Danie Ware runs the social media profile of cult retailer Forbidden Planet, and has organised their signings and events for more than a decade. When not at work, she remains geek and gamer, warrior Mum, outward-bound cyclist and fitness freak. She went to an all-boys' school (yes really), studied English Lit at UEA in Norwich, then joined a Viking re-enactment group and spent her twenties fighting, writing, and rolling certain multi-sided dice. At thirty, she made an attempt to grow up and didn't like it much; at forty, she spends her time with her son, in the the gym, or making up for missing the battlefield by writing epic stories about it. She tweets here and blogs there.
1. Tell us three things about yourself.
Since the ‘all-boys school’ thing is getting Old Hat, as well as Old School Tie…
‘Hi, my name is Danie and I’m a crisp-aholic’. Seriously, I have a problem. I can take or leave cakes, sweeties, chocolate of all kinds – but leave me in a room with a packet of Twiglets and I’ll do the lot in twelve minutes flat and come back, all stained and filthy fingers, looking for more. I haven’t quite got to the point of hoarding Quavers about the house, but if I get any worse, I really might have to find a Crisp Stuffers Anonymous…
I still love Eighties music, all the gloriously big noise and fabulous costume and big hair that I went to school with. If I’m at home by myself (or just don’t care) I’ll be dancing round the house to Adam Ant, the Eurythmics, A-ha... The neighbours are getting up a petition. I think the crisps might contribute to this erroneous and disturbed behaviour, I honestly don’t know.
On the quiet, I’ve become a bit of an Anime freak. I might be twenty years too old, but, aside from not caring, I’ve got very into Attack on Titan, FullMetal Alchemist and am currently getting eaten alive by Death Note. Not quite to the point of considering cosplay, but stranger things have happened in the world of SFF.
My first ever piece of published fiction was a story called 'Cure', which you can find on The Hub. There is another one, called 'The Mumbling Man' (courtesy of a nutjob on a train journey) on the same site. Or you can go have a nose over at Geek Native, for 'The Tale of the Laughing Shih', a cheeky bit of Kindred of the East gaming fiction.
3. Which piece of writing are you proudest of?
It’d be a big fib if I said anything else – the Ecko trilogy was a huge achievement, the fulfilment of an ambition I’ve had since my early twenties. Its first paragraphs were written in my then-boyfriend’s front room, in Ashford in Kent in 1991 – and the journey has been immensely exciting. In part, because it was an ambition I’d given up on – and picking up a dream that you’ve long since left behind is a really amazing feeling.
Finishing it was huge, a story I’d always wanted to write – and I’m really pleased with the way it turned out, and the fact that I managed to do what I set out to do, if that makes sense. I’m very pleased with how well it’s doing, as well, and with the gloriously gleeful excitement of the people who have really ‘got it’.
4. …and which makes you cringe?
In our twenties, we did a lot of gaming. And, inevitably, we wrote a lot of fiction around our creativity– we wrote our own fan-fiction, pretty much. The concepts were great – mad, unrestrained and off-the-wall, as these things are supposed to be - but going back and reading some of it now, it really does make me shudder. Thank the Gods it will never see the light of day!
5. What’s a normal writing day like?
I’m a working single mother – ‘writing days’ are pure luxury, and not something I get very often. Even at weekends, there’s always a small person and a couple of cats to cause trouble. As my son gets older, though, and he gains more independence and goes out with his mates, I get more free time to put fingers to keyboard.
On a good day, I might get a gap of 500 words or so, usually first thing in the morning (if I get up early enough). And sometimes, on those rare days when I’m not at work and Isaac is off out on adventures, I can clock up anything up to four or five thousand, and it always feels like a dam going. If I still smoked, I’d need a cigarette afterwards.
6. Which piece of writing should someone who’s never read you before pick up first?
Pick up Kristell Ink’s Fight Like A Girl, or Fox Spirit Books’ Things In the Dark - both excellent small press anthologies full of stories by all sorts of interesting authors – and I’m in there as well. Lots of jumping in (or is it jumping off?) points and great stuff to discover!
7. What are you working on now?
A new thing, completely unlike anything I’ve written before – new setting, new characters, new content, the works. It carries a working title of ‘Children of Artifice’ and it’s an industrial fantasy, I suppose - a bit of metallurgy, a bit of chemistry, a bit of detective work… and a bit of a love-story.
Starting again from Square One has been an interesting learning experience. I’ve been sort of world-building as I go along (not recommended, don’t try it at home), and it’s been a real eye-opener as to how much work it really is. Having said that though, starting again has a whole reality of new possibilities opening out to play with, new concepts and relationships and interactions, new character changes to encompass and embrace. I’m very excited about finishing it, and showing the world something completely new!