allowing her to only make out the shadows of his deep-set eye sockets. Long sleeves draped past his hands, hiding what she was sure were his long, sharp claws. The metal bed dug into her spine as she clenched the covers in damp fists. He stepped forward. A tiny whimper escaped her lips where she had tried to scream. She buried her face in the covers and cried. The room grew silent. She forced herself to look back, her eyes slowly adjusting to the darkness. He melted into a robe hanging on the back of her closet door--his head the hood of her green terrycloth bathrobe, his eyes nothing more than shadows in the fabric’s folds, his arms the robe’s sleeves. 

Wiping her eyes, she turned on the porcelain fairy lamp that sat on her bedside table. The room was cast in a pale amber glow. There was no man. Instead, the room was just as she'd seen it in daylight--the small desk under the window, stuffed animals and scattered toys left from that day's play.

Danielle went back to sleep, but for many nights afterwards, she saw that man return.  Now, Danielle spends her days (and some nights, too) in an office where she stares at the blinking cursor, dreaming of that man and others far creepier.

Danielle is currently working on the second book in the Dr. Schwartzman series.

 

Website:          http://www.daniellegirard.com/

 

 

1.     Where are you currently living?

San Francisco, California sometimes Rocky Mountains

 

2.     What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

I’ve learned that the book is not done until it is done.  I think one of the things that is really hard is you get to the point where you are just sick of it and want to kill everyone in the book.  Or at least I do.  It is the book that determines when it is done not me.  So I’ve tried to be really patient which is not something that comes naturally.

 

3.     What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?

I sit in the basement where I’m alone and wear earplugs to write.  Not to listen to music, earplugs not ear buds and will wear noise reducing headphones.  I can see things but do not want to hear anything; I want it to be really quiet.

 

4.     Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?

I’ve done it both ways.  Five books published by Penguin-Putnam and four books are self-published.  I worked with the company that did marketing and such and that is really important.  The biggest struggle for authors is getting someone to be aware of your book.  Self-publishing is also tough unless you have a number of books, I think it is hard to take one book and self-publish it, but it is easier when you have a few.  There is a lot of autonomy and that is great about self-publishing.  But it is also hard because you don’t have the whole structure of editors behind you so you have to get those pieces on your own.  There is such an incredible opportunity with companies that do those things are everywhere now.  There really wasn’t as much of it then when I started.  Now it seems like there are good services for editing, covers and every step of the process. 

 

a.     Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they located?

Penguin-Putnam as stated above and the marketing firm she uses is

EPublishing Works they helped her quite a bit when she was publishing on her own.  Now with Thomas & Mercer subsidiary of Amazon so it is a very different kind of publishing than Penguin-Putnam. 

 

5.     Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

I read anything, I have a Kindle with tons of books on it but she is just as likely to walk into Target or Costco and buy paperback or hardback books from them.  It depends on what she reads and what mood she is in.  She loves the convenience of having a device, she can have so many books at once and has a huge stack of books by her bed and likes that as well also.

 

6.     Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?      

I wish right.  The secret tip is to never give up.  Once you’ve written one book then just keep writing because I think you get better with each book and when it happens then a publishing firm is happy that you have other books (in the closet).  I wrote three books before I published at Penguin-Putnam and those three are still buried in the back yard (and they will not ever come out) but it was those three books that helped me sell the forth one.  I think there are quite a few aspiring authors that look to other authors and the trick is to just not quit.  I’ve wanted to quit many times because those rejection letters pile up and I have 103 rejection letters before I sold Savage Arts.  So before you hit 103 you have work to do and then you can start to complain.  [We call it the perseverance factor.]  Once I’ve been published then it hasn’t been easy, my publisher weren’t doing what I wanted them to, so I went out on my own and that has its own challenges.  I’ve now publish with a new publisher whom I love, so you have to be able to persevere even when you have a publisher form the get go.  [It is a personal process and it is different for everyone, we don’t think any one thing works for everyone, we concluded]

 

7.     How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent?  Any tips for new writers on getting one?

I have an agent yes and I love her.  I queried her 20 years ago and she rejected me and I worked with a different agent for a long time and that was a good experience then we parted ways.  They I reached out to this agent from 20 years ago and she took me on.  So you never know.  A good way to find agents is to read the acknowledgements in the backs of people’s books.  See if it is a book, you really like similarly in terms of voice or genre then I think it is a good place to look in the back of those books.  Every writer thanks his or her agents in the acknowledgements (at least they should) and that is a good place to look.  Because if this agent is representing this author and I’m doing something similar then maybe that agent would be a good fit.  That is the best way, there are tons of resources on line and huge books and be careful of sending stuff to agents if you don’t know what they want.  It is a waste for them and for you.  Their websites are really specific now so be sure to look them over carefully.  That is helpful too.  [We concluded that just because an author used postage a while back versus email that that does not make it harder, you just had to be more patient.)

 

8.     Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?

I’ll be specific because I’m actually going over my older books not and one thing is there is a lot of wonderful software out there (she uses Scrivener) and it will count the repeated words that may be overused.  I use ever, since and only (I must love those words) so that helps me to catch that.

9.     What was one of the most surprising things you learned with your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?

I find when I lay down when I am tired but not like exhausted that is when I get my best ideas.  Just laying in bed and staring at the ceiling, I can do it during the day or right before bed.  I keep a pen and paper by the bed at all times.  I can capture those ideas when they happen.

10.                        How many books have you written?

I’ve published ten and my eleventh one is coming out in August.

 

11.                        Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?

Revision, embrace revision.  I think everyone is a little different but when I start out writing I look over the day before writing and check it   It helps me to put myself into the scene I was working on and try to clean up what I was working on the day before.  That is a good habit to get into.

 

12.                        Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?

I usually make a list of possible twists and the answer is NEVER in the first five or seven ideas. 

13.                        What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?

I think that people respond to the death of characters; when I write I have a really full mostly female protagonists and people respond to her strength and humanness of her characters.

 

14.                        What are some ways in which you promote your work?

EBook publishing company I told you about [EPublishing Works , I think] the use things like BookBub and newsletters because I am terrible on my own.  I just stick my head in the sand and hope they sell.

 

15.                         What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?

I would revise those books more when I started out many years ago.  I would be slower and more patient and worry less about how fast I could type them and worry more about how good they are.

 

16.                        What saying or mantra do you live by?

Live and let live. 

 

17.                        Anything else you would like to say?

I don’t think so.  I definitely encourage writers not quit; it is a wonderful type of work.  Don’t quit, you don’t lose if you don’t quit.

Thank you for doing this on the phone.

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