Monday, 8 April 2013

Author Spotlight - An Inteview with DaNay Smith

DaNay Smith lives in a small suburb in Michigan with her family. She began writing her stories when she left grade school and was no longer able to tell her stories orally at recess, eventually trying her hand at poetry as well. She attended Roosevelt University, majoring in English concentrated in creative writing, for two years before she had to take a hiatus from her education. It was at that university that her love for male/male novels was born. The school’s history and values are deeply rooted in activism and the fight for civil rights. She learned to see the similarities between the struggles all minorities go through, especially the LGBT community where the fight has just begun. She wanted to write books that were about gay men, not just included as side characters or used as token like most types of pop culture. DaNay spends most of her days working in data entry, but uses her free time to continue doing what she loves; writing.


What kinds of books interest you? Who are some of your favorite authors, and have they inspired your writing?

I’m very picky when it comes to books. Genre plays very little part in my decision making when it comes to choosing something to read. I need a strong plot that will envelope and own me. I need realistic dialogue and characters, because I’m the type of person who will buy book and then shelf it five chapters in if something about those elements really bother me. The most important thing of all though is a book’s ability to make me feel something. I have to be affected in some way while I’m reading. As for my favorite authors I can’t really say for sure because I don’t usually put down a book by one author and then go find something else they’ve written. There two exceptions to that rule, so I guess I’ll talk about them; Marisa de los Santos and K.A. Mitchell. Marisa de los Santos’ writing flows like air, but it's insightful and filling. Her book "Love Walked In" is the only book I finished reading and immediately flipped back to the first page to read it again. I adore everything about her writing. And her characters! They are magnificent and feel more like friends than fictional people. As for K.A. Mitchell, I’d been reading M/M stories for a long time before I came across her Florida boys, but it wasn’t until then that I decided to actually write an M/M story myself.

Do you believe that people should be given a second chance in a relationship?

Absolutely. One of my favorite parts of being humans is our flaws. I think that when you truly love someone you have to accept their flaws. Maybe someone is selfish, vain or is occasionally an insufferable asshole. Of course, they’re going to piss you off, and you may even need to step away from that person for a substantial amount of time. That’s all okay. Reconnecting because you realize life isn’t so bad with that selfish, vain insufferable asshole is okay too.

What inspired your story in the Second Chances anthology?

I love the idea of insurmountable obstacles being overcome. In most of my writing there’s something, usually the characters themselves, standing in the way of their happiness. With Greyson’s character in Better Together, I used his location and career hopes to pit the happiness of fulfillment against the happiness of being with the person you love. Since Greyson’s partner Dominic’s career was in a different location from where Greyson’s career could thrive, the insurmountable issue in the story became Greyson having his cake and eating it too. Once that idea was rooted in my head, I just wrote until the problem worked itself out.

Why did you decide to submit to a M/M anthology?

I started writing M/M stories in my spare time almost two years ago. I’ve always wanted to be a writer and I think that stories that expose something real and true about love whether it be romantic, familial, or even just physical need to be told regardless of the character’s sex. When the opportunity to publish arose, M/M is what I happened to be writing so that’s what I submitted.

How and where does DaNay Smith write (in a physical sense)? Do you have any writing rituals that you must adhere to, and what gets you in the mood to write?

I don’t really have rituals, but I’m always listening to music, watching TV and around a bunch of people all at the same time. I like to be in the middle of everything when I write. Most days, the living area of my apartment provides enough ruckus, but if not, I happily relocate to my favorite bakery. As for what gets me in the mood to write, I’d have say to obsession. There are always characters living in my head, but when I see, feel or hear something that brings one of them to the forefront, it’s all I can really think about. When that happens, I just have to write!

What’s next for DaNay Smith?

I have two stories I’m working on at the moment. One is another M/M story in which the plot surrounds one of my guilty pleasures. Without giving too much away, I can say that the story is about a man dating his deceased best friend’s son. The other story I’m working on has been rolling around in my head for quite some time and finally starting to come together sentence by sentence. It’s, in part, about a young girl trying to create a world for herself that is far better than what her parents have to offer, and her only friend who has his own fair share of issues but is determined to help her as she stumbles along toward her goals. Both stories are pretty ambitious for me, but I’m excited about them.


DaNay Smith’s short story, “Better Together,” features in the Second Chances male/male anthology published by Bottom Drawer Publications in August 2012.

For more information check out the book on our website here.


We wish to thank Jennre from the Well Read Blog for posting this Q&A with 
DaNay as part of the Second Chances blog tour.

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