It’s not always that you come across a writer who can give a genre a breath of fresh air for you like Danielle Blanchard has with her Vamp Saga series. So when I started reading Book 1 I knew Danielle had to Get Jack’d. So, without further adieu…let’s to the jacking!
JW: Let’s just start this off with a bit “You rock!” There, I got it out of the way. Oh wait, I suppose I should say why “You rock” was stated so quickly. It’s simple – you are not only an incredibly talented writer, you also are a writer’s best friend. When you like a book you REALLY LIKE a book and are not afraid to say so. There are so few out there like that. In fact, I would argue that there are more people out there willing to say something bad than something good. Even beyond that – so many don’t get the horror genre. Unless you’re writing a Twilight knock off, it seems horror writers are still relegated to live in dark, dusty, cob-webby corners of the basement.
I do believe there are agents of change at work to help bring us horror writers out of those dark moments in time and space, but it’s going to take some time. But while that is happening, it’s crucial for people like you and me to spread the word of good horror – be it through reviews, blogs, giveaways, lap dances, seemed stockings –
Oh wait…sorry, I got out of control there.
To me, horror is a catharsis that can’t be had with any other genre. It’s fear unleashed in the comfort and safety of your own home, bed, or coffee shop. Horror allows us to release our inner monster and let it play far away from the confines of reality, where no one would get hurt and no one need fear what your inner monster is capable of.
DB: Thanks, Jack, for the compliments. I suppose I should start off by saying that before I discovered the indie community, I was a hard core traditional pub aficionado. I was so sure I had written the next masterpiece with The Beautiful People series (chick-lit now women’s literature, thank you very much) that I did the whole merry-go-round of query letters and desperately trying to find an agent.
Fortunately, I was unsuccessful and I did discover the indie community. Thank God I did because I discovered there was a whole load of folks out there who were super talented but just hadn’t bothered to get a trade deal or were just so damned frustrated, they took their destiny in their own hands and decided to let the chips fall where they may.
JW: I hear ya. I sent out the usual queries, but found everything I wrote to be a challenge for agents and publishers. I have always refused to be chained down to stereotypes or pigeoned-holed into one genre. So, like the streams Peter Venkman warned us about, my genres crossed borders. And, to be honest, I didn’t care what the agents and publishers thought. I was writing what I loved and what moved me.
DB: This is a great time to be an indie writer because we have so many outlets to choose from. Kindle Direct Publishing allows us to sign exclusive contracts where we can participate in their book borrowing service through Amazon Prime; we also have Pubit from Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, which distributes to B&N, Kobo, iTunes, et al and if you happen to be an indie writer from beyond the American shores, there are great resources outside this country too.
JW: But not only is it a great time thanks to all the publishing outlets, but because of the immediacy of connection. We have, at our fingertips, groups of people attempting to accomplish the same feat. With those people we have friends, confidants, support, professional help, editors, designers, sounding boards, you name it. I don’t know if any of us would be where we are today if it weren’t for the help of our fellow writers.
DB: I am just so damn excited about Death Wish and I am happy the people who have read it are enjoying it. That is why I decided to make the leap to indie publishing because I wanted people to discover my work and enjoy it as much as I do myself.
JW: I have other writer friends insisting on going the traditional route. They’ve been pimping their books and wares for years now – to no end. I’ve tried and tried to convince them they could actually be making money from those books instead of waiting for their egos to be stroked by an agent that may or may not be able to sell their books to a publisher.
DB: I can say right off the bat that I am not a conventional writer. I grew up reading everything from V.C. Andrews and Jackie Collins to Stephen King, Dean Koontz and James Patterson to JD Salinger and Truman Capote. I will never allow myself to be boxed in and that is a great feeling!
JW: I hear ya on that one girl. One of things I am most proud of is that I was a professional actor for twenty years. To get there I received an MFA from the Purdue Professional Actor Program where I studied everything from improvisation to scene study to script analysis (and everything in between). I am also a passionate lover of music. Lyrics, melody, and rhythm move me on a daily basis. When I write I try very hard to bring a lyrical quality to my words. I don’t want to just write every day sentences, I want to move people to laughter, tears, fear, and joy.
DB: For the readers out there who enjoy my women’s lit, they need not worry I have given up on this genre. I have a couple of women’s lit books premiering this year including the new Pop Stars series, an erotic romance series by the name of DeGeneration with Love Voodoo being the first novella and me trying out my new persona as Elle Chardou along with a stand-alone novel called Summerlin. The Beautiful People series will also be getting an eternal makeover as it is currently being revised by my editor and it should be ready by April at the latest.
JW: Don’t you love giving old works much-needed love and attention? The first book I ever completed, A Blade Away, was so deserving of a make over. Recently I re-did the covers for both A Blade Away and Gothica because I felt like they got the serious short stick in light of me focusing on the zombie genre. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some zombies…but the Fringe Killer series holds a special place in my heart. Skip Abrahms is one my favorite characters I have created so far (besides Shero).
DB: I can truly say I look forward to exploring the dark side with relish—that is paranormal, urban fantasy, science fiction and horror. Besides the newly released Death Wish, I am working on the second in the ten-part series, Better Off Dead, which is writing itself and will be as brilliant as the first, if not more so. I also am working on my own three-part post-apocalyptic tale called The Plague and the first novel, Beginnings: Book I, will premiere in February. I have so many projects planned that The 27 Club has been put on the back burner for time being. But my fans should not be too upset as I also have another series I am fleshing out called the Georgia Paaten Paranormal Mystery series which should yield at least four books.
JW: Ah horror… my fav. I think one of the reasons why I find more success as a horror writer than I do any other genre is that I have been such a die-hard fan for so long. I love horror – movies, books, you name it. I truly believe that loving what you write should be the number one commandment in a long list chiseled in a thick slab of titanium.
DB: I am constantly thinking and dreaming of new ideas and I couldn’t imagine living my life any other way. The moment I am able to financially support myself on my writing will be a wonderful day indeed but I have so many projects lined up for 2012, I think fans, regardless what books in my repertoire they enjoy will find something to keep them quite busy.
I am a natural born writer and enjoy it with flourish. It isn’t just something to grab a quick paycheck for me, it is a way of life. If I can continue to entertain and gain fans, I think that is all a girl can ask for and between that and supporting my writer friends, I am a very happy camper indeed.
JW: Amen sister! Writing is one of two forms of therapy I have (the other being cycling). If I didn’t have this artistic outlet I would come apart at the seams. I have been a true artist since childhood. That aspect of me will never die. Should I go without feeding that facet of my personality, I would surely wither away from the inside out.
DB: Thank you, Jack, for this opportunity to allow me to go on … and on… and on about my work, indie writing and the great year that 2012 is going to be for all of us. It is a great time to be self-employed as an indie writer, if not the best time. Let’s hope it will only get better!
Danielle Blanchard Benson was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. She is a world traveler and currently earning her degree in Creative Writing with a Minor in Specialized Languages (French). She has also written The Beautiful People series along with Death Wish: Book I.
Ms. Blanchard Benson is currently working on The Pop Stars series (The Catalyst: Book One will be released December of 2011), The Plague (The Beginning: Book I will be released in February of 2012), The 27 Club Series (Soul Survivors: Book I will be released Spring/Summer of 2012), DeGeneration (Flashbacks in the Present: Book I will be released July of 2012) and The Vamp Saga (Better Off Dead: Book II will be released Summer of 2012).
Ms. Blanchard Benson will also be releasing a revised edition of The Beautiful People: Part One in March of 2012 and The Beautiful People: Part Two will premiere in April of 2012, (both will be edited by Felicia Sullivan).
Ms. Blanchard Benson has lived abroad in Stockholm (Sweden), Manchester (England), Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland. She currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Links for more Danielle