An Interview with Author Daco Auffenorde
We are pleased to be a part of the book tour for Killer Nashville Noir running through the month of November. As part of the tour, we reviewed her short story, and subsequently, Daco gave us an interview. You can read our review here. Below the interview you will find more details about Daco, the book, and the virtual tour sponsored by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.
How did you first become involved with Killer Nashville (KN)?
I first learned about the Killer Nashville Conference last year from a friend who’d been asked to write an article for KN Blog. It sounded like fun, so I wrote one, too. It’s called Rolling. Speed. Action. Cut! … Darn, Take Two! Rewriting and the Zen of Film, and is about the importance of rewriting and self-editing. Clay Stafford was kind enough to publish it. I was also pleased to find that this organization was located in my neck of the woods: I live in Huntsville, Alabama, only one hundred miles away. So, it was easy to become a part of the KN family.
Is this your first year or do you attend annually?
I first attended the conference in 2014. I had the honor of sitting on a panel about romantic suspense with fellow authors, including Mary Burton and Tina DC Hayes. This year will be my second conference. I’ll be on a panel called Using Short Stories and Articles to Promote Your Novel, and I’ll also participate in the KN Book Con for Killer Nashville Noir: Coldblooded and the Writing Life.
What is your favorite part of the event?
I love meeting new people, and the KN Conference is a fabulous place to connect. I find at this conference people are accessible and down to earth. I didn’t get to take advantage of the “murder crime scene” room last year, so this year I really want to take a stab at that. It’s one of the hands-on events that make KN unique. I have a feeling that the crime scene will become a yearly ritual for me.
The Virgo Affair was very entertaining. Is it a prequel to The Libra Affair?
Thank you. Yes, Virgo is a prequel to Libra. After I learned that Clay Stafford was going to release a KN Anthology, I immediately knew this was a project that I wanted in on. I decided to write a short story featuring CIA operative Jordan Jakes, the heroine in Libra. The Libra Affair begins with Jordan breaking up with her asset-turned-love interest, Ben Johnson, a NASA scientist and pacifist. Readers often ask me how Jordan and Ben originally got together. The Virgo Affair tells that story.
If we want to follow the story along, and the relationship between Jordan and Ben, what order should we read your books and novellas?
If a reader wants to go chronologically, I’d suggest starting with Virgo, moving to Libra, and then reading The Pisces Affair, a thriller-meets-sci-fi short story that has won several awards. That being said, I write all my Jordan Jakes stories as stand alones. I think of each story as a separate mission, which has a distinctive beginning and end. So, the stories could really be read in any order. The next Jordan Jakes novel, The Scorpio Affair, is ready to be placed with a publisher and is also a standalone.
Do you plan on continuing the series?
Yes. As I mentioned, I’ve just completed The Scorpio Affair. And there are many signs of the Zodiac left to explore!
I see you write both science fiction and mystery thrillers. How did you come to do both?
While my passion is writing thrillers, last year I was asked to participate with a consortium of authors, called The Alvarium Experiment. Each author wrote a short story that centers around Prometheus, a space probe sent to earth to observe mankind through the ages. My story is The Pisces Affair. I learned from the experience that I enjoy crossing genres. In fact, I just completed a novel, Electromancer, that will be released in the coming months, and that features a superhero, a thriller-like plot, and a romance. The story is told in the vein of DC Comics and Marvel.
Do you prefer one over the other?
As I said, I really enjoy writing in different genres. I will definitely continue to write thrillers, and if my superhero story takes off, I’ll likely continue on with a series. I’m also working on two children’s books.
What is the hardest part of writing when it is science fiction?
The challenge in writing sci-fi is making the science seem plausible. It’s not just creating a new world—you also have to create fascinating characters.
Will you please share your background with us, and what drew you to become a writer?
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, a Master of Administrative Science, and a Juris Doctorate in Law. I still practice law, but have always wanted to write stories. I started my first novel in law school, but set it aside for family and career. It’s great that I’ve reached a point in life now where I can really focus on my writing.
I believe you are still a practicing lawyer too. How do you manage to fit in both?
My law professor once told our class that to reach the top as a lawyer, you’ve got to court the jealous mistress. When first starting out, you have to give your law practice everything you’ve got. But in time, you become a more efficient lawyer, and so you begin to have time for the extras. To have a career in writing, you have to court the pen. You pick it up and write whenever you can, whether it’s first thing in the morning or at lunch. You just have to write a bit every day.
What would you be doing if you were not writing?
Studying art history and learning to paint. If I had my late father’s aptitude, I’d study cosmology and try to solve the mysteries of particle theory and quantum mechanics. I love everything about science.
What do you find the most difficult about writing mystery suspense?
When writing suspense, you have to make sure that the story moves at a fast pace so that it keeps the reader turning pages. That means you have to keep the tension high while still creating three-dimensional, believable, interesting characters.
What are you working on now?
I am about to move full speed ahead joining with another author, Robert Rotstein, in writing a noir legal thriller. We were about a quarter of the way into the story but had to set it aside to meet other obligations and deadlines. Now, we’ve cleared our plate enough to make it the main entrée.
When you are writing, do you find several more ideas for books come to mind?
Absolutely. It seems like every day I have new ideas pop up. Only this morning, I had an idea for a mainstream literary fiction short story. It’ll be something different, something that I’ve never done. There’s not enough time in the day to get everything written that I’d like to write. I still have half a dozen or more full-length novels in draft form waiting to be edited. I like to think of them as kneaded bread just waiting to rise.
What do you do with all those ideas? Little black book? Computer notes? Post its?
When I have an idea for a story, I open a designated folder on my computer, give it a name, open a word document, format it, and leave it there until I can get to it. When the computer is inaccessible, I might scribble something on a cocktail napkin, Post-it, or anything that will preserve ink.
Outline or character driven?
If I outline, I typically use a few words that tell me what I want a chapter to be about. Very often before I write a story, I’ll have the entire plot worked out in my mind.
How well do you know your characters before you start writing them?
I typically know my main characters before I begin a story: what they look like, how they speak, their motivations, their flaws. Then I let them develop as I write the story.
What sort of writing schedule do you keep? Number of hours or words? Certain times of
I like to start and complete a project the way a crow flies. If given the opportunity, I’ll write all day. Morning can be most productive, but evening with a glass of wine can be most creative.
What is your biggest distraction?
The biggest distractions are work and family, but those are also the most important priorities in life.
How much time do you spend on social media?
Too much! To paraphrase a character in my novel Electromancer, I have to be careful that I don’t slip past the event horizon and get spaghettified down to the singularity. My focus is on Facebook and Twitter, but I also use LinkedIn and Google+ as well. If I have an announcement or an award, I will post about it, but most of the time my posts aren’t about my stories but about my other interests.
Are there other special gatherings like Killer Nashville that you are involved in?
Yes. I also attend the International Thriller Writers Conference every year in New York City, where I’ve participated on panels. I recently joined the Mystery Writers of America. I just attended the Florida Writers Annual Conference, and have been a moderator at Left Coast Crime Conference. I’m also a member of the Romance Writers of America and have attended their annual conferences.
Killer Nashville Noir
on Tour November 2015
Bestselling authors Jeffery Deaver and Anne Perry join rising stars like Dana Chamblee Carpenter and Paul Gail Benson in a collection that proves Music City is a deadly place to be when your song gets called.
Featuring stories by: Donald Bain, Robert Dugoni, Jefferson Bass, Mary Burton, Jonathan Stone, Steven James, Maggie Toussaint, Clay Stafford, Heywood Gould, Jaden Terrell, and more…
Every year, some of the biggest names in the thriller world converge in Tennessee for the Killer Nashville conference, an event where stars of the genre rub elbows with their most devoted fans, where the bestsellers of tomorrow pick up tricks of the trade, and where some of the best writers of today swap dark tales of good deals gone bad, rights made wrong, and murder in all shades…
This collection of new stories features some of the biggest names in suspense, from bestsellers to ferociously talented newcomers. Grouped around the classic theme of murder, KILLER NASHVILLE NOIR: COLD-BLOODED is a first-class collection and a must-have for fans of the genre.
Genre: Mystery/Thriller Anthology
Published by: Diversion Publishing
Publication Date: October 27th 2015
Number of Pages: 300
ISBN: 1626818789 (ISBN13: 9781626818781)
Series: Killer Nashville
About the Author:
“The Virgo Affair” by DACO Operation Virgo calls for Daco’s recurring double-agent Jordan Jakes to seduce and fall in love with former NASA scientist Ben Johnson, who now spends his time crafting cocktails for his bar’s patrons. As the night goes on, and the spies begin to descend, Jakes quickly learns the only person she can trust is herself. Daco is a writer and attorney in Huntsville, Alabama.
Her international-spy thriller, The Libra Affair, was an Amazon #1 Bestseller (Suspense, Romantic Suspense). According to Publishers Weekly, The Libra Affair “intrigues with fast-paced, high-stakes action that forces the take-charge heroine to balance her clandestine mission with obligations to her heart.” Her short story The Pisces Affair, also featuring Jordan Jakes, is a 2015 Finalist, Florida Writers Royal Palm Literary Awards.
Publishers Weekly says of The Pisces Affair, “Jakes is a lively and witty narrator with the wits and skills of James Bond, and readers will savor her fresh perspective on being a woman in the male-dominated spy world.” Daco is a member of International Thriller Writers, Killer Nashville, and the Florida Writers.
Connect with DACO or on her website: http://www.authordaco.com