By Marty Mulrooney
Following on from Alternative Magazine Online’s review of science fiction/fantasy epic Ecko Rising – “mixes science fiction à la early years Michael Marshall with the comedic fantasy of Terry Pratchett and the sprawling authenticity of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth” – we are proud to present an exclusive online interview with first-time author Danie Ware!
Hello Danie Ware! Thank you for your time and welcome to Alternative Magazine Online!
Thank you for inviting me!
Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself please?
I’m a single mum, Forbidden Planet event organiser, social media contact and marketeer, plus author, cyclist, gym freak and part-time sun-worshipping lizard. When I’m not doing all of that, I sneak weekends at Dark Age and Mediaeval re-enactment and try to remember which end of my broadsword is the business end. And I do like a pint!
You currently work as the publicist and event organiser for Forbidden Planet. What has it been like working with so many well-known and respected science fiction writers over the years?
They’re good people – some visionary, some funny, all with creativity and dedication that deserves respect. The lovely thing about working with them, whoever they may be and however celebrated they may have become, is that they’re friends – some of the business, some of mine personally. And I’ve never stopped finding this both surreal and wonderful. They’re an inspiration, not only to creativity but to hard work!
Have you always had a passion for writing?
I’ve always had a passion for myths and fantasy; I started writing in my twenties and then didn’t stop for most of a decade. Surrounded by historical re-enactors, by creative friends and shared realities, writing the tales we all wove between us was a natural outlet and follow-on. In those days, yes it really was just writing for the sheer passion of it!
Why did you wait so long before writing your first book?
During those years, I made some efforts to get my work published and didn’t manage – I have a collection of rejection letters from people I now work very closely with (which makes me chuckle)! When I moved to London, though, and left my creative environment behind me, I stopped writing for eight years. It was only becoming part of the SF/F community that started me writing again – and eventually led to Ecko becoming a novel.
Ecko Rising is your first novel – how has your experience as a publicist helped you to craft your debut?
It’s helped in understanding the publicity process, and in knowing how I wanted the finished product to come across – if anything, it’s been hard actually giving up control of that process. For the actual crafting of the story, though, I’ve been as much a novice as any other debut author – though I’ve been fortunate in both a patient editor and in knowledgeable and experienced friends who have travelled the road before.
What is Ecko Rising all about?
Ecko Rising is a culture shock novel – it’s about what happens when you throw a cynical, damaged, sarcastic SF character into an essentially peaceful fantasy world. The juxtaposition of the two is startling; it’s been a lot of savage and gleeful fun to write and it’s given me a chance to really let myself to – to let my sarcasm gland have free rein.
Ecko sounds like an unlikely hero. Is this intentional?
Absolutely. Ecko’s a difficult and dissonant character, he’s vicious, sarcastic and violent. He’s that part of all of us that doesn’t want to follow orders, that doesn’t blindly sheep along behind the herd, that rocks out to ‘F*** you I won’t do what you tell me’. It makes him unusual as a child of prophecy, but, if you can make him behave, he’s pretty well-equipped for taking out the Big Nasty.
Would you describe Ecko Rising as science-fiction or fantasy?
Ecko himself is a SF character – probably more ‘cyberpunk’ that anything else. The story, though, is ‘sardonic fantasy’, a sharp new look at the genre we all know and love. Seen though Ecko’s eyes, it has an incisive and barbed humour, it’s both bloody and dirty, and it’s ideal for those who like their genre fiction with a bit of a steel-edged twist!
Who would you cite as your influences?
I grew up reading the epics – JRR, Stephen Donaldson, Julian May’s ‘The Saga of the Exiles’, then moved on into Gibson and Stephenson as I grew older. More recently, I’ve come back to fantasy and found it’s changed – it has a grittier, harder edge brought by writers like Richard Morgan and Joe Abercrombie. I’m a big fan of military/historical fiction, as well – David Gemmell, Stephen Pressfield, Valerio Manfredi.
What’s next for you Danie?
I’ve just finished the first draft of Ecko II and handed it over to my editor at Titan; I also have an urban fantasy work called ‘Seventh Daughter’ that’s in the hands of my agent. More than that is still in the pipeline for the moment!
Thank you for your time and good luck with the launch of Ecko Rises!
Ecko Rising by Danie Ware is due for release in the UK on the 21st September 2012. It will be published by Titan Books with a RRP of £7.99.
Don’t forget to read AMO’s review here!