Internet Famous, by Danika Stone, goes into romance, yes, but also the dangers of having an online presence.
I won’t give away too many details of the book, but I highly suggest a read. In addition — I must admit squeeing a bit, as the author mentions one of my favorite fandoms, Supernatural. I couldn’t get enough of Danika’s work. I downloaded and read All The Feels – again, a pop culture book, about a college freshman so involved with a fandom that she takes fanfic to the next level – starting an online campaign to breathe life into her beloved character.
As a fellow Canadian, and a fellow fangirl, I just had to contact Danika for an interview – the following is the result.
How did you get started as a writer?
I joke that I started writing because I hated writing… and there’s actually more truth to that than you realize. When I was in the middle of researching and writing my (400 page) Masters thesis, I found myself overwhelmed with the process. Everything ground to a halt. To get past this writing block, I used fiction writing (fanfic specifically) to push me forward. Writing fiction became the carrot for finishing my thesis.
It was a slow process, but it worked. Eventually, the fanfic got pushed aside by my own ideas. My own characters. Those stories grew into books and those books got published. The rest, as they say, is history.
How (and why) did you choose young adult pop culture as one of your genres?
I’ve always been a fangirl — even before I really knew what a fangirl was. Fandom is where I met many of my best friends, and fanfic/fan art/fanvids are what I go to when I need an escape. It only made sense to me that those elements would pop up in my own writing. Although some of my books have no connection to pop culture, All The Feels and Internet Famous definitely do!
Many of your books include pop culture references; what fandoms do you belong to, and how did you get involved with them?
Oh goodness, I think there are more than I can count, so I’ll just give a few of my top ones. Alright?
The 100: Currently and actively involved. I read the books first, fell in love with the show and started writing fanfic after season one. I eased off after *spoiler alert* Lexa died.
Harry Potter (of course!): One of my first bookish fandoms that started as soon as I read the first book and carried on through all the movies. It’s one of the fandoms I never wrote for, but I still have friends there.
Game of Thrones: This is the mother of all my current fandom pursuits. I am OBSESSED with this one! I don’t write fic, but I’ve created fan art and there are a number of fandom writers that I follow avidly! Years ago, I read the books and I watched the show from season 1. Strangely enough, I ship different people in the show than I did in the books. Go figure!
Battlestar Galactica: This is the fandom of my heart. I got involved after my father died and the community of writers I found there kept me afloat. Many of my real life best friends are from this fandom. I dedicated All the Feels to my friend @CoulsonLives. This is where the two of us met!
Supernatural: This one is my newest fandom. I’m slooooooowly watching this series and only recently got into reading fic so I’m still mostly a lurker. This summer I did GISHWHES, which was my first foray into this AMAZING community. Can’t wait to see where it takes me!
Who are your writing idols?
I am awed by the magic of the YA writing community. Of the old guard, I’d say J. K. Rowling (The Harry Potter series) and Rainbow Rowell (Fangirl) are my idols. Of the newer guard, I idolize Kerri Maniscalco (Stalking Jack the Ripper), S. K. Ali (Saints and Misfits), Angie Thomas (The Hate You Give) and Heidi Heilig (The Girl From Everywhere)… plus a hundred other writers!
Have you ever had a “fangirl” moment?
Literally every time I get to meet an author in person. I’m pretty sure I happy cried when I met C.B. Lee (Not Your Sidekick) at Comic Con a couple years ago, and I know I freaked out when I met Mary Weber (The Evaporation of Sofi Snow) at Dragon Con. Also – being onstage at New York Comic Con with Lily Anderson (The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You), Brian Katcher (The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak), Sarvenaz Tash (The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love), and Laurent Linn (Draw the Line) was literally a dream come true.
Two of your books, Internet Famous and All the Feels, go into the effect that social media can have on people; what are your thoughts, as an author, on interacting with fans?
Personally, I find interacting with fans fantastic! I mean, I write FOR my readers. They are literally the reason I do what I do. So when I go to conventions and signings, I love meeting people who enjoy my books and finding out what it is about the stories and characters that connected to them. Talking online with readers is also pretty great! The personal connection is one of my favorite parts of being a writer.
What book – if any – is your baby? Your favourite, per se?
My book baby is whatever I’m currently writing, so right now it’s all about a new sci-fi YA book I’m working on for Swoon. I’m so excited for readers to meet these characters!
How does your writing process work? How long does it take to finish a book, from conception to publication?
My writing process always starts with an idea I can’t let go of. It bugs me until I start searching for characters and once I’ve got them, I’m off and running. The first draft takes about two months and then a year (or more) of editing. If I’m lucky, then a publisher buys it, there’s more editing, and it (eventually) makes its way to bookshelves.
The whole process takes approximately two years.
Which one of your characters is most like you?
Hmmmm… most like me would probably be either Madi (from Internet Famous) with her fannish passions or… *gasps* Arden (from All The Feels). Yes, I said Arden! Her perky bubbliness is far more who I am than Liv. Ha ha! And actually, Arden’s advice to Liv is honestly what I’d say. I’m all about embracing challenges and jumping in with both feet.
Do you have any upcoming books/projects to share?
In the next few months, I have a new mystery called The Dark Divide (April 2018) coming out from my Canadian publisher, Stonehouse, so I’m gearing up for promotions there. It’s the first sequel I’ve had published and this book was so fun to write!
I’m also working on two separate YA titles for Swoon and those are at differing stages along the editing process. Hopefully, I’ll have more solid news on those soon!
Thank you so much for interviewing me, Carol! It’s been awesome to chat with you.
Danika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of her Masters thesis. A self-declared bibliophile, Danika now writes novels for both teens: INTERNET FAMOUS (Macmillan, 2017) and ALL THE FEELS (Macmillan, 2016); and adults THE DARK DIVIDE (Stonehouse, 2018) and EDGE OF WILD (Stonehouse, 2016).
When not writing, Danika can be found hiking in the Rockies, planning grand adventures, and spending far too much time online. She lives with her husband, three sons, and a houseful of imaginary characters in a windy corner of Alberta, Canada.
Ms. Stone is represented by Morty Mint of Mint Literary Agency.
Author: Carol Hansson
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