Updated: May 6
This is the first of many author interviews. I plan on interviewing different authors a couple times a year.
My friend Danielle's book also came out in February 2020. You can find her on Instagram at @djharringtonwriter or www.djharringtonbooks.com. Her book was released and put up for sale on February 8th. Her live release party on Instagram was a hit. It went well with many questions answered and a few free book giveaways.
Synopsis: On the morning of her 16th birthday, Hollis Timewire receives the worst possible news She can't become a citizen of the world. She's a Diseased One. Born with a biomarker that bestows dangerous, brain-altering powers, Hollis is forced to hide underground with other Diseased Ones, who believe the government falsified history to cover up their genocide. Now Hollis must discover the truth, and is willing to risk anything, including her powers, to go back home.
About the author: Danielle Harrington is a high school chemistry teacher with a passion for the pen and a knack for story telling. She got her degree in Chemistry at Biola University, and although she's a hardcore science nerd, she's always been a lover of the arts.
She grew up acting and singing and has turned her love for drama into writing. Danielle lives vicariously through her characters and considers it great fun because she "gets to play all the parts".
Danielle lives in LA with her husband and two cats, Moose and Turtle. She is working on a four book young adult dystopian fiction series, and she's beyond thrilled to be launching her debut novel, The Diseased Ones, through Acorn Publishing.
PURCHASE LINKS BELOW
"The Diseased Ones" is also for sale in Australia at Booktopia
Martin: Is “The Diseased Ones” your first published book or your first written book in general?
Danielle: I’ve started many writing projects (probably more than I can count), but The Diseased Ones is the first manuscript I finished in full. I had a gut feeling about this story, so it felt great to finally complete an entire novel
Martin: What in your life inspired this story?
Danielle: The Giver by Lois Lowry was a huge inspiration for this novel. That book got me into dystopian literature. I also devoured The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. After that, I was hooked. I fell in love with the genre and I knew that one day I wanted to write something as fast-paced and exciting as those hit novels.
The idea for The Diseased Ones came about from a mesh of life circumstances. I was in college, had a better sense of storytelling and writing, and had recently developed an obsession with the TV show Heroes. It was the summer before my senior year, and the entire world of this book walked into my head in the span of about an hour. I was like, “Powers? A fresh, futuristic world? Some kind of test? A world devoid of emotions? Two versions of history? Truth and lies woven into a journey of self-discovery? Yes, please!” And so, the first draft of The Diseased Ones was written four weeks later! The biggest challenge was navigating an already saturated genre. I didn’t want my book to feel tired, already done, or boring. Especially because my premise had serious Divergent and X-Men vibes.
Martin: Are there any comp books you can say would be a good book if readers really enjoy your book?
Danielle: Yes! If you’re a fan of The Hunger Games, Divergent, X-Men, The Giver, or The Darkest Minds, then this book is definitely for you! I tried to write a fast-paced novel that gave off those kind of futuristic, suspenseful vibes.
Martin: In your book the main character, Hollis, has brain-altering powers. Is this like an X-Men type power or like a Spiderman type power?
Danielle: Her powers are more like X-Men powers because they’re genetic. Spiderman was granted powers from a radioactive spider instead of being born with them. Martin: How do you balance your high school teaching career with writing?
Danielle: It’s not easy. I’m busy all the time! There’s a lot of grading and lesson planning to do – especially teaching Chemistry. But this is my third year of teaching (and the first year I’m not teaching a new class from scratch), so in that sense, it’s been okay. I’m glad my book release fell on my third year as opposed to my first or second. What I enjoy about my job are the early hours. I get home around 3:30 pm, which allows me to spend time on my writing career in the evenings.
Martin: Has writing your novel taught you anything you have applied in your Chemistry class, and if so what was it?
Danielle: I’d have to say it’s the other way around. I’ve infused a little science into my novel. It can definitely be classified as science fiction/ dystopian. It was fun working out the mechanics of the biomarker and how that translated to powers. It’s loosely based on gene expression and how certain genes can turn themselves on and off. As a science teacher, I wanted to ground my book in reality to an extent, so I had a blast working on it! Martin: 2 part - With your childhood passion of singing and acting would you ever consider writing a screen play or a “Glee” or “High School Musical” type story? Being a chemistry teacher would you ever write a nerdy book or even as you continue your education would you write educational books on the sciences?
Danielle: I’ve thought about screenwriting, but I don’t think I’ll ever pursue it. In terms of writing educational materials, that would be a no. I’ve thought about creating a YouTube channel focused on explaining different chemistry concepts (like Bozeman Science videos), but that’s the extent of it. I’m much more likely to make videos about science than write a textbook.
Martin: Is there a lesson you want readers to learn from your book or is just a fictional story?
Danielle: First, I hope that readers find it to be a great adventure and escape from their everyday life. I want this book to be entertainment, but I also want the book to deliver the message that searching for the truth is important, even if there are huge consequences. I also desperately hope that every reader will find one character that they love and connect with, whether that’s my main character or one of the side characters.
Martin: What can you tell us about “The Diseased Ones” without giving away any spoilers?
Danielle: I really hope my ending throws the reader. I want everyone to be shocked. I’ve received great feedback from early readers about my ending, so I hope people can’t guess what’s going to happen. Got to love a good cliffhanger!
Martin: Living in Los Angeles, do you ever take your laptop to the beach and sit and write under the sun, against the waves?
Danielle: I’m actually not a beach person. It’s too sandy, windy, and cold. I enjoy the beaches of Maui more than the beaches of LA. That said, if I was on a Hawaiian island, I’d love to write on the beach (as long as I didn’t get sand on my laptop). The only thing I enjoy about the beach is listening to the waves and watching them crash onto the shoreline. They’re beautiful!
Martin: Do you have plans to write a sequel or other stories and if so will you use Acorn Publishing again?
Danielle: Yes! This is a four book series. My second book, The Unseen Ones, is already written and going through rewrites. And I’m sticking with Acorn all the way! They are an amazing team of people with a great eye for what works in the publishing industry. I’m blessed to have worked with them, and I look forward to working with them through the remainder of this series.
Martin: Is there a person or persons that you have dedicated this book to, who are they?
Danielle: My little sister, Gabby, is the person who talked me into making this a series. So I have to give credit to her. She bugged me for months after finishing this book and said, “No, you can’t end it like that. Write another book!” And she was right. I’m so happy I didn’t stop there. I’ve also acknowledged my family, Steven (my husband), and my two long-term beta readers for all of the love, work, support, and dedication they’ve given to this novel.
Martin: Do you have a CP (critique partner) or do you just bounce ideas off friends and family?
Danielle: I have some beta readers that I’ve been friends with for most of my life. I’ve also met some beta readers at The Southern California Writer’s Conference. They have been a huge help because they are writers too. I think it’s important for lay people to read a book and critique it as well as other writers who have a trained and crafted point of view. Martin: What is your next step for your author career and when can we expect your next book?
Danielle: After my release, I am shifting gears and I’ll start working full time on rewriting book two, The Unseen Ones. I’m hoping to release it 9 months after The Diseased Ones, but no more than a year. So if I hit that year mark, book two will come out February 8th 2021. But only time will tell!
Martin: What advice if any can you give to prospective authors desiring to be published?
Danielle: Go to a writing conference. Take workshops. Learn from industry professionals! Don’t work in isolation. Writing can be an extremely isolating discipline because it’s just you, your world, and a keyboard, but getting feedback from people who know what they’re doing is crucial. If you can’t afford to go to a writing conference (save up and go eventually!), two great resources are Save The Cat Writes A Novel by Blake Snyder and On Writing by Stephen King. These books will teach you how to write and how to do it well.
I didn’t even know how much work my writing needed until I attended my first writing conference. It felt like I was in school again. I was soaking it all in, writing so many notes that I nearly filled an entire notebook in one weekend. Truly and honestly, if you want to be a great writer, be a great student. Learn. Learn. Learn! Get feedback from people who have been doing this for a while. In addition, read books in the genre you write. Get familiar with what’s out in the market. And grow tough skin! There’s a lot of rejection and waiting in this industry. Things definitely do not happen overnight.
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Depression is something that most people experience at one point or another. During this time of life, life can be hard to live. Some people attempt to hide it from others, while others have trouble coping with life situations and have trouble with everyday tasks such as personal self-care.
This book will show how the author had gone through depression for many years and teaches how he allowed his faith in God to conquer that depression in his own life. These teachings are meant to help others overcome their own depression while letting them know they are not alone in their struggle.
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