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Interview with A.C. Dawn

She is an active and enthusiastic author and reader of short stories, novellas, and novels. She enjoys bringing her characters to life and strives to stir the imagination of her readers. 

She believes the best writing touches the reader in ways they hadn’t expected and will never forget! She is living her best life on her north Georgia farm with her husband, daughter, and fur babies of all shapes and sizes.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
I was a firefighter in Atlanta for over a decade.

Q.2 What inspired you to write the Dark Siren duology?
I heard the folk song Maid on the Shore, which told a tale of a beautiful siren walking alone on the shore. A sea captain becomes enamored with her and captures her, taking her aboard his ship. 

She proceeds to sing the captain and sailors to sleep, rob them blind, and use the captain's broadsword to row herself back to her shore. A scene kind of like that is actually in my book, and it is where the story started!

Q. 3 Are we going to read more from you in the near future? Any new project you’re working on?
Oh yes! I am working on a novella that accompanies Dark Song. There will be 2 of them, and they cover Dougan's (the male main character’s) journeys as he rides the high seas trying to get back to his mate, Ciara. 

Dark Song has some of his adventures, but these give us lots more insight into that time in his life and more backstories of his fellow pirates. I also have a Samhain novella coming out in October called the Knife’s Edge, which is a novella about a witch, a vampire king, and old legends coming to life with the magic of Samhain.

Q.4 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
When I write a male character, I try to avoid stereotypes and cliches, but they try to sneak in any way! I don’t like the concept that a guy has to have chiseled abs or rippling biceps to be a hero. In my writing, I sidestep a lot of physical descriptions and focus on the action and emotion. 

This leads to a new set of traps, and I must be careful about my characters' reactions to things. Of course, you must be careful about manipulating them too much, or they come across as false. So… I think it’s all a bit hard and complicated, but that’s what makes it fun!

Q.5 Do you plan out your books before you start writing, or do you just write and see where it takes you?
Self-identified PLANTSER! I always have a skeleton draft with the scenes mapped out. I found that when I write without any kind of an outline, I end up having to do significant rewrites because of the meandering I do. 

I don't plot things out to the detail level. I go through and decide what needs to happen in the chapters, then I break it down into scenes, and then I just let the words flow. Often what happens to get to the end point of the scene is as much a surprise to me as to those who read it.

Q.6 How long, on average, does it takes you to write a book?
It all depends on the rest of my life. If I have lots of writing time (mornings before the family gets up or time while my kiddo is doing her activities), then I can crank out words pretty fast. 

Dark Song is almost 400 pages long, and it took me about 9 months from draft to launch. I hope to have the novellas out in about 4 months for each one.

Q.7 How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
A. Dark Song
is my 3rd book, though I have written several other short stories and novellas. Hard to choose a favorite, but Dark Song is probably it. It was such an achievement because it was so long, with dual points of view and lots of storylines. I think it is a fun story to read. It captures your attention and imagination and just takes you on a ride.

Q.8 Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
If I wasn’t writing, I would paint, draw, or play the piano. I would have to find some outlet for my creative energy.

Q.9 If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead role?
I could see someone like Jennifer Lawrence playing Ciara and maybe Zac Efron as Dougan.

Q.10 Is it vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
Social media is key though I do find it difficult. I am not a huge fan of making posts or videos, but I do it and do have some fun along the way. I focus mainly on Facebook and TikTok for social media. 

I have a fledgling newsletter that I do swaps and things in an effort to build it out more and more. I have dabbled a bit in ads, but the budget doesn't have much give in it, so focusing on more organic (aka FREE!) growth.

Q.11 If you could be a member of any fantasy race, which would you choose and why?
A witch because they can wield such a wide variety of magic! I love the sound of incantations and spells. I would also love to cook up potions!

Q.12 If you could invite one character to dinner from your books, who would it be and why?
The one I would like to talk to is an old pirate named Three Thumbs. His character is based on my father, which is probably one reason I would want to chat with him, but he’s been sailing the high seas for countless years. I would love to hear his stories because, like my father, I know he would spin a good yarn!

Q.13 What three things can a reader expect from your books?
I strive to have interesting characters who readers can engage with. My stories have a plot that moves along and keeps the action going. Finally, they can expect a solid reading experience. 

My books go through beta readers and editors before I publish, and I value the story above all else. I want people to escape when they read my stories. I want them to want to stay in that world and experience the adventure!

Q.14 Among all the supporting characters in your books, who is dear to you and why?
 Three Thumbs is definitely dear to me. I love Teagan as well. She is a matronly witch who is also a badass with major magical mojo. I love her possessiveness about her pirate crew and Dougan, the male main character. 

I think we all need a mom figure like her in our lives. She’s the type that will feed you when you’re hungry, tell you you’re being an idiot when needed, and destroy anyone who threatens you.

Q.15 Who designed your book cover? How do you select them?
A. 100 Covers
designed Dark Song. I came across them in a promotional offer, and they were fabulous to work with. Great communication and worked really hard to make my vision come to life.

I also have to mention Etheric Designs, who did the internal artwork used for the chapter headers. They too are phenomenal talents who captured my dream beautifully!

Q.16 How do you select the name of your characters?
I labor over my character names, trolling around baby name websites! I usually figure out the main characters' names early on, which usually correlate to some kind of meaning. For example, in ancient Irish, Ciara means dark hair, and Dougan means dark and swarthy.

With the side characters, I will often name them after the book is done. I want their names to fit their personality, so after I have written them, I have a better idea of what their name should be. I will often use a very common name or even a descriptor like Friend1 to hold the place until I figure out what they should be called.

Q.17 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
I do read the reviews, though I take a deep breath before I look! I think there is an opportunity there for feedback. I always remind myself that not all books will resonate with all readers, and that is perfectly ok. I just look for any trends in the comments that might tip me off to a place where I can improve.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead, would you like to meet and why?
This is a tough one for me to answer. I spend a lot of my time in the realm of imagination. Meeting a real person fills me with dread. However, I would love to meet some fellow authors who write similar stories to mine and geek out about magic systems and mythology! A couple at the top of my list would probably be Kevin Hearn (The Iron Druid Chronicles), Patrick Rothfuss (The KingKiller Chronicles), or of course, someone like Tolkien or C.S. Lewis!

Q.19 Are there any new books or authors in science fiction or fantasy (or both!) have you excited about? What are you reading right now?
I have really enjoyed A.K. Mulford’s recent releases. The High Mountain Court Series and The Okrith Novellas are all excellent.

I am currently reading Fortune of Emerald and Salt by Monroe Wildrose, which is a super fun high seas adventure!

Q.20 Share the experience of your writing journey so far?
I love writing. I would do it all day, every day, without everything else if I could. That’s not my reality yet, but maybe one day. Currently, I write whenever and wherever I can. I fit it into the cracks of life between work and family. The joy I get from creating a world, adventures, and characters is incomparable.

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