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Author Q&A with Danielle Ackley-McPhail | Bad-Ass Faerie Tales Book Tour | Urban Fantasy

The Bad-Ass Faerie Tales by Danielle Ackley-McPhail is on virtual book tour. The urban fantasy stops at Readeropolis with ...

The Bad-Ass Faerie Tales by Danielle Ackley-McPhail is on virtual book tour.

The urban fantasy stops at Readeropolis with an author interview.

Be sure to enter for a chance to win the giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card (1 winner) or an ebook copy of Three Chords of Chaos: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale by James Chambers (3 winners) and follow the Silver Dagger book tour (for other dates see the link at the bottom of the post).

How did you come up with the title of your first novel? 
My first novel, the very first one, is called Yesterday’s Dreams. It came out of a private online chat with volunteers for an AOL writers’ site called The Amazing Instant Novelist, where I was a community leader, or NOVL when I started writing my first (successful) book. My supervisor was telling us about all the unusual job he had had. His handle was NOVL Shadow and his writing was very dark, so when he was telling us about things he had done in the past and one of them was as a pawnbroker. That made me think of a pawn shop where the broker only accepted items for pawn that had a connection to the person’s soul. Something not just with meaning for them, but with a spiritual connection. That was the initial idea, anyway. The concept morphed and the pawn broker became a benevolent fae accepting these items to safeguard them from more unscrupulous sorts who might seek to gain power from that unrealized connection. In both concepts the shop was called Yesterday’s Dreams because that is how a person forms a spiritual connection with an item, it is the key to their hopes and dreams, and Yesterday’s because the person is giving them up…at least for now. In the book, the tag line for the store is “Yesterday’s Dreams…if it meant something once, you’ll find it here.” In the novel, and the trilogy, actually, the pawnbroker is a fae guardian and she does everything she can to return items that have a true powerful connection to the person’s soul.

Who designed your book covers? 
As an author, I have worked with a variety of artists over the years. The current cover for Yesterday’s Dreams was designed by an artist team, LW Perkins and Christina Yoder. The cover for The Halfling’s Court was designed by Linda Saboe, and The Redcaps’ Queen was done by an artist named Ed Coutts. As a publisher, we do a lot in-house through my husband, Mike McPhail and his design firm, McP Digital Graphics. Sometimes we start with a foundation of stock art and manipulated it to achieve the finished cover, other covers start with a foundation of 3D models, with finishing touches applied in various art programs. I have even designed a few myself, though not usually.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? 
I am an author…there is always something that can be done better. Always something to be tweaked. And for the older books, there is always something I didn’t know then that I do now. Nothing is ever complete, nothing is ever perfect. I do walk away, but given the opportunity, I do go back and clean things up as well. Mostly, that happens when a book is given new life through a new publisher. Yesterday’s Dreams has undergone about five revisions at this point, and all the others have been revised at least once. We are not perfect, and neither are editors. I never give a manuscript to a new publisher without cleaning it up first.

Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book? 
I am always learning. Not just as an author, but because I am a development editor as well. Every time I work on a manuscript—whether my own or someone else’s—it teaches me something. To stop learning is to stop growing, to stop growing is to stagnate, to stagnate is to die a slow death.

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead? 
It really depends on which one ☺ For The Halfling’s Court, I can’t really say I can picture anyone except my uncle as Lance. For The Redcaps’ Queen, Christina Applegate as Suzanne, which is pretty ironic since her TV mom, Katey Sagal, was on Sons of Anarchy. That didn’t figure in my choosing her. She’s matured as an actress and I can see elements of Suzanne in her.

Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you. While I would probably write my world regardless of if there was an audience, I am honored that you want to take those journeys with me to explore the magic and wonder and innovation that happens along the way.

What is your favorite part of this book and why? 
I like the tender moments. The unexpected scenes where Lance or one of the other characters show their compassion and their love for others in small ways. Like Lance with his cousin Tilly. The patience he has with her, the care and devotion that informs his decisions. Even when she is imparted, he shows patience but doesn’t act like her current condition is all she was or will be. He meets her where she is, while recognizing what she was, and dedicating himself to what she could be again. He isn’t perfect, he makes mistakes, but most of his mistakes is because he cares too much.

If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
The funny thing is, as many times as I have been asked this question, the answer is always a secondary or background character…For Halfing/Redcap, the characters I would want to spend time on are Garm, a rather scarred hound of indeterminate origin, and Tilly, Lance’s cousin, who was brain damaged due to an injury, but has been magically healed. All three of us would chill out on the couch watching cartoons and eating big ole bowls of cereal. Just because we could, and because both of those characters has soothing natures and unplumbed depths. They will come into their own, but for now they keep their own council.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination? 
Some of my characters are tributes to family, or loosely based on family, but most of them populate the depths of my mind and come out when they feel like playing. Not all of them play nice.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reins of the story? 
I may have an idea of where the story is going to go, but I am wise enough to know that when the character takes over, you let them do what they want. To force your will as an author is to suck the life out of the story at the point where it wants to diverge. Things happen for a reason, logical, organic transitions that we cannot always anticipate. 

Convince us why you feel your book is a must read. 
Two words…Biker Faeries. I strive for unique characters, depths of meaning, complex stories woven tightly together. My books are character-driven, even when they are packed with action, and I love to share the delightful way the unexpected comes together in ways you cannot anticipate, but make for a richer experience.

Have you written any other books that are not published? 
I have probably about six or seven books started, but none that are done and unpublished. Sometimes something else takes your attention away, or you lose the thread—or haven’t found it yet—leading you to the end. It will come eventually.

If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
LOLOL…probably garlic, along with everything else I cook, with a hint of ambrosia and undertones of dumpster fire. (I am not always kind to my characters.) You won’t quite know what to make of it, but it will be filling and satisfying.

What did you edit out of this book? 
I can’t really think of anything I took out of The Halfling’s Court or The Redcaps’ Queen. Should I have? Maybe…maybe not. I write in a non-linear fashion and bounce back and forth from different scenes in the timeline, if the story transforms, I generally deal with it as it is happening and modify other scenes as needed. With this process, it is rare that I end up with something that needs to be taken out.

Is there an writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why? 
No. I am not wired that way. I think the only thing I would be inclined to ask any author is, ‘who can I get to handle this promotional stuff so I can just write?’ Every author and every story is unique, and someone else’s approach isn’t necessarily going to work for me. I need to work things out on my own or I start to feel someone else’s voice is intruding.

Fun Facts/Behind the Scenes/Did You Know?'-type tidbits about the author, the book or the writing process of the book.

When I near the end of a book, I do not sleep. I will write until I can’t see straight, then lay down a few minutes and let my brain kick around the story, and when I feel balanced again I get up and keep writing. Usually, this happens during the last week of writing, when I can just about see the end of the path…or the hint of it, and I just have to rush forward. 

When I was writing Tomorrow’s Memories, I was going to take time off for the holidays and go do some family stuff. The last night I was writing, I was typing in a recliner with my computer across my lap in a room that was completely dark except for the monitor. I finished for the night and shut everything down. When I went to put it on the table I knew was there, I just missed and the laptop fell off the table and landed on my big toe, shattering the nail and sending an impressive arc of blood across my living room wall. My plans were canceled due to injury and the book was done in a week because I couldn’t go anywhere. (My nail is permanently deformed to this day, but not in any kind of gross or obvious way.) 

After I wrote Yesterday’s Dreams, we bought our first house. Only after we moved in did I discover that features of the neighborhood matched elements from the book in a cool but creepy way, like I had moved into my character’s neighborhood.

The Halfling's Court
A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale Book 1
by Danielle Ackley-McPhail
Genre: Urban Fantasy 

Get Your Bad-Ass On!

The rumble of a Harley...

The gleam of black leather...

The shine of polished chrome...

The freedom of the open road....

Motorcycles meet magic and mayhem as Lance Cosain, the halfling leader of The Wild Hunt MC, protects his turf and his people from attacks ordered by Dair na Scath, the high king of the fae.

Holding his own against rogue fae, redcaps, and pissed-off road gremlins, all Lance wants to do is settle down with his lady. Instead he goes toe-to-toe with the high king's champion over an ancient dagger and his claim to the throne.

Who will triumph? The king of the road or the king of the realm? Either way, the Hunt is on!

**On Sale for only $1.99!!**

The Redcaps' Queen
A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale Book 2 

The Hunt is On!
When strength becomes weakness…
And hope becomes doubt…
As the past collides with the future…hard…
Can Suzanne—Wild Hunt biker chick and one-time member of the fae High Court—stand strong as her world falls apart? She survived an assault by redcaps, an all-out battle with the High King’s armies, and her first encounter with roller derby… but how will she fare against her inner demons? Caught in the midst of a transformation she scarcely realizes and does not understand, her hard-won convictions are tested as never before.
Suzanne is left with only one question—what if they’re wrong?
The truth could mean the difference between saving her sanity and losing her soul…
**On Sale for only $1.99!!**

Award-winning author and editor Danielle Ackley-McPhail has worked both sides of the publishing industry for longer than she cares to admit. In 2014 she joined forces with husband Mike McPhail and friend Greg Schauer to form her own publishing house, eSpec Books (

Her published works include six novels, Yesterday's Dreams, Tomorrow's Memories, Today's Promise, The Halfling's Court, The Redcaps' Queen, and Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn, written with Day Al-Mohamed. She is also the author of the solo collections Eternal Wanderings, A Legacy of Stars, Consigned to the Sea, Flash in the Can, Transcendence, Between Darkness and Light, and the non-fiction writers' guide, The Literary Handyman, and is the senior editor of the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series, Gaslight & Grimm, Side of Good/Side of Evil, After Punk, and In an Iron Cage. Her short stories are included in numerous other anthologies and collections.

In addition to her literary acclaim, she crafts and sells original costume horns under the moniker The Hornie Lady, and homemade flavor-infused candied ginger under the brand of Ginger KICK! at literary conventions, on commission, and wholesale.

Danielle lives in New Jersey with husband and fellow writer, Mike McPhail and three extremely spoiled cats.

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

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