I loved Danielle's latest book Put It Out There and I thought that maybe she would like to do an interview. I contacted Danielle and she would love to do an interview! So I came up with sevaral questions and there it was. It was fun to come up with these questions but also to read Danielle's responses. So let's dive into the interview!
So obviously you’re an author, but how did writing become your job?
My day job is still as a therapist in private practice and I work with children, teenagers, and families. I originally started writing for the newspaper. I had a column titled "Family Function". I first started writing fiction about four years ago and continue to write both young adult and new adult titles, mostly contemporary dramas and romances but a few suspense and psychological thrillers too.
Are you still a social worker or do you volunteer? Or do you still work as a therapist?
I worked as a social worker for eight years, mostly in schools, and now I see clients in a private practice clinic that I own with my husband. I write during my free time.
Did one of your previous jobs inspire you to write stories?
All of my experiences, both work and social, inspire my stories on some level. I meet interesting people with complicated family dynamics and emotional life situations all the time. Although no single person or isolated situation becomes a character or plot point, they do sometimes inspire the intense conflicts and relationships that I create.
What inspired you to write the Britannia Beach series?
Britannia Beach was inspired by the real life setting of Britannia Beach in British Columbia, Canada. I grew up close to the sea-to-sky area and spent much of my youth skiing and hiking in the wilderness around Whistler, Squamish, and Britannia Beach. In fact, my first date with my now husband was a hike on the Squamish Chief.
Ah, it always has been a dream of me to visit Canada one day, but now I would love to go for a hike in Britannia Beach. Guess I'll put that on my bucket list!
The ones that read Put It Out There, know that Derian is kind of paranormal (I know it isn’t paranormal, but I just like to give her that name). How did you come up with that idea?
I would describe Derian as intuitive or clairvoyant and I included this element as part of her character traits because I have met people who have intuitive strengths and I find the ability to sense energies fascinating. There isn't a lot of scientific evidence available for how intuition and clairvoyance work and many scientists will argue it doesn't exist, but police forces and search and rescue teams do enlist the assistance of intuitive people to help with missing persons cases. I'll leave it up to the reader to decide whether there is something valid to the strength or not.
I think it's so original and unique to have a main characters have such a special trait!
When you were the age of Derian, were you the same as her or were you the exact opposite?
Sometimes authors do write characters that are basically a carbon copy of themselves, but I don't think I'd be interesting enough to write a series about. Although there are definitely elements of Derian that I had when I was young, she is very different from my teen self. We are both outdoorsy and rule-oriented, but I feel like she is a little sweeter and more feminine than I was. I also grew up with a brother and sister, whereas Derian is an only child who lives with her grandfather. (I definitely would have had a crush on a guy like Trevor, though).
And if you were in Derian’s position, who would you chose? Steve, Mason or Trevor? (I would definitely pick Trevor!)
I wrote each of the male characters in such a way that that they possessed different strengths that I find appealing in a person. They all have flaws too, which is what makes choices in life interesting. Nobody's perfect, so when deciding who would make a good partner we aren't looking for the perfect person, we are looking for the perfect combination of qualities that complement our own strengths and weaknesses. Adolescence is the perfect time to experiment to figure out who we are and decide what qualities we find attractive in others and which ones would be deal breakers. The qualities in another person that ultimately bring out the best in us and balance out our own flaws are different for everyone and we don't know what works best for us until we meet different people. That being said, you'll have to read all the books to find out who gets chosen in the end ;)
You're making me very curious! I really don't know who Derian is gonna choose.
What can we expect from the ‘What Are The Chances?’ and ‘And Then What?’
Book two is a slightly more grown up version of Derian who has just graduated from high school and faces difficult decisions that will impact what her future might look like. Book three follows Derian into her first year at university where she stumbles into a dangerous situation with potentially deadly consequences.
That sounds nice! I can't wait till the books release.
Britannia Beach isn’t the only series you wrote. The other series is Noir et Bleu Motorcycle Club. What’s the difference between these two series?
Noir et Bleu Motorcycle club is a much edgier series of stand-alone novels about an outlaw motorcycle gang. It is geared to a slightly older audience and deals with mature subject matter. Britannia Beach is a sweet adventure romance series that reads in order from book one to three whereas NetB can be read in any order. Teens and adults read both series, but it depends on the reader's taste and mood. NetB is darker and edgier but still focuses on romantic relationships, complicated life choices, and emotional family dynamics.
Since I've read Put It Out There I'm very curious about your other books. I like your way of writing and I can't wait to read that in another genre!
Are you planning on writing any other stories/books/series?
I have a young adult psychological thriller in negotiations right now. I'm almost finished writing an adorable new adult romantic comedy and coming soon is my first historical romance and another contemporary young adult novel. I always have several projects on the go at the same time because each phase of publishing from the agent to the publisher to the editor to the bookstores can take anywhere from months to years.
All I know is that I will definitely read them!
Do you have any tips for those of us who write?
Keep writing. When you finish a first draft, keep writing to make it better. When you get rejections from agents or publishing houses, keep writing to make it better. When you read a bad review, keep writing to make your next book better. Just keep writing.
I also got a few other little questions:
What is your favorite book genre?
The upper young adult crossover into new adult contemporary with at least a thread of romance.
Hmm, so many to choose from...The Outsiders.
Meatballs, like Mason.
Favorite TV show?
Right now it's a toss up between Vikings and Heartland. I know they are completely opposite.
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Favorite music genre?
All-time favourite song is probably In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel
Dogs or cats?
I grew up with both but would probably prefer to have a horse.
Haha! Didn't see that one coming :)
Chocolate or vanilla?
Neither if it's ice cream but I am slightly addicted to proper 70% dark chocolate.
I like all seasons because variety is more interesting but spring is a slight front runner.
It was such a pleasure to interview Danielle and I can't thank her enough for her answers and her time!
Published by Wendy Leusink