Our interview today with author Danielle Thorne is quite enlightening! Here’s a multi-faceted woman who combines her love of the sea with her writings…to great success. Her newest release, “By Heart and Compass” is now available from Desert Breeze Publishing.
RA:Hi Danielle, it’s nice to have you today. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
DT:Hi Regina! Thanks for having me here today. I’m a Southern sweet romance author who enjoys working history and sea themes into my stories. I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil, and won my first award when I was a tween. I grew up with four crazy brothers and have four sons of my own. Having a family and my books makes me feel complete. As far any hobbies, I try to garden and cook, love to travel and scuba, and I am really into geocaching right now.
RA:How long have you been writing? What’s the most rewarding aspect of it?
DT:I’ve been a writer my whole life, but I started writing seriously with a goal of becoming published a little over twelve years ago. Three years ago, I took the leap into novels. For me, sharing my talents with other people and getting positive feedback is a way to feel like I have something valuable to offer to the world. Plus, it’s just something I love to do.
RA:You have a new release. For those who haven’t read the book yet, would you tell us a little about it?
DT:Sure! BY HEART AND COMPASS is about following your heart, even when you’re afraid and unsure of where it’s going to lead you. Here’s a little blurb:
When Lacey Whitman buys a restored Victorian home, she never dreams discovering an antique diary will lead her back to sea and into the arms of the dive bum she’d rather forget. Her habit of living in the past comes to a screeching halt as diver Max Bertrand and the diary of his ancestor take Lacey on the quest of a lifetime: To discover and raise the privateer ship, Specter, and bring the treasure and legacy of a true hero home again. But will finding it cost her heart?
RA:What was the inspiration behind your book?
DT:I published my first novel, THE PRIVATEER, after over twelve months of in-depth research. The Age of Sail is a fascinating time to me. These men were a courageous type that you don’t see often anymore. When I was finished, I knew I someday wanted to bring the past into the present. Since Blackbeard’s ship, The Queen Anne’s Revenge, was discovered off the coast of North Carolina, I have enjoyed following the excavation and research that is made available to the public online. These events inspired me to think about what it would be like to discover my own pirate ship. Of course as a teenager I was in love with the pirating adventure film, “Goonies,” so I’m sure there was some subliminal influence there as well.
RA:That’s so interesting! Could you tell us what to expect in any other books you’ll be releasing?
DT:This winter my first Regency romance will be released. I’m very excited to share my love of Jane Austen and that time period with readers. Of course, my hero is a naval sea captain. I can’t keep the sea out of my stories!
RA:Do you plot your stories in advance, or just start writing and see where the story goes?
DT:I always plot my stories after I get the first initial ideas. Laying down a plot map helps keep me on course, but I let the characters get from one point to another all on their own.
RA:Do you belong to a writer’s group? Have you in the past?
DT:Years ago I lived in Memphis, and I did belong to a mid-south writing group there. It was nice to meet up and share our work and try to provide some feedback. Since I work and promote more online than anywhere else these days, I have joined several writing groups and also author support organizations (EPIC, Classic Romance Revival, The Sweetest Romance Authors). They are great for making both friends and contacts.
RA:What role does the geographical location play in your storylines?
DT:With the exception of my upcoming Regency, all of my novels are set in the South or in the Caribbean. These are places I know and love, and something I can share with other people. For example, I set my short novel, Turtle Soup (Awe-struck, 2009) in Atlanta, Georgia. I wrote the novel during the time I moved to Georgia so it was great fun to explore the area and incorporate it into the work. Also, I happen to love West Indies history and cruising the Caribbean, so most of my other books are full of these experiences.
RA:For plot development, have your methods changed since you began writing? How?
DT:When I first started out, I didn’t know how to plot a novel. It was definitely by the seat of my pants. I knew what I wanted to happen, so I let the characters have full control. I’ve learned though, that by plotting and paying attention to the plot’s structure, I can save time and of course, write a more exciting adventure. One book that helped me a lot I always recommend is “Hooked” by Les Edgerton.
RA:Outside of your writing life, is there something you would like to advocate through your writing?
DT:Besides writing sweet romances that are appropriate for all ages, I do try to tie in my deep love for our planet. Environmental romances are a new idea, but if that is truly a genre, I’d like to think I’m a part of it. We are stewards of this beautiful world, and we need to take care of it. I feel very strongly about that.
RA:Who is your favorite author and why?
DT:Patrick O’Brian is my favorite author. Reading the Master and Commander series years ago, literally changed my life. Here I was, this mid-life suburban housewife craving adventure, and he took me into a world I had never known. New words. New history. Knowledge I had never been exposed to.
O’Brian is a master at characterization and he writes the prettiest purple prose (So that makes it okay!). He also is a brilliant educator of the Age of Sail and does it all through his whimsical storytelling. I recommend his books to everyone—any age and any interest. They will take you away.
RA:Thank you so much for sharing with us, Danielle. Good luck with your releases and please come back again soon!
DT:Thanks Regina! I appreciate you taking the time to have me over.