NeoLeaf: What first got you started writing?
Soleil Daniels: Well, it wasn't always something I thought I could do. I dabbled with poetry as far back as I can remember, and I still do on occasion. I've had to count on my imagination a lot in life, but I never fell into writing, beyond poetry, until 2009. I'd had ideas for books and stories before then. It's just creatives (people in the arts) weren't exactly known to me, and I moved through life doing what I thought was expected. People had to work to survive and keep a roof over their heads. College wasn't an option because there was no money for it. And I wasn't particularly encouraged to do much of anything by any adult figure in my life, so I followed the motions, which didn't exactly work out for me. In a couple years time, after years of doing everything I thought was expected of me for everyone else, I lost my job, my car, and my partner lost the fight to keep the house he'd inherited. There I was, pretty much everything I'd ever earned—and more beyond that—was gone, even though I'd followed the rules, and that's when it dawned on me: If I was doing everything by everyone else's rules and still lost everything I'd ever worked for, I might as well do what I wanted to do. Or at least try and aim to do it.
I'll be completely honest and say, I didn't always think I could do it after I started writing. I almost gave up more times than I can count, and I still have days that I doubt myself. But I love writing, and I know I made the right choice. Just wish I chose to do it sooner.
NeoLeaf: Would you say these events have influenced how and what you write?
Soleil Daniels: Hmm, I've never really thought about it. Probably. My writing leans toward the darker aspects of life—whether it be vampires, ghouls, psychopathic serial killers, or just normal people—so thinking about it, I may focus on the bad situations I've been through to bring to life the darkness in my tales. I know that I do use past events and knowledge to my advantage, twisting them into something outrageous yet believable. So, I'm sure those events have influenced what and how I write.
NeoLeaf: Your book, HALFBORN, just won the NeoLeaf Press cover contest. What inspired you to write this book?
Soleil Daniels: I've always had a love for vampires, for as long as I can remember. That love—passion—for the bloodlust-driven, supernatural beings is the overall inspiration for HALFBORN. Books, shows, and movies that helped with that inspiration are aplenty—The Shadow Saga by Christoper Golden, The Anita Blake Series by Laurell K Hamilton, To Die For (a movie from 1989), Forever Knight (TV series in the early to mid-90s), Immortality (a Jude Law movie from 1998), True Blood/The Sookie Stackhouse Series (or The Southern Vampire Mysteries) both book and TV series, obvious ones like Dracula and Interview with the Vampire, etc. There are too many to list them all, but those listed have all played a big part in inspiring the making of HALFBORN and the world in which the story/series takes place.
NeoLeaf: Your story really pushes readers to an emotional edge. Did you ever have trouble trying to write some of the scenes?
Soleil Daniels: I had to think hard on this one because from the time I first put pen to paper until completion, writing HALFBORN took eight years, give or take, to write. I had a lot of stuff going on in those years, so trying to pinpoint if it was the scenes themselves giving me trouble or my life situation, well, that's difficult. I can't remember having trouble writing any of the scenes because of the emotion involved, though; I could be wrong. There was certainly a scene or two that brought tears with it, but nothing stopped me in my tracks or waivered my flow because of it that I can recall. I can't say that with one of the books I'm currently working on now, which is not related to HALFBORN.
NeoLeaf: What other books do have planned?
Soleil Daniels: For the Halfborn Series, up next is Wraith, which I plan to have out by Halloween this year. Then books three (Abominate) and four (Inborn), but I don't have planned release dates for those two, yet. I also have a prequel/spin-off trilogy in the works, the first of which is titled 'Becoming'.
While most of my stuff contains aspects of Horror and/or Dark Fantasy, I do have a near-completed, standalone, Romance novel that I hope to have out sometime within the next year titled 'Impractical Encounter'. It deals with some pretty heavy-hitting stuff, including cancer and homophobia, and has a strong seize the moment vibe.
NeoLeaf: Knowing what you do now, what advice would you give other authors?
Soleil Daniels: Hmm, advice? So, there are always going to be people trying to keep you away from your goal. Sometimes it's family. Sometimes a 'friend'. There are strangers out there who may even try to stop your progress. And, sometimes, even yourself—self-doubt is a horribly crippling thing. No matter who it is or what they say and/or do, do your best to push through it. Take a break if you need to, but don't ever quit. Find a support system. Keep in mind that if you rely on other writers as your main support that it isn't always about you. Be sure to support them just as much as they support you, and no, that doesn't mean you have to buy their works (though, that's an awesome thing to do if you can, and don't forget to review if you enjoy their books). Build each other up, encourage one another. Having someone in your corner can be what gets you through the toughest of times. Doing it alone, while possible, is so much harder. But most importantly, never stop believing in yourself and your stories.
If you want to learn more about Soleil Daniels or find her book you can check out the links below-
Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/SoleilDanielsAuthor/
Amazon Author Page (universal link) author.to/SoleilDanielsbooks
Halfborn (universal Amazon link) mybook.to/Halfborn