Author Dialogue 6: A Date with Dashing Dare-devil Dannie Hill

Author Dannie C Hill

Today, I’m welcoming one of the sweetest men from this virtual world of indie authors, whom I met and became friends with :) Who can guess from where? That’s a million dollar question, and the simple answer: Twitter! Lol.

Dannie, can you please tell us something about yourself?

I’ve been living in Thailand for the past 8 years with my wife and writing full time. I have lived the Marshall Islands, Vietnam, Budapest and many places in the U.S. I am a Southerner from North Carolina but my home, when in the States, is now Houston, Texas.

I have two published books and another book ready to publish. I came to writing a bit late in life but once I started I couldn’t stop. I’ve always been a daydreamer and a storyteller so I guess I’ve just taken a long time to prepare for writing.

Courtesy from Author

I have read your book In Search of a Soul, and I know you to be an adventurous sailor, a lover of the sea and a man of the world. What inspired you to write your books? Where did you get your ideas from?

My first published book, Tyler Hill’s Decision, was the fourth or fifth manuscript I wrote. Tyler started out as a story I wrote for my grandson to read when he is older. I am white and part Cherokee and my wife is Thai—this combination makes beautiful children. My kids suffered in their early teens from the cruelty of their peers in school. I tried to help them but didn’t really know what to do. They were continually asked “What are you?” meaning what is their heritage. I think it hurt me more than it did them.

A Happy Reader with Author

So I wrote a story about a ‘mixed’ boy lost in the mountains. He is found by an old Cherokee man who helps Tyler get back to his family, but at the same time teaches him about the mountains, the Cherokee people and about life.

My second book, In Search of a Soul, started out with a bit of anger at agents. I had submitted a manuscript to several agents and I was told the writing was too simple—the vocabulary was not strong enough. I started In Search to show these agents that I had a large vocabulary, but it quickly turned into a poetic, soothing sea adventure. I’ve been happy to find that many women really enjoy it and like the protagonist that’s not your typical hero type and the strong female characters that help him along the way.

Men like the adventure of sailing alone across the ocean and visiting the islands of the Pacific.

The ideas for all my novels come from one or two specific events and then I just get out of the way and see what happens. For In Search of a Soul, two things started the book. One was a picture of an Afghan girl’s photo on the cover of a National Geographic from years ago. She had the most intense green eyes and they haunted me all my life. The other thing was—at the time—my oldest son was working with Navy SEALs in a war zone.

Courtesy from Author

The book I am getting ready to publish, Outer World Prairie, was the manuscript that stated me on my life as a writer. It’s a Fantasy and it has taken a great deal of editing and rewrites to bring it to a professional standard. I wrote it in an easy to read, no dictionary needed style. It’s a story of a strong, stalwart, simple people living on a planet named Prairie. An old foe has found them and wants to enslave or kill all the people.

OWP started from my desire to read a Fantasy where the protagonist has a love interest as he and she help save their world. There are a number of love scenes but it very much an adventure as the two lead characters get others to fight with them to save their world.

Oh yes, I LOVE that Afghan girl’s amazing portrait. I went to see it at our local gallery, Birmingham Art Gallery when they had a Steve McCurry Exhibition over a year ago, and I have a book on his photography collection. A fantastic photographer!

Tell us about your favourite book/author?

I really have too many to list. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series was my introduction into Fantasy and I still re-read them from time to time. Wilber Smith is a great writer that tells his tales filled with descriptions of where the story takes place and his characters seem so real. He sets many of his tales in Africa in the 16th and 17th century. James Clavell is the writer that introduced me to Japan and China with his tales set in history. I have loved Asia and the people who live there all my life but Mr. Clavell painted a picture that stays with me.

Pearl S Buck is another that touched me in my youth with her beautiful The Good Earth trilogy that made me want to go to Asia.

Dannie, thank you so much for including Pearl S Buck in your list – she is one of mine too and I absolutely loved The Good Earth! Now you know why I named the Protagonist in my books Pearl :)

Do you have a routine for writing? How long does it take you to complete your first book?

I write early in the morning—often watching the sun rise. I will write for a few hours or all day depending on my muse. I take a few breaks just to relax my eyes but my brain never stops until the manuscript is written or I hit a point I need to put it aside until later. I try to write every day to keep me sane.

My first published book took me about a month and a half to complete the first draft. The book I am getting ready to publish was my first manuscript and took about 15 years to complete.

I admire your dedication and self-discipline, Dannie. I appreciate what you are saying: my first book took me years to write while the second only a matter of months.

What do you do when you’re not writing? What’s your favourite pastime?

From Author's Facebook

My wife and I have a small farm in Thailand and I love the physical work of planting and all the things a farm requires. I also love to ride my motorcycle around the country and meet the Thai people. I do speak the language but it has taken several years to learn and I’m still far from perfect with it. I am an avid sailor—but haven’t sailed, except in my mind, for several years. I also love to read fiction and meet other authors.

You have picked a perfect location, Dannie, but learning Thai? What a challenge and what fun that must have been!

Do you use Social Media for promoting your work? Does it work?

I must say I am terrible at marketing—have been all my life. I think it’s a curse many writers are afflicted with. I want to write not sell. I am basically a recluse and presenting myself and my works to the public is quite frightening to me, but I do try.

I do use the social media and have found the one I enjoy the most is Twitter. I don’t push my books on readers but use a passive style of marketing. I try to make friends and then the word gets out that I’m not a bad guy and a pretty good writer. I am so surprised that I have made so many true friends from the social media—most I’ve never met in person but friends they are! Also I’ve met so many talented authors—such as you, Junying—and almost every one of these great writers try to help their peers with everything from marketing to critiques. But mostly they are friends I can talk with about writing and any other subject.

Does the social media work? Yes, it does. I am not rich from book sells but I have sold many more of my works through the social media than any other method I have tried.

It was lovely meeting you too, Dannie :), and I am with you 100% about making great friends and wonderful authors via Social Media.

Who, living or dead, do you most admire?

The last time I answer a question like this it caused me a lot of regret. So I will pick a few people who have made my life worthwhile—made me a better man and given me my greatest happiness. My wife of 35 years, Julee, my three children, Jason, Suginda and Daniel. My daughter-in-law and three grandchildren.

Enjoying Life in Thailand

Wonderful! I promise that you won’t get into trouble this time :)

What are you reading at the moment?

I’ve just finished a great book by Junying Kirk called The Same Moon and I loved it! Great job, Junying.

At the present I’m reading a book by a new author, Natasha Slight. Guardians of the Grimoire. This is Natasha’s debut novel and I’m finding it a very good read.

My next book will be a recently published book by a wonderful friend, Zee Gorman. Snowdrops and Night Warriors, is Zee Gorman’s second novel. I loved her first book!

Thank you so much for your kind words and positive response to The Same Moon, and it’s wonderful that you’re supporting new indie authors by reading their works.

Do your characters talk to you? Have you ever used people you know as a character?

Well of course they talk to me—what a silly question and I talk to them. Is that normal? Actually I usually start with one or two characters. I start the tale and back out of the way. More characters come and introduce themselves and off they go with the story. I’m usually surprised where they take me.

Many of my characters are combinations of people I know or have met. I’m writing a manuscript where I am having a great time using my friend’s names. Not sure if these people will agree because some of them are very bad people—in the story.

How interesting! Don’t you dare using my name as a baddie :)

Here is a challenge: describe your latest novel within 140 characters, as in a tweet.

Outer World Prairie- Fantasy filled with adventure, love, a people fighting for their existence and a touch of magic. Come live with them!

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Junying. It has been so wonderful getting to know you and call you friend. You are a great and talented author and an exotic beauty!

The pleasure is all mine, Dannie. It’s wonderful to have you here to share your adventures with us. Best of luck with your writing and enjoy life in terrific Thailand!

For further info on Dannie and his books, please go to: Dannie’s Website

or http://smallmountainpub.com

Tyler Hill’s Decision E-Book, or Paperback

In Search of a Soul Paperback, or Amazon Kindle USA

You can also check out Outer World Prairie’s Preview

About Junying Kirk

I came to Britain from China in 1988. I have worked as an academic, administrator, researcher, teacher and cultural consultant. When not travelling to Courts & Police stations as a professional interpreter, I enjoy reading & writing books, travelling the world and blogging about my adventures :). My 'Journey to the West' trilogy - 'The Same Moon', 'Trials of Life' and 'Land of Hope' - have been published on Amazon (both on Kindle and paperbacks), Smashwords and iBook. I live in Birmingham, UK with my husband.
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26 Responses to Author Dialogue 6: A Date with Dashing Dare-devil Dannie Hill

  1. eden baylee says:

    Dannie, Dannie, Dannie, making the rounds! Nice!
    So great to see you here on the site of one of my favourite ladies.

    Umm, yes, I love your answer about who you most admire, really sweet ;)

    eden

  2. Dannie Hill says:

    Thank you, Eden for your comments. I like the answer too;-) It has been a real pleasure meeting such fine writers and people like Junying and you. You both have really had a positive affect of me. Junying really did a great job laying out this interview. Some of the pictures surprised me!

  3. L.M. Stull says:

    Aww what a lovely interview Dannie and Junying! I have not read In Search of a Soul, but have it loaded and ready in my kindle.

    It is always nice to learn a little bit more about someone you admire, and I agree with Eden – I love your answer about who you most admire.

    ~Lisa

    • Dannie Hill says:

      Lisa. Even today I am amazed at the great, talented and supportive writers and readers I meet in the social media. I have learned much about helping, encouraging and friendship from so many. I was lost but now I see thanks to people like you and many others. Thank you for your kind words!

      And many of my guides just happen to be such beautiful women! That’s a real plus!

    • Junying says:

      Dear Eden and Lisa,

      Thank you so much for joining me in supporting Dannie here. It’s always fascinating to hear what a fellow author has to say, which allows us to get to know him a little bit better! Dannie is definitely worth knowing :)

      Dannie, it’s truly a pleasure to chat with you about your life in Thailand, what inspired you to write and learning about your lovely family. I thought I’d give you a surprise with my choice of photos and they did :)

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  5. Zee Gorman says:

    Such a wonderful interview! I always enjoy reading about Dannie and his life. I totally agree that he is one of the most romantic and sweetest men out there. You know? I think you should write a memoir, Dannie. I bet it’d be fascinating!

    I have read both “In Search for a Soul” and “Tyler Hill’s Decision” and love them. I think you have a great set of vocabulary! You have a writing style that is like a gentle sunrise – peaceful, easy-going, unimposing. I like it.

    Thank you for another wonderful interview, Junying! You’re a gem!

    • Junying says:

      Zee,

      It’s so lovely to see you here, and you made me blush with happiness with your compliment :) More importantly, thanks for being Dannie’s devoted friend and fan. I know you’d agree that Dannie has a way with lovely women, doesn’t he? That’s why I call him a Dashing Dare-devil :)

    • Dannie Hill says:

      Dear Zee. You are my longest friend from the social media and I have learned so much from you and this great friendship. If my old friends read about me being romantic and sweet they will certainly wonder who is being talked about. It is taking some getting use to for me as well. But one thing I am finding out in my writing life is that is the style I enjoy the most is writing, with a few bloody battles thrown in.
      My memoir would be so boring it would put me to sleep– perhaps when I’m older and can include wonderful people like you and Junying.

  6. The dashing gentleman on his motorbike, who always has a smile on his face and a positive spirit. That’s how I picture this wonderful author. I want to say congratulations to both Junying and Dannie on this extremely well put together interview. I always enjoy getting to know a little more about friends I’ve met online. I have read ‘In Search of a Soul’ and was amazed by the very poetic prose. I tip my hat to you, Dannie, you’ve got no worries there. ;) Finally, it is with a hand over my heart that I say, “Thank you, Dannie” for mentioning me and my book.

    • Junying says:

      Natasha,

      Many thanks for popping in here and leaving such lovely comments for Dannie and me. I’m glad to get an introduction from our mutual friend Dannie, and best of luck with your new book – I just went to your website and it looks great. Will check out your book too :)

    • Dannie Hill says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Natasha! I really am enjoying your book and congratulate you on your debut novel. I am also very happy people are reading and enjoying my books. As you know– to a writer there can be no greater compliment! Except perhaps the words of readers.

  7. Hi Dannie. This was a lovely interview and allowed me to get a clearer insight into who you are and what you are all about. Junying did a wonderful job. Your comment regarding how the story you wrote for your grandson came about “Tyler Hill’s Decision” – really touched me and brought tears to my eyes. I’m female and am allowed to be overly emotional :) Although both my parents are white, we were born in Mozambique. They “escaped” the then war torn Mozambique with nothing but the clothes on their backs and 3 small children. We live in South Africa and I have been here since the age of 10. For the simple fact that we were Portuguese, school life was horrific right through high school as mostly I, the shy one, was picked on, on a daily basis being called anything from a half-breed to trash and worse. The human race is capable of immense cruelty. It doesn’t phase me in the least what ethnic background you come from – it’s what’s in your heart that matters. Dannie, I haven’t known you for long, as a matter of fact, only met 2 days ago but I can tell you are one of those sweet, lovely people and I look forward to getting to know more about you in the future. I wish you lots of luck in your writing career and in your life in Thailand along with your family.

    • Junying says:

      Sandra,

      Thank you so much to read and comment on Dannie’s wonderful interview.

      I can only imagine how difficult it must be for you to be living in Mozambique and then South Africa while growing up. It’s very kind of you to share that snippet of your childhood here, and as you so rightly put it: “The human race is capable of immense cruelty.” In some ways, we have not progressed that much in terms of human nature :)

      • You are very welcome Junying :) It was difficult as once I saw what Dannie had written, it just brought it all back. It’s why I will not tolerate anyone bullying or treating another person badly. It’s unforgivable. You are right, not much progress has been made but I like to be positive and believe that good will always outweigh the bad. Thank you for your reply and your time. I will return to your website in the future. All the best Junying. :)

        • Junying says:

          Sandra,

          I totally agree with you regarding not tolerating any kind of bullying but remaining positive. I had a terrible experience with a bully as an adult – everyone knew what a nasty piece of work he was yet nobody stood up to him and let him get away with murder. I did. I took him to court, and then wrote a book about it (Trials of Life). So I know where you’re coming from.

          Thanks again for your kind comments and it’s lovely to have you here.

          • Isn’t that always the case until someone such as yourself puts a stop to it. Good for you Junying and I say this with admiration! I need to read Trials of Life one of these days.

            You really are most welcome and it’s lovely to be here. Until next time :)

          • Junying says:

            Sandra

            Thanks again for your encouraging comments. I look forward to having more discussions with you either here or on twitter :) It’s lovely to meet people like you with whom we can share feelings and stories, and spurring us on for any future battles:)

    • Dannie Hill says:

      Thank you so much for your comments, Sandra. Your words brought back some latent memories of the things my kids went through. I think most of it was jealousy because they were beutiful and handsome kids– it still hurt. It took a number of years for them, my children, to put those hurts away.
      When I was young I accidentally overheard family members talking about our Cherokee Indian heritage and I was thrilled! I told everyone I saw I was part Indian much to the distress of my family. I couldn’t understand. Even today I hold that part of my background as something I’m very proud of.
      You have grown up in a place I use to dream about– not the termoil and strife but the land and animals of Africa.
      I am very happy we are getting to know each other and look forward to a fine friendship!

      • It was my pleasure Dannie. I think so too :) people are always jealous of others for whatever reason and in turn feel the need to hurt them. I can well believe that it took them a number of years to put those hurts behind them – I know from experience. But we overcome these past hurts (don’t really forget) and I believe become even better people. It’s wonderful that you still hold your background dear and are proud of it. I can tell and it’s awesome.

        Ah, I hope that one day you are able to visit Africa with your family, as despite all it’s problems (which country though hasn’t got their fair share?) it’s one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Have a great weekend and thank you for your reply. It’s lovely getting to know people isn’t it? :)

  8. Eri Nelson says:

    One of my favorite authors!!!!

    Best Wishes
    Eri

  9. What a wonderful interview – and I LOVE the title. I treasure Dannie’s friendship – also having met in on Twitter. He’s what they used to call “true blue”. He’s also an example on how to live your life.

    Now, I must read Tyler Hill’s Decision as soon as possible. My late husband was African-American so my daughter is mixed. She actually looks much like a Pacific Islander so she’s was bombarded with questions like “What are you?” too – even from teachers!

    Thanks for sharing so much about yourself, Dannie. I love the way you approach your writing. Can’t wait to read THD! As you know, I’m a huge fan of In Search of a Soul!

    • Junying says:

      Kathy,

      Thank you so much for visiting and sharing something about yourself. I enjoy doing interviews with fellow authors and learning more about each of them, such a diverse and fascinating network we have found ourselves in, and truly a privilege to meet and share.

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