Ask the Author: Danielle Girard
What would you like readers to know about you?
The official bio reads something like this: Danielle Girard is the USA Today and Amazon #1 bestselling author of fourteen novels, including Exhume, book 1 in the Dr. Schwartzman Series, and Chasing Darkness, as well as The Rookie Club series. Her books have won the Barry Award and the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, and two of her titles have been optioned for movies.
The real me is probably a lot like the real you. In addition to my day job of writing, I’m also a mother, wife, sister, daughter, cleaner, laundress, chef, dog walker, poop picker-upper, chauffeur… well you get the picture. Mostly, I love my family, being outdoors in my Montana home or being indoors with a great book.
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
White Out is the story of a woman with a forgotten past and a town with dark secrets.
After surviving a car accident on an icy road in Hagen, North Dakota, Lily Baker regains consciousness with no idea where or who she is. Scattered Bible verses and the image of a man lying in a pool of blood haunt her memory.
The same night of the accident, a young woman is murdered and tossed in a dumpster. Kylie Milliard, Hagen’s only detective, doesn’t immediately recognize the victim, but Kylie soon discovers that Lily and the dead woman share a dark past…if only Lily could remember what it was.
Lily and Kylie both want answers. But Kylie has to play by the book. Lily has to play it safe. And the more Lily learns about her identity, the more she fears the truth.
What has been your inspiration for writing it?
My books usually begin with a really creepy premise. For White Out, it was the idea of a woman who wakes after a car accident and has no memory. The car is about to go off an overpass and she’s frantic to get out. But she doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t recognize the driver. And when she finds a gun in her own bag, she realizes something isn’t right.
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
That first scene in the car was so fun to write. And also, I loved writing the last scene, which happens in the middle of a terrible snowstorm. It’s the moment when Lily Baker understands the whole truth and has to fight for her life.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
I read all the Agatha Christies as a kid and Nancy Drew before that. Then, I devoured Mary Higgins Clark and Iris Johansen and Tami Hoag. Then, I started reading Dennis Lehane and early Michael Connelly. I fell hard for the police genre and thrillers/suspense.
But before I was a writer, I was pre-med and spent ten years in finance. I never really thought about *being* a writer when I was starting to love reading mysteries. And then, I came up with my first really creepy premise—an FBI profiler who is attacked by the serial killer she is hunting. This became my first book, Savage Art.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
Two words: don’t quit. I have a folder in my drawer—it used to be a regular, slim file folder, twenty years ago, but now it’s an accordion folder and it’s stretched out. That file is full of rejection letters, every single one I’ve ever gotten. There are 130 or so in there now.
I’m proud of those. They hurt to receive and I cried and ate more than my share of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and finished off a few bottles of wine. I’ve got 4 or 5 books that are buried in the backyard that will never be published. That’s probably a good thing. But even after a series of brutal rejections, I never quit. Instead, I started a new book and with every book, I got better. My fourteenth book, White Out, is out August 1.
Which brings me to the other three words I have for you are: write another book. Just keep doing it. Another one and another one until it happens. Read and listen to the feedback your trusted readers provide. Then, set the feedback aside, listen to your own guide, and write some more.
Or order a print copy from www.bookshop.org
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