Sunday, August 12, 2012

Interview with Dannie C. Hill, Author of "Death's Door"

Dannie Hill visits with us this week via the continent of Asia. Such an exotic place to live! We met Dannie through a blog event posted by a fellow author. Once we saw Dannie was an author and checked out his books, we wanted to introduce him to you.

Dannie is featuring a giveaway: eBook copy (winner's choice) to one lucky reader through Rafflecopter below!

Dannie Hill is an American and lives in Thailand with his wife. When in the States he lives in Houston, Texas. Dannie has four published novels that are enjoyed by many readers.

When not writing, Dannie enjoys sailing, motorcycles, reading and farming. He has a small farm in Thailand growing many exotic fruits and vegetables. The main crop is tapioca and corn. The hard work of farming helps relax his mind while his daydreams come to life. Thailand allows the sounds of English to quiet and daydreams to take shape on paper.

Dannie also has a blog; A Writer’s Life in Thailand.

Louise: Dannie, welcome to our blog! We’re so excited you could join us for a chat. When did you first decide to submit your work to be published? Tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.

Dannie: First, thank you so much for letting me come on your great site, Louise! I love your blog and your support!
I am an independent writer so my decision to go forward with a manuscript doesn’t come until I’ve finished my first draft. By then I know if I have written something worthy of readers. Once that decision is made I start the many rewrites and send it to my Proof Editor. After that I have a few First Readers go over it and usually make some suggested changes. I then send it to a Copy Editor to smooth the story. By then my decision has been made to publish but I try hard to make my story as professional as possible before I release it. I also have a book cover designed that will speak to the readers.

Louise: Please tell us a little about your new release.

Dannie: My latest book, which is my fourth published novel, is titled Death’s Door. It is a thriller but I’ve included, along with the action and suspense, some of my Southern humor and a bit of romance.
"Death’s Door" is a true thriller but there will be times when the reader is laughing, crying and taken to locations where they will feel the heat and the hearts of the characters. The two main characters are New Jersey State Policemen and because of the skills of one—Dell has a proven ability to ‘see’ danger and the courage to step into the middle of trouble to keep Bill, his partner, safe. Bill’s job is to keep Dell out of trouble with his supervisors and to keep him from dying as he rushes headlong into trouble. A secret counter-terrorism unit of the NSA brings Bill and Dell into their group to find terrorists who plan on exploding a dirty bomb somewhere in the U.S. Bill and Dell go to Lebanon looking for these terrorists and end up putting their lives in the hands of a brother and sister who have to try and spirit them out of the country while protecting and guiding them through the desert. An odd romance comes to Bill that continues throughout the book.

Louise: Love the cover and the intrigue of danger in the story! Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?

Dannie: When I’m writing a manuscript I usually start out with one or two characters and as I write new characters introduce themselves and they lead me farther into the story. I have to pick names—and they sometimes change as I write but the nature of the characters rarely changes.

Louise: How much research do you do for your books? Have you found any cool tidbits to share?

Dannie: My research is an ongoing process. I look into locations for specific details, drawing many from memories but fortify them with my research. Since I don’t always know where the story will lead much of my research is done during my writing or in the rewrite.
Interesting tidbits? I’ve learned how to skin a goat and do flower arranging through my research… 

Louise: LOL Never hurts to learn insightful hobbies. What is your writing process? Do you outline, write by the seat of your pants (Pantser) or a combination of both?

Dannie: I’m a pantser—no doubt about it. At the same time, when I’m not at my desk the story runs through my mind and I develop the plot. I often have to stop what I’m doing and rush back to sketch my thoughts on paper. Having a small farm in Thailand I often draw laughs from my neighbors when I abandon whatever I’m doing and make a run for the house. I have no idea what they think I’m doing but it always brings smiles.

I have tried plotting, storyboards and outlines but usually by the next chapter I have to throw it all away because my Muse takes me in unexpected directions.

Louise: Do you write full time? What did you do before you became a writer or still do?

Dannie: I’ve been writing full time for eight years—notice I didn’t say making money for eight years. I had a career that has provided just enough to let me live my dream. My wife and I live in Thailand and that’s cuts cost for the simple things in life. I said earlier we have a small farm that provides a small income.

Writing is a dream come true for me. It keeps me sane. I just happen to be married to the best woman in the world! She never complains about my time spent writing and always encourages me. I couldn’t do this without her. 

In my past I worked in aviation for many years as a mechanic and coordinator.

Louise: Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example….get coffee, blanket, paper, pen, laptop and a comfy place.

Dannie: When I first started writing full time my excitement would have me up before the sun rose. Sunrise does inspire me and my mind is at its clearest early in the morning. I still do most of my writing in the mornings but I find I can write any time of day. Because we have a small house I never interfere with what my wife happens to be doing so noise, TV, banging pots—nothing really bothers me because I hear nothing except what’s in my head.

Louise: Describe a typical writing day for you.

Dannie: I wish I had a typical day, ha! I spend as much time as I can on farming things when I’m not writing a manuscript—it makes up for the I’m-not-at-home times when I am writing. When writing I get up early, have a cup of coffee and sit at my tiny desk—it really is tiny… you know, one that you can fold up and move around, light up my laptop and do a quick check of email, Twitter, and maybe read a blog or two of my favorite writers.

Once I start on my manuscript the outside world shrinks to a speck and the world in my brain becomes my reality. I do take a break every few hours to relax my eyes and stretch my legs. My wife knows that I am of no use to her during these periods and usually allows me to be the total recluse I am.

I’ll write from 3 hours to 12 hours a day—depending on how the story is going. I’ll even let it sit for a few days if it makes a wrong turn. I’ve even been known to write the ending if I hit a wall. This happened with "Death’s Door" and I loved the way the ending opened up the middle of the book—it was just what I needed.

At night, we usually watch English language DVD movies. I speak Thai but I have to have my English break at night.

Louise: Please give us a sneak peek at your future books. What’s on the horizon?

Dannie: I have a number of in-work manuscripts just awaiting attention, but the one I’m working on now it going to be a great book if I can finish. The working title is Desperate Straits. It’s about a man who uncovers a plot to ruin the U.S financially. It involves high profile politicians, military and underworld leaders that want this man dead and his information destroyed.

The U.S. Marshal’s service has a special unit that protects certain witnesses and answers to no one. They also have some radical genetic procedures very few people have heard of. They change Terry, the main male character into a beautiful woman—I mean a real woman. Of course there are super funny scenes as the man tries to adapt to the woman he now is—there’s no changing back. And bad guys are still trying to kill him. What do you think of it so far?

I’ve also all but finished a manuscript titled On The Menu but am fighting with myself about if I’ll ever publish. It’s a story about a sexual predator that preys on women and young girls. I’ve tried to take this horrific person and get the readers to like him. Because of an accident he finds that a family, a mother with two teenage girls, has taken him in and nurses him back to health. Can he change? Does he want to change?  I wrote this for National November Writing Month. It very good but the subject matter leaves me shaking every time I re-read it. It looks at the world of sexual slavery in the States and what one man tries to do about it. 

Louise: What is your favorite genre to read and who is your favorite author?

Dannie: I read fantasy, thrillers, literature, romance (I love romance) and just about anything in English. I think this is the main reason I genre hop when I write.

Tolkien, Brooks, Bradbury and Elmore Leonard are some my favorites. Also Wilbur Smith is so great if you like historical adventures set in Africa.

I must say that I’m finding independent authors are getting most of my attention these days. It is so special to me to read works that are perfect in story, editing and done by an up and coming writer. One of my favorites is Glenn Starkey—a thriller writer. I don’t think this guy knows how good he is!

Louise: Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers we have not touched on?

Dannie: I’ve been called a sweet guy- what a terrible Rep for a writer, LOL. When I write I do all that I do for the readers. They are the life blood of a writer and I love them!
I am the author of In Search of a Soul. This book has sold many, many copies and it was the hardest book I’ve written—but it is a beautiful story. Just read the reviews.

Louise: Dannie, thank you again for visiting with us. Where can the readers learn more about you and find your books on the web?

Dannie: I have a blog about a Writer’s Life in Thailand and you can see all my books.

Death’s Door is only available at Amazon as an ebook—for the next 90 days. It’s available everywhere in paperback.
You can see all my books at my website.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you for having me on your blog, Louise! Great questions and beautiful setup for the interview.

    Writers supporting writers is so important to indies and you are at the top of my list! Thank you.

  2. It's been a while since I read an interview from you Dannie. This is a good one - very insightful. I think you'd be the perfect author to write about sexual slavery - especially being a resident in Thailand -an openly sexual country. On The Menu is one I will look forward to.

    Proud of you hon, for all the work you've done,


  3. Thank you for stopping by, Eden. I can always count on your support and friendship.

    I'll make a decision about On The Menu soon. My editor is reviewing it now. It's a very good story with messages about how we treat and exploit young women, but ti's is a very hard subject.

  4. Hi Dannie and Eden!
    Dannie, thank you again for visiting with us this week.
    Eden, B&S here *wink* I agree. Dannie should publish On the Menu. Sexual slavery takes place all over the world not just in Asia. And not just females, young boys and men are also victims. This would be an excellent read!
    Readers, be sure to get your entries in to win a free eBook - winner's choice. Good luck.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Dannie, Great Interview - always fun to learn a little more about you, and the new books sounds wonderful!

    Louise, lovely site and good questions!

    I'm really intrigued by the sexual slavery comments - guess what? I next book has explored that very theme, and it's most fascinating.

  7. Hi Junying. Thank you for reading a bit about me, lol. It's a wonder I would be of interest but I do love to write.

    I'm getting so much positive feedback about my manuscript I'm giving it a lot of thought. You're so right that sexual servitude, and most especially for young people is something that needs attention.

    The writing was easy but the editing--going back over the subject is difficult!

  8. Hi Junying, thanks for stopping by. We're glad you enjoyed the interview and our blog. Come back often; we feature very cool authors every week.
    Dannie, last night to hang out with us, for now. I'm sure we'll be communicating often. :)
    Have a great weekend! ~Louise

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. A really in-depth interview. I've learned a lot more about you, Dannie. I always enjoy reading about how writers tackle their approach to creating a literary piece of art.