It's exciting to have Dana Volney as the last Behind the Pages featured author of 2016, because not only does she write in one of my absolute favorite genres, she also writes stories perfect for Christmas. And since it is the holiday season, Dana is contributing a digital copy of her latest to one lucky ready. So check out her awesome interview below and enter for the chance to win A Heart for the Holidays.
1. Where are you from and when did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I am from Casper, Wyoming (where I currently live), but when I worked in Seattle I was reading a lot and caught the bug to write there. I didn’t do anything about it for a number of years, until I was back in Casper and my sister urged me to take a class at the college on writing fiction. It opened my eyes to my love of the industry and I’ve never looked back!
2. I read that you also work with a marketing consulting company. How does that impact your life as an author, and how do you balance the two?
I run my marketing business, so I can, mostly, set my own hours. I have made an effort in the last couple months to divide out my schedule to make sure my clients are taken care of and I still get my writing time in—unfortunately, I have yet to have a week where it actually works out that way, but I get in the time for both. Some days my sleep is what suffers though!
3. Tell us a little about your latest, A Heart for the Holidays. How did you come up with the plot?
I love writing a holiday novella every year. From The December Deal, I knew Silver would be the next one to have her own story. I knew she’d been out of town for a while and that she was smart and driven. I also knew I wanted it to have something to do with a heart transplant situation. Last summer at the lake with my sister (who is a nurse which came in very handy for research) and brother-in-law, we formed the general story picture after a harrowing game of Yahtzee. It took some turns when I actually sat down to write, but the general premise was kept. I love Fisher and Silver and I hope people enjoy their heart-tugging story!
4. What do you hope readers will take from this story and from the characters, Silver and Fisher?
There’s always hope. Never give up. You never know when your Silver Morgenstern will walk through your doors!
5. How challenging is it to transition between suspense and holiday romances?
They definitely take two different strategies when I plot and when I write. When I am writing the sweet, holiday stories, I have to think about all the season entails both with the festivities and weather (which is funny because I usually write them in the summer). When it comes to the suspense, they’re all about the danger, mystery, and generally darker thinking. Sometimes the worlds collide, but that’s what editing is for. 😉
6. Have you considered writing outside of both genres? If so, what other genre would you like to tackle?
At the moment I haven’t. I enjoy a couple different Sci-Fi shows and think that would be fun to write, but I don’t know enough about it yet. I generally read romantic suspense and contemporary and haven’t strayed too far out of those zones. Hopefully someday!
7. Dana, since your debut till now, How have you evolved as a writer?
I’m sure there are numerous ways in which I’ve grown—thankfully! One that’s been more evident to me lately is my plotting. I’ve come to realize my life is a bit easier (especially with the suspense novels) when I plot my stories out in more detail before I start. I still stray from my original notes here and there, but overall it creates an easier flow of creativity during my writing time.
I think that every day it is a choice. I’ve thought about a lot of different scenarios (clients, time, etc) over the last couple of years, but never once did I commit to quit writing. Even if I take a couple of months off, I always come back to it. I’m constantly thinking of plots and characters and scenes. It’s a part of me now and I truly love it and hope to be publishing for years to come.
9. How do you unwind after finishing a book?
I usually binge watch a show I’ve been saving or order pizza or get some serious family time in, sometimes all of that in one weekend. But mostly I just start thinking about the next book and the timeline. I think if I give myself too much time to relax then nothing really gets done and it’s harder to get back into the routine.
10. What's next for you?
I am working on my next series, and I’m pumped! It will be a romantic suspense series following assassins on the road back to redemption. Look for the first novel in the series on February 22, 2017!
11. Thank you so much for taking the time. Please leave any tips for aspiring writers.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received (or that truly resonated with me as a new writer), is that “there are no new stories, just new voices.” This actually helped me a TON. When I first started exploring writing fiction I was almost paralyzed because I thought “I have to come up with something that has never, ever, EVER, ever been done before”. And while, of course, fresh ideas are never a bad thing, chances are some form of an idea has already been written. That one simple tip put my mind at ease and allowed me to be creative.
Thank you so much for having me! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
More About the Author
Dana Volney lets her imagination roam free in Wyoming, where she writes romances and helps local businesses succeed with her marketing consulting company. Splitting her time between telling sexy, fast-paced suspense stories and sweet holiday romances, she likes to try new adventures in real life whenever she can (which, let’s face it, means tasting all sorts of delicious cuisines). Dana is bold, adventurous, and—by her own admission—good with plants, having kept a dwarf lemon tree alive for six months.