Hi guys! It’s summer, it’s Sunday and it’s second day of Dani Atkins’s blog tour! I am double thrilled to be hosting this stop today as it is my first since a very, very long time Q&A with the Author! The lovely Dani was so kind and in a flash answered my questions about her newest release, “While I Was Sleeping” – thank you! So put your feet high and enjoy!
Q&A WITH DANI ATKINS
Hi Dani, and welcome to the blog. Could you shortly tell us about you.
Until five years ago my life was pretty unremarkable. I live in the Hertfordshire countryside in a 350 year old cottage, which disappointingly is not haunted. My two children have both grown and flown the nest, leaving me to lavish all my love and affection on my crazy border collie Dusty, my cat Elsa, and a little on my husband too. For many years I worked as a secretary in a school, but then in 2013 something amazing happened … my first book was published, and nothing has really been the same since then.
I haven’t had a chance to read “While I Was Sleeping” yet. It’s already your fifth full time novel – amazing! How would you “sell” it to your potential readers?
While I Was Sleeping is an emotional drama centred around three main characters, two women and one man, whose lives becoming entwined in ways they could never have imagined after a tragic event changes the course of their future. At its heart the book is about love and friendship, themes I hope every reader will be able to relate to.
“While I Was Sleeping” is about your whole life changing – where did the inspiration
for such a story come from?
I’ve always been fascinated by the way your entire future can be re-written in a single devastating moment, and it’s a theme that I keep returning to in my books, so it obviously strikes a deep chord with me. Having really enjoyed writing about two strong female protagonists in Our Song, I was keen to once again have two women who find themselves in a devastating life changing situation.
Is this novel, in any way, based on your own experiences, or is it purely fiction?
Some aspects of the book were inspired by certain news stories that had fascinated me. Another important story arc was actually inspired by the experiences of a close personal friend of mine. The rest is a product of my very over-active imagination.
As your devoted reader, I know that your novels are really tear – jerking (and I love it!). How is it to write such novels? Do you also cry when writing them? How much of you do you invest in your stories, in your characters?
Each time I’ve finished writing a book I’ve promptly burst into tears, but I think that might be more from relief than the actual story. Sometimes a very emotional scene will make me tear up a little when I write it, however it’s when I read it out loud (something I do each day) that the sad bits really get to me. Quite a few times I’ve had to stop because I was too choked to carry on!
During the entire writing process you live with a whole cast of imaginary people – it’s like having lodgers in your head. They are with you all the time, even when you’re not actually writing about them. It would be impossible not to become invested in them and the things that are happening to them. Very early on they become not just characters in a book, but real people who you care about.
What would you like your readers to take from “While I Was Sleeping”?
To live with no regrets. Leave nothing to chance. Put nothing off. Fill every minute with joy surrounded by the people you love. Nothing else matters.
Which character was the most difficult to write?
To be perfectly honest, I loved them all. They were a joy to write and I still miss them all dreadfully.
When you write, do you always follow a plan or do you let your characters to take you on a journey?
I’m not a planner, although I have author friends who wouldn’t do it any other way. When I sit down to begin a book I always know where it will start and where it will end. It’s the bit in the middle that is a mystery. This can make it quite scary when you first begin, but it also makes the whole process rather exciting.
Once you have created the characters, they have a funny way of taking on a life of their own. Sometimes it feels as though they are in charge of the story and not me. I am just the observer and the narrator.
On a little lighter note, what are three facts that we don’t know about you Dani?
I’m a nervous driver and never drive on motorways.
I have double jointed thumbs.
I am obsessed with country music.
It’s so hot right now – do you have any plans for holidays?
Over the last few years I have become a total convert to cruising, and am really looking forward to going on my next one later this year.
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