Hello again, Coffee Time readers! Today, we are sitting on a white sandy beach overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean chatting with Danielle Thorne. She is the author of several books where the sea is a pretty important part of the story and I thought this would be an appropriate location to chat with her. Kick off your shoes, pull up a towel or chair, dig your toes into the warm sand and we’ll have the waiter bring you a glass of icy cold lemonade.
Welcome, Danielle! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi! Thanks for the warm welcome. I'm a Southern sweet romance author who enjoys working history and sea themes into my stories. I grew up with four crazy brothers and have four sons of my own. Having a family and my books makes me feel complete. As far any hobbies, I try to garden and cook, love to travel and scuba, and I am really into geocaching right now.
As I mentioned before, the ocean plays a big role in your stories. Is it because you love the ocean or are you from a family of sea faring people?
I didn't see the ocean until I was almost twenty years old. It's been a part of my life ever since. There is something majestic about it that fills me with peace. One of my distant great-grandfathers died serving on the sloop, DRAGON, in a storm off the coast off Rhode Island. So it may be minute, but yes, it is in my blood as it is in almost everyone. The sea is a part of us all.
I assume you enjoy traveling with all the wonderful adventures you take your readers on. Can you tell us about some of your favorite places to visit?
I have had the opportunity to travel to the Caribbean and Mexico a few times. It's like a cherry on top of all the research I enjoyed doing of West Indies history. Besides spending time down in Pensacola, Florida, whenever possible, I do really like Cozumel, and I think St. Maartin is a beautiful place.
I am wondering, has the oil spill in the Gulf impacted your travel plans this summer? How about your writing?
I actually was diving of the coast of Mexico only two weeks after the oil spill. It's devastating to know now what I didn't know then. As far as Pensacola, the oil damage is heart breaking. We did decide to go visit friends and a college campus this summer in lieu of the beach, but if I was given the opportunity to participate in an organized clean up, at least in Florida which I have easy access to, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Because of this oil spill, I have decided to make some changes in one of my current projects set on the Florida panhandle. This romance will integrate the affects of this disaster into the storyline. Things like this matter and it's one thing I can do to help educate as I hopefully entertain.
I just finished your book, By Heart and Compass. It is a wonderful story. I particularly enjoyed the way it ties into your book, The Privateer. Had you planned a follow-up (of sorts) when you wrote The Privateer or was By Heart and Compass one of those stories that just demanded to be written later on?
Being completely smitten with my heroes and setting in The Privateer, I did have plans to continue the story but I never really felt "it" when I toyed with new storylines. Bringing the story of The Privateer into the modern world was one option I kept coming back to, as I love the romance of finding shipwrecks and treasure. It was a fun sequel to write, and it gave me the chance to keep Captain Bertrand alive.
As someone who is fascinated by genealogy, I could relate with Lacy on several levels. How hard was it to write about someone who is more comfortable in the past than in the present?
Being as I am a genealogist, this was easy for me to do. Lacey is the first character I've written that I allowed myself to leak into. Our past makes us who we are, and it makes us stronger. There is a beautiful spirit that can be felt when we work on our family histories. And sometimes finding our ancestors really can be preferable to hanging out with the living. That's something I notice when I get involved on a pedigree, and that was something I was able to incorporate into Lacey.
Can you take us inside your writing process? I’m always interested to learn how authors decide to write a story. Do you sit down with an outline or do the characters tell you where they want to go?
My stories are usually born from inspiration I get from visiting new places and trying new things. Sometimes a movie or a good book may take me back to something I've experienced and the "what-if" game starts. As far as any characters bossing me around, I haven't quite hit that schizophrenic phrase of my career. I love to create them and story problems and then lay out a plot map. As far as how these characters get from one point to another, they pretty much do that on their own.
Our readers are always on the lookout for wonderful books. Do you have anything new for us to look forward to?
My very first Regency will be released this winter. Titled JOSETTE, it's a classic, Jane Austen-inspired romance. Yes, I'm excited to be delving into more historicals, but the anxiety factor is still there. I know Regency fans know their stuff so I hope I did the period justice. Here's a blurb for the new book:
Josette Price sees her future in Beddingfield Park. While her brother, George, needlessly pursues a naval career, she promises to watch over their beloved parents and the park estate. Nothing would make Josette happier than to see her sister and herself settled within the palings of Beddingfield. But dark, brooding Captain Carter rides into their lives with news that ruins everything: George has been lost at sea. Learning the Park is entailed to their cousin, Edward, Josette must decide between marrying her fickle relation or helping her besotted sister trap him in her stead. Only Captain Carter and his delightfully spinsterish relatives can stop the Price girls from making a choice that would be the greatest tragedy of all.
Here are some fun questions to round out our interview... If you were coffee, what flavor would you be and why?
I guess I would have to be chocolate-flavored since I don't drink the stuff for religious reasons. Love the smell but the taste, whenever I've had the flavor, turns my stomach. However, I am a heavy hot chocolate drinker—especially the dark chocolate cocoa sold at Books-A-Million.
If you were writing your life story up to this point, what would the title be?
Actually, I just finished a poetry collection of verses written throughout my life. I decided to call it, "Southern Girl, Yankee Roots", because that best describes me. I've been influenced by all of the variables that come with being southern: religion, race, cooking, the outdoors, and family. But Chicago, where I was born, left an imprint on my genes, too. I love being near big cities where I can take a part of the culture and the arts. The only other idea I could add would be something tongue-in-cheek, like "Mormon Girls Do It, Too"—because I am LDS. But I should save that for a cookbook, huh? Gotta keep it PG (grin).
Sadly, the sun is setting on our beautiful beach and it is time to end this chat. I want to thank Danielle Thorne for joining us today. It has been a pleasure to spend this time getting to know you. To our readers, thank you for taking a little time to relax away an afternoon with Danielle and me. I hope you have had as much fun as I have.
I have. Thank you very much—for checking out BY HEART AND COMPASS and for having me here today. Happy Sailing!