Help me welcome my friend, fellow author, and Friday Flasher, Angelica Dawson for an interview, another look at her new release, "Slave," and her new trailer!
1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? What were some of your first steps toward making your dream a reality?
I’ve been a writer since grade school. In sixth grade (and I don’t know how I remember this) for our final in-class writing exam, I wrote the outline for 6 act play, and then fleshed the first act for my exam. When I was running out time for a creative writing assignment for homework, I locked myself in my basement and filled what was left of my scribbler. I wrote my first novella in Grade 11 and started my first novel right after. All of those pieces, sadly, are junk. I still have the paper copy of my first novel, but I don’t even consider salvaging it, it was so rough. University was not a great experience for me. It started well and then I burnt myself out in my third year and limped through my fourth with no intention of ever going back. At the same time, I stopped reading and writing the way I once had.
About 7 years ago, I got the urge to write fanfiction. Harry Potter and Twilight had both left me with untold stories that I wanted to tell. So I wrote about my squib-like girl who was a year older than Harry, someone who rarely crossed his path and was better known by Hermione (a fellow book worm). I wrote the story of Alice and Jasper meeting in the café and running off to find the Cullens. I did that for two years and posted over a million words worth of fanfiction on fanfiction.net. It wasn’t long after starting to write fanfic that I was also compelled to write about my own characters in their own universe. My first books were young adult and are published under my real name, Kimberly Gould or Kimmydonn. However, as part of the fanfiction community, I was exposed to the popularity of pieces like Masters of the Universe which became Fifty Shades of Gray. So many of those stories got the rules of BDSM wrong! I’d also outgrown the ‘sparkly’ vampires and wanted to tell a story about my own. The two came together one weekend, and I spun out the 20 000 words of Blue Moon House in three days. Relieved, I put my story with other fanfiction writers on a common site for people to read as they wished. No one looked at it. It gathered dust and I left it where it was while I chased the dream of publication with my real name.
After a while, needing a break from the teens found in my YA books, I turned back to Blue Moon House and thought, hey, why don’t I publish this too? I only sent it to two publishers. The first, Evernight, weren’t willing to publish something that pushed the boundaries the way BMH did. They like BDSM-lite, which is fine, but that was NOT what I’d written. Naughty Nights was suggested, and based on their publications, it was clear I’d found someone who wanted exactly what I had.
It was less than a month from “I should try publishing this” to being accepted by NNP and getting a contract. I was thrilled, but it was tempered by, “Oh, crap. Now I have to create a penname.” LOL And thus, Angelica Dawson was born!
2. What 3 things would you like readers to know about you?
As I said above, I am a penname for a YA author. If you like my writing, not just the BDSM parts, you might consider checking them out.
I am an environmental scientist, specifically a botanist. It isn’t the best for “write what you know,” but it is seasonal so I can write and promote in the winter.
I am the mother of a writer. My 8 year-old is already writing her own stories and cutting the pages to bind into little books. I’m so proud of her.
3. What are you doing when you’re not writing? Day job? Health concerns or caring for family?
As I said above, I am an environmental botanist. I’ve always appreciated plants for the fact that they don’t run away when I try to study them! I never had much luck with animals or insects. It is a very rewarding career. Although the work I do is making small changes, they are visible and I can look at the better place I leave for my daughter and be proud of myself.
4. Tell us about your books. Genre, titles, any favorite characters? What can we look forward to from you in the near future? WIP’s, upcoming releases? Any were or shifter stories on the horizon?
Almost all of my titles are Blue Moon House books. I’ve contributed to a couple anthologies, but most of my writing has been for this series. It is BDSM vampire erotica. The original book featured Julia, a middle-aged human woman who had been going to this BDSM house, occupied by vampires, for several years. Harrold, her Master, has decided that she is exactly what he and his fellow vampires need. He wants to keep her. Before that can happen, however, she has to convince them that they want her. This basic concept is the form for all the other BMH books. Each subsequent prequel goes a little further into the past to reveal the origins of each of the vampires we meet in the first book. Kitten is the Story of Jocelyn, who became a vampire at the turn of the twentieth century. She has a lesbian bent, but really loves menage. She also has a darkness in her past the vampires are able to bring out, shine light on, and help her move past. Gentleman is the story of Julia’s Harrold, a man who is hemmed in by his wife, his mother and his job. Blue Moon House is his escape from these. This release, Slave, is the story of William, the most violent of the vampires of Blue Moon House. His story and Nicholas’ have been the most satisfying to write. Nicholas is almost Willam’s opposite. Where William is hard, exacting, unyielding, Nicholas has a softness, an empathy and compassion that makes his actions careful and caring. I have drafts of all the prequels except the last two, Lynn and Sophia. I’m working on Lynn’s story now. Sophia is probably my favourite BMH character. She is the Grande Dame, the alpha, the leader of this pack. She is commanding, but not unfeeling. She has a definite sense of right and wrong and you had best not cross that.
Blurb: How does a slave become an equal? What does it take for a young man to see women in a new light?
Will has no interest in women. He thinks them all animals to be trained, beaten. It doesn't take him long to discover his preference for men, but time and error reveal how wrong his view toward women is. Before long, he is able to separate the way he treats women, which is still horrific, from the way he regards women, as fellow human beings.
Pre-order now, and buy it and the original Blue Moon House for only $0.99 each! Have your copy of Slave waiting for you on March 15th
Shifters… interesting you should mention that. I’m still working on the last of the BMH books, but I had an idea a couple of years ago for an Asian series based on the Chinese zodiac. The first story I wrote was of the Horse and Snake. These men waited the whole year to be together for one day on New Year’s. Afterward, one may get to spend the year human (if it was his year), but the other reverted back to his animal form for another 364 days. I have ideas for ~7 of the zodiac, though I’ve only written one of the stories. After BMH, I’m going to see if I can work on that.
5. Is there a common thread in your books? How do your values show up in your writing? Jungian philosophy? What do you want readers to take from your writing?
In the Blue Moon House books there is a thread of healing, belonging, and sacrificing for love. Which one is dominant depends on the main characters. For instance, Julia isn’t in need of healing, but she does need to belong and sacrifices for that. Jocelyn doesn’t have much to sacrifice, but she needs to heal from her past and belong in a family.
I hope readers will take away the message that you should only put your life and love in the hands of someone who has earned it, someone who can be trusted. It is scary and thrilling to hand yourself completely over to someone else, which is what make BDSM as popular as it is.
6. What do you look for in a good book? In what ways would you say your books exhibit these qualities?
For me, books are about characters. I’m a pantser by nature, and I let my characters tell me their stories and make their mistakes as they wish. I usually have an over-arching plan (in the BMH prequels it will be points mentioned in other books and an end point of become a vampire) but I let them meander as they wish on the way there.
A good book has an ending. I’ve been reading a lot of free indie press books lately (because I’m strapped for cash and like to give new authors a boost) but I’ve been riddled with stories that don’t END. I understand wanting to sell the next book in the series, but if you don’t give me some sort of conclusion, I have no desire to read on. I’m not fabulous at endings, but I do try to conclude. Things don’t end in my stories, because life doesn’t end. However, I do try to meet all the expectations I gave and leave the characters where one can easily imagine them continuing on as happy as can be expected. (No, I don’t do Happily Ever After, because who really lives like that?)
7. What are some of the best social media, marketing, and publicity tips you’ve come across?
I’m really liking Triberr. I’ve been able to get my titles and blogs shared with so many people just by returning the favour and sharing the posts of my tribemates with my followers. It also gives me things to post on twitter or facebook, so I’m kept active as well. Win/win.
8. What lifts your spirits when you’re discouraged?
A great question. I need more tools for this in my toolbox. My most recent dip was cured by going snowshoeing with my family. Physical activity is a great way to break the mental cycle, especially if it is something that requires attention, like yoga or Zumba or other position-changing activities. The other thing that sometimes works is doing a logic puzzle like Sudoku. It uses the other side of the brain, which can break the cycle.
Where I most often turn is to friends and family who assure me that I am good writer, I’m just unknown. It doesn’t always work immediately, but it always helps.
9. What tips can you offer towards building and maintaining a strong support system as a writer?
Share. Find other writers that are in the same stage as you (recently published, long-published, unpublished) and work together. Share your work with one another (as beta-readers and editors). Share your experiences. Help push one another to keep going. When one of you gets a leg up, it will help the other. It will also give you friends to turn to when your titles release (just as I’m doing now). Don’t feel restricted to people at the same stage as you. It is wonderful to have someone who is farther down the path that you can follow, and it is very rewarding to help someone who has just started, but that core, the people you lean on day-to-day, are most effective when they are where you are.
10.For the adventurous, write a descriptive 4-line poem. You’re welcome to freestyle:
Sensual, Tempting, Tumultuous
Shifting between shadows and light
Nom de Plume
Bio: Angelica Dawson has been writing for several years and having sex a lot longer than that. Angelica is a wife, mother and environmental consultant. Her love of plants and the outdoors is not diminished by the bloodsucking hoards – mosquitoes and black flies, not vampires.
She contributes flash fiction to several blogging collectives and excerpts from work in progress can also be found on her blog (http://angelicadawson.blogspot.com). She is active on Facebook (http://facebook.com/authorangelicadawson) and Twitter (@angelicadawson). Her stories don't scrape the surface of BDSM, but go deep.
Take a look at the trailer: