Posted - 10/28/2013 : 07:27:18 AM
Author for From Dawn 'Til Midnight
Published by: Hidden Message
Interviewed by: Richard Vasseur/Jazma VP
Rich: How did you become a writer?
D.S.: I dont remember actually becoming a writer. Ive written in one form or another since I was a child. I remember spending a lot of time with my older brother inventing super heroes and then creating short comic books. There were also comic strips using my limited, childish humour skills. I wasn't a very good artist, but I enjoyed coming up with the stories. I attempted to write a novel in the fifth grade. However, I was so focused on detail that by the time I got to page ten I had ten pages of detailed nothing. After that, my writing was limited to creative writing in school. My writing grades were a badge of honour. I really loved handing in papers that stood out to my teachers. But as school went on my life steered more towards music, and I began writing songs with the various bands I played with. My favourite part of songwriting was the lyrics again, I loved telling stories, but with music the stories came more from personal experience than fantasy. As I drifted away from actually participating in the creation of songs and playing music, I still spent my time with other musicians and began helping them write lines for their promos and bios for their liner notes, then eventually their websites. When I think of 'becoming a writer', I think of one of my greatest personal achievements. I was in grade four I gave the school librarian a short story that I had written and bound in the form of a small book. She surprised me one day when she took me to the card catalogue and pulled out the card that referred to my book, and then followed me to the location where it sat on the shelf. My book had a Dewey Decimal label, and on the inside, a sign-out card in a little pocket. I went back to that spot time and again, and loved not seeing the book in it's place. When it was there, I would open it and pull out the sign-out card to see the little date stamps accumulate as the other students checked out my book. As an unpopular child in school, the recognition meant the world to me. I guess, to me, that's when I became a writer.
Rich: How did "From Dawn 'Til Midnight" come into being?
D.S.: I hadn't set out to write a novel. I had been writing short bios for a number of musicians and models for their websites, but there was one model that I had known for quite awhile who I had never written anything for. Her life fascinated me, and one day I sat down to write a little story about her as a gift. There was so much to say though, and so much that I couldn't leave out. After awhile it started taking form. When I realized that it was becoming a book, I asked her permission to publish. Once I got the okay, I went back and filled in the details, worked on the characters, set up the chapters it all happened so fast.
Rich: Why did you decide to have the whole book take place in one day?
D.S.: The real life subject of the book does more in one day than some of us do in a week, or even a month. The pace of her life blows me away. She holds a full-time day job, she models regularly, she's an active singer, and at the same time carries on a dizzying social life. Waking at 6:00AM and falling asleep at midnight are not uncommon for her. Having the book take place in one day was a way of showing the strength and stamina of the character, and the commitment she's made to live life fully.
Rich: The book is based on a real person can you tell us about her?
D.S.: On top of what I've already said about her here and in the book, the thing that stands out most to me is how genuine she really is. Definitely a 'what you see is what you get' person. But she's also very private, so she doesn't let everyone see everything. Allowing me to pull back the curtain to reveal a little of her life, desires and fantasies in my book was a major step for her. She's also terrible at promoting herself. Not embracing 'shameless self promotion', she basically puts her work out there and has told me that she's happy with it speaking for itself. She's committed to all that she does not committed to fame, fortune or global admiration. Some things that didn't make the book she loves to watch movies in her pyjamas, she loves Christmas and snow, she loves her mom. Some things that made the book she loves shopping and dressing up, she loves her cat, she loves to love.
Rich: There is a lot of sexual scenes in the book and they are handled tastefully was this intentional?
D.S.: There was just no other way to describe Dawn's sexual encounters. Even though Dawn appears to be dominant in some scenes, she's always aware of her partner's emotion and desire. She only asks for the same in return. Some people are afraid of emotion and intimacy not Dawn Dawn relishes the connection, but saves her strongest feelings for that special one. There are a few lines in the book that explain why Dawn uses certain words to describe male and female anatomy, she doesn't need flowery speech. Making love, whether with your mate or a stranger, doesn't require theatrics to disguise the emotion. Falling in love, even for a moment, is what Dawn embraces.
Rich: Who is Dawn, what is her character like in "From Dawn 'Til Midnight"?
D.S.: Dawn is happy with the life that she's surrounded herself with. She doesn't always like her job, but finds enjoyment in it. She's a dreamer that enjoys each moment of the dream, not just the climax. Dawn is someone that has found a way to fulfill her own desires, and at the same time fulfill the desires of others. Dawn is selfish in the way that she takes for herself, but selfless in the way that she gives to others.
Rich: How did you and Kelly Abbass end up collaborating on this book?
D.S.: Collaborating is an interesting way of putting it. Kelly lived I wrote. I've known Kelly for years, and as friends you share certain intimate details of life. If I would have sat down with her and told her that I wanted to write a book about some of those details, I doubt that it would have come to pass. Once I told her that I wanted to publish, Kelly started looking over my shoulder, but she didn't read any more than the first chapter until the entire book was completed. When she did read the rest, she didn't change a thing. We did collaborate on the cover.
Rich: How do you think the cover turned out?
D.S.: Personally, I love it. I didn't realize that it would cause controversy and be banned from certain retailers. Kelly helped me on the cover. We had tried a number of different ideas and photos, but when we found the photo of her taken by Jim McAvoy, we both loved how it represented the book. Dawn is an everyday person who also happens to be a nude model, and an actively sexual woman living an exhausting life. The photo said it all. When the cover started getting banned, Kelly and I discussed changing it. There was no way we could it's a beautiful work of art.
Rich: What do you think makes a great writer?
D.S.: I think that if you can take someone somewhere and let them take it further in their own mind, you've accomplished something. A picture needs to be painted, but everyone needs to see it on a personal level. Some writers describe scenes in such detail that nothing is left to the imagination. I would much rather hear a hundred thousand personal interpretations than to see one collective mind. Writing books, music, movies the end result has to be a personal experience for the reader or viewer.
Rich: Are there any other authors you admire?
D.S.: Elizabeth George, Jane Dunn, Julia Fox, Jack Cavanaugh, Michael West, Anne Rice I've been lost in the worlds they've created, or recreated in the case of the historical novels and biographies. My 'first love' author would be Jules Verne. I so admired his work that when I was require to do a book report when I was ten I chose 'The Moon Voyage' a compilation of his two books 'From the Earth to the Moon' and 'Around the Moon'. The pictures he created were so vivid that I asked my teacher if I could write a book report on each individual chapter, not just the whole book. It became an arduous labour of love, but the images of that book still run through my mind.
Rich: Will there be a next chapter in "From Dawn 'Til Midnight"?
D.S.: That's something I've been asked ever since the book came out. It wasn't something that I had originally planned on, but as I wrote 'From Dawn 'Til Midnight' I started thinking about tomorrow. I'm interested in Dawn and the rest of the characters that were introduced into her life. I'd like to take a deeper look at the individuals and how the relationships have progressed. There are also more characters and relationships that can be explored. Kelly's life definitely provides incentive for me to keep writing. So little could be told in a day.
Rich: Have you ever been published before?
D.S.: Not like this. I see my lyrics out there. And the different promo and bio work that I've done for others pops up on the internet and in print occasionally. Also, a couple of short stories that I hope no one ever finds. LOL But this is a new experience for me. Something I secretly dreamed of but never imagined.
Rich: How can someone contact you?
D.S.: Well, you can find my page on Facebook facebook.com/FromDawnTilMidnight or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rich: How do you feel about the readers of your work?
D.S.: I wish I knew more about them. The first thing that hits me when I read a review is Wow, somebody read my book!, and then I start thinking about who they are. I love when someone writes to me about their experience with my book. It doesn't matter if they loved it or hated it, when I see that someone has taken the time to give 'From Dawn 'Til Midnight' a read, I can't help but feel gracious.