Thursday, 27 September 2012

Interview with Dana Mason

Today we're chatting with author Dana Mason about her book DANGEROUS EMBRACE.

Welcome, Dana. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi Dorothy, and thank you for inviting me to your blog. As a new author, the idea of doing interviews is a little intimidating, but I’ll do my best to keep it interesting. My personal tag line is “Mother-Writer-Person in training.” I guess you could say, expert at nothing, experienced at everything.
Let’s start with the mother side of me. I have two beautiful daughters and a beautiful little boy who isn’t so little anymore. They keep me grounded and remind me regularly that there is more to life than work.

Writer: I’m a debut author who still has a lot to learn, but I learn something new every day. Today I learned that it’s harder to talk about yourself than you might think.

Person: Like I said, I’m an expert at nothing but experienced at . . . well I’ve done a lot and seen a lot, yet life still manages to surprise me regularly. I’m a planner who tends to toss the plan out of the window and fly by the seat of my pants.

I spend my days at a large University managing a small continuing education department. I spend my nights between laughing at the dinner table with my family and at my laptop, running wild with my favorite fictional people. I’m also on the board for the local Art’s Council. That’s been an interesting experience, talk about a variety of different people. Maybe I’ll write a book about it one day.

You lead a busy life. How long have you been writing?

I started writing seriously about three years ago. I’ve always been an avid reader but never really put pen to paper until the two main characters for my novel popped into my head. I spent the next few months mulling over the two of them until the story idea eventually came to me in a morning news story.

Tell us about DANGEROUS EMBRACE. What's the story about?

Dangerous Embrace is about second chances and not taking life or people for granted. The story begins with Sarah getting attacked when leaving work one evening. She escapes the attacker and runs away . . . directly into Mark. Needless to say, Mark is happy she got away, but a little disappointed he didn’t get to nab the guy that attacked her.

Here’s a synopsis:

Sarah Jennings wants nothing more than a quiet life—alone.

Raised by an eccentric mother, their life on the road only taught her how to run away from hard times. But when she finds herself in an abusive relationship, this lesson serves her well.  

Now, back in her hometown, she's found a place she loves. She’s a first grade teacher, and with few friends and less family around, she has what she wants, a quiet life under the radar where she can be free of her past and live quietly. Finally comfortable in her own skin, she’s settled, and less fearful than she’s ever been in her life.

But it only took one night and one act of violence for everything to change. Injured and afraid, Sarah wants to run again, but Mark Summors refuses to let her go.

Just when Sarah thinks she can have Mark and the life he promises, her past comes back to haunt her.


Mark Summors was born and raised in Santa Rosa. He married his high school sweetheart and never questioned his life, until he found his wife with another man.

Now divorced, he wants something more. He’s passionate about his job, he wants to protect people, and he devotes his life to it.

This time he’s protecting more than just another client, he’s protecting his future; at least, Sarah Jennings will be his future, when he convinces her she loves him.

How did the idea of the story come to you?

I already had character outlines, I just needed a hook and little help with the plot. I was drinking my coffee, watching the morning news and there is was, ‘woman fights off attacker after being thrown into the bushes and assaulted’. Aha! I immediately grabbed my notebook and started taking notes. What’s better than a woman fighting off an attacker and ultimately getting the best of him? It was the perfect story to fit my characters. I loved it right away. Sarah is strong and she’s a fighter, refusing to let a man take from her again. She needed to save herself. Of course I let Mark do a little saving in the story too, but I wanted Sarah to be a strong woman, yet vulnerable enough to need Mark’s help. The plot blossomed from there.

Are you a planner or a pantser?

A little of both. When it comes to characters, I’m a planner. I spend weeks working on characters, getting everything right, from the way they look to their favorite catch phrases. When it comes to plot, I’m a pantser. I just need a vague idea and I can go from there. As long as I have a solid character to work with, I can write for days without ever looking up from the laptop. They take over the story, and if I try to harness that or control it, my creativity is smothered. I’ve tried to outline and I’ve tried to make lists, charts, you name it and I’ve tried it. They don’t work for me.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Time. There isn’t enough hours in the day. I have a full time day job with an 80 mile roundtrip commute and three kids. Writing time is limited. Fortunately I have a very considerate family and a very helpful husband. He does all the laundry. Yes, I’m bragging. My teenage girls also do a lot of the house work. It’s difficult to juggle writing and family, but I love both so I manage.

I hear ya. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing? 

Music. I must have music to concentrate. I know it’s odd, but true. Not loud music, I keep the volume down, but I need to have it on. A dictionary is always within reach as well as a book called ‘100 Words for Lovers’ by American Heritage Dictionaries. I also have a little alabaster owl that sits on my desk, I’ve named him Piccolo. He makes me smile.

How cute! If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Super human strength. One of my pet peeves in not being able to open a jar or lift a box. If I have to ask my husband to open a jar, it’s usually after I’ve tried for 10 minutes and I’m near tears. Which makes him laugh and makes me angrier, but I have to ask the question, what if he wasn’t here. I don’t like asking for help, my own weakness bothers me. I wouldn’t mind being able to fly either, since I’m short and always need him to reach things for me.

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

Ahh, hum . . . good question. Let’s just say, I’m surprised the FBI hasn’t shown up on my doorstep yet. Okay, serious answer. This week I googled ‘how to fire your hair stylist’. I’ve googled a lot about missing kids, kidnapping, rape, and abandoned babies. Also current laws regarding rape convictions and punishments. All for my current novel or other works in progress.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: depository, dishwasher, and embargo.

I put an embargo on the depository of dirty dishes because this dishwasher is on vacation.

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

Oh where to start…?
Amy and Katie at Sapphire Star Publishing have made my dreams come true. They really are the greatest. I hate to gush, and I know that all the Sapphire Star authors praise them a lot too, but it’s all true. They’re patient, caring, thoughtful, and they’re always available. Most important, they listen.

I’d also like to thank my family for sharing me with my characters. They are more understanding than they have to be, and I love them for it. My extended family have been very supportive too, Facebooking and Tweeting news about my book. It’s been heartwarming to see them all come together for me and my romance novel.

I’d like the thank you, Dorothy, for inviting me to be here today. Also the writing community in general, writers are truly generous. It’s been a great surprise to see everyone so supportive and helpful. 

You're very welcome. And finally, where can people find you and your book online?

Twitter: @danamason06
Sapphire Star Publishing Author page:

Dangerous Embrace will be release October 4, 2012. You can find it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


Natasha Alexander said...

Thanks so much for an interesting interview! It's always fun to get new insights into an author and his or her characters. I'm looking forward to reading Dangerous Embrace. I'm also happy to find a new (to me) blog to follow.

Thanks to both of you!

Anonymous said...

Yey! My cousin is published! Looking forward to reading your book Dana. God Bless and happy writing. CreekProf

Nancy Thompson said...

Wahoo, Dana! I'm so looking forward to reading your book. I'll take a break while at my conference & fire up the Kindle, ready it for download.

Natasha Alexander said...

Thanks for a great interview. I've been following/admiring Dana for a long time and it's nice to get to know her better here. Also, I've found a new blog to follow.

Thank you both!

(I thought I left a comment earlier, so if it shows up somewhere, feel free to delete one or the other as they both say basically the same thing.

Natasha Hanova said...

What a great interview. I enjoyed learning more about Dana and her book which sounds very intriguing. I'm curious to find out how her past will affect her present. :)

creek indian said...

I love you and can't wait to read you book. I'm so happy and very proud of you.

Dana Mason said...

Thanks for all the support! I appreciate it more than you know!

E. Arroyo said...

Yay! I can't wait to read it. Congrats!

Anonymous said...

Great interview - I'm really looking forward to reading Dangerous Embrace and I'm also glad to have discovered a new blog to follow!

Thank you both!

Natasha Alexander

(NOTE to Dorothy: I tried to leave comments earlier and actually saw them on your site before they disappeared. I'll try submitting this as anonymous instead of using my name and URL, which is what I did before.)

Dana Mason said...

Thanks, Elizabeth!

Gary Lee Langston said...

My dear niece, I'm so proud of you and I look forward to reading your book. I will bring it with me next trip to California for an autograph.

Love you
Uncle Gary