Indie Author Interview #10 Daley Downing

Interview number 10! Let’s not focus on the fact that it took eight months for me to interview 10 indie authors. Let’s just celebrate the win!

Today I am pleased to introduce you to Daley Downing, author of YA fantasy! I read Daley’s first book, Masters and Beginners last year and really enjoyed it. In a day and age when all YA fantasy seems to follow the same formula, Daley’s work is truly original. For those of you who haven’t read it, it had a Harry Potter meets Warehouse 13 feel with biblical mythology. One of my favorite elements of the book was the family. The parents are present in the kids’ lives. And even though the kids don’t always make the right choices, they work through it as a family. Now, let’s talk to the author!

If you could live in Middle Earth, Narnia, or the Star Wars Universe, which would you choose and why?

DD: Middle Earth! Hobbits, elves, and dragons! What more do you need? 🙂

(She’s smart!)

Please summarize your writing journey for us, so we can be inspired!

DD: It’s been a long one! About 20 years ago (yes, literally – I’m old), I started trying to piece together plot ideas, characterizations, and historical research for settings and cultures. For a while, I tried submitting short stories and novel pitches to agents and magazines and writing contests, but I didn’t get very far that way. Most of what I wrote years ago will never see the light of day. But a few ideas I came up with about 10 years ago finally made their way into The Order of the Twelve Tribes series. Last year I won NaNoWriMo with the fifth or so draft of what eventually became Volume 1. Then I decided to self-publish. The moral of the story is, never give up! Keep writing, keep honing the craft, and your own style.

(See, wasn’t that inspiring?! I’m inspired)

Do you have any published works? 

DD: Yes! Masters and Beginners (Volume 1) and Rulers and Mages (Volume 2) of The Order of the Twelve Tribes series, and Dreamings and Muses (a short story collection).

(Those last two are on my TBR!) 

If you had to be known for one thing as a writer, what would it be and why?

DD: I’d like to be thought of as an author who encourages people to think about what’s really important in life, how we treat others, and how we approach our choices — but you won’t catch on to all that deep stuff until after you’ve had a great time reading a fun and poignant story.

Can you tell us about a specific time when a story influenced your life? 

DD: The first time I read A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens – the powerful message not only of redemption but also about how the decisions we make can affect others. Also, the first time I finished Mort by Terry Pratchett – basically the same stuff, but it was presented very differently, and even from the point of view of Death himself (it doesn’t get much cooler than that).

(That does sound cool! I really need to read Terry Pratchett PRONTO!) 

Tell us a bit about your latest project. 

DD: It’s called How To Be A Savage, and (without revealing any spoilers), it’s about autistic superheroes – avoiding a lot of the superhero genre tropes (like wearing uncomfortable spandex suits and thinking your identity will be safe by covering one half of your face from people who already know you).

What tropes/themes/characters would you like to see more of in fiction? 

DD: Definitely more accurate representation of ASD (autism spectrum disorder) and mental health, more of male-female relationships that don’t turn into angsty teen-esque romances, more dragons that fly and breathe fire (like in ye olden days), and more clean humor.

(I agree with all of these! Indie authors take notes!)

Have you read any good indie books lately that you’d like to recommend? 

DD: Definitely the Beaumont and Beasley series by Kyle Shultz. I’m also a fan of the Ichabod Temperance steampunk series.

What are three tools that you use as an indie author that others may find helpful? 

DD: I’m rather old school (I still use Microsoft Word), but Photoshop has made a huge difference on the types of covers we can create, and personally, I find being a Goodreads author to be absolutely great for marketing and connecting with readers.

(All great tools!)

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 

DD: Don’t give up. Don’t worry about developing a bestselling title. Write the story you feel you have to.
Thanks so much, Daley! Learn more about Daley Downing and interact with her on:
And go check out her books!!

Blog Tour: Colors of Fear by Hannah Heath

Hannah Heath is back! From the author who ripped our collective hearts out with Skies of Dripping Gold comes a new short story which serves as a prequel to her much-anticipated upcoming novel The Stump of the Terebinth Tree. I am unashamedly jumping up and down in fangirl anticipation and you should be too!

Her story, Colors of Fear comes out February 2nd. I know that is desperately far away. The good news is that we get to ask the author some questions. And one of the things I love about Hannah is that she plays along with any crazy question I throw at her. So, without further ado:

First things first. Have you developed any superpowers since we last saw you?

Of course. I have developed the ability to binge watch massive amounts of anime while still reaching deadlines and word count goals. What would that be called? The superpower of Productive Anime Watching? That may go down as the world’s worst superpower, but anime always uses interesting storytelling techniques that help keep my ideas fresh, so I’m not complaining.
(Teach us your ways, Master…)

Are there any superpowers in this story? Or at least fantastical elements?

Magic is in the background of this story…and also is very close to the main character (though I can’t say how because of spoilers). So yes: Fantastical elements abound.

Give us one of your favorite lines from the story!

Noooo! Don’t make me choose. *searches frantically through story* *narrows down list* Okay. Here’s a section I’m particularly fond of:
“But the scarlet still rose in wisps around him, painting a picture of an arrow runner standing before Mother, news of Father’s death on his lips. No. That would not be him. He would not die on a battlefield, choking on blood and honor without making any difference at all.”

What is the general tone of this story? Should we get the tissues ready? Or will the snark send us into laughing fits? Or will there be a little bit of both?

For this particular story, I would recommend having some sweets nearby. It (probably) won’t make you cry and it is certainly not designed to make you laugh, but it will leave you feeling serious and maybe a bit sad. So get a fluffy blanket and some sugary food and be prepared to experience many thoughts and emotions.
(Thank goodness you warned me. I will make an emergency kit NOW)

What is unique about this story?

There are several unique parts to this story (yes, I realize that is a very pretentious statement), but one that surprised even me was the character arc. Most stories contain a positive arc: One where the character overcomes something difficult or triumphs over evil. Colors of Fear does not have this type of arc. Wanderer, the main character, changes over the course of the story, but it is not an entirely healthy change. I’ll be interested to see how people react to this type of character arc, given that it’s not altogether common. I’d also say that the concept of this series is somewhat unique: It introduces you to the main characters of a book that hasn’t been published yet. A weird idea, but a fun one. For me, at least. And for you, too, if you happen to have good taste, which you probably do since you’re a fan of E.B. Dawson.
(I am officially intrigued!)

Introduce a character to us and tell us what they would be doing at a party.

Meet Wanderer. The protagonist of Colors of Fear, he’s never quite comfortable anywhere, though he always tries to keep others from discovering this fact. If he had to go to a party, he’d go stand a few feet from the corner of the room with a beverage clutched in one hand. He’ll occasionally make eye contact with others, hold conversations, and even laugh, but the entire time he’ll have a death grip on his cup because he’s so tense. However, he won’t allow himself to leave the party early because he doesn’t want to admit defeat, so he’ll spend the rest of his time being annoyed with himself for not being able to handle the situation in a more courageous way.
(I shouldn’t laugh at Wanderer’s discomfort, but I am chuckling. I relate to this a little too much.)

If you wanted readers to take away one thing from this story, what would it be?

I hope readers walk away thinking about how they handle the fear in their own lives. Do they control it or does it control them? We see Wanderer acting out of fear throughout the entire story, though it comes in different forms: Anger, cowardice, shame, cynicism, panic, hatred. He is controlled by fear, but he doesn’t have to be. I want readers to think about the impact fear has on them and hopefully find a way to deal with it in a healthy, non-Wanderer-like way.

(Awesome!! I love this story already)

Is there anything strange and wonderful about the setting? If we were traveling there as tourists, please give us a packing list to ensure our survival!

Tip #1: Don’t go. Seriously. This story takes place in a very, very hot desert. We’re talking an average of 140 degrees Fahrenheit (if the natives used units of temperature, which they don’t). This works out alright for desert elves, but not for us. If you must go, bring a lot of water and stay on the western outskirts of the desert where there’s some shade. And if you bring food you’ll also need to bring weapons and fighting skills, otherwise scavenger elves will kill you to get your supplies. Like I said: Probably best that you just stay home.

(Hmm…maybe I’ll plan my vacation somewhere else.)

Lastly, in order to guarantee our reading experience is sensational, please recommend music, food, and drink to pair with your story.

The elves and the desert where this story is set was originally inspired by various Native American desert tribes, though since then it has morphed to include some middle eastern influences and large chunks of my weird imagination. With that in mind I’d recommend candied cactus fruit (yes, that’s a real thing and really good if you can find it) and iced Navajo tea (sometimes called Hopi or Indian tea…the base herb is Greenthread). As for music? That’s hard. The Hidalgo soundtrack matches the setting well, though it isn’t quite edgy enough. Your second best shot is The Dark Knight soundtrack, which captures the mood of the story, but not the setting. I suppose you could try listening to Hidalgo and The Dark Knight music at the same time. Be sure to let me know how that goes.

Thanks so much, Hannah!

Can’t get enough of Hannah Heath? Me neither. Let’s go stalk her on her: