Friday, August 2, 2013

Break Out the Bubbly & the Dark Chocolate: Celebrating Dakota Harrison's Debut Novel Exhale

Author Dakota Harrison

Hi Everyone! My dear friend and fellow Southern Magic Chapter mate hooked me up with a brand new author over at Samhain Publishing. Although I haven't met Dakota Harrison in person, we've been corresponding via email for several months. And I'm thrilled to have her on the Veranda as we discuss her debut novel Exhale released July 30, 2013 by Samhain Publishing. It's always fun to learn about how writers became published and what that journey is like for each one of them. So please join me in giving Dakota a warm welcome to the Veranda. 
And nibbling on dark chocolate while we chat about Exhale!

Hi Christine! Thanks so much for having me here today.
 I'm so glad you could join me. Tell me, what what is your favorite genre to write?
My favorite genres are Contemporary and SciFi/Fantasy Romance. I would also love to attempt writing a literary novel one day, I just need to find the right story to tell. My problem is that I love my happy endings!
 I am a big fan of Happily-Ever-Afters myself. When you write your happy endings are you a plotter or do you follow the muse?
I'm most certainly a pantser, but I am learning (due to much prodding from more organized writer friends) how to incorporate some plotting.
 Plotting always seems to elude me. I try, but still the characters take me down interesting paths. I usually unwind with a glass of wine (or bubbly) after a writing day. How do you relax after a writing day?
I tend to write late at night. I have a young family and a busy home business so it seems to bet the only time I get that’s uninterrupted. So, I usually live on tea – most varying flavors – my favorite is Earl Grey, and Lemon when I don’t want caffeine. I also love a long bath with a good book. *vbg* Movies are a huge thing for me, too. I'm very visual, so a good movie really inspires and relaxes me.
 Oh, I love Earl Grey tea. One of my favorites.What do you read when you're sipping tea or soaking in the tub? What are your favorite genres? Who are your favorite authors?
I actually try to read across genres. I’ll try anything if it catches my interest, from romance, to hard scifi, to science texts, to manga, and everything in between.
 That's a wide variety! What is your current project?
I'm working on the sequel to ‘Exhale’. It’s nearly done, and the hero is a character introduced in the final chapter of ‘Exhale’ – Taka’s cousin, Shin. It’s set in Tokyo, and he’s a little more raunchy than I'm used to!
 Oh, that sounds deliciously spicy. Can't wait to see that cover! Any new releases? 
Yes! I have another contemporary romance coming out at the end of October, again with Samhain Publishing, about a woman running away from her past and the repercussions of the bad choices she made, running so far she changes continents.
 I love those kind of stories. Keep me posted about when it releases!! And it sounds so interesting. Where do you get your ideas for your stories?
So many places! Overhearing a line of a conversation; a line in a song; characters in a movie that spark the ‘what if’ bug. I daydream a lot. I believe this is a huge part of my mental plotting technique. At least that way, if a plot line doesn’t work, I don’t have to delete anything!
 I consider daydreaming a form of writing. Now tell me, how long were you trying to get published before you got the “call?”
I was writing seriously for almost five years before I got that amazing email. I was so shocked I sent it to someone else to make sure I was reading what I thought I saw! The enthusiasm my editor showed for my characters was quite humbling.
 Ah, I can relate to the Amazing Email, too. A fabulous feeling to finally see that dream come to life. What advice would you give aspiring writers who are still trying to get published?
The biggest thing I would say is don’t give up, and write, write, WRITE! Even if you think what you’ve written is terrible, or the worst thing ever written in the history of man – Don’t. Stop. Entering contests took my writing to new levels, ones that enabled me to get my work in front of the right person at the right time. It took a while, from entering and doing poorly; to entering and finaling; from finaling to placing; then I finally started winning. And it was an important part of learning. All that feedback, all those well-meaning comments that sometimes completely missed the point of the story, but more often than not, they hit the mark 100%. Also, get yourself a group of peers – critique partners and the such – or even someone who you see as a mentor type person. Someone who may be slightly ahead of where you are yourself, or someone much further along. Then main thing is if you connect on a personal level as well as a professional one, you’ll have yourself the start of a support network, and likely the start of some wonderful friendships.
I'm a firm believer in the power of contests. And in surrounding yourself with a great group of peers who share your passion for writing. What is the most difficult part about writing for you?
BOS – Bum-on-seat! I have procrastination down to a fine art. I work fanatically with a strict or tight deadline. Give me time/leniency/open-ended options, and I crumble. I need that rigid timetable to keep me productive. Give myself a timetable I hear you say? Nope! Doesn’t work. My subconscious works ways around it and ‘tweaks’ the timeframe. The first 20,000 words also are hard for me. Once I get past that magic number, I seem to fall into my rhythm.
BOS is a great way of putting it. I call it BICHOK. Butt in chair, hands on keys. :-) Either way, regardless of what side of the earth we live, we have to sit down and work on the writing. Great advice! And it looks like all the BOS has worked for you Dakota. Y'all, check out the amazing, super sexy cover of her new book Exhale and read the blurb. This one is a story that sounds like one I need to add to my TBR pile :-)

Gorgeous Cover!!
Release date ~ July 30, 2013
Samhain Publishing

Takeshi is finishing up a brutal double shift in the ER when a familiar—and bloody—face erases all thought of heading home. The broken body of the woman fighting for her life belongs to Gabby, his best friend’s mother. A woman he's loved since he turned nineteen, when he foolishly declared his love for her.

 She’s not dying today. Not on his watch. And not with a promise left unfulfilled.

Gabby has never forgotten the taste of the kiss Taka gave her under the mistletoe all those years ago. Or the silly promise that surely by now he’s forgotten. She’s wrong. Taka remembers. And she melts as he uses every trick in his highly trained surgeon’s hands to heal her—and rekindle the heat between them.

But there’s a secret lurking in Gabby’s past. And when it follows her all the way to Seattle, it threatens to drag the one man she loves into the nightmare she thought she’d left behind.

You can find Dakota Harrison here and because she's down under she'll be answering all comments in her Time Zone. How cool is that I have an Australian debut author on my blog? Pretty swanking cool!



Damien L Malcolm said...

Great stuff. I live in the same town as Dakota and have bought her first book on my Kindle. One of these days when I can put down my own writing for 5 minutes, I'll get to read it!!! Great interview.

Louisa Cornell said...

Great interview, ladies! Some of my very favorite authors live in Oz ! And your writing advice is spot on. Contests have been a huge help to me and of course my critique group tries their best to keep me on task!

I'm looking forward to reading your book, Dakota! I write historicals so I read other genres when I'm writing.

Mel Teshco said...

Hi Dakota!

Nice to hear about another pantser - I'm going to give the plotting a go one of these days lol!! Good luck with your books =)

Dakota Harrison said...

Hi Damien! Thanks :) It's hard, isn't it, when you write so much, to find time to read as much as we'd like.

Dakota Harrison said...

Hi Louisa! Thanks for your comments. Yes, critique partners have been my writing saviors! I'm very lucky to have a small, tight group who aren't afraid to call me out if I need it. Or to kick me up the rear - for the same reasons!
Cheers, and I hope you enjoy the book.

Dakota Harrison said...

Mel!! :) Yes, plotting is the bane of my existence. Certain people are insistent on trying to get me to go to the Dark Side... I'm resisting, I really am! Thanks!