Author Interview with Australian Author Danny Gunn

Author Interview with Australian Author Danny Gunn

Welcome to Author Services Australia, Danny Gunn, and welcome to our author interviews! If you could start by introducing yourself to everyone, let them know where you’re from and some of your interests and hobbies.

Hello! and thanks for doing this. It’s a really cool way to expose indie authors to the world. My name is Danny. I grew up in Melbourne but moved to Tasmania four years ago. I live on the northwest coast with my partner and daughter.

When I can, I love to scuba dive and snorkel. I don’t get to do the former as much anymore, but I snorkel frequently. Marine life fascinates me, even if an overactive imagination makes me think there are sharks stalking me! I also like hiking and kayaking and obviously reading and watching movies.

And I love chocolate milk. Like so so much. It’s the best drink ever.

What inspired you to start writing?

I was always a big reader, and I started writing when I was 10. I would write these silly little stories in my dad’s notebook about a man who lived in the forest making furniture from the trees he cut down.

Then, as a teen, I was introduced to fantasy with the likes of Raymond E. Feist, and being transported into these fantastic worlds of swords and dragons and magic made up from the minds of the authors inspired me to try my own.

Fantasy was definitely not my forte, but I am a fan of adventure stories – Indiana Jones, Uncharted, Clive Cussler novels – and wrote my first novel, The Pirate’s Curse, which was released last year.

Like many kids, I was Goosebumps-obsessed, to the point I would pack my whole set (upwards of 50 books at one point) into my backpack and take them to school. I stacked them on my desk like it was a status symbol. I loved them so much, and finding a new book in stores was always an exciting time for me.

After having my first child, I decided to delve into upper primary writing and write an Aussie horror series set in Tasmania called Van Diemen’s Valley. Van Diemen’s Valley is inspired by Goosebumps, Spooksville, Scooby-Doo, and other scary stories I read and watched as a kid, and I hope to create the sense of excitement and spookiness that those inspirations did for me.

What is your preferred genre to write in?

To be honest, I don’t have one. I primarily write upper-primary horror, but I really like writing character-driven westerns, psychological horrors, and off-the-rails, page-turning adventures.

Being able to write different genres for different audiences allows me to explore different styles and themes that I can introduce into Van Diemen’s Valley and vice versa. It also keeps my motivation fresh, and I don’t feel bored or ‘over it’ if I can do a palette cleanse with another genre.

What is your writing process?

I come up with an idea, and then I plan around it. I structure it fairly well, knowing the ins and outs of the story and where it ends, and how to get there, but I allow for the story to progress organically. I find it allows me to create more natural characters who act like they would without it being a complete character shift just to get to the conclusion. It may take me off track a bit, but it also leads to some great ideas, and I can adjust my story as required.

For example, usually, I know the ending, but I’ll come up with a cooler ending with an amazing twist as I’m writing and adjust as needed to make it fit.

I also set writing goals, like words per day, and try to write 5 days a week at a minimum. These goals keep me motivated and on track. Even if I hit writer’s block, I push through, figuring 1000 bad words are better than 0 amazing words. In the end, it’s going to need to be edited anyway.

What is one thing you wish you knew now that you didn’t know when you started writing?

It’s a process, and it doesn’t come easy. I was so naive as a teen writer. I figured I’d write a book, and that’s it. The hard part is done. The book will get published, and I’ll get millions. But there is so much more involved in terms of editing, understanding characters and themes, whether it is a good story, whether it is a story people want to read, etc.

It’s wild, and it’s humbling, but it also helps give you perspective. It’s a hard industry to crack into in the traditional sense, but we have so many more avenues now, and there is success to be had with those options.

A second thing I wish I knew is that I can actually do it. I can write a book. I’ve done it. It’s not impossible. It’s hard work, and it requires dedication. But it is possible.

What was the hardest part of self-publishing?

Marketing and getting it out there.

It’s a brutal, competitive field, and lots of people want to see their book succeed. Marketing is so hard because you have to rely on social media and be able to stand out amongst the crowd, keeping up-to-date with the latest trends (like what the heck is TikTok???). There are so many indie books out there that are amazing reads but get little attention.

The great thing about Tasmania is that bookstores are really encouraging and supportive of indie authors. I’ve done book events with Petrarch’s in Launceston and Seppenfelt’s in Deloraine as well as some school talks.

Also, writing blurbs. Wow.

Which book is your favorite and why?

This is the literary version of asking which is your favourite child!

As a kid, it was Green Eggs and Ham. Even now, I love reading it to my daughter.

In primary school, it was Goosebumps.

As an adult, it’s probably Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. At least, it’s the first one that comes to mind. I read it long after I saw the movie, and I loved the theory and science behind the story, the introduction of fractals, etc.

Also, dinosaurs. I love dinosaurs. Who doesn’t?

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Dr. Seuss, R.L Stine (my writing inspiration), Christopher Pike, Dean Koontz, Elmore Leonard, Raymond Chandler, Michael Crichton, and Clive Cussler.

What are you working on right now?

I am almost finished with the first draft of Book 5 of Van Diemen’s Valley, called Carnage at Camp Arnage. This one goes back to the roots of the first three stories after a bit of a shift in the 4th book.

I’m excited to begin editing books 3 and 4 of my Van Diemen’s Valley horror series. Both have been written and are ready for a re-read and the big ole red pen. Book 3 is titled Revenge of the Flightless, and it’s a really fun, spooky story. Book 4 – The Magician’s Curse – is, as mentioned above, a bit of a tonal shift from the others. I won’t spoil it, but I’m excited to see how it goes.

Aside from the Van Diemen’s Valley books, I am working on a neo-noir/ neo-western story set in a fictional Tasmanian town called Pitstop (which is the current working title). It’s an idea I’ve had in my mind for a while now and inspired by works of Raymond Chandler and Elmore Leonard and movies like Se7en.The Creature of Cradle Cover

What’s next for you as an author?

Well, the most exciting thing is that The Creature of Cradle Cove (book 2 of Van Diemen’s Valley) just released, and I am so excited to see it on shelves next to The Haunting of Gordon’s Lake. It’s a really fun read and uses a popular conspiracy theory as the basis of the story.

I have some ideas to expand Van Diemen’s Valley to include a paranormal-western for kids, a brother and sister investigation series (inspired by the Three Investigators, The Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew), and a teen/young adult horror series also set in Van Diemen’s Valley. The teen horror series is inspired by the horror of my youth, like Fear Street, Christopher Pike novels and movies like Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, various camp horrors, etc. They are definitely going to be bloodier and focus on teenage themes, and it’s what I am most excited to try next.

Beyond Van Diemen’s Valley, I have an idea for an upper primary treasure-hunting adventure series that I’d love to write because it’s going to be a lot of fun and action-packed that blends history and fiction.

There are a couple of stories I’ve finished and need to get to editing and see how I go about publishing – traditionally or myself. One is a psychological horror called Three Nights in Queenstown, and the other is a Young Adult treasure hunting adventure called The Sword of Artemis that I hope to make into a trilogy.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Hopefully, continuing to write stories that kids and adults love. Seeing my book and my name on bookshelves never gets old (and yes, I do seek them out whenever I visit stores), so I want to keep doing that. I want to keep writing entertaining books that get kids excited and wanting to read because reading is so so important.

I mentioned my ideas for Van Diemen’s Valley above, and I want to put them into planning. But, as usual, it’s a case of so many ideas, so little time.

If you could choose one superpower, what would it be and why?

To transport myself into the worlds of the books I read. What adventures one could go on if that was possible!

Thanks so much for taking the time to do an author interview, Danny Gunn! Please take a minute and check Danny Gunn out on the links below! If you would like to do an author interview, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

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Author Name: Danny Gunn

Genre/s: Upper Primary Horror/Suspense/Mystery, Adult Horror, Adventures, Westerns.

Author Website: https://www.facebook.com/dannygunnwrites/

Social Media Links: Danny Gunn | Goodreads, Dan Writes Books (@DanWritesBooks) / Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon Author Central.

Best Link to Where People Can Buy Your Book: The Creature of Cradle Cove and The Haunting of Gordon’s Lake.

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