Queentutt - Hello Danielle, First let me say that I am so excited to have this opportunity to interview you, thank you so much for taking the time out to do this interview.
Danielle – Thanks for having me, Queentutt! I am more than honored to be here!
Queentutt - Would you tell us a little about yourself?
Danielle – Let’s see… I am a Southern California native currently living in San Diego, where I am the proud owner of a very buff piece of man candy (aka my husband) and a big book and DVD library. I am sort of a jack-of-all-trades: aside from writing professionally I am a fine artist and freelance illustrator. I have studied everything from costuming to tattooing, and I have a pretty nice (and ever-growing) collection of tattoos myself, including a big stunning winged gravestone skull emblazoned across my chest from shoulder to shoulder. I won’t be getting any new tattoos until at least next year, since I am expecting my first child, which is beyond awesome. Overall, I am a little bit of a hipster artsy-fart (minus the handlebar moustache, of course!), proud as punch to be the lovable black sheep of my family.
Queentutt – Who or What inspired you to write?
Danielle – I have always wanted to write, ever since I was small. Writing and art seem to go together like cookies and milk…or sex and cigarettes. ;-) My parents tell me that I would sit at the table and try to “write” stories even before I actually knew how to. I “told” my first poem to my mother at the age of two and she wrote it down. Wasn’t too shabby for a toddler! HA! I published short fiction and poetry in school newspapers and journals when I was a teenager. I actually let writing fall by the wayside for a number of years to focus strictly on painting. Then, about two years ago, I was hit with the urge to write a story about an artist who gets a commission—something that simple. That story became PSYCHE’S GATE, my debut novel, a dark fantasy tale with strong paranormal elements and a nice dash of the romantic. Three traditionally published books later and several more in the works, I have not looked back.
Queentutt – You have two great books out that I have had the great opportunity to read which are Psych’s Gate and Black Dog & Rebel Rose. Can you tell us a little about them?
Danielle – I’d love to! Psyche’s Gate (Buy Link: Amazon - BN - Liquid Silver - All Romance - Fictionwise ) is my debut novel and the first book of what will be a five novel saga. This dark fantasy tale tells the story of Psyche, a very young (and very poor) artist, and Alexius, a powerful warrior angel long ago banished to wander the earth as punishment for disobedience. Psyche is offered the commission of a lifetime by a very wealthy stranger; Alexius has been sent to stop her from creating what her client wants in order to earn back his stolen wings. Naturally, they meet and fall in love, leaving Alexius desperate to keep Psyche safe from her wicked client and his fellow angels, no matter what the cost. The story is very dark and gritty, and at times starkly violent—no fluffy romance here.
Black Dog and Rebel Rose (Buy Link - Amazon - Solstice Publishing - Smashwords - Fictionwise ) is a “spinoff” story from Psyche’s Gate, and is an erotica novel through and through. This rollicking horror romp introduces Skriker, a Harley riding, heavily tattooed half-demon bad boy hunter. Skriker is basically like Billy Idol on demon crack, and he melts panties like no other. When he gets word of a very fun vampire hunt in an abandoned town, he speeds out to get a piece of the action. Here, he runs into a fellow hunter—a woman—also looking to blow away a nice vamp nest. They start out competing and end up falling crazy in love. The big issue is that Rose, Skriker’s new catch, is no ordinary woman—she’s a Nephil, a half-angel, who just so happens to be Alexius and Psyche’s now grown daughter. And her daddy isn’t going to be too happy with his baby girl stepping out with a half-demon! This story is packed with action, gore, smoking hot sex, and a few really great one liners.Queentutt – Excitingly I just heard that you just released a new book called “In The Neon”. Can you tell us a little about it and what type of book it is?
Danielle – This book is really special, because it is my very first fully illustrated novel. It has always been my dream to publish a book featuring both words I have written and artwork I have created, and this publication has seen that dream come to fruition.
IN THE NEON (Buy Link - Amazon - Solstice Publishing - Fictionwise - Bookstrand )is a prequel to all of my current titles and tells the story of Faust and Annie, Skriker’s parents—this is the story that “started it all”, since it takes place maybe 6 years before Psyche’s Gate. Faust is a Collector demon, born directly from the flames of Hell. He has walked the world for millennia, his sole job to “pluck the world’s wicked fruit” and toss them into the Fire. He is perfectly content with his duties—and his natural wickedness—until the night that he spots a beautiful blonde dancer, Annie, standing on the back step of a strip club called The Neon, smoking a cigarette. He sneaks in to meet her, and finds her to be intelligent, witty, and kind. Soon they form a bond. That bond eventually heats up and Faust finds his redemption through Annie’s love. His fellow demons, however, have a differing opinion of that transformation, and Faust must do everything in his power to keep Annie safe. The story is achingly romantic, but also has the fingerprints of what defines my work as outside the “romance” mainstream: gore, action, and horror. I created over 30 original illustrations for this book, both full page and “spot” images, and these artworks really bring the story to life in the reader’s mind. Communicating through my own artwork is very important to me—it always has been. Even with my book covers I am painfully picky. I utterly cringe at the idea of some stock image being used to represent my characters. So IN THE NEON is truly a dream come true in so many ways.
Queentutt - Where can we find out more information about your work?
Danielle - You can find out all the details at the following locations:
Web site: http://www.danielledsmith.com
Queentutt - Out of all the books you have written, do you have a favorite heroine or hero that holds a special place in your heart?
Danielle – As far as heroines go, Rose is it. She’s the most complicated character I have ever written—she’s both as tough as nails and incredibly fragile—her half-angel, half-human ancestry has left her extremely fragmented, and she has a lot of issues dealing with that. Her journey is tougher than anyone else’s in these books so far. In a lot of ways, she has a lot more growing to do—she has yet to come into herself, despite her stunning beauty and prowess as a huntress and warrior.
Heroes are a toss-up—I don’t think I could pick just one hero. I adore Skriker, with his incredibly quirky personality and sexy over-the-top style, and he resonates so well with tons of readers who get such a kick out of him and adore him—I get emails all the time from fans telling me that Skriker is an ultimate fantasy for them. He’s the easiest character for me to write, the exact opposite of his girlfriend. But I also have a huge soft spot for Rose’s gorgeous angel father, Alexius. He’s completely fascinating—his angelic ancestry makes him a fish out of water unlike any other. But he is also deeply, almost achingly sensual when it comes to his human love. He gave up everything for Psyche and their daughter, and that makes him amazing to me. I can’t choose one of my boys over the other, but my fans sure seem to—there’s a split between Skriker Girls and the Alexius Girls, for sure!Queentutt – Would you tell us a little of what you’re working on next?
Danielle – Oh, boy, am I glad you asked! My next project slated for publication is my first anthology, something that I am crazy excited about! Titled HUNT, this collection will include short stories and novellas focusing on the adventures of Skriker and Rose as they travel around the world hunting paranormal and supernatural horrors. Thus far, the “couple of the year” have hunted in New Mexico, Italy, Sweden, England, and Israel, and readers can look forward to meeting a cast of new and interesting characters, including a Navajo shaman with a mystical gift, Skriker’s female tattoo artist who has done more to him in the chair than just tattooing, Rose’s first sexual partner who is not who—or what—you might expect, and, of course, Skriker’s beloved pet hell hound, Trash…as a pup. I am also working hard on the next book in the Psyche’s Gate series, Nephil’s Curse, the longest and most complicated of my books yet—many secrets and nice chunks of backstory will be revealed!
Queentutt - What are some of your favorite author’s and some of your favorite books you’ve read?
Danielle - I think that books, and their authors, that helped me along while working on my own novels should be listed as favorites, since my entire list is WAY too long! Some of these would include American Gods and Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, the first five books of The Dark Tower series by Stephen King, John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let The Right One In, The Phineas Poe Trilogy by Will Christopher Baer, The Crow by James O’Barr, and numerous short stories by Tanith Lee and Elizabeth Bear, such as The Terrible Glory of Its Wings.
Fun QuestionsQueentutt - What is your favorite color?
Danielle – Lime green! It’s my “happy” color. If I ever had that dream art studio/writing den, the walls would be painted this psycho shade.
Queentutt - Do you have any pets?
Danielle - Sadly, no. I am a big bunny rabbit lover and had a wonderful little Netherland Dwarf for four years—he was like our child. Unfortunately we lost him, and his brother not long after, and haven’t had the heart to look for a new pet. When I’m ready again, my next will most likely be a Chinchilla or a Sugar Glider. I would also adore a big black wolf dog, but you need a huge yard for one of those—my top floor balcony residence is definitely not appropriate for that type of beast! Since I’m pregnant, our next pet will most likely be child-friendly.
Queentutt - What your favorite movie and TV show?
Danielle - Supernatural is a huge favorite—I love me some Winchester action, and Castiel is, of course, a fish-out-of-water favorite. I also enjoy watching UFC and MMA fights with my hubby (I used to fight, and hubby is a fighter currently), and catching any documentaries I can find on History, Discovery, Animal Planet, PBS, or any of those stations—I am a certified documentary nut. History, science, mythology, anthropology—I love it all! Favorite films (again, short list) include Let The Right One In (Swedish version), The Lost Boys, Edward Scissorhands, Corpse Bride, Gladiator, City of Lost Children, Predator, Predators (yeah, I like dick flicks), the short films of Svankmeyer, and every film that Wes Anderson has ever done. There are tons more but that is a short, short list!
Queentutt - Do you have a favorite food or place to eat?
Danielle – Oh, I am a foodie WHORE. San Diego is a fantastic foodie destination—we are quickly catching up to Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco as a town for good easts, so I love lots of places all around town. A quick list of favorites would include Blue Boheme, which does amazing country French (and the best gnocci in town…mmmm, duck bacon), Alchemy with their fabulous fusion cuisine, Zia’s Bistro, a homey yet upscale Italian place that is like “Cheers” to me, Alexander’s for Venice-meets-California, Barrio Star for upscale healthy Mexican, Haiku for excellent sushi, and Sea Rocket Bistro for great seafood and vegetarian cuisine. Wow, that’s a lot of places to try…if you’re ever in San Diego, now you know where to go. ;-)
Danielle will be giving away an ebook of "In the Neon" to one lucky winner. Because Bitten by Paranormal Romance loves its followers, one lucky winner will receive a pdf/ebook copy of "Black Dog & Rebel Rose". All is required is be a follower and make a comment along with your email address so we can contact you if you win. Good Luck Everyone!