Author Interview: Danielle Van Alst
About the author:
Danielle grew up with a passion for all things literary. She first put pen to paper writing articles for a newspaper she designed and created during elementary school. Danielle’s creative channels evolved into writing poetry, short stories, essays, and children’s books. When not writing her own material Danielle loves reading everything and anything she can get her hands on especially mysteries, suspense, and historical fiction.
Some of Danielle's other talents include finding new and creative ways to use sarcasm, spilling/dropping things, being supremely weird without even trying, graphic design, and photography. Danielle also enjoys watching vintage film and studying mysticism.
Danielle attended California State University Northridge where she majored in Psychology and minored in Child Development. She continued her educational pursuit and attended Phillips Graduate University where she earned a Master’s Degree in Psychology with a dual emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy and Professional Clinical Counseling. Months after graduating with her degree, and growing more miserable every day that brought her closer toward a career she truly didn’t want, she finally realized writing was the only career that would make her happy and nourish her soul.
Danielle is a proud member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and The Alliance for Independent Authors. Danielle is now gleefully concentrating full time on bringing to life her stories and sharing them with the world. Danielle currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
What inspires you to write romantic fiction?
I am a bit (or a lot) of a romantic at heart. I have this idealized fantasy in my head about what romantic love should be, look, and feel like. I create this vision in my head of what I wish for and long to have in a romantic partner. Unfortunately, life isn't as simple as that so I create the men and situations that I want in life in my books! I guess you can say I sort of live vicariously through my characters. Besides, I always say if you want more romance in your life, read a book!
Tell us about how you write.
Well, I don't really have a rhyme or reason or set pattern to how I write. I write in many different genres and that forces me to use different methods for my work. I'm a bit of a mess actually when I write. I have random papers filled with thoughts everywhere and books that I use for reference for my historical fiction elements. I also have many journals that I use to create character profiles and scene descriptions. Sometimes, I even have post-it notes stuck all over my computer screen to help me remember things that I want to add to my manuscript. I write in a way that "feels" right to me in the moment.
Do you listen to or talk to to your characters?
Both! I literally have full on conversations with them. Sometimes, I even talk out loud and answer myself back as though I am that character and then write as I go. Yes, I know I'm crazy but if the voices in my head stopped talking to me I'd have no material!
What advice would you give other romance writers?
I think this advice holds true for all authors and that is to never let anything strip you of your passion for writing. This is a tough crazy making business and there will be times when you want to throw in the towel. But, at the end of the day, you have to remember your love for the craft. There is always going to be constant noise about what you should and should not be doing as an author…ignore it! Do what feels right to you. There is no right or wrong way to write. If you have talent and patience and determination than that’s all you need.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I originally used a small independent publishing press but, it turned into a nightmare scenario and was a terrible fit for me and my book. After that experience, I decided to self-publish Fateful Voyage and will continue to self-publish so that I can maintain full creative control. I take pride in my work and expect nothing less than perfection so, when I am forced to work with incompetent people it becomes extremely frustrating and stressful. My books are my babies and I want my readers to get top quality work from me.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think you will see the stigma of being an independent self-published author fade away. I think authors want to have more control over both the creative and business aspects of their books and brand. Additionally, I see authors taking more of their rights and power back in the publishing world.
Which romance sub-genere(s) fit your stories best?
My books are available in the following formats: