My spotlight today is on the author Dani J Caile....
Dani J Caile is a teacher and proofreader currently residing in Budapest, Hungary. After a lifetime of reading clones and a decade of proofreading coffee table books, he has written 5 fantasy books, ‘Man by a tree’, ‘The Bethlehem Fiasco’, ‘The Rage of Atlantis’, 'TDX2' and 'Manna-X', all based on his own little neo-plantonic universe. When not writing, dabbling in Shakespeare, teaching English, proofreading, washing up, hoovering, and driving all over the place, he is busy with his loving and long-suffering family.
Do you write as yourself or under a pseudonym? Why?
I write under the name 'Dani J Caile'. Seeing as I take a sardonic view of all sterotypical roles within society, including my own, and my writing is anti-establishment, in a humoristic way, I thought it would protect me from all those bigots and narrow-minded people, but it hasn't.
What made you want to be a published author?
Too many books going nowhere, looking for money. I always thought the writer had a duty to inform the reader and increase their awareness in some way about their present situation. Just look at Shakespeare, Hemingway, or any other classic writer. Books on vampires, werewolves and sex just don't do it for me. So I thought I'd write down some of my observations in a light hearted way and everyone who's read my work, and who is at least a little open-minded, likes it. I've even had priests tell me it's good, ignoring the theological issues, of course.
What genre do you write in and why?
I would say 'light humour', if there was such a genre. As there isn't, 'humour' or 'fantasy'. Fantasy because my books are set in my own small classic Neoplatonian universe and not real life. I'd like to move on from that now but I'm quite happy to do more with it.
If you could talk to your 12 year old self, what advice would you give?
Don't listen to your English teacher and read the books you want to read. Honestly, my English teacher told my parents that I was reading books off syllabus (Mein Kampf, The Tao te Ching, Orlando, etc.) and that I should stop. So I didn't read again until I was old enough to realise that I could just go into a library and borrow them without retribution.
Have any other authors influenced your writing through theirs?
Hemingway with his sparseness, Woolf with her stream of consciousness, Beckett with his obscureness, Milligan with his craziness and Shakespeare with his comedy.
If you are a self-published author what made you take this route and what was your experience (good or bad)?
My experience told me even before I started writing that editors already have expectations of the future market and know exactly what they need before it's even written. Most of the time they ask a bunch of already-contracted writers to write a certain book and they pick the best one. So I went the self-publishing way, knowing no publisher would touch me with a barge pole (excuse the cliché). It's a lonely and desolate place but at least my work is out there.
How would you rate your writing?
Good. Could be worse. Really. I tried to write seriously and I laughed at my own stupidity, so I only write with 'tongue in cheek' (damn, another cliché).
How do you react to poor reviews of your book?
Not very well. Luckily, I haven't had many, infact only one from an Indian who couldn't read or understand my writing. As far as I can see, my readers come from two groups, those looking for light entertainment and those open-minded people looking for underlying meanings. Anyone outside those groups will have a hard time reading my stuff.
What influences your choice of book covers?
Money. I don't have any, so I either go with the 'Cover Designer' or try to put something together myself. And if you look through my covers, you'll see they are very simple and one or two colours dominate, along with an image; a green wood, a sandy infinite desert, water crashing against rocks, skys and clouds, or rusting technology. The colours and image captures the mood of the book. All quite cliché (again?), but it seems we're all living in nostalgia nowadays.
How do you balance your writing with your real world responsibilities?
I steal 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there and a bit at night. I'm a teacher, father of 2, husband, proofreader and my sleeping hours are short, perhaps 5 or 6 hours a night. There is no balance, I feel if you try that then you're missing the point. Live your life and ideas pop out of your head. Scribble them on napkins and bits of paper and write them up when you find the time. If I set aside time for writing, nothing happens.
Do your characters drive the plots of your stories or do you plan out your plot?
I start off with a message, the basic plot slowly appears and the characters twist and change the plot with their actions, dialogue and stupidity…not necessarily in that order.
Do you ever write what you dream? Give an example.
Never. In my 20s I was a Castenedian and practised the art of dreaming and I know the significance of dreams. Although he is mostly seen as a chalatan now, I learnt a lot about awareness and roles.
Do you market yourself or pay a professional?
I have no money, so I have to tweet, do the fb thing, anything to get exposure…such as giving interviews…writing is much easier than marketing as the latter asks you to completely believe in yourself and 'just do it' (Ahh, another one!).
What are your tips for editing?
Get someone else to do it. No, really, I'm a proofreader but I can't proofread my own writing, I skip bits which I think are written but aren't. A lot of others have said the same, that they are blind to their own pages. So, ask a friend to read your draft.
What inspired you to write your current WIP or current published work?
My current work, 'Manna-X' was inspired by mainly mixing the styles of Dan Brown and Samuel Beckett to create a non-sensical hunt for an infamous object. People are searching for things which they can't find or don't exist, and that's what it's basically about. I also have a new free project, 'Dani's Shorts', possibly out by the time this interview hits the net, which is a collection of 500 short stories based on the elements given in the Iron Writer Challenge (theironwriter.com). I won a few of the Challenges and I liked the concept so much that I wrote my own personal take on the first 6 months of challenges. You'll find it on Smashwords under 'Dani J Caile'.
Do you prefer to write stand-alone novels or a series? Why?
No preference. Other than 'Dani's Shorts' I've only written about my little fantasy universe using the same characters but I'm thinking of taking a few of the short stories and writing a full novel, so then I'll be covered for both.
If you could change one thing in the publishing process what would it be?
Nothing. I would, however, like to change something in the publishing market, and that's the blindness of publishers to submissions from non-agents. There are some of us self-publishers who can write.
What advice would you give to a new author?
Ask yourself why you are writing. If it's to make money and be famous then you'll have a very long hard struggle, unless you already know someone in a publishing company who's dying to see your work. If it's because you like writing, then my advice is keep doing it.
Share a favourite quote from your book.
Tricky, 'Manna-X' is filled with them, I wouldn't know where to start…how about a quote from 'Bethlehem Fiasco', "Is there a right end of a camel for your head to be in?"..or perhaps 'Rage', "I'm so tired I could watch a dog grow". There are so many…I agree with the English teacher thing...read what you want to read or it will put you off reading for a very long time in my case. Are you sure you don't want to put a few Vampires and werewolves in your books (or sexy Vampires and Werewoves)? Only joking my characters are a little agoraphobic to my own books....so lets see what your books are all about...
"I haven't come across anything
quite like this..." Debbie Roxburgh (Speedy McCready)
"With your wily work [Dani], I tend to focus on what's in parentheses. (I also think you are very misunderstood...and possibly always have been.)" Eponymous Rox (B.O.T.)
Reginald sends Graham Reader (aka the Grim Reaper), out on a mission to find Code 237-Manna-X, the Manna Machine after the Overlords warn him of an imminent (3000 year old) threat against the security of both the physical and non-physical realms.
Will Graham find the fantastic yet deadly device before anyone or anything else does?
'Dani's Short's is a collection of 500 word short stories based on the elements given in the Iron Writer Challenge. These 28 short stories show the complete range of Dani's favourite writing styles, including pair dialogues, internal thoughts and sardonic parodies.You can stalk him here: