Would you like to get to know more about how the inner book brain of an Indie Author works?
This is the place!
Periodically, we'll invite an Indie Author to open up their brain, and show us inside. We'll have a conversation that deals a little bit with writing craft, reading influences, and some other fun stuff.
Today, we thumb through the pages of Indie Author D.A. Reed's grey matter...
Discover More About D.A. Reed HERE!
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
I have not gone on any specific literary pilgrimages where I have gone to visit favorite places or homes of authors—though I wouldn’t turn the opportunity down! I think for me, literary pilgrimages are simply using and observing everything around me, no matter where I am, to strengthen my writing.
What is the first book that made you cry?
I read so many as a child that I don’t really remember – but most likely the Disney storybook Bambi. The death of Bambi’s mother really got to me and I still won’t watch the movie.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Getting out of my own head. I often second-guess myself and have to constantly remind myself that I need to write the story that’s in my heart without worrying about what other people will think of it.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
My young adult books are all stand alone, and I do like them that way. I feel each story has its own purpose and I haven’t felt that they need to continue beyond that. A lot of the suspense books I have written have ended up as a series or trilogy—probably because I keep thinking of more and more twists and turns the story can take and it’s too much for just one book!
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
It gave me confidence to do it again. To see all my hard work in actual paperback form and know it was possible was very affirming. It also made me realize that people enjoyed my stories and my writing—and were waiting for the next book, so procrastination wasn’t an option (which I am very good at….). It also made me want to learn more, to hone my talents, and I began reading and researching how to make my novels better each time, and my writing better as a whole.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
It sounds weird, but a turtle! They are viewed as having emotional intelligence, humble, and as having a great amount of persistence. I will persist, I will not give up on my writing, because if my stories help even one person then that is enough for me. I can’t help anyone if I give up on writing.
What did you edit out of your books? (keep it family-friendly, please)
I edit out swear words. Writing Young Adult, I am very conscious of what I put in front of an age group that can span anywhere from ages 10 to 85.
What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
Social media for any other purpose than to support my writing and the writing of others. It can be very distracting and a great way to procrastinate, unfortunately.
What is your favorite childhood book?
Honestly, I read so many I’m not sure I could choose! In middle school/high school I fell in love with The Hawk and The Jewel by Lori Wick. I read that so many times it began falling apart and I even began a short story that was inspired by it.
What is the most difficult part of your writing process?
Honestly, getting out of my own head. I overthink and second guess myself all the time. When I am able to remember I am simply writing the story that’s in my heart and it doesn’t matter what other people think about it, the words flow much more easily.
What is the easiest part of your writing process?
As weird as it sounds, the editing process. The creating part is where I second-guess myself and pull my hair out!
A common misconception entwined with authors is that they are socially inept, how true is that?
It’s not true at all. While I am a natural introvert and often get nervous before events because it requires talking to people I don’t know, I have had many people say they never would have guessed I was shy. Not to mention, several authors I know personally have very outgoing personalities and work the crowds at events like they were born for it.
When did it dawn on you that you wanted to be an author?
I think I have always wanted to write, to create, but it probably didn’t hit me that this was what I REALLY wanted to do until I was in my 30s and had realized – hey, this IS possible!
Who are your biggest literary influences?
Edgar Allan Poe and Daphne du Maurier are the biggest. Poe dared to go where others didn’t and his writing gives me chills; his works made me dare to step outside my conservative upbringing and write what I wanted to—no matter how dark it was. Daphne du Maurier has beautiful writing and has a grasp of human nature I have rarely seen, even when she wrote as a young adult. It makes her works even more spellbinding and chilling because, at some level, we can all relate to at least one of her characters.
What’s your favorite movie which was based on a book? Why?
Oh my, there are so many…but probably The Birds (written by Daphne du Maurier and created for film by Alfred Hitchcock). I still can’t look at birds in the same way (shudder, shudder). Both du Maurier and Hitchcock had such a stunning understanding of the human psyche and human nature; they knew how to create works that would play on your mind and emotions, whether for good or for bad.
How did it feel when your first book got published?
There are no words to express how accomplished and successful you feel to see your hard work in physical form. Simply put, it’s amazing.
How did you celebrate? I gave the book to my sister who had been hounding me to get it written and revamped (it was an updated version of the novel I had written at age 14). Then I dusted off my hands and figured I was done. I couldn’t have been more wrong…
What is that one thing you think readers generally don’t know about authors?
We don’t always have the same belief systems and thoughts as our characters. It is amazing how people combine the characters thoughts and actions with those of the author—it made me very self-conscious about my writing for a long time because I didn’t want to offend anyone. I have to remind myself that it is the reader’s responsibility to remember a character is simply a character.
When it comes to research for your books, are you a hunter or a gatherer? Talk about your research process.
I am more of a hunter. I will get what I need and then commence writing. If I find I need more information then I will go back to researching.
Could you be housemates with your characters? Why or why not?
From my suspense novels…um, a resounding no! I could never trust they wouldn’t kill me in my sleep! As for my young adult characters…possibly. But there is usually a lot of drama with those characters and I am not a fan of living with drama!
What’s your typical writing routine or schedule?
I have a 500 word minimum I meet every day without fail. I get up before six o’clock every morning so I have an hour to write before the kids are up and getting ready for school and I have to get ready for work. I typically then find some time in the later afternoon/early evening timeframe as well, but I make sure my 500 word minimum is met in the morning so if I don’t find more time to write that day, my goal has already been met.
Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. How do you recharge?
I run. A lot. I am a long-distance runner and have found it to be a great stress-reliever and energy-booster. I also plan quite a few scenes during my runs as well.
Do you prefer music or silence when you write?
Silence, though I am doing better at focusing even if there is noise around me (I have a husband and young kids. Writing at home or while in the foyer during dance class or basketball practice can be an adventure!)
Do you have a writing playlist?
If I listen to anything it is classical music – something without words.
Which celebrity would you choose to narrate your audiobook?
Tom Hanks! Seriously, that man’s voice was MADE to narrate.
What well-known author, living or dead, do you wish could be your mentor?
Daphne du Maurier, no question.
She knew how to get inside your head and pull on every thought and emotion. I would LOVE to enrich my writing by even having one conversation with her (just my luck—she is no longer living).
What is your favorite of the six senses (touch, taste, smell, sound, sight, intuition) to write about, why?
Probably sight and intuition. I love bringing things that I see to life on the page—creating a picture with words, if you will. But I also love using different writing techniques to bring the character’s emotions alive for the reader as well.
What is a favorite location you’ve written about?
Australia! (That novel is not out for publication at this time, however.)
Have you visited that place?
No, but it is on my bucket list!
How did you choose which details to include?
I am fascinated with the Outback and definitely wanted to include aspects of that in the novel. The entire first half of the novel takes place in the Outback before the character makes it back to the city.
Travel back in time (without negative effects for you or the timeline) what year do you visit?
Probably during WWII, so 1942ish.
There were so many facets of that war, and so many things that happened. To truly know and understand by personal experience what people of that time went through would be life-changing. There were many horrific things that happened, yes, but also acts of kindness and heroism that take my breath away. I have studied that war often, trying to understand the many components of it all, especially the different aspects of humanity during that time.
What is something about your hero or villain that drove their character, but you didn’t specifically tell your reader?
I am not sure on this one…I am very open and transparent with my characters and if something is driving them, the reader will usually know about it through dialogue or action.
Have you ever resuscitated a project you'd shelved? What helped it work better the second time around?
I would say that would the novel I wrote when I was fourteen. I took it off the shelf in my mid-twenties, revamped it, and it became my first self-published book! Having experienced life for over a decade more after the first writing, I found I was able to delve more deeply into the characters and draw on those life experiences to help with my writing.
What do the words “literary success” mean to you? How do you picture it?
From a personal perspective, I see it as knowing I have helped others who may be struggling through my writing. From a monetary perspective, I would say being able to support myself with my writing without having to have a “day job.”
Can you tell us about your current projects?
I am currently working on a YA novel that touches on the issues of depression and suicide. So many people have reached out to me to tell me they have struggled with these issues that I knew I needed to create something that would hopefully help those who are looking for hope.
Any advice you would like to give to aspiring authors?
Write! You will never regret writing the story that’s in your heart, but you will definitely regret never trying. If you are passionate about writing, give writing the time and place in your life it deserves. Carve out some time, even if it’s only a few minutes a day to feed that passion. You won’t ever regret it!
Please provide links and/or instructions about how readers can purchase signed copies of your books.
All of my books can be found on my website: https://dareedauthor.com/If you would like it signed, contact me through my website and I will sign a copy, work out payment with you, and mail it directly to you.
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