Danielle Ackley-McPhail – Author Interview

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

My third novel, The Halfling’s Court: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale started out as several short stories in the award-winning Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series. We looked for anything tough and bad-ass we could find and interjected faeries into the mix. My stories were about biker faeries. I had a lot of fun with them because the biker culture is very distinct and even has a mythology of its own that I was able to incorporate. The story follows Lance, the Halfling leader of The Wild Hunt MC. Those that rule in Faerie are starting to find him a threat, though all his “power” was in the mundane world he and his club drew much of the faerie crowd that were disenfranchised with the land of Faerie. They try and take him out, first covertly, and then overtly. He goes through a series of personal transformations, a sort of self-discovery down a path that leads him on one wild ride!

Tell us something about yourself.

I’m a Jersey girl who has been writing, or at least making up tales forever. When I went to Ireland they wouldn’t let me kiss the Blarney stone because some of my own may have rubbed off ;) I have always been enamored of tales and anything creative. I started making my own books when I was only twelve, came out of college with a double degree in English and Communications and ended up with a career in publishing despite my advisor warning me away from a field where I wasn’t going to make any money…so what do I do? Become an author, another field where you don’t make any money, most of the time ;)

What inspired you to write this book?

Well, I started writing it in link with the anthologies I mentioned earlier, but my inspiration for the main character was my uncle, Lance.

How did you publish this book? Why did you decide on that publisher?

I’ve been doing this a while and I have a lot of connections with various small presses through the book projects already released. This book was originally supposed to be published by Marrietta Publishing, unfortunately at the beginning of 2009 I received notice that they would have to cease operations. Thus began the scramble to find a new publisher for all my best-selling books. I had already started talking to Dark Quest Books about some unrelated projects so half of my affected books I offered to him, and the other half went to Mundania Press. One of the books Dark Quest snapped up was The Halfling’s Court. I handled this mostly as a packager, where I do all the design and layout and hand the publisher a print-ready book. I hope he doesn’t come to regret acquiring this one ;)

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

It was never a conscious choice. I’ve always had a very vivid imagination. At night when I was supposed to be going to sleep I would continue my favorite books in my head, only with myself inserted into the plot. I always received good graded in English, mostly because I am a voracious reader, and that translated into a firmer grasp of the written language. I would write for my assignments, and then I would write on my own time as well. Mostly poetry because it was short and quick. As I got older, though, I transitioned more into fiction.

How do you do research for your books?

I use both print and internet sources, sometimes I ask questions of professionals or those with the knowledge I need. For example, my first novel, Yesterday’s Dreams takes part partially in a pawn shop, so I picked the brains of my friend Bill Hicks, who used to be a pawn broker at one time. He is also one of my long-time writing mentors.

Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?

I learned a lot about the particular language and lifestyle of the biker culture. It is very diverse and the history there is amazing.

What are you reading now?

Nightwalker by Heather Graham

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?

I read almost everything of a fiction nature. Not too much into nonfiction, got way too much of that in school. I love the speculative fiction the most and I read romance as my junk-food reading, because I don’t have to focus so much to understand what is going on. Some of my favorite authors are Anne McCaffery, PC Hodgell, Patricia Briggs, Brenda Cooper, Garth Nix, Mercedes Lackey, Robin McKinley…I could go on J I love books.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

I’m always working on some project. Currently I’m scrambling to complete a couple of anthologies that are releasing in May: Dragon’s Lure (Dark Quest Books, www.darkquestbooks.com) and Bad-Ass Faeries 3: In All Their Glory (Mundania Press, www.mundania.com). Those are pretty self explanatory. I’m also working on the sequel to The Halfling’s Court, which is titled The Redcap’s Queen. I also have a number of long-term projects that I’m always working on. The third book in the Eternal Cycle series, sequel to Yesterday’s Dreams and Tomorrow’s Memories, my first two novels. These are urban fantasy based on Irish Mythology where I bring the actual legends into the story as a part of the background color and the plot itself.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Don’t go into it expecting to make a lot of money. If you do, great, but if you expect it automatically you are likely to be highly disappointed. Also, work for it…work very, very hard, if that is what you want. The author’s work does not end with writing “The End” on the page…being an author is a lot of work in promoting and marketing yourself and your books.

What are you doing to promote your latest book?

Well, we will be holding a launch party at Balticon this year for three anthologies that are all releasing at the convention: Bad-Ass Faeries 3, Dragon’s Lure, and New Blood. We are calling it the Legendary Triple Launch and many of the authors, editors, and artists will be in attendance. We do this every year an have become a popular feature of the convention. I also do an Internet campaign of posts, interviews and various listing sites, solicit reviews and generally stick my nose anywhere they won’t smack it. I also have a regular convention circuit throughout the year where I promote all of my titles, as well as picking up solo author events where the opportunity arises..

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

I can be found on LiveJournal (damcphail), Facebook (Danielle Ackley-McPhail), and Twitter (DMcPhail). To learn more about my work, visit www.sidhenadaire.com. My books are available for sale on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and most other internet book sites, as well as at www.mundania.com, www.darkquestbooks.com, www.fantasistent.com, www.flyingpenpress.com, www.dragonmoonpress.com, and www.padwolf.com.