Author Interview on Writing Horror with Danielle DeVor



Today it is my honor to have as my guest, the renowned horror author, Danielle DeVor! Danielle was named one of the Examiner’s 2014 Women in Horror: “93 Horror Authors you Need to Read Right Now.” 

She has been spinning the spider webs, or rather, the keyboard for more frights and oddities. She spent her early years fantasizing about vampires and watching “Salem’s Lot” way too many times. When not writing and reading about weird things, you will find her hanging out at the nearest coffee shop, enjoying a mocha frappuccino. 

Danielle shares with us a little bit about her own writing process and adventures as a successful Indie author. Plus, Tips for Writing Bestselling Horror Fiction.




https://www.amazon.com/S.-A.-Soule/e/B017Y1KM2I

I always like to start with a little background, how old were you when you realized you wanted to be a horror writer? 


I’m a little different in that I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a writer. When I was a kid, I waffled back and forth between a ballerina and a rock star. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I started writing short stories now and then. In college, I wrote plays. Then, I fell back into writing prose. Now, I’m addicted to writing books. :-D


Do you have a specific writing style? 


I tend to write very concisely. I think that definitely comes from writing plays. Breaking everything down to dialogue changes the way you write.

What genre are you most comfortable writing? 


Horror, most definitely.


How long does it take you to write a horror novel? What is the average word count? 


I can finish a first draft in less than a month if I am really rocking it. But, I have multiple drafts where I add description, etc. Usually, my books clock in at around 60k.


What did your voyage from unpublished writer to published author entail? What were the key highlights along the way to achieving your dream? 


It was complicated. I tried to get an agent initially. I was told by several “exorcism doesn’t sell”. Now, it’s the big thing. So, I started researching small presses and was able to get published.


When did you write your first book and how old were you? Tell us about it. 


There was the kid’s book I wrote when I was about 8 that was “Beauy the Bat.” I drew bats for it and everything. 


What was one of the most startling things you learned during your experience as an author? 


That industry still looks down on you. Other authors, in general, don’t, but some editors, publicists, filmmakers still do. They don’t realize that they are missing out on some really good stories.


How much editing/revision did you have to do before you feel that your MS was ready to be published? 


Each of my books goes through at least four revisions before I send it to my editor. For the short story I self-published, I had a writer friend do an edit.


Five rules for writing fiction that you live by? 


1. Don’t stop. (Yes, I agree that believing in yourself and not giving up is important!)


2. Ignore haters. 

3. Write what you want to write. 

4. Never be afraid to “go there”. 

5. Don’t forget to sleep.

Most writers of this genre will agree that suspense and tension are key components to horror writing. What would say are other important elements?

Hitting your beats. With horror, impact is very important. Also, remember to describe everything like a film—you need touch, smell, taste, sound, and sight. All the senses. So, the horror must be expressed in all the senses. 


What are your top 5 tips for writing a compelling horror story?

1. Be as realistic as possible. No one will believe the horror, even supernatural, unless it is grounded in something real.


2. Don't be afraid to write about what makes you uncomfortable. Good horror evokes extreme emotional responses.


3. Also, don't be afraid to write about controversial things. You want your villains to be something people will hate.


4. On that note, don't be afraid to give your villain a likable trait—think Hannibal Lecter.


5. Try to build up the suspense for your climax as much as possible. You want a big omph.

How do you feel about the horror boom of the 80’s and early 90’s in both film and literature?

That was my golden era. I was a kid and horror was so magical. People weren't afraid to offend or try new things. Now, people feel like they have to walk on eggshells, which is something I refuse to do in my prose.

What is it about the horror genre that interests you? Do you feel it's still a popular genre to write?

I don't really know. I came out of the womb loving monsters and vampires. For awhile, it wasn't very popular, but with the horror film boon beginning again, it has picked back up.

What is your favorite horror book and movie, and why?

This is really hard. I have a top 5 that change around. I'm re-reading The House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski right now. One of my fav books. Movie, I'm in the mood to watch The Shining again.

Do you ever research real-life events, urban legends, or myths to get ideas or inspiration for your own horror novels?

Not as inspiration, but I do sometimes write about local legends. Things I've heard since childhood. In general, I research anything that goes bump in the dark. :)

What's your secret to creating a realistic character?

Using characteristics from people that actually exist. Things like—how a certain person reacts in crisis if it is colorful. Or the way someone has a tendency to make lists. I try to make everything grounded somewhere in reality.

How do you come up with your character's names?

I pour over baby naming books looking for sound and meaning.

Which is more difficult to write: dialogue or action?

Both dialogue and action are easy for me to write with my drama background. I have more of an issue with having enough description. It takes me awhile to get there.


Tell us about your newest release. How was your story birthed? 


It is book 4 of The Marker Chronicles. I set up the series so that my MC, exorcist Jimmy Holiday, encounters something different each time. We have a family legend about a “devil baby” so it seemed like a logical fit.


Who came up with your book title? Was it the original title or did it change along the way? 


I did. I try to come up with something snappy for each title and keep the Sorrow’s thing going.


https://www.amazon.com/S.-A.-Soule/e/B017Y1KM2I

Fun Bonus Questions


What are you currently reading? 

 
I’m re-reading one of my favs, The House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski


What’s your favorite TV show?  

 
The Incredible Dr. Pol


Which of your own characters is your favorite? 

 
Jimmy Holiday. He is a goof ball and a ton of fun to write.


How would you describe yourself in three words? 

 
Sincere. Funny. Impetuous.


If you were stranded on an island for one year, and could only bring three things, what would you take? 


My kindle, a solar charger, and a water purification system.

Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies, or passions in life? 


I make what I call crochet art. I make pictures into afghans. I also listen to my favorite bands—Motionless in White and 30 Seconds to Mars. And, I love watching any horror film that I can get my hands on. 


PLACES YOU CAN CYBER-STALK DANIELLE
 
Twitter - @sammyig

Facebook Author Page

Instagram - @danielledevor76

Official Author Website of Danielle DeVor


http://www.danielledevor.com

 

NEWEST RELEASE, SORROW’S LIE: BOOK 4 OF THE MARKER CHRONICLES
 
Only an Exorcist Can Confront His Demons...

Jimmy Holiday, exorcist extraordinaire, is about to embark on his most unusual case yet—a baby that may be possessed by the demonic...or worse, a true demon spawn. The Order wants him to make sure it is a true case and not some hoax...or so they say.

Once Jimmy arrives, the situation changes into a living nightmare. The Order is not what he thought at all. And now, they demand he commit an unspeakable act. But Jimmy has enough scars of his own.

When the full truth of the corruption within the Order comes to light, Jimmy must act. With a voudou woman who lives down the lane as an ally, Jimmy must fight for the life of this supernatural child, but at what cost?

Start reading this gripping supernatural suspense today!