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Author Interview with Deanndra Hall

20 Questions
(Author Interview)
Brought to you by
Debby P.

1.Tell us about your current project.
Which one? (You can't hear me, but I'm laughing maniacally.)  I just sorted through my work schedule and I've got 49 books on it, and that doesn't include the projects I'm working on with other authors. But right now I'm concentrating on the series I have going, like Citadel and Harper's Cove, starting a new sci-fi romance series, the Witch of Endor series, getting a novella ready for Liz Crowe's Love Brothers box set releasing at the holidays, and looking forward to the next phase in the Love Under Construction series - a bridge novella for Vic and then the beginning of the Legacy series, the second spin-off series from the Love Under Construction series. So I've got a lot going on!

2. What sparked the idea for this project?
For the Witch of Endor series, I think it was two things: 1) We enjoy studying theoretical physics in our spare time (Michio Kaku is my hero!); and 2) I've always been fascinated with the idea that some of the characters in the bible are not what they appear to be, and in this series, the witch of Endor was one of those.

2a: When can we expect to see this project?
The first book in the series, Laid Bare, is releasing on October 25. And I'm really excited about it!

3.  How do you choose your book covers?
It's a cooperative effort between my designer and me. I had a very talented designer, but DRC Promotions does all my promotions, and the owner, Drue Hoffman, is a very talented cover designer, plus she's a whiz at formatting, so I'm kind of taking it all "in-house," so to speak. She usually throws a concept at me and we see if it sticks. Most of the time it does. When she got the mockup done for this book, I then went and chose three more photos so I'd have them ready for the other three books. The crest on the cover, the chapter headers, and the section separators are mine - I designed and executed them.

4. Music seems to influence a lot of authors, what are your musical influences, if any?
Oddly, although I come from a family that included professional musicians, music isn't really a driving factor in my work. Matter of fact, I write in total silence (well, semi-total - I have three dogs). I think other authors influenced me more, like Eudora Welty, Barbara Kingsolver, Dan Brown, and many more. I have very eclectic taste.

5. How do you handle "writers block"?
I'm not saying this to brag, but I really can't relate to that. When you take creative writing courses in college, you're told what to write, how long it's supposed to be, and when to hand it in. Subsequently, if you have writer's block, you don't pass the class. You learn to write what you're supposed to be writing when you're supposed to be writing it. So that's never been an issue for me. Honestly, if I didn't have to eat or shower, I could literally write 18 hours a day and never run out of material, and I come up with a new book or series at least once a week. Hence the 49 books! LOL But in all truth, I feel blessed to have such a fertile imagination. It's a gift, and I don't take it for granted.

6. Who has been your greatest influence?
 Wow. That's a hard one. Well, my friend Shane talked me into independently publishing my first book. I owe him a lot. Also, I was part of a writers' group here in town--two professors, an adjunct college instructor, a high school English teacher, an artist with what I believe to be Asperger's, and me. Talk about humbling! One of the professors wrote incredible fiction along with being the chair of the geosciences department at a local university. The other professor was one of my creative writing instructors. Kit taught me that no matter how serious your job was, fiction was still important. And Dee taught me something she never expected to: She taught me that if I waited until my book was "good enough" to publish it, it never would get published. When she died, she was still writing the one novel she'd been working on for as long as I'd known her. No one will ever read it. And that saddens me greatly.

7. Do you or have you ever had a muse?
Oh, yeah! Nikki from the Love Under Construction series! I had her with me, in my head, for over 12 years. When my husband told me that my writing was better than that of an author who was extremely popular at the time, I decided it was time for Nikki to find somewhere to be and someone to interact with. Halfway into Laying a Foundation, I realized I had a series on my hands. And I haven't looked back. I tell people that there's a lot of Nikki in me, and a lot of me in Nikki.

8. What one subject is TABOO in your writing?
I will not write about breath play. I don't care what anyone says, it's not safe. No one should try that. And as for watersports, I'm like Tony from Laying a Foundation: If there's pee or poop involved, you can count me out!

9. What do you do when you aren't writing?
Reading the latest science magazines. I watch very little TV - usually only news, and then only occasionally - but I binge-watched Sense8 and Stranger Things, and now I'm binge-watching Fringe on DVD. I love to meet up with friends and go to movies, or go to dinner. I love to go to the gym. I love my antique typewriters. And I love spending time with my family. 

10. If there was one book you wish you'd written, which would it be?
No doubt in my mind - The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and Confessions of a Pagan Nun by Kate Horsley. Those books ... I can't describe what they mean to me.

11. What is your greatest passion?
Putting words to paper and watching a character come to life.

12. What one word best describes you?
Kind. I try to be as kind as possible in all situations. Some people won't allow it. And if you pick on someone smaller and weaker and I find out, you'd better start praying.

13. If you could change places with one of your characters, would you?
Which one and why?
Everybody wants to be a Walters! So if I could change places with any of them, it would be Nikki.

14. Is there one, current, tv show that is "can't miss" for you?
Nah, but I'm waiting patiently for the next season of Sense8 and Stranger Things. I'll be glued to the TV when they come on!

15. Money is no object, where do you go?
The home of my ancestors, Ireland, Scotland, and England.

16. Tell me, please, the first two books on your TBR list.
I want to finish the second book in my friend Anne L. Parks' Tri-Stone Trilogy, Revenge: Of Demons and Stones, and finish Jax Jillian's Ryan's Letters. I'm patiently waiting for Jax's Jillian's Touch to come out. Don't ask me how I know it's coming - I just do.

17. How do you choose character names?
Wow - that's a great question. One of the things I do early on is to try to sort of determine a character's lineage when I first conceive them, and I'll usually try to go that direction. Sometimes it's unknown, but with Tony and his brothers, they were Italian-American, so that was easy: Marco, Bartolomeo, Antonio, Federico, and Benecio, and their cousin, Vittorio Vincenzo Cabrizzi. But usually, by the time one comes along, their name is already there - they kind of "introduce" themselves to me!

17a: Are you any of your characters inspired by someone you know in "real life?"
Oh, yeah. Nikki's mother? Yeah - my family. Other than that, not really. I mean, they're conglomerations of people I've known over the years, usually not just one person.

18. Tell us one thing we may not know about you.
I love cemeteries. If I had time, I'd stop at every one I see and walk around, looking at the tombstones and taking pictures. We live near Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, created by the impoundment of the Tennessee River to form Kentucky Lake and the Cumberland River to form Lake Barkley. They moved everyone out when they started the impoundment, but all of the old cemeteries are still there, and they're slowly deteriorating. I love driving out to them and wandering around. We've even done some ghost hunting there and recorded some EVPs. And every time I pass an old family cemetery on the side of the road, I really want to stop and look around. Weird, I know, but I love them.

19. What do you want to be when you grow up?
I think I'm already living that dream!

20. Of the 7 Deadly Sins, which one have you committed most recently?
Oh, that's easy: Gluttony. I'm addicted to food, so I have to watch what I keep in the house. If it's here, I'll eat it, even if I don't like it. Crazy, I know. 

Thanks so much for interviewing me!

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