Welcome to my blog spot- grab a cup of coffee and a good book ;-)
I met Danielle Novotny on Goodreads, not long after I joined back in September of last year, in fact. Her debut novel, Remade was actually the very first indie book I ever read on my self-publishing journey, AND the first one that I blogged a review about on my blog, so regardless of the fact that her book is super awesome, has great characters and lots of action, (Check out my review of it here,) it also holds a special place in my heart. I have said before that reading all these amazing works by my fellow indies-- who’ve also become my good friends too-- makes me feel like I’m glimpsing into the author’s soul. This book is no different! Remade made me laugh, cry, gasp and even swoon. And because of that, I wanted to ask Danielle what inspired her to write it and what’s coming next for the incredible Nova squad!
Here’s what she had to say:
Me: Hi Danielle, tell me a little about yourself? When did you know you were going to be a writer?
Danielle: I’ve always been a writer. When I was younger, it was small, fictional stories (2-3 pages), and then throughout middle and high school I wrote poetry. In college I took a handful of English classes, enough to earn me a minor, and it was then that I really started to enjoy writing essays and analyzing writing.
But the big shift came about a year after I graduated from Brandeis University. I was reflecting on how many books I’ve read throughout my life, and I asked myself, “Why not try to write an actual book?” I started with an idea that I had written down a few years earlier, but it was slow going. And then… BAM! I got my idea for Remade. The rest was history!
Me: Haha, isn’t that the way it goes? So, what inspired you to write Remade?
Danielle: I’ve always been a vivid dreamer. There are even dreams from my childhood that I can still remember in detail. One night I had a dream, in a first-person view, about a young woman who was fighting aliens. She had these really cool abilities, but she seemed entirely unsure about herself. The dream skipped around – I saw six or seven scenes with her doing various things. When I woke up, the memory of the dream was so vivid that I had to write it down. And the more I wrote, the more I saw logical, plot-like connections between the scenes that took place in my dream. What I thought was originally going to be one book expanded into two, and then they became three!
The exciting part is that I haven’t even written out all of my dream-scenes yet. Remade contains a handful from that initial dream, but I have even more coming in book two and three. Aside from loving how the story has shaped up, I think my desire to finally, fully, write out those last few scenes is really motivating me to continue this series.
Me: Oh, how exciting!! It truly amazes me how many authors tell me that their books were inspired by dreams… Which character in your collection is your favorite? Why?
Danielle: I’m going to cheat here just a little bit, but Gunther and Gráinne are my favorites. These mysterious twins have shared very little about their background or how they came to know so much about spaceships, circuitry, and all things tech. They might not say a lot, but something they do behind the scenes in book two will have a BIG impact in book three!
Me: Ah, yes, the twins!! So cool! I can’t wait to read more about it! Now, did anyone in real life inspire your characters? Aliya? Caspian?
Danielle: In my first dream about my plot, it really felt like I was living out the things Aliya was doing. And even as I wrote out my ideas – and even my first few chapters – it was hard to fully separate myself from her. I even had trouble coming up with a name for her for a long time! I knew I couldn’t call her by my name, so in my notes she was “the girl” for three to four chapters. Aliya still reflects a ton of my own characteristics, but she has definitely grown into her own person.
Me: Wow, that’s incredible. So amazing to have yourself reflected in your characters. Caspian is such a great name! How did you come up with it?
Danielle: Oh boy haha. Well Caspian originally had a different name (and for the life of me I can’t remember what it was, sorry!) when I started outlining. For some reason it didn’t seem to fit the character I was creating as I wove him into the story, and Caspian sort of came out of the blue! It fit really well in a scene I’m putting in book two, which I’ve been planning since I started writing, so it just stuck!
Me: It’s perfect!!! I love it!! Now, I assume you’re working on book two now?
Danielle: Yes, I’m working on the sequel to Remade. This work in progress has a title and a cover, but I’m keeping those secret for now! I also have an idea for a dystopian novel that’s been rolling around in my head for a few months now. I have most of an outline for it, but aside from that, I’m not actively writing it yet.
Me: Secrets. Ahhh... the suspense is killing me! When are you hoping to release it?
Danielle: I was originally hoping to release book two in the fall, but because writing is still slow-going with this new job, it’s looking more like a winter release right now.
Me: I understand. It’s hectic trying to work two full time jobs, but I love it and wouldn’t change a thing! So, tell us a little about your writing process?
Danielle: My writing process is a little all over the place, haha. I had most of an outline for Remade when I first dove into writing it out, but the middle and tons of smaller details appeared on the page in the spur of the moment. I even jumped around writing a chapter at the beginning, then skipping to the end, and then going back to another point in the book. I’m trying to be much more methodical and chronological in writing out book two. Now, I’m working from a full outline for the book, and while smaller details still come to me as I’m writing out the chapter, following the outline helps me keep my thoughts organized. The end of this book, however, is my exception to the chronological writing rule. I’ve seen those few scenes so many times in my head that I already have the last few chapters already written.
Me: Haha, yes, I think every writer has a different approach! Whatever works, right? Now, what drew you to the space opera genre?
Danielle: When picking a sci-fi subgenre there are quite a few paths you can take: cyberpunk, space opera, alien invasion, climate fiction – and tons more. I knew that Remade wasn’t pure science fiction because I don’t have all the nitty-gritty details about how space travel occurs or tons of futuristic weapons explained in great detail. As I conducted my subgenre research, I came across this description, “Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that emphasizes space warfare, melodramatic adventure, interplanetary battles, chivalric romance, and risk-taking.” It was a great fit because I do have all of those elements without the deep dive into physics and science.
Me: Yes, VERY fitting, in fact! Who are your favorite authors/books?
Danielle: I have quite a few! A longtime favorite has been The Host by Stephenie Meyer. The subtle alien takeover was such a neat concept to me when I first read it, and then the identity crisis that Wanderer and Melanie work through was really powerful. And then I adore the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas. Despite writing a fantasy complete with magic, fae, and other mystical creatures, Maas made each character a complete and relatable person with a truly compelling plot. Another great one is Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. I was completely blown away by her writing style in book one of the series – it was like nothing I’d ever read! And finally, the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown. Think Hunger Games taking place on Mars with epic space-knights. I’ll definitely try to channel his creativity as I write parts of book three.
Me: Yes, I loved The Host, such a unique idea… and I see now I have a few more reads to add to my TBR pile!
What do you love about writing?
Danielle: I love being creative. I’ve always loved crafting, reading, and writing, and being an indie author really rolled all three of those elements together for me. The creativity of coming up with my own story… rereading what I had written and surprising myself but what I had put together… and designing my book and cover to look the way I imagined it. It really was an incredible moment when I unwrapped my first copy of Remade and knew that I had done it. I’d taken a step towards becoming like one of the authors who had inspired me while I grew up.
Me: Aww, yes, I agree. Such a profound and surreal moment in time to see your work “come to life”.
What are you looking forward to in 2019?
Danielle: A lot! It’s already been a big year for me – both in writing and non-writing activities – and I have a lot more planned. I’m hoping to have book two out before the end of the year, and I’ll be attending an authors and artists convention in August that I’m really looking forward to. And who knows what else will pop up along the way!
Me: How exciting!! Well I wish you the best in your writing…and non-writing… adventures :-D ! It’s been a real pleasure. Thank you so much for joining me and being a guest on my blog! And happy writing! I can’t wait for book 2.
You can find Danielle Novotny’s Remade, an action-packed sci-fi adventure with elements of Frankenstein meets Nebula, where books are sold. Find the Amazon link below!
Danielle Novotny grew up reading all genres of fiction and has always loved writing. Inspired by these stories, she began her writing career in 2016. Her debut novel, Remade, was published in August of 2018, and she is currently working on the sequel.
Danielle was born in New Jersey, lived in California for a decade, and then returned to New Jersey for several years before attending college at Brandeis University where she pursued psychology, English, and legal studies. When she's not writing, Danielle works as an event marketing manager during the week and as a cheesemonger on the weekend.
You can follow her on Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram and Facebook.
Shanna Swenson, author of the Abundance series
Shanna loves a good book that chills, thrills and warms her heart. She also enjoys supporting her fellow indie authors.