Today I’m doing my very first author interview! Everyone, please welcome Dakota Douglas, author of ANTics, a novel for young readers about three ants who must work together to outwit an evil spider who’s vowed to turn them into ant soup!
Your ants all have such clever names. What do you think your ant name would be?
I’d like to say Brilliant. But who am I kidding. Seriously, it would probably be Observant. I’m a people watcher. What they say, how they say it, their body language and facial expressions help me with character and dialogue creation.
Can you share any hints about the ANTics sequel?
It follows on from where ANTics finished and is called MutANTs. It’s about a tribe of super strong ants who like to attack and steal ants from other nests. Our heroes are thrust into an adventure to rescue their friends who’ve been ant-napped by the Mutant slaveraiders. The task is way too big for them but they get help from some unlikely sources.
Has your background as a newspaper reporter helped with your fiction writing?
Definitely. The training and discipline I learned through my job helps enormously with structuring a story, proofreading and editing. Often, a reporter has to do a lot of research for information to accompany a story. Some people think research is boring and they just want to get on with the writing. I love research. I also love to hear people’s stories. They are so inspirational. But long before I became a journalist, I had a vivid imagination and would weave stories all the time, probably when I should have been giving other things my 100% attention. My imagination, as a child, was fuelled by all the great stories I read. I loved to go to the local library and second hand bookstores with my mother. We would spend hours thumbing through pages.
Do you have a writing routine? Where do you enjoy writing the most?
I don’t have a regular writing routine. I write at all different times of day and for different lengths of time. Though, I wish I was more organized.
I write on scraps of paper and in notebooks whenever an idea for a story, word, phrase, piece of dialogue, new scene or plot twist pops into my head – even in the middle of the night. When I am writing at any length, I prefer to sit at my computer and slog away. I don’t worry about spelling or grammar; I just try and type as quickly as the words mysteriously appear in my head. On my next session, I read what I wrote before or even start from the beginning of the story and read. This cuts down on the time spent editing later and settles me into the action.
I make corrections. I think this also helps sharpen up my writing. Everyone is different but this system seems to suit me.
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Go for it. Today’s market is very competitive and you might not become a best seller. But, hey, who knows. Write because you love to write. Write because it’s something you have to do.
And when you write The End, remember it’s far from over. You need to edit, edit and edit until you can publish the best story you are capable of producing at that moment. I say ‘that moment’ because writing is like anything else; the more you practice writing, the better you get.
What was your favorite book growing up?
I loved Enid Blyton and would read her books under the bed covers by torchlight when I was supposed to be asleep. My favourite books were her Adventure Series. I wanted a parrot like Kiki. She inspired me to write my own book. It’s so long ago; I can’t remember what it was called. It has vanished, like so many other childhood treasures that I wish I could get my hands on.
Just for fun, here are some Lightning Round questions:
Dr. Seuss or Dr. Who?
Sand or Snow?
Neverland or Wonderland?
Popcorn or Pop Tarts?
Indiana Jones or Han Solo?
Thank you so much for dropping by, Dakota!