Congratulations to Sphin! She won a copy of Natural Order by Moondancer Drake.
Happy Sunday folks! Check it out! Everything you ever wanted to know about author Moondancer Drake. Okay, it’s probably not everything you wanted to know. But it is ten questions. And answers.
Plus, she’s giving away an ebook copy of Natural Order, her latest release. Woo!
Leave a comment below. I’ll draw a winner on Friday, November 6.
Author Q&A – Moondancer Drake
- Introduce yourself to the rest of the class. Who are you and what makes you tick?
I like to think of their being many facets to who Moondancer is. I’m a two-spirit artist of Eastern Band Cherokee descent. I’m the mother of two amazing and often exasperating teens. I’m a recent graduate with a degree in technical production specializing in theatrical props, which means I like to dabble in many marvelously messy crafty things. And I’m an author driven to write stories about people and places because writing them makes them feel real to me.
- What does it mean to you to be an author? What makes a writer a writer?
I can’t really speak in a general sense of what makes a writer a writer, but I can speak about what it means to me. My writing is my deepest art, it comes from my dreams and all the things around me that drive my passions, including my spirituality. My writing is how I heal myself, and hopefully in some way help others to heal. My writing is also my activism. Growing up as a Native American child with a great love of speculative fiction, there just weren’t people like me having adventures in the stories I read. For this reason, above all else, I’m driven to write stories where the people so often forgotten within our own society are the ones that are the heroines, the powerful and wise witches, and the fiercest of warriors.
- Are you promoting a specific book? Tell us about it. Include the book blurb if you’d like.
My book that just came out last month is Natural Order, the first novel in the Daughters of the goddess series, the prequel all the rest of the stories within the world of the Guardian Circle that I’ve created. It was originally released through PD, but it’s being re-released with Regal Crest now, and for the first time is available in ebook as well as print. Natural Order centers around Elizabeth who has just lost the woman she loves and now for her sake and that of the child she carries Beth finds herself drawn into a strange new family and community. This first book is about Beth discovering the truth behind Dusty’s death, the meaning of family, and coming to understand who the real monsters are. Natural Order is the beginning of a journey for Elizabeth, a journey towards discovering who she really is and her place in a world of magic she never believed existed.
- Tell us about your biggest guilty pleasure. For example, to you sit naked in your pantry in the middle of the night and eat Nutella with your fingers?
Oh my, nothing quite that scintillating. I suppose as much a hard time is my family gives me about my distaste for wearing shoes, being barefoot as often as humanly possible might be considered a guilty pleasure. My friends used to tease me and call me “Thumbelina Dirty Foot” because the bottom of my feet were so rarely clean, I hated wearing shoes that much. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that my Indian feet are very wide with very high arches, so it’s rare to find comfortable shoes anyways. I love running barefoot in the dirt and the grass in the country or in the woods.
- Tell us one thing that you’re passionate about. For example, would you strap yourself to an oil rigging a la Lucy Lawless with a Greenpeace sign in your hands?
I am extremely vocal and passionate around subjects relating to social justice. There are some people that use the term social justice warrior as an insult. Not me. I wear that title with pride. I admit I’m not always comfortable in social situations, which often causes me to try too hard to find connections and to be too willing to make concessions to keep everyone happy. This is not true when it comes to someone saying or doing something racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, or anything else where personal privilege is an excuse for devaluing another human being. I just can’t stay quiet. It doesn’t matter how much I might get myself in trouble, or what feathers I might ruffle.
- What’s your writing process? That is, do you have a particular place you write and/or time of day? Do you have any particular things you do before you write? (e.g. do you listen to music, drink coffee, take dance breaks…)
Very few things annoy me more than reading a story in which it is obvious the author didn’t do their research, especially when dealing with cultural or anything else that mirrors the life of real people. Before I start writing, there are mountains of research, and binders of notes so that my creative muse doesn’t take me too far away from concerns of continuity and timelines. I am a ravenous researcher, and in fact often many scenes are inspired by what I find during the research process. Since my carpal tunnel surgery (both hands) my writing process, at least the active writing part of it, involves complete silence and my Dragon NaturallySpeaking software. Often I get sucked into writing and forget things like eating and keeping hydrated. I try to be better lately about having a small snack and some water nearby when I write. When I’m lucky enough to have long periods of time uninterrupted to write, I tend to get disconnected from everything else while I do it.
- Tell us something that most people don’t know about you (unless you’d have to kill us, in which case tell us something that some people don’t know).
I’m pretty open person as far as who I am. I pride myself in being my authentic self most the time. So, I’m not entirely sure what things about myself most people don’t know, but I can think of a couple things that aren’t entirely common knowledge. I struggle with dyslexia and ADD, which case you don’t know ADD is awesome for the creative flow of writing, not so much with the editing part of things. Another fun fact about me that a lot of people don’t know, is in the late 80s I was part of several Rocky Horror casts in Wisconsin and in Illinois, and in fact was the first female Frank-N-Furter at the Sheridan theater in Chicago.
- Is there a book by another author that you wish you had written?
Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor. It’s sci-fi story set in a western African world setting with plant-based computers and fun combo of tech and the natural world. It’s YA if I remember correctly, but there’s plenty there for kids and adults alike. It’s not lesbian fiction, but I haven’t found her work heavily hetro-normative either. There are many times I wish I wrote as well as Nnedi does.
- If time and money were no problem, where would you most like to go in the world?
I want to spend several weeks traveling through Australia and New Zealand. I’m not big on touristy places in general, though visiting some of the places where they filmed Xena and the Lord of the Rings movies would be nice. I need to see the Shire before I die! Honestly, I’d love to be able to spend some time with some the Aboriginal and Maori communities trading stories and learning as much as I could about their history and cultures.
- And finally, what sorts of writing projects are next for you?
Right now I’m working on the sequel for Natural Order, titled Natural Rebirth. That’s where my main focus is outside of when edits come in for my other novels due out through Regal Crest over the next year and a half. Other projects I’m doing the research and prep work for are White Lotus and Bloodstained Innocence; both which are YA urban fantasy stories, and the Path of the Huntress series; a YA fantasy series that begins in a pre-colonized fantasy version of Africa.
Natural Order book blurb
An evening at the movies turns into a living nightmare for Elizabeth Crew as her lover Dusty battles for their lives and the unborn baby Elizabeth is carrying. Dusty’s dying request is that Elizabeth go live with Dusty’s family, where she and the baby will be safe. Dusty’s family takes Elizabeth into their home with open arms and a bit of concern. What will happen if Elizabeth learns that her new family includes shape-shifters? For Elizabeth, the family secrets are not all that awaits her in the darkness.
Moondancer Drake is an author of environmental and spiritually driven multicultural fiction, especially paranormal lesbian romance. She is also a vocal advocate for civil rights and the responsibility of all people to take better care of Mother Earth. She lives in Wisconsin with her family and draws much of her inspiration from her spirituality as well as experiences as a Two-Spirit Cherokee artist and a mother. If you wish to learn more about Moondancer and the Guardian Circle visit her website at http://www.theguardiancircle.com.