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Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Author Q & A Dani Atkins - Our Song

The stunning new emotional drama from ebook phenomenon Dani Atkins, author of Fractured.

This is the story of Ally and Charlotte, whose paths have intersected over the years though they've never really been close friends. Charlotte married Ally's ex and first true love, David. Fate is about to bring them together one last, dramatic time and change their lives forever.

Full of Dani's signature warmth and emotion, this is a gripping and emotional family drama. With breath-taking plot twists, Dani explores themes of serendipity, friendship and love. She fully engages the reader in the dilemmas faced by her characters. What would you do if your husband was the love of somebody else's life? And when faced with an agonising decision, could you put the past behind you and do the right thing?

Author: Dani Atkins
Title: Our Song
Publishers: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: Ebook 21st Jan 2016 Paperback 28th Jan 2016
Link: Uk: Amazon US: Amazon

We would like to welcome the fabulous Dani Atkins to Sincerely Book Angels blog to talk about her new book Our Song.

What was the inspiration behind this novel?
The first germ of an idea came as quite a disquieting thought.  I was thinking randomly about how many women (myself included) have a special place in their heart for the very first person they fell in love with.  It then occurred to me that somewhere out there, is a woman I don’t know, have never met, and probably never will, who holds my own husband in her heart.  He is her “someone”.  I then started thinking what if two women who had both loved the same man at different times in their life were to meet… what if a tragedy in both their lives brought them together on a single night…  And there you have Our Song.

Did you always want to be a writer?
I actually can’t think of a time when I haven’t wanted to be a writer.  It just took me a little longer to achieve than I had anticipated.  Even as a child I would always be scribbling away at short stories and poems.

What other jobs have you had?
For most of my life I worked in a variety of secretarial jobs in companies as diverse as a BMW car dealership to the BBC (and quite a few in between).  My secretarial skills are practically prehistoric – I learned to type on a manual typewriter, and learned good old-fashioned shorthand!  My final position was working as a Work Experience Co-ordinator in the offices of a secondary school.  I was there for twenty years, and it was quite a wrench to finally leave to become a full-time author.

How did it feel when your first novel was published?
It is an almost indescribable feeling, particularly if you have waited so long for that moment, that you have almost given up hope of it ever happening.  I think, even more than publication day, it was the day I met with my publishers and was actually given my very first copy of my book.  I can vividly remember sitting on the train journey back home, smiling like an idiot and just staring at it.  I had to resist the urge to keep telling all the other people in the carriage “I wrote this!”

Have you ever had writer's block? If so how did you overcome it?
There are days, every writer has them, when the words just won’t come – or they come out halting and stilted.  I always know when this happens because I keep stopping and changing a word or a phrase here or there, instead of just letting the story unfold.  I normally battle on, hoping that out of the pile of drivel I am producing, there might be something – anything – that can be salvaged.  Invariably, when I go back and read it all again the following day, much of it gets to magically disappear with a press of the Delete key.

That’s the funny thing about writing, you just never know when you’re going to have a brilliant day, or a totally rubbish one.  But if you walked away and chose not to write anything at all when you think you’ve hit a wall, well, then you’d never know if that was the day when something absolutely amazing would have materialised.

What motivates you to keep writing?
The pure and simple joy of telling a story and sharing it.

Do your characters’ moods ever affect your mood and vice versa?
It’s hard not to be affected by what is happening in the lives of the people you have created.  My books have all been fairly emotional stories, and my characters have had to go through some pretty harrowing experiences.  Sometimes I get to a point in a story when something dreadful is going to happen, and I desperately want to find a way of sparing my character from the pain I know I have waiting for them.  But of course I can’t.  I find it really beneficial to read what I have written each day out loud, and I frequently embarrass myself by choking up when reading the sad bits, but as the audience is only my husband, I suppose that is okay.

What three pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Firstly – and I’ve seen this advice from a great many authors – read.  A lot.  Most of us are fairly discerning when we read, you know when something is working and also when it isn’t.  The more you read, the more you absorb about what makes an engaging story, and more importantly, what doesn’t.

The second thing is to just write.  Don’t tell yourself that “one day I am going to write a book”.  Do it.  Do it now.  It’s all too easy to allow yourself to think that you don’t have time to write, but you just need to be disciplined and determined.  I am in awe of authors who manage to produce books when they have small children running around to look after, but it can be done.  When my own children were younger I wrote in notepads in the car while they were having music or swimming lessons.  When they were babies I wrote when they napped.  I know of several authors who write on the commute to work, or during their one-hour lunch break at their desk.  Don’t set yourself impossible goals, start with just 1000 words a day (it takes a surprisingly short amount of time to achieve that).  If you do that for just one hundred days, that’s only three months, you’ll have a novel.

The third piece of advice is simple.  Don’t give up.  Keep writing and when you’re happy with it, start sending it out to literary agents.  Persistence pays off… as does hard work and a whole lot of luck.

Which authors inspire you?
My favourite author is Stephen King.  Surprisingly this is not because I particularly enjoy the horror genre and will actually skip over passages that are overtly gory.  But Stephen King is without doubt the master of suspense and storytelling and has a unique and insightful way of bringing his characters to life with such honesty and realism using just a few well-chosen sentences or dialogue.  He is a true observer of human nature.

What are you reading at the moment?
I have just started to read After You by Jojo Moyes.  I absolutely loved Me Before You and I can’t wait to reacquaint myself with the wonderful characters Jojo created.

If your book was made into a film what song would you choose for the opening credits?
Good question and I know the answer straight away, because I played this song on a continuous loop for a lot of the time while I was writing certain scenes.  It is I Got The Boy by Jana Kramer.

Who would you choose to play your favourite character in the film of your book?
I always find this question hard to answer, because I have seen these people in my head for such a long time, that no actors on either the big or small screen look quite right.  I really love hearing the suggestions put forward by readers. Some of the choices people make take me a little by surprise, because they don’t look at all the way I had imagined.  But that’s what makes this such a fun question.

What is your next book about?
My next book is going to be another emotional drama with, of course, a strong love story running through it.

Thank you so much for joining us on our blog today and good luck with the book.

Book Angel x

About the Author

Dani Atkins
Dani Atkins was born in London in 1958, and grew up in North London. She moved to rural Hertfordshire in 1985, where she has lived in a small village ever since with her family. Although Dani has been writing for fun all her life, Fractured was her first novel. She has since written The Story of Us.

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