MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHORS D.B. GREEN AND A.K. STEIN!
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
D.B. Green. (aka Dan) The genre I write in is contemporary fantasy.
A.K. Stein (aka Amanda). I consider these books to be contemporary fantasy or urban fantasy.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
Dan – Our new Cassie Collins series features a character mentioned in my Meridia Falls series. Cassie is the sister of the main character from that series. Cassie Collins and the Magic Hearts came from an idea for a single scene, where a woman spontaneously combusts in the middle of a café. From that one scene me and Amanda developed the entire series.
Amanda – I loved feeling the story come to life by really examining the characters with Dan. We would bounce ideas back and forth with each other, imaging how characters would react in various situations, and we really let a lot of their personalities drive the narrative.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
Dan – I’ve always loved reading fantasy novels, as well as watching fantasy related TV series and movies. I’m a huge Doctor Who fan, so I guess I can blame that for my love of the genre.
Amanda – I’ve also always been a massive fan of fantasy. I was obsessed with watching The Hobbit cartoon when I was a toddler, which lead to me reading Tolkien when I was a teen. After that, I was completely smitten. And since then, things like Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and Lev Grossman’s novels have just cemented my love even more.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Dan – The series builds on elements already established in my Meridia Falls series, and another soon to be published novel series. I’m a huge theme park and Orlando fan, so mixing this with my love of contemporary fantasy was an easy choice to make. Visiting Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort several times proved great research for the theme park element to the series.
Amanda – I used to live in Orlando, Florida, so a lot of my research for this series comes from my own life. For more specific research, I’ve looked up stories about journalists who lost credibility career-wise, and I’ve done a lot of research on theme park menus!
Can you tell me about your Series?
Dan – Cassie Collins and the Magic Hearts is a 10-part, short story fantasy eBook series. It’s based around a theme park blogger in Orlando called Cassie Collins. Reviewers have called this a mix between Harry Potter and Mission Impossible
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
Dan – Book 5. It’s where the theme park mystery really kicks in, and you start to see the beginnings of Cassie and Nova’s relationship.
Amanda – I’m a big sucker for Book 7. I’m a big lover of intense character growth in the midst of chaos around them, and I there’s a lot of that in this book.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
Dan – This came purely from my love of Orlando and theme parks. I always wanted to write a Cassie Collins series, and she seemed to fit perfectly into this setting.
Amanda – My inspiration has mainly come from the characters themselves. Sometimes, I’m convinced that they’re the ones writing this story instead of us.
Was it always meant to become a series?
Dan – Definitely yes.
Amanda – Absolutely!
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
Dan – On a writing day, I always set a minimum of 2000 words. For these Cassie books, I often doubled, sometimes trebled this target. I love writing them so much. I tend to first draft early in the morning (about 5.30am onwards) and then in the afternoon I edit. In every waking (and sleeping) minute some story or another is always bubbling away in my mind.
Amanda – I’m really big into spending a lot of time percolating, daydreaming, and imagining the story. Then, I tend to snuggle up in the evening with a candle, tea, and snacks, and write late into the night.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
Dan – We have just planned out the next Cassie Collins book. It’s called Cassie Collins and the Wild Shamrock. It’s a prequel of sorts. I’m also working on Meridia Falls series 2 at the same time.
Amanda – I’m so eager to start on Cassie Collins and the Wild Shamrock! I’m also working a lot of poetry and short stories at the moment.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
Dan – They are ALL important. Each name means something and has been carefully thought out. It’s a fun process, take a character from the Cassie Collins series, Shelley Novak. She has a nickname Nova. As she has a relationship with Cassie, we wanted a cute name for them both. So, we had Cassienova as a play on Casanova.
Amanda – Totally agree with Dan. I’m all about character names. They have to mean something to me and to the story, but they also have to feel “right” for the character. Something, what seems like the perfect name just doesn’t mesh with a character’s personality.
Where do your ideas come from?
Dan – I get a lot of ideas from dreams and half-forgotten memories that balloon into full blown epic stories.
Amanda – I really like to start with a general theme, or a character, and have the rest of the story evolve from there.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
Dan – I’d like to write a thriller without any fantasy element.
Amanda – I’d love to write a YA fantasy that is a little more light and frothy versus dark.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Dan – Raining in all the plot elements I want to use and not enough hours in the day.
Amanda – Not having all day to write. There’s nothing I want more than to be able to devote all day, every day, to daydreaming, plotting, and writing.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
Dan – Do I like book trailer. Take a look at my YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/dbgreen I make tons of trailers for each book. This is the link for the Cassie Collins series trailer.
Amanda – I love what Dan does for our book trailers! I think it’s such a unique way of celebrating the tone of a story.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Dan – I’d say working with Amanda on this 10-part Cassie Collins series. Writing and publishing a new book every week for 10 weeks and having the first part become a worldwide best seller. It’s a great feeling and one I’ve absolutely loved sharing with Amanda.
Amanda – I agree with Dan. Plus, it’s been wonderful getting to work with another writer this consistently. I couldn’t be more proud of what we have done together.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
Dan – Creating characters and new worlds for them all to play in, and seeing readers reactions to these characters.
Amanda – Books and stories have always meant so much to me, and have helped give me hope, comfort, and courage throughout my life. I love writing because it feels like a way to give back. I feel like everything I write is a message in a bottle, and I’m always optimistic that the bottle will find the person who needs it.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Dan – I still want to be writing for my fictional universe, but me an Amanda are also looking to develop our stories into TV series. We are already working on the pilot scripts.
Amanda – I would love for writing to be my life ten years from now. Screenplays, TV series, novels – I’m full of so many ideas and want to get to share them all.
Have you always liked to write?
Dan – Always, yes. I remember re-writing Star Wars into a school exercise book when I was 8. I can still remember the proud feeling of reaching 20 pages. I’ve been writing in some form or another ever since that point.
Amanda – Absolutely. I was acting out stories before I was capable of writing. I would watch a show on tv, and then gather all my action figures and toys and retell the story in a way I thought was more dramatic and fun. (It nearly always involved the death of a character and the others going on a revenge quest.)
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Dan – Never give up and just keep writing. And keep reading too. Read as many books as you can. They’re the best kind of research, especially ones in you chosen genre.
Amanda – Definitely agree with Dan to keep reading and keep writing. Also, try and find other writers for emotional support. Writing can be a lonely career, and the right writer friends can make all the difference.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
Dan – Being a Graphic Designer at heart, I’d love to draw comics.
Amanda – I’d love to be an actor. To me, acting feels like really intensive reading.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
Dan – Yes, I do read them. I don’t consider bad reviews as bad. Whatever anyone doesn’t like is more often than not a good point that I take on board and try to rectify next time.
Amanda – I love getting feedback, so I read all the reviews I can find. I’m with Dan; I take bad reviews as a chance to learn and grow.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
Dan – Writing the book blurb.
Amanda – Writing my author’s bio. I love writing about nearly anything but myself.
What are you working on now?
Dan – Right now, I’m starting work on the series finale of Cassie Collins and the Magic Hearts.
Amanda – I’m working on the ending of Cassie Collins and the Magic Hearts as well, and I’m also polishing some poetry to prepare for performances.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
Dan – I can give you a line from it. “I can’t stop the numbers. They’re gonna hit zero and there’s nothing I can do.”
Amanda – I think Dan’s is the perfect morsel. I’ll also add the warning that you may want to keep tissues handy.
Why did you choose to write in your genre? If you write in more than one, how do you balance them?
Dan – Blame Doctor Who, lol. That is what started my love of the fantasy genre.
Amanda – I love the themes you can explore with fantasy. It offers up so many potentials for new ways to tell a story.
Where did your love of books come from?
Dan – Again, blame Doctor Who. When I was growing up, before video, DVD’s and streaming, there was a range of Doctor Who books by Target. These were around 120 pages long and were great to read as a kid. I collected tons of them.
Amanda – My mom’s friend was a teacher when I was a toddler, and she would bring over extra books that the school was getting rid of, so I managed to have quite a collection going from a young age. I fell in love immediately, and would make my parents read me three to four stories a night, sometimes.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Dan – I love J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter books. I re-read them a lot. I also like to read anything by Dan Brown. The Da Vinci Code being my favourite of his. Also, Teri Terry, especially her Slated series. It was this series that helped me solidify my own take on the first person POV.
Amanda – Rowling as well for me. Tolkien, Douglas Adams, Lev Grossman, Ursula K. Le Guin. I also love Jane Austen and Shakespeare.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
Dan – It’s a funny one this. The one I’m currently writing for is always my favorite. Cassie Collins will take a lot to be shaken from her current place at the top of my list. But I guess that will change once I start work on Meridia Falls series 2. My favorite from that series is Marilyn Moreau (Maz to her friends).
Amanda – I’m so, so partial to my character Charlie from a novel and screenplay I’ve been working on, Destroyer. She’s a character who has gone through more than anyone deserves, and she still manages to be strong as she attempts to figure out who—and what—she is.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Dan – Totally energizes me. I love it. Every aspect of it.
Amanda – Absolutely energizes me. Sometimes I can feel a bit worn out physically or mentally, but I always feel emotionally energized by it.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Dan – Too many ideas.
Amanda – Self-doubt.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Dan – Totally original. 100%
Amanda – Original. Or really, I try hard to focus on what I think the story wants.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Dan – Amanda always helps me. Initially with her amazing editing of my Meridia Falls series, and now as a co-writer. I’d be lost without out. I’m friends with a few other authors too and we help each other when we hit plot problems. I’ve recently been helping an awesome author, Carla Reighard, with the re-launch of her mermaid fantasy duology, Travelers.
Amanda – Dan, for sure. He’s been such a support and encouragement, and it’s fantastic the way we can dive into the nitty gritty of any piece of writing together. I also get a lot of support from Cassandra Malloch, who is a brilliant YA writer. We love to send each other pieces we’ve written and hash out ideas together.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Dan – “Too Many Ideas.”
Amanda – “Please Don’t Make Me Write This Bio”
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
Dan – That’s a tough one. Who is your favorite super-hero. My answer would be Wonder Woman. There’s a lot of Wonder Woman influences in my books.
Amanda – I’d love to be asked with Hogwarts house I’m in. My answer would be that my canon house is Slytherin, and my non-canon house is Slytherclaw.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Dan – I always answer any questions. You can find me anywhere below.
Amanda – You can find me at:
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️