Monday, December 6, 2010

Theresa Danley Interview

Joining us today is Theresa Danley. Theresa, please tell us a little about yourself.

[Theresa] I live along the hi-line of Montana where I enjoy writing books, riding horses and raising my family.

[Anne] When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

[Theresa] I’ve wanted to write as far back as I can remember in grade school. As I grew up I was always dabbling with some story or another. But I didn’t start seriously pursuing publication until about five or six years ago. My first book never did get picked up by a publisher. In the meantime, it took me nearly as many years to research and write Effigy, which I’m proud to say is now available for the public to read!

[Anne] Will you tell us about your latest book.

The Blurb:

A serial killer is on the loose, depositing his victims’ hearts amid the Toltec ruins of central Mexico. Meanwhile, a priceless Mesoamerican artifact is stolen from the University of Utah, sweeping archaeologists Anthony Peet and Lori Dewson on a desperate recovery mission south of the border. Accompanied by a reluctant colleague, an enthusiastic young journalist and a Yaqui woman in mourning, the team must decipher clues hidden within the Aztec sunstone, mystical Toltec Pyramids and astronomical calendar rounds to find the priceless effigy of Quetzalcoatl. They suddenly find themselves in a race against the coming solar eclipse, all the while dodging a corrupt Mexican police force still on the hunt for the sadistic murderer – a killer who’s chosen one of them for his next human sacrifice.

[Anne] What inspired you to write this story?

[Theresa] I was working on a completely different book when my research led me to the Mesoamerican cultures of central Mexico. The more I learned about these ancient people, the more fascinated I became with their culture, mythology and especially their astronomy. That’s when I first became aware of the whole 2012 phenomenon. There was just too much story opportunity to pass up! But I didn’t want to write just another 2012 doomsday story. I wanted a story that stayed as true to the mythology and science as possible. I also wanted to write the story that didn’t necessarily follow the more popular 2012 angles, and that meant avoiding the Mayan culture all together. Too much focus has been placed there. Instead, I turned to the Toltec culture which may have had a large amount of influence on the Mayan culture. Besides, it was the Toltecs that my earlier research had led me to in the first place.

[Anne] Sounds fascinating, Theresa! How did you go about researching your book?

[Theresa] Considering I’d never been to the places I wrote about in Effigy, and the fact that resources are limited in my rural Montana library, most of my research was conducted through the internet. It’s remarkable what you can find there. I did manage to contact a few people who live in Mexico who were more than willing to share information with me, and I did use books wherever plausible. I even used interlibrary loan to get my hands on a rare copy of the Florentine Codex.

[Anne] Do you have anything new in the works?

[Theresa] I am currently researching and writing the sequel to Effigy which I hope to have ready for publication in 2011.

[Anne] What is your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a pantster?

[Theresa] I’m definitely a plotter. I like to outline the story before I really get to writing on it. However, the outline will inevitably evolve as I move along in the story, especially when new research leads me on an unexpected path. But no matter how many detours I take, I generally wind up visiting the ‘major landmarks’ and ending where I’d set my destination.

[Anne] If you could be anyone of your characters, which one would you chose to be and why?

[Theresa] Lori. She’s at the point where she’s ready to take the big plunge from college to career. Her future’s as bright as she is and she hasn’t yet let relationships distract her from her goals. Besides, her work unintentionally leads her on an adventure to fascinating places that I can only write about!

[Anne] Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?

[Theresa] Chichen Itza – A Mayan ruins in the Yucatan of Mexico. So tropical. So mysterious. So thrilling to history buffs like me!

[Anne] Great choice! Okay, say you’ve just been informed that your latest release was a NY Times bestseller and Hollywood wants to turn it into a movie. What actors would you choose to play your main characters?

[Theresa] That’s tough since Harrison Ford is too old to play the part!

[Anne] What type of books do you like to read when you’re not writing?

[Theresa] I like anything with a good adventure in it, and if it is related to history, even better. So, I’m reading a lot of thrillers right now. James Rollins is a favorite. But I also like Larry McMurtry-type westerns and even some literary from Cormac McCarthy to Willa Cather.

[Anne] Name three things you can’t live without (excluding spouses and family because that’s a given).

[Theresa] Horses, ice cream, and creativity

[Anne] What advice would you give to any aspiring writers out there?

[Theresa] Never give up, keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone.

[Anne] Where can we find you on the web?

[Theresa] or and Facebook and Twitter

[Anne] Where can we purchase your books?

[Theresa] Whiskey Creek Press, Amazon and Fictionwise