Daniel teaches a variety of writing courses at Florida State College at Jacksonville. He is pursuing a doctoral degree in the Texts and Technology program at the University of Central Florida. His stories and essays have appeared in numerous anthologies, journals, and magazines.
He lives with his wife, Jeanne, and his daughter, Lyla, near Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway.
What inspires you to write?
As primarily a horror writer, I’m inspired by the idea of creating a story that quickens the pulse or leaves the audience shaken. Some of my favorite writers–Laird Barron and Joe Lansdale among them–can twist the details of everyday life that causes the reader to re-evaluate normalcy. I think that’s an inspiration in itself–the ability for fiction to make the familiar uncomfortable. There’s menace in the most innocent of objects.
It’s up to writer to uncover that menace, shine it until it glows, and allow the audience to partake in its thrill.
Tell us about your writing process.
I try to write every day. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction or merely updating my web journal, keeping a weekly word-count goal helps me stay on track. I like to write in the morning, and I find that taking a jog is an invaluable part of my plotting process. Whenever I become blocked in a story’s progress, I like to puzzle through the story while working up a sweat on the local running trails.
I jot out story notes in longhand on a sheet of plain white printer paper. I’m looking at a stack of about a dozen of those right now. When a story is completely finished, I paperclip my notes and file them away, just in case I spend some time in thinking about the various draft witnesses at some point in the future.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I spend more energy visualizing them and putting them into conversation with each other, so I suppose I’m just listening to them. Like many writers, I try to write cinematically (or at least photographically), so I encounter chapters the same way I would approach scenes in a storyboard exercise.
What advice would you give other writers?
Submit your work. I teach creative writing at FSCJ, and I’m always stunned at how many of the folks I work with want to write, but refuse to submit their work. I think there is a lot to learn about professionalism, editorial advice, and general improvement that can be gleaned from the submissions process.
As a part of that, I would advise writers to read widely in their genres and to subscribe to a magazine or two that they want to break into. It’s important to both support your field and learn about the good work being done in it. I’m not saying that writers should internalize a magazine’s ethos, but it doesn’t hurt at all to take the temperature of the editors and see what they are publishing.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I’ve worked with a regional small press and I am beginning to learn more about self publishing. For short stories, I still try to locate appropriate magazines and anthologies for their publication.
I’m impressed with the success that many independent authors have enjoyed in self publishing, and I would like to learn some design and layout skills to start experimenting with my own work.
I also have an agent, and I am still actively looking for a traditional deal with a major publishing house.
I would advise a new author to write short stories and try to learn the craft and the business a little bit through the submissions process. But I think the era of querying agents and waiting months (and often years) for a positive reception for a title is over. If the story is good and the writing is clear and the author has some stamina for marketing, I’d say that bringing a book to the market on his or her own is a fine option.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think independents will continue to take sales share away from the traditional publishing establishment. I also think that traditional publishers will adapt, taking on more service-oriented (editing, artwork, marketing) aspects of the industry in order to cater to independent writers. E-book royalties from major publishers will improve as traditional publishers effectively partner with successful indies and mid-listers who have had their rights returned.
Independent books will look more and more like traditionally published books, which means it will become imperative for indies to learn how to market their wares.
I also think we’ll see shorter texts overall (60,000-70,000 words for a novel) and more transmedia storytelling, which will integrate multimedia components (video, audio, interactive features, games, etc.) across a variety of technologies.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Horror, science fiction, suspense, and fantasy…
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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