Wednesday 28 March 2012

Dancing With Myself: DANA CAMERON interviews DANA CAMERON

Have you heard the news?  There's good rockin' tonight.

The sequel to Pulp Ink is to be published by the wonderful team at Snubnose

So far, we've had a heap of great submissions for Pulp Ink 2.  If you're interested in sending something in, you can follow this link and get onto the typewriter or whatever it is you use.  There's another month yet and there are still a few seats available.

A quick word for Crimes In Southern Indiana.  Ouch, it's good.  Painfully so.  Makes me even happier that I went for the hard-cover.  I'll put down my thoughts when I'm done (spent?), but you really should be buying yourself a copy of this one.

And today's Dance is from Dana Cameron.  Take it away, Dana.

1. You used to write about an archaeologist; you were an archaeologist. Now you write about werewolves, covert operatives, and sociopathic 18th-century tavern-owners. Can we infer that you...?

Infer nothing. I started with what I knew, then started playing around with bigger adventures and darker stories. Grateful as I am to EmmaFielding, my archaeologist sleuth, it would be pretty dull for me if I kept writing about stuff I had lived (professionally, anyway), and not the crazier stuff I can dream up based more loosely on those experiences.

2. There seems to be an emerging theme here: more violence, more dark emotions...

I know, huh? For a long time, I wrote Emma with a very strong sense of right and wrong, and it got her into trouble some might say she could have avoided if she'd been less ethical; very black and white. I wanted to play with characters who had strong moral codes, but of a different nature. Sometimes even two natures: Gerry Steuben is a werewolf, but his family, the Fangborn, fight evil in secret. Jayne, my covert operative (who'll debut in EQMM in June 2012), has a deeply moral sense, but it happens to think that if she has the skills to stop something bad from happening, she should do so, whether she has government sanction or not. Anna Hoyt's only code is to survive in the underworld of 18th-century Boston, at any price. Those gray areas are really interesting for me.

3. So what about the Fangborn? I thought that was just going to be one short story?

TheNight Things Changed” was meant to be a one-off. But I couldn't stop thinking about the Fangborn and that led to “Swing Shift” and “Love Knot,” and a Fangborn novel. Once I got over the idea that I had to conform to someone else's canon of vampire and werewolf lore, I kept looking for where the Fangborn might have inadvertently found their way into human history, in spite of their best efforts to remain hidden.

4. The archaeology thing again?

Well, yeah. You never fully recover from being an archaeologist. You always look at the world from a different perspective, which serves a writer as well. Plus, there are stories of shapeshifters in so many cultures; I really wanted to find a grand, unifying theory to explain that. Fictional, of course, but who doesn't want to rewrite history in her own image?

5. Megalomaniac much? What about the covert operative character?
I really, really wanted a kick-ass, Jason Bourne-type character who was a woman. I'm not a fan of the trope of the woman who only comes to action—and violence—only after her husband and/or family is killed. It seems to me these characters have to be unmade from the traditional role of a woman, before they can be action heroes, and that makes me nuts. I wanted Jayne to be as badass as Bourne or Reacher or Bond, and do what they do, not because she's driven to it, but because she thinks it's right. Also, it's fun to beat the stuffing out of the badguys and get away with it.

6. Okay, now you're worrying me. Quick change of topic: What are you listening to/reading/watching now?

The soundtracks to “Sucker Punch” and “28 Days Later;” I love movie soundtracks and make up playlists for every project I work on. I just finished reading THE ROOK, which was great, and I'm reading BABEL NO MORE, about language super-learners. I look forward to “Justified” every week, and am hoping “Mad Men” will live up to the wait. I've also been watching and rewatching the DVDs of the second season of “Sherlock” until my nose bleeds.

7. So you admit to being a “Cumberbi—?”
Don't say it; I hate that word. But yes, the reboot is incredible and I'll admit to being a little obsessed over this interpretation of the world of Sherlock Holmes.

8. And the actor who plays him?

Well...yes. But, actually, everyone in the cast is so accomplished. And, 

9. There, now. Doesn't it feel better to admit that?

No. And I hate you. Next question.

10. Moving on. What's next?

I'll be toastmaster at Malice Domestic in April —that's going to be a blast, with Jan Burke as the Guest of Honor and Simon Brett as the Lifetime Achievement Honoree. “One Soul at a Time” will appear in EQMM in June, and an Emma Fielding short story, “Mischief in Mesopotamia” is also forthcoming in EQMM. I'm working on a Fangborn novel, and I will be starting a new Anna Hoyt story, soon, and off to Bouchercon and Crime Bake this fall. And before my nosy alter-ego can come up with any other impertinent questions, thank you, Nigel, for inviting me!


  1. Cape Cod Noir? What a great idea!

  2. Having spent so many vacations in Wellfleet I will seek this out.

  3. Glad to hear there will be a PULP INK 2. And a top interview. Thanks.