Danielle Mathieson Pederson entered SPFBO this year with Lasera, Book One of the Mer Archives. This YA urban fantasy follows Valerie, a senior in high school as she navigates her final season as a high school diver. Valerie has suffered deep loss in her young life, but she finds hope and healing when she meets Wyn, a merman. It was an easy read and I read it quickly. The story has moments of genuine wonder and will make fans of YA urban fantasy happy. The ending may bring a tear to your eye. I look forward to reading more from this author.
Danielle was kind enough to give me an interview. You may read it below.
Danielle Mathieson Pederson is a geeky writing mom of three who has overflowing bookshelves that her husband has come to accept as part of their home decor. She adores a good fantasy, science fiction or romance novel — which is most likely why she writes in those genres. She is a book and movie fanatic. In addition to the two current fantasy series she’s writing (plus a time-travel romance serial), she has 15+ projects on the back burner. She started writing her first novel in grade nine and has loved writing ever since. Find out more about her at www.dmpederson.com
Welcome to my lair, Danielle. Tell me about a great book you’ve read recently!
I read Becoming Mrs Lewis a little while ago and was
totally enthralled. Not only relating to both her as a writer mom but
falling in love with Narnia and C.S. Lewis at the same time. I loved that
it was based on real events but still had such a creativity about it too.
What’s your favorite song?
Depends on mood and I’m not a huge music buff, but I do love the
song ‘Classic’ by MKTO and ‘Fight Song’ by Rachel Platten
Okay, time to escalate things: you get to travel to any book’s setting and world but you have to choose only one. Where do you go?
Sooooo tough!! Gah, Wheel of Time and Aes Sedai came to mind,
as did the fabulous Hogwarts, but I think it’d have to be Narnia, I’d love
to see it and the nostalgia factor there is huge for me as my parents read
them out loud to me when I was little. Crap, in finishing the other
questions I thought of Eragon. Yeah no sorry. It has to be Pern. I want a
dang fire lizard, man!
How do you like to work? (In silence, with music? Do you prefer to type or to hand-write? Are you an architect or a gardener? A plotter or a pantser? D’you write in your underwear, or underwater in scuba gear?) Tell me about your writing method!
I write on the computer with music, but it has to be familiar
songs although only the music, no lyrics or singing. I’m usually dressed as
I have to take my kids to school. I’m a full on architect and plotter.
Gotta know the stuff before I build. I hardly ever write long hand. Pretty
much never now that I have a typing and dictation on my phone. I do print
out the whole manuscript though and have my first editing pass on paper.
That seems to feel the most right to me.
What/Who are your most significant fantasy influences?
McCaffery, Lewis and Rowling are the big players that come to
mind, but Paolini was very close behind as well. As a kid I was always
drawn to things with dragons or unicorns. Jeremy Thatcher’s Dragon Hatcher and Patricia C Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles series heavily lent into me wanting to write fantasy as well. I hope to build stories others will love just as much.
What’s the most (and/or least) helpful piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
I don’t even know who told me or mentioned it but it had to be when someone recommended I join the 20Booksto50K facebook group. SO much to learn and I really enjoy the community there and it pushes me to be better. Worst advice? Write what you know. Guess what, I’ve never met a dragon, but you can bet your sorry butt I can imagine one.
Can you tell me a little something about your current work(s) in progress?
Ahhhhhh…. there are so many. I could go on about this for days. My
main series is about mermaid and mermen and I’ve slowly plodded along on that. Looking forward to continuing to meet people who love those
characters as much as I do. I’ve also got some fairytales and time-travel romance in the mix that I’m totally digging. Plus there’s a series with dragons that keeps intruding into my head, so I’ll get to that one too
How do you motivate yourself on days when you don’t want to write?
There are some days where it just doesn’t happen. One of the most
liberating things I’ve ever heard is to have a weekly goal of word count,
because some days I can put in a solid two hours and others even 15 mins
feels like too much of a drain. The fans and people who love my books are
really my big push when I don’t feel like it though. Some people say don’t
tell anyone about your book until you’re done writing it, I don’t subscribe
to that. If you tell those in your circle, you’ll find out who might enjoy
what you write and then they’ll ask you about and if people are waiting,
you’ll find the time.
Who are your favourite characters in literature or pop culture? And do you have a favourite type of character you enjoy writing?
Elizabeth Bennet is a staple. I read lots of reimaginings of Pride and Prejudice. I’m also a huge Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings fangirl. Seriously. I learned elvish phrases and did scenes with hobbits for a drama class assignment. 😀
Tell me about a book that’s excellent, but underappreciated or obscure.
Ella Enchanted. Please please don’t judge this book by its movie. They turned a beautiful and timeless Cinderella story into something Shrek-like. Gail Carson Levine was genius with this. There was a reason for everything and so much was given to the characters. The Prince and Ella had a relationship throughout the book. It was and still is my FAVOURITE book.
Finally, would you be so kind as to dazzle me with an elevator pitch?
“I should’ve died in that pool. A merman saved me.”
My YA urban fantasy is about a girl who is rescued from drowning by a merman who is trapped in the local pool.
Why should readers check out your work?
I’m a huge sucker for all things mermaid and it comes through in my book. I’m glad Valerie doesn’t fall in love right away. There are obstacles they must overcome. I channeled my full on Tolkien and even created languages and symbols for my merpeople. I can’t wait for more readers to get lost in this world I love already.
If readers want a taste of my writing first there’s even a prequel short story
available for free here: https://payhip.com/b/73z1
Read the book here.