Thursday, March 29, 2012

Interview with authors Danielle Hylton-Outland & April Fifer

Today's guests at Reviews and Interviews are writing duo Danielle Hylton-Outland and April Fifer. They're talking about the first book in their debut series, Flesh and Feathers. And they have several giveaways today and during their tour. Details are after the interview. Read on!

Danielle was raised in Virginia. She grew up having a huge appetite for daydreaming; always wanting to live in the spectacular worlds she created in her mind. She now lives with her husband and dog where she is pursuing a degree in literature. Danielle is a strong animal activist. She is currently co-writing the second book in the Flesh Series, Flesh and Flames.

April grew up in a small town in Virginia, where it was common practice believing that dreams could only be found in stories. At the age of seven, she was diagnosed with dyslexia. She was told that she would struggle through life and would never pick up a book to read for pleasure. Although school was hard, she was able to find her way with the help of two teachers who taught her self-discovery. Ignoring what she was taught growing up, she turned it around and found that your dreams could become stories.

Welcome, April and Danielle. Please tell us about your current release.
Flesh and Feathers is the first book of The Flesh Series. It’s set in downtown LA and has a fast pace storyline. It’s about Azaleigh Carlton, who is very much like you and me. She’s just trying to get by in life with no hiccups along the way. Azaleigh, also known as Az, is her own worst enemy. And we can all relate to that! At the beginning of the book, she meets the man of her dreams, Kale, and instantly becomes consumed by him. But like all great things… yes, we know the answer to this one! Their relationship is tragically ended (or is it?), and Az is left with no recollection of Kale. Strange things start to happen, and everyone around her is not telling. Soon, she becomes close with her new neighbor, Gage, who is extremely HOT. Yum! The two are inseparable, well… that is until Az is nearly killed by someone or something. Secrets are revealed, and the truth is brought to light. And now Az must make a decision that will cost her everything.

What inspired you to write this book?
We had an obsession with a girl falling in love with an angel. Now, at the time, this seemed like “The Plot.” Yeah, great. How clever! This is what we said to each other. Then we realized Az had to have a personality… and a background. And what about this guy she’s in love with? Who is he? This moved on to… what do we know about angels? When it came down to it, and after researching FOR…EVER, we understood we knew absolutely nothing to begin with. The more we learned about these magnificent creatures, the more we loved them. So with every click of the mouse and every sip of coffee during our plotting time, we realized that our inspiration came from learning more. And inspiration came from our own lives as well. Plus we wanted to right about some really sexy men. Who doesn’t?

What exciting story are you working on next?
We are working on about five different books. However, one of our favorite ones we are writing is called, Love, Lies and a Bloke. The story is a short fun read.

Katherine Thomas is a lackluster kind of girl who refuses to bend the rules. Until one day, she loses her job and is forced to reevaluate her life. One trip to Australia changes her world forever. Katherine leaves her hometown of Fleming to find herself. However, she ends up finding love, lies and a bloke.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Danielle: I wish I could say I knew I was going to be a writer when I was four years old or something, but I can’t. I can say that I have always loved story telling. When I was young, the books that were read to me made me light up. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss, Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, and Stone Soup by Ann Mcgovern were just a few of my favorites. I always appreciated the creativity behind the stories. So now when I am writing, I always try to remember that feeling and incorporate it into my work.

April: This was an on and off passion for me since I was in high school. I was always a busybody, meaning I would bite off more than I could chew. When I was in high school, I worked two jobs, and if you didn’t find me at one of those, you would find me building a house or something. (That was a little over the top, but I did work on lots of home projects.) So it was hard to sit down and apply myself to something I had to commit to fully. It wasn’t until I read a book that pushed me over the edge. I decided I wanted to read something that ended the way I thought it should… and how do you do that? Oh, yeah! Break-out my old hobby of writing and make it what I WANT IT TO! Yay! Happy ending!

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your workday like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Danielle: I am currently working full-time at a direct-mail company. So you could say I am an estimator by day and a full-time writer by night. Oh, and I'm also a wife and full-time student.

April: I work for the same direct mail company as Danielle! I’m a project manager, and my office is right next to hers. I am the mother of three so parenting, working and writing because a delicate balance. Sleep? Is there such a thing?

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Danielle: One quirk I have is that I enjoy writing on paper. I know I can easily pull out the laptop, but at times I simply like to use a pen and paper just cause.

April: I’m a freak about formatting as I go! This is bad, bad, bad! Sometimes I can’t remember what I’m writing because my margins don’t line up properly. Wait… are we using 12 point Times New Roman right now? Sigh… this comes from my background unfortunately. For years (and even now), I worked as a Graphic Layout Artist. Basically, if you wanted letterhead or a brochure laid out, I was your girl.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Danielle: Other than wanting to be Rogue from the comic book “The X-Men," I wanted to be a veterinarian. Now, I know this is this most commonly sought out profession for a little girl, but I really did want to be involved with animals. It was and still is one of the biggest loves in my life.

April: I guess the question would be, what didn’t I want to be? I, too, wanted to be a vet, but then I realized you had to go to school… like… forever! At sixteen, that didn’t sound fun. So I changed it up and decided I wanted to be in business. I have no clue what that meant, because I wasn’t sure of what kind of business, I wanted to be in. When it came down to it, I wanted to have a desk and carry a briefcase… I didn’t realize at the time that could have been something so strange as to be Al Capone’s accountant.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
We are working on Flesh and Flames, which is the second book in The Flesh Series. And like the name… things are going to heat up. Tensions get stronger, evil gets scarier, and guys get hotter. This book gives everyone a glimpse of the characters' backgrounds and some things are sure to be a shocker. We love to hear from our readers, so we encourage anyone and everyone to stop by one of our sites and give us a shout.

And here's an excerpt:
“Aren’t you coming in?” I asked. He just stood there, not saying a word.

“Is that a, No?” I asked, not hiding my frustration.

“I have somewhere to be,” he said with that stupid matter-of-fact voice again

That’s all it took. I lost my cool… or something like that. “You know what? I don’t get you. You act like I can’t walk myself home from work because I need protecting. You take me out acting like I’m your girlfriend and the only person you can think about…. Then you come here and… do what you do–you know what I’m talking about. (I was thinking of how to say make me want to have sex with you, but that would have been blunt and pathetic). And now you act like this and like you did last night. You know what? Fine! If that’s how it’s going to be, then leave.” (I am sure that didn’t come out any better.) I followed up by slamming the door in his face.

I laid my back against the door and butted my head against it a few times. Then I thought about how that was the most ridiculous overreaction I had ever seen done by anyone.

My instinct was to look through the peephole to see if he was still there. Sure enough, he was and with the same expression on his face. I calmly opened the door, which made a creaking sound at the slow pace. Staring at the floor, I cleared my throat and began to speak. “I’m sorry. It’s been a long day. I was out of line and… um… I didn’t mean anything I just said… or screamed.”

Readers, the authors are giving away an autographed bookmark and $5 Amazon gift card to one commenter at every stop, and one $15 and one $25 gift certificate to two randomly drawn commenters during the tour.

I encourage you to follow the tour and comment. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning.


Mary Preston said...

I laughed at the researching FOR-EVER part of the interview. I know that when I read FLESH AND FEATHERS I will appreciate it.


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting April and Danielle today.

MomJane said...

funny and great excerpt. I love the idea of this story.

April and Danielle said...

Thanks so much for having us today!!! :-)

Margaret Yang said...

A writing duo--how interesting! I also co-author books, although my partner and I share a single pen name.

Catherine Lee said...

Danielle...Full-time day job, FT night job--writing, FT student, and a relationship? I'm exhausted just thinking about it! I work at a community college, and you--like many of our students--seem to be like superwomen, juggling so many responsibilities.

bn100 said...

Very nice interview. Your books sound very good.


Tanya1224 said...

OOh...I liked that teaser =) I wonder if he came in Danielle you sound busy...that's just to much work going on. Also it's very cool that you guys work together...that means your together a lot. Is there any fighting or bickering? Lol Thanks for the post. I'm following the hop.

Vivien said...

Wow, you guys are just as busy as we are!! Definitely have a lot on your plate. Good thing you're pulling it off :D

deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Anas said...

You sound busy. How do you work out who writes what?

Anastasia K