Ask the Author: Danika Stone
What would you like readers to know about you?
I’m a multi-genre author of young adult books (Macmillan) and mystery-thrillers (Stonehouse). My latest YA, Switchback, was selected by CCBC as one of their Best Books of 2019, and I’ve been nominated for the High Plains Book Award twice—once for Switchback and once for The Dark Divide. I am a fangirl, an artist, a techmo. I obsess over more things than is probably healthy, and I spend an inordinate amount of time online. The internet is my happy place. Lastly, I love talking to readers, so PLEASE reach out!
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
Out right now… Switchback (Macmillan 2019)
Switchback is about two best friends who get lost in the Canadian Rockies while on a school camping trip. This one’s definitely a page-turner and I think you will love coming along on Vale and Ash’s adventure! Here’s the back cover summary:
Vale loves to hike, but kind of hates her classmates. Ash is okay with his classmates, but kind of hates the outdoors. So, needless to say they are both fairly certain that the overnight nature hike with their PE class is going to be a hellish experience. But when they get separated from the group during a storm, they have worse things to worry about than bullies and blisters.
Lost in the Canadian wilderness with limited supplies, caught in dangerous weather conditions, and surrounded by deadly wildlife, it’s going to take every bit of strength, skill, and luck they can muster to survive.
Coming November, 2020… Fall of Night (Stonehouse 2020)
Fall of Night is the final chapter in my Waterton mystery series and brings together all the threads from books 1 and 2: Edge of Wild and The Dark Divide. It’s got thrills, danger, and a delicious thread of romance that will keep you turning pages. Here’s the back cover summary:
Rich Evans is desperate to say goodbye to his past in New York and embrace a future in Waterton with fiancee Louise Newman, a small-town mechanic with an uncanny gift of foresight. But even Lou’s warnings are not enough to avoid the new troubles threatening the isolated border town. Rich returns to Waterton to discover the body of his estranged ex-girlfriend has been found in a remote mountain lake.
Constable Sadie Black Plume uncovers grisly details linking Gabrielle’s murder to a web of organized crime with connections to all layers of Waterton’s close-knit community. With Rich as the main suspect, Rich and Lou are forced to prove his innocence in a small town where the term ‘outsider’ can be applied to anyone who wasn’t born there.
What has been your inspiration for writing it?
Switchback was inspired by my cousin. Both of us grew up in Waterton Park and knew the area, but one summer he was hiking and got lost in the Rocky Mountains. I figured if someone who knew the area could get turned around on a trail he knew, then two kids from the city definitely could get lost!
Fall of Night and the entire Waterton series were inspired by my own life, growing up in Waterton Lakes Alberta. It’s a very small community located deep in the mountains of Canada, where outsiders, for the most part, aren’t trusted. I took those unique elements, made them a little darker by adding hidden secrets and a few murders, and suddenly I had an entire mystery-thriller series just waiting to happen!
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
With Switchback, this was definitely the confrontation with the bear. I can’t tell you too much about it (since it has spoilers), but when I shared the manuscript with beta-readers, one replied that she was “never going camping again”. It will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat!
As for Fall of Night, my favorite moment was when I was writing and… a ghost showed up. It was a character who had died in one of the earlier books in the series. I was shocked, because I hadn’t planned it, but it ended up becoming one of my favorite scenes. I cannot WAIT for readers to see who it was!
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
I am inspired by every book I’ve ever read. Honestly! The moment I get to the end of reading a good book, I suddenly want to write my own. It’s a vicious circle. Ha ha!
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
My simplest piece of advice is that finished is better than perfect. There are two parts to this, of course. First, you must finish your draft. It is genuinely hard to get an idea out of your head and onto the page, so perseverance is key. Secondly, there will come a point during the editing process where you need to stop polishing and put it out into the world. While it’s true, you want to put out your best work, you can’t grow as an author until you get other people’s perspectives. That means letting people judge your writing. That can hurt, but it’s necessary.
So, write. Finish. Share it and then learn from your mistakes so your next book is better. That’s the only way I know how.
Booksmith link (indie bookseller): https://www.booksmith.com/search/author/%22Stone%2C%20Danika%22