Interview with K. S. Daniels

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
My first story, complete with illustrations, was for an assignment in the Third Grade. Our teacher liked to hold a little writing contest each month. The winner would have their story and accompanying illustration posted on the class bulletin board, where it would stay until the next winner was chosen the following month. I won with a science fiction story about a girl who was sucked into her TV by aliens and was to be the representative of the human race. I've long since forgotten the title of the story, but I'm sure my parents have stashed the original away somewhere.
What is your writing process?
I like to do a medium amount of plotting. Really, I begin with just the bare bones. I know where I need to begin, and the major plot points that will get me to my predetermined end. Now how I get from plot point A to plot point B, I like to leave open, so that part is very organic, allowing for changes in the narrative. I like structure, but I also need to give my characters the freedom to figure out how they will get to where I need them to go.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I've actually though about this question a lot lately. If I could only ever read 5 books again, they'd be:

1) Ubik, Philip K. Dick (One of the best books I've ever read. It's a bit of a mind-bender, so not for everyone,)
2) Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte (I have studied and taught British literature and books like this are why. Beautifully Gothic and a strong female lead during a time such things were just about unheard of)
3) The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov (The finest SF mystery known to man. Period.
4) The Paris Wife, Paula McLain (Three words: 1920s, Paris, Hemingway)
5) The Stars Like Dust, Isaac Asimov. (I'm a huge Asimov fangirl so of course he'd be on the list twice (sorry Andre Norton and Bob Heinlein! I still love you both!). Good old fashioned space adventure written by one of the 3 Grand Master's of the Golden Age. Need I say more?"
Describe your desk
Ha! Which one? Currently I'm using my daughter's white particle board desk in her room because mine is trapped under heavy boxes from our recent move. My desk is beautiful though. Real woods, ornate draw pulls, and heavy and sturdy as a pile of bricks. The little desk I'm using at the moment is falling apart. There's water damage from drink glasses left on it overnight, a half-empty paint buck from re-decorating my daughter's room, a few scraps of paper with barely legible notes on them (written in crayon because it was handy), some My Little Pony figures (most with heads intact), a few Doctor Who pins, and a half empty, soon to be cold cup of coffee. I have been known to write at coffee shops when I'm dealing with lack of inspiration, and living so close to New Orleans, I've got scores to choose from.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small town in Alabama, though the setting of my childhood had little impact on my writing, save for the fact that since there was nothing to, I did massive amounts of reading. My father and grandfather both had an impressive collection of books, mostly Science fiction from the Golden Age, so that more than anything influenced me. I learned the finer points of writing from the best teachers in the world: Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Andre Norton.
What do your fans mean to you?
I don't like to think that I have fans; my characters have fans and I count myself among them. Nothing is more fun than geeking out with someone who loves my characters as much as I do. I've, on several occasions, done fancasts with readers, speculated on a pair of characters' future together, and listened to readers theories on what will happen next. It really is the most fun.
How do you approach cover design?
I have an amazingly talented cover artist, Ana Cruz (http://www.lunebleu.deviantart.com/). I explain the look and feel I'm going for and she brings it to life. I couldn't ask to work with a better person.
What do you read for pleasure?
Mostly Science Fiction from the 1940s-1980s, but also some contemporary fiction. I read and study a lot of the classics too, specifically British novels and short stories during the Victorian, Romantic, and Modernist movements.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I actually don't have one yet. I plan to get one soon so I can get ebook versions for my favorites to have when I travel, but I much prefer paperbacks.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Breathing life into the imaginary people who live inside my head through my books, and then sharing those stories and characters with the world. I love nothing more than to hear how much someone has fallen in love with my characters as much as I have. Artists have the distinct honor of bringing people joy in one of the most amazing and satisfying ways possible, and it is a privilege to do this as my job.
What are you working on next?
I've just begun the third installment of The Valkyrie Series, and it looks like there will be a fourth as well. After this series is complete, I've got a few ideas shelved in the back of my head that I'll go over again. In all likelihood, I'll return to the book I began before the Valkyrie books. I wrote myself into a corner with that one, so I shelved it, moved on, but always planned to go back to it and revisit that world.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
If I'm not writing, I'm usually reading, animal or kid wrangling, or doing home repairs to the fixer-upper we just purchased. Reading is part of the job though, and all writers need to read as much as they can. Luckily, reading is one of my favorite pastimes. I've only the one kiddo, but I've accumulated a horde of rescue animals over the last few years and they can be taxing. I've a toy poodle, two pit bulls, and the obligatory evil feline. I also like to dance, when the opportunity arises. I took Ballet for about 15 years, but that skill isn't nearly as handy as I once imagined it'd be. I'm not currently teaching at a university since my recent move pulled my away from that, but I love teaching writing almost as much as I like actually doing it. I do hope to find myself in the classroom again one day, but until then I'll enjoy the extra time I've got to writer faster and harder.
Published 2014-05-21.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Flight of the Valkyrie
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 93,260. Language: English. Published: July 29, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Science fiction » Military
Declassified from human to cyborg and accused of crimes against humanity, Vladia Robespierre is on the run. But when Mars refuses her sanctuary, Vladia and her allies must trek to The Barbarous Outer Moons. Only at the edge of civilization, can she rally an army and come to terms with her new identity. But can one who is no longer a part of humanity really be the one who saves it?
The Valkyrie Profiles
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 72,830. Language: English. Published: January 11, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
(5.00)
Vladia Robespierre has always had a past to hide. Raised by the aristocracy instead of the State Rearing Facilities, her half-brother is all she's ever admired, respected, and counted on. But with war on the horizon and a rising body count, is he really who she thinks he is? And if her brother is the enemy, what does that make her?