Nam Dana D’Angelo
Age Old enough to have grey hairs on my head but young enough to have kids ages 5 and 8 🙂
Where are you from
I’m from a small city east of Toronto, Ontario Canada.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and History from the University of Toronto. I wish I can say that my studies contributed greatly to my writing, but sadly no. All of my writing is self-taught through extensive reading of fiction and non-fiction works. A long time ago, my family doctor had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. “A writer,” I told him, and then explained my great plan of doing secondary education and learning about the works of master writers. He just looked at me and said, “You don’t have to go to school for that.” I was convinced that he was wrong, but in retrospect I think he was right. The first creative writing class I took was in high school and that was really all I needed. The writing classes I enrolled in University were just a re-hash of what I had already learned in high school and in books.
In terms of my family life, I have eight brothers and no sisters. When growing up, there were few books in my household. This was understandable since English was not our first language. Fortunately for me, many teachers encouraged me to read, and I had plenty of access to fictional worlds via the school and public libraries.
Nowadays, I have the problem of having too many books in my household. Both my kids are constantly reading, and my eldest child churns out more stories and comic books than I can keep up with.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My latest news is the release of “Fallen Knight”, book 3 of the Knights of Honor Trilogy, which was launched a week ago. The first book follows a straight-up hero while the second book is about an up-and-coming one. And the final book is about, yep you guessed it, a fallen hero. I explore themes of love, redemption, loss and a slew of other difficult emotions. But of course, since this is a romance story, there is the requisite happy ending.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
In grade three, my teacher gave the class notebooks. She called it a journal and we were supposed to write our thoughts in there. I took to the idea and wrote in the journal on a daily basis. I guess the natural progression was to write stories.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The first time I considered myself as a “real” writer was when I wrote and completed my first book, “One True Knight.” I think there was some mental shift that occurred when I pushed past my fears and finished the novel.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve always been fascinated by medieval romances. There was something about this time period that appeals to me and fires up my imagination. So when I sat down to write my first book, I knew that I wanted to do a medieval romance.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Like every writer, I strive to have a unique storytelling voice. The way I phrase things, and the words I choose all make up my writing style.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I scour my manuscript to find words that would encompass the essence of a story. Usually a phrase jumps out at me and I use that for my book title.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I don’t really have any messages in my stories, although my intent is to provide readers with a good escape.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I try to stay authentic to the time period, using details that I researched. At the same time though, my medieval world is an imaginary one.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No, all the experiences or events in my stories are made up.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
I’m actually drawing a blank here. I’ve read so many books over the years that there is a possibility that they each have influenced me in a conscious and/or unconscious level.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
If I had a choice, I would choose Stephen King as my mentor. No, he’s not a romance writer and he actually writes horror, but I find that his style of writing is very elegant, suspenseful, and he’s a darn good storyteller.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Right now I’m reading “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
This is a hard question. With the explosion of indie publishing, many new authors have published books. I’ve come across too many interesting authors to list here.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Right now I’m taking a small break from writing. After that I have plans to work on a couple of new series in different romance sub-genres.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My friends. Their generosity and support is beyond amazing, and I’m truly grateful to have them in my life.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Most definitely. Before this I didn’t have a career path and jumped from one job to another. I worked in the legal, health and financial industries, but none of those jobs come close to the feelings of elation I get when my books are read and enjoyed by my readers.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I wouldn’t change anything in my latest book.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My interest in writing was spurred by my interest in reading. Some stories were so good that I didn’t want them to end, so I continued the stories in my head. Eventually I wanted to create my own stories and have control over my imaginary world and the people who populated it.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’m taking a few days off to recuperate from my last book. So at the moment, I’m not working on anything.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The most challenging part for me is to come up with a plot outline that works. Writing the story is relatively easy compared to plugging all the plot problems and making sure that that story makes sense.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I actually don’t have one favorite author, but I do have many. I find that each author has different strengths and I admire and learn from them all.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, I just travel inside my imagination.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
A family friend designed my covers. He doesn’t design covers for a living but I begged and pleaded until he finally agreed to do them for me.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The writing of the story isn’t too bad, but as I said, coming up with a viable outline as well as editing the story are the hardest part for me.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learn something from each story I write, but for my latest book, I learned about pacing.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just keep writing. I think I read a lot of theories and techniques on how to write well, but I found that the only way to improve as a writer is to actually write! It doesn’t sound very revolutionary I know, but it’s the truth.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for your support of my writing. I’m a growing writer, and I appreciate and am grateful that you have given me and my stories a chance.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first chapter book that made the biggest impact on me was a book called “Freddy Goes to Florida” by Walter R. Brooks. Basically, it’s a story about a pig and his farm friends who face many adventures as they journey to Florida for vacation.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I really like cooking. I love food but eating out can get expensive, so over the years I’ve learned a few recipes and tricks to make good meals.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I like watching romantic comedies and shows since they’re relaxing and enjoyable to me. But I also enjoy kids’ movies. The last one I saw was The Lego Movie. It was a bonus that they had a romance storyline in there!
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Favorite foods…hmmm. I love food from all cultures and it’s hard to pinpoint only a few items. One day I might prefer Japanese but another day I might like Persian. My ultimate go-to food though is Indian, since I’m guaranteed to have a taste explosion.
As I grow older, I find that I prefer classical music, but occasionally I listen to pop music. The artist that I’m really impressed with lately is Bruno Mars.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I think I would have liked a career in graphic arts.
This was a really fun interview. Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Fiona!