Thursday, 13 June 2013

Author Interview - Danyelle Leafty


  danyelle



Danyelle Leafty writes upper MG and YA fantasy, and is the author of THE FAIRY GODMOTHER DILEMMA series. Danyelle has always loved fairy tales, and prefers stories where someone gets eaten, or at the very least, transmogrified. Much of her inspiration has come from fairy tales, because as G.K. Chesterton so aptly states, "Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten." In her spare time, she collects dragons, talking frogs, and fairy godmothers. She also collects books, and one day hopes to make a house out of them. She enjoys learning languages, fiddling with her harp, and perfecting the fine art of mothering. (It's a lot like trying to herd chickens during a lightning storm while a goat stampede is going on.) One of her heroes is Albert Einstein, particularly for the following quote: "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The most important thing is not to stop questioning."

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? "Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten." ~GK Chesterton.

This is my favorite quote because I think it sums up perfectly both fairy tales and what it means to write for children. Fairy tales, at their heart, are human tales. Mirrors that show us what it means to be human. They are also tales of courage and hope--something humans need in order to survive. As for children, many live with dragons every day. Some dragons are tiny things that needle at children with sharp teeth. Others are as big as the sky and twice as heavy. Stories--fairy tales--not only provide a world to escape into when the dragons are too big, but they also provide a sort of roadmap to navigate through dragons and life.

What’s your favorite place in the entire world? My favorite place is Christmas. When the sky is dewy with wishes and stars and a soft blanket of snow covers everything, gentling the harsh corners of winter. When the ordinary becomes magical and colored lights fill the world with a soft glow. When boxes wrapped with paper and bows wait under a tree and they could hold absolutely anything at all inside them. Christmas seems to be the time of year when wonder and magic are real and people believe.

What genre are you most comfortable writing? I'm best suited to writing fantasy for children--usually upper MG, and usually fairy tales, either retellings or original.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? For me, the most difficult thing is saying goodbye. I usually have a fairly good idea of where the story is going to end up at the end, but the last couple of chapters usually drag for me because I know I'll soon be saying goodbye to this particular story and/or characters.

Have you developed a specific writing style? I think so. :) My prose tends to be fairly poetic and filled with metaphors. Mostly because this is the way I think naturally. I usually have some sort of humor woven through the story, and while I'm not afraid to go to some very dark/scary places, the tone of my stories tends to be happy. I'm also experimenting with using the omniscient POV, even though it's fallen out of fashion. Omni is perfect for framing fairy tales, and has its own kind of power. (It also has its own specific weaknesses too.)

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? I get writer's block every once in a while. For me, writer's block is either one of two things: 1) I'm burned out and need to take a break, or 2) I took a wrong turn somewhere in the story. If the cause is me being burned out, I take a day or two off from writing and surf on Tumblr to fill my inspiration wells. If the cause is because I took a wrong turn somewhere in the story--either plot-wise or made a character act against their nature--then it's a matter of going back and finding the place where I diverged and fixing it.

Can you tell us about your main character? Bettony is headstrong and willing to do whatever it takes to get what she wants--even if it means resorting to using magic and then cleaning up the mess magic makes. She's fiercely loyal to her sister, even if her older sister can be bossy and annoying, but she's also very independent. Bettony tends to look forward, rather than back, focusing on the future. She's tough in her own way, but very delicate in her center. She also takes big magical setbacks--like turning her sister into a toad on accident or swallowing the family magic--in stride.

Why did you choose to write this particular book? It's usually not a matter of me choosing to write a particular book. Rather, it's a particular book choosing me to write it. I know a book is ready to be written when I'm accosted by the character whose story that it is, and the character won't leave me alone. I generally have two or three stories like this at a time, so it's usually the loudest character that wins. :)

Bettony intrigued me with the very guilty look she had on her face when she appeared in my head. A toad was perched on her shoulder, and in the way of dreams and story ideas, I understood that the toad was her sister and that it was her fault her sister was a toad. There were also some interesting wisps of Bettony's thoughts on and pursuit of beauty that made me want to follow the story to see where it led.

How important do you think villains are in a story? I think villains are incredibly important and under appreciated. Without a villain, the hero has no need for heroics, and it is against the villain that the hero's worth is measured. Villains also serve the important function of setting the tone for the entire story. If you have an evil, twisted villain doing horrible things, the tone of the story is going to be a lot darker than one who isn't quite as evil. That isn't to say that villains can't be evil and twisted and do horrible things in lighter books. The Princess Bride, in my opinion, is a perfect example of this. Prince Humperdink and the Count are awful people, but they're also ridiculous in a number of ways (not to mention the Prince's henchmen) that sort of balance out the dark.

Can we expect any more books from you in the future? Definitely. :) I'm hoping to release the sequel to The Trouble With Toads in late summer, as well as the second and third tales to my Snow Queen series, a companion novel to my Bitten series, the final book in my Fairy Godmother Dilemma series, and a Halloween serial that will be released in October.

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trouble with toads

The Trouble with Toads Once upon a time a young girl wanted revenge. But first, she wanted to be beautiful. Twelve-year-old Bettony has read enough stories that begin with ‘Once upon a time’ to know what happens to the ugly stepsisters at the end, and she’s determined to escape that fate by any means necessary—even by magic. Unfortunately, when it comes to magic, there is no place for regret, refunds, or exchanges. Even if you accidentally turn your older sister into a toad. If Bettony wants her Happily Ever After to end well, she’s going to have to find a way to turn her sister back into a person before their mother finds out she’s been dabbling with magic and grounds her for life. Tracking down the family magic turns out to be surprisingly easy. Now, if only it came with directions . . . THE TROUBLE WITH TOADS (45,000 words) is the first book in a new upper MG series The Secret Stepsister Society. The second book will be released Summer 2013.


trouble with toads tour

Blog Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 6/28/13
 a Rafflecopter giveaway Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Prize value $25 US.
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Books Sold - 6 Nov 2011 to 31 May 2012

Some of you have asked me for my total number of books sold to evaluate KDP Select so here it is. Bear in mind, that results will vary based on genre and author. Good luck and remember, Keep Moving Forward.

Total - 120,836

1. Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Amazon Kindle - 42,559
Paperback -
Smashwords -

2. Frequent Traveller
Amazon Kindle - 35277
Paperback -
Smashwords -

3. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 1
Amazon Kindle - 462
Smashwords -

4. Mirror Me Martha (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 281
Smashwords -

5. Drive On Hope (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 190
Smashwords -

6. Blog-A-Licious Directory 2012
Amazon Kindle - 1
Smashwords -

7. Pandora's Reading Room 1
Amazon Kindle -
Paperback - N/A

8. The Cat That Barked (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle -

9. Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety
Amazon Kindle -

10. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2
Amazon Kindle -

11. Elevenses from Around the World
Amazon Kindle -

12. Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability
Amazon Kindle -

Blog-A-Licius - Sherbet Blossom

SherbetBlossom

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Dealightfully Frugal

Blog-A-Licious - The Few, The Proud, The Wife

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My Soul Slippers

Blog-A-Licous - Textbook Mommy

Blog-A-Licious - Blue Frogs Legs

Blog-A-Licious - Pretty All True

Pretty All True

Blog-A-Licious - tbaoo

tbaoo

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Blog-A-Licious - The Invisible Art

Blog-A-Licious - Rediscovering Domesticity

Rediscovering Domesticity

Blog-A-Licious - Quiver Full

Blog-A-Licious - Cori's Big Mouth

Blog-A-Licious - Great Fun

Greatfun4kids

Blog-A-Licious - Busy Wife

Blog-A-Licious - Steps To Happiness

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Blog-A-Licious - Toby & Max


Blog-A-Licious - Amelie

Raising Amelie

Blog-A-Licious - Peas In A Pod

Blog-A-Licious - Riley

Blognostics - Poetry

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My Awards - September 2010

My Awards - September 2010
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My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded By Alejandro Guzman

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded by Kriti Mukherjee

My Awards - April 2011

My Awards - April 2011
Awarded By Roy Durham

My Awards - June 2011

My Awards - June 2011
Awarded By Sulekha Rawat

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