Summer is over and the seasons are turning once again. I’m staring out my office window at a gray sky, rain, and the headlights of cars swishing by, each driver safely cocooned in their little world of steel and rubber. Safe, that is, unless they happen to be a bad driver, or someone else nearby is a bad driver, or their car is about to be hit by a defunct satellite falling from the stratosphere. You never know when your ticket is about to get punched, whether you’re at work, on the highway, or skin-diving in shark-infested waters off the South African coast. With that in mind, particularly the highway angle, let’s welcome Dawn McCullough-White to our program today.
Hi, Dawn. Thanks for taking the time to stop in. Why don’t you start with a little bit about yourself?
I’m a wife and mother. I live in Rochester, NY. I write dark fantasy and I’m fascinated by history and social psychology. My novels tend to favor the use of anti-authority anti-heroes as the main characters.
These days, it seems like being anti-authority is almost akin to virtue. If so, then your books are ahead of the curve. How did you get into writing in the first place?
I don’t know. My father is good at telling stories about his life, and usually regaled us with stories at the dinner table, so maybe it’s both nature and nurture. I’ve been creating characters ever since I was about five years old, drawing them, and giving them back-stories. When I was fourteen I wrote my first full-length novel, on notepaper.
Ouch. That’s a lot of manual writing. My hand is cramping up in sympathy. You’ve written some other books since the days of being fourteen, haven’t you? Tell us about those.
Cameo the Assassin and Cameo and the Highwayman are books 1 & 2 in my series, which is a historical dark fantasy series with paranormal elements. They follow the life of Cameo, a supernatural assassin, and her attempts to lead a (somewhat) normal life despite being the thrall of a cruel vampire. They are for anyone who enjoys action adventure, with a slice of paranormal romance.
Those sound like a lot of fun. I’ve never been enslaved by a cruel vampire (or any other sort of vampire, for those wondering), but I can imagine Cameo would have a few issues to sort through. What are you working on these days?
I am currently hard at work on the third book in “The Cameo Series” called Cameo and the Vampire. I’m releasing it at the end of this month, on Halloween. It is the concluding installment to the trilogy. I also have a story coming out in an anthology called The Gate 2: 13 Tales of Isolation and Despair. That one will be released in February of 2012.
As a writer, are there any particular books that had a great deal of influence on your own creativity?
Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. I read this at sixteen and just reread it again recently, 20+ years later. I write about the undead quite a bit, and I find the ideas and the utterly morbid feel of this novel have invaded so many things I’ve written over the years. I really had no idea until I reread it a month ago. Both The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien and A Movable Feast by Ernest Hemingway, encouraged a more simple and brisk writing style in my development as a writer.
I picked up that lesson as well from Hemingway. He certainly was careful with his words. Speaking of lessons, do you have any advice for other writers?
Recipe for avoiding writer’s block in between novels~ I generally have toyed around with a plot and characters, and written a few scenes in my head (if not on paper) for the next book before I’m even done with the last.
Is there anything in particular that inspires your writing?
Music, history, family stories. I like to take one interesting character type and put him or her together with another odd type and see what transpires. I think this really amuses me and inspires me to write. It’s hard not to keep writing. If you’re a writer, you go crazy if you don’t write.
There do seem to be a lot of crazy writers out there. They’re obviously not writing enough. That, or they have a five-year-old in their home who never stops asking questions. That’s why I’m crazy. Anyway, besides staving off craziness, what do you hope to achieve with your writing?
Well, I’m shooting for a cult following, that’s my goal.
Excellent. Er, I’m assuming you don’t mean an actual cult, right? I live fairly close to Santa Cruz, California, and there are all these people wandering around, dressed in orange and banging on little drums. Sometimes, they’ll try to sell you an avocado and sprout sandwich. They also talk a lot about how the Mothership is coming to take them away. Speaking of that, what would you like to be known for when you depart our little planet?
As a known writer.
In four words, you have summed up a great deal of philosophy and art and literature of the past millennia. We want to be known. With that thought, I’ll bid you farewell. Have a safe trip back to New York, and I’ll remain here with the rain. Thanks for visiting, Dawn, and best of luck with your writing!
You can visit Dawn McCullough-White at her website. Cameo the Assassin can be purchased for Kindle at AmazonUS and AmazonUK, and in Nook format. It can also be bought in paperback. Cameo and the Highwayman can be purchased for Kindle at AmazonUS and AmazonUK, and in Nook format. It can also be bought in paperback. The cover art for Dawn’s books was done by Kurt Hanss.