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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Author Interview: Dani J Caile

Today I am pleased to present to you all the 69th in a series of Author Interviews. Recently I sat down with the tai chi superhero, Dani J Caile,  and our conversation went something like this:

Paul:  I like to start my interviews by asking if you have any writing rituals?
Dani:  I put on my white feather angel wings, sacrifice a Mongolian gerbil, burn a Bahama Breeze scented candle before my demonic shrine and sit myself down for another stab with the pen on paper (fingers on keyboard). No. I live my busy life, without a thought to writing, and then suddenly… something strikes me as peculiar or funny and a scene appears in my head, I hear a dialogue, see the actions… and quickly jot it down somewhere before it disappears.

Paul:  What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
Dani:  Everything and anything, but not much past the first few pages, there needs to be 'a little something special' for me to continue on. There are some things I read annually, like ‘Catch 22’, ‘The Master and Margarita’ and plays like ‘Waiting for Godot’, ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’ and a couple of Shakespearean plays to help my old brain move. The best read so far this year was Jules Verne’s ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’, such a classic! Saying that, I read tons of self-published ebooks from other indie authors. There are some really good books out there.

Paul:  If someone had the power to step into your creative mind what would they see?
Dani:  Usually a mess, a complete mess. They would be stepping into a movie, in some places dark and cold, in others bright, strange, chaotic. At the moment, my creative mind is filling up with situations set in Budapest, getting ready for my next book.

Paul:  What is a typical day for you? 
Dani:  Busy. Okay, okay, I wake up very early, I go to work and teach English to kids who’d rather be playing games on phones I would never be able to afford, I pick up my 2 daughters and do whatever programs they have, then go home. Writing happens in my second burn late at night.

Paul:  Do you have a favorite character in each of your series, aside from the lead? If so, which one and why? 
Dani:  I love my lead characters, but there are those in the background, especially the hobgoblins which I adore. They are my ‘comedy’ race, separate from the monkeys… sorry, humans, dolphins, angels, and other unworldly creatures. I can have fun with them. Check my blog for bits of Sniff and Grint from ‘Man by a tree’.

Paul:  In all the years you’ve been publishing your work, what is the biggest mistake you made that you could share so others can avoid making it? 
Dani:  Believe it or not, I had a publishing contract about 5 years ago for a children’s DVD and book combo for teaching English. It never came out. My mistakes were to agree to the badly re-written DVD script and re-worked book, and sign over all rights of my original work, just so that I could get my hands on the offered money. Even though I was the official author, I was instantly out of the decision making, and the Project Manager gave the work to his friends. It was terrible.

Paul:  How do you find the time to write?
Dani:  By the power of Greyskull… no, I don’t have time. My friends keep asking me how I do it, they know I have no time. Half an hour here, ten minutes there, sitting on the bus or metro, that’s when I do my writing. And I think if I consciously gave myself time to sit down to write, it wouldn’t happen.

Paul:  What is one thing you hope I do not tell the readers?
Dani:  That I wear my pants outside my trousers and fly around in a red, blue and yellow suit, saving the universe while greasing my hair down into one huge quiff. No, I'm very far away from Superman, I guess that's what I hope you don't tell them...oh, you just did.

Paul:  If you are self-published, what led to you going your own way?
Dani:  The realization that I have as much chance of being published by a publishing house as winning the lottery. Editors are a breed unto themselves, I’ve known a few. They have certain future expectations of the market and only care about making a profit. But that’s their job and good luck to them.

Paul:  Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Dani:  An idea appears like a malformed growth inside my head and ‘pop’, a story slowly sprouts. Once I feel good about the general shape, I roughly plan a plot and see what I can do with it. And when I’m writing, the plot moves in new directions. When that happens, it’s the best!

Paul:  Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Dani:  I usually edit while I’m writing, changing scenes, adding plot twists, moving characters around, but not much as it all seems to fall in place at the time. But I’m very bad at proofreading my own work. I’ve been proofreading for over a decade now, I think I’m pretty good at that job, but I can’t do it with my own words, I read what isn’t on the page. My first available version of The Bethlehem Fiasco was filled with misspelt words – it isn’t now, of course. I hope. I better go check it...

Paul:  Do you have to do much research for your stories?
Dani:  My first book Man by a tree was semi-autobiographical, in a way, so I had very little research to do. In terms of research, The Bethlehem Fiasco was hell, I had to read all the Bible stories about Jesus and research those times and the disciples, trying to find the facts I needed to get it down right. In the end, though, it was fun. I needed mainly dolphin information for The Rage of Atlantis, and my freebie TDx2 needed almost none. The next one, however…

Paul:  What is your most recent book? Tell us a little about it
Dani:  My most recent book is my free novella, TDx2, which stands for ‘too dull to die’. It’s about a guy, based on typecast Martin Freeman roles, whose life has been so dull that he is given the opportunity to try and win it back after death, so that he can live a life more exciting. I found myself reading it on the metro the other day and upsetting the passengers with little giggles.

Paul:  What inspired you to write this book?
Dani:  At the end of last year I entered tons of competitions, with no luck. I had what I thought was a great 100 word story for one, but it didn’t win. There were others but I can't remember them well. I also entered a big fantasy/sci-fi competition, the L. Ron Hubbard, and I wrote TDx2 for this, a short romp through my fantasy world, but nothing, absolutely nothing happened. So I put it out as a freebie, and people seem to like it. Which is nice.

Paul:  What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have any hobbies or party tricks?
Dani:  I was a tai chi instructor for over a decade, some say a good one, but now I just practice at home when I have five minutes. Other than that, I’ve recently been going to Hapkido lessons, which are instructed by a European champion, he's a great guy. And it’s a fantastic sport, a mix of many styles. I can also juggle a little.

Paul:  Thanks Dani, that was great. I wish you every success for the future.

About Dani J Caile: After years of reading clones and proofreading coffee table books, Dani decided to put pen to paper so to speak, creating his own little fantasy universe, and wrote 3 books in the space of less than a year. In 2013 he finally self-published his free novella 'TDx2', and plans to write more, including another book from his crazy universe and a collection of adapted Shakespearean plays for children. With an abundance of praise for his sardonic, original and unique style of writing, he has already set out on turning his fantasy books into movie scripts.

Dani's Blog: Dani J Caile
Dani on Twitter: unknown
Dani on Facebook: unknown
Dani's latest book: TDx2 (Amazon)

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1 comment:

  1. Dani on Twitter: @jedlica

    Thanks for the interview, Paul! :-)