Dani Haviland - A Beautiful Love Story Set in the Alaskan Wilderness
Determined to get her story published, Dani Haviland jumped into the newly discovered ocean of self-publishing in 2011 and has been surfing it ever since, having reached USA Today Bestselling author twice in the last three years. Although she grew up in Arizona, Dani now splits her time between Alaska and Oregon, writing, publishing, and promoting while claiming to be 'retired.' As our Author of the Day, Haviland tells us all about her book, One Arctic Summer
Please give us a short introduction to what One Arctic Summer is about.
A college intern finds herself in an Arctic village without money or friends. A local medic heals both her body and soul.
Why did you pick Alaska in summer as the setting for your story?
I actually visited the same town at the same time (1994) where the story takes place. There really was an archaeological dig going on, too. I love being able to incorporate people and places, sites and smells, I have encountered.
Your story takes off 24 years after the initial meeting. Why the time lapse?
This is a second chance romance. Even though their lives had changed, their love stayed strong.
Readers report that your descriptions of the Alaskan village, wilderness and native people are very realistic. How did you pull this off?
I always try to have firsthand experience on whatever topic I write about. I was in Barrow in 1994 and have lived in or visited many parts of the state.
What makes Alexandria and Rocky such a great match?
Rocky was raised the traditional Inupiat way, able to see a person, not just their clothes or social status. Alexandria didn’t have a clue that she really was a good person until Rocky brought that out in her. On the outside, they were opposites. Their souls were destined to find each other according to Rocky’s vision. If he hadn’t ‘known’ she might be the one, he might not have pursued her.
Do any of your characters eve r take off on their own tangent, refusing to do what you had planned for them?
All the time! I knew about the love interest, but Grandma and a few others popped in, adding local color to the story.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I love photography and roses. I play around with images, creating memes with backgrounds of pictures I have taken from Arizona to Alaska. If there are roses (or anything else botanical) around, I love to include them, too.
Is there something that compels you to write? And do you find that writing helps you achieve a clarity about yourself or ideas you've been struggling with?
I started writing books around 2008 but took a while to publish them. Writing still makes me feel empowered. I have control of people, places, and events that in real life are beyond me. I based the lead character in my first book (Naked in the Winter Wind, free) on me. She was 60 and overweight. I had her overdosed with Fountain of Youth elixir so she was young and fit but with the wisdom of her true age. I couldn’t do all that in one gulp, so I did it vicariously with Evie. That series is still ongoing, too.
Is there an underlying message you wish to relay about basic human nature through your characters?
Yes. I always try to give my characters hope. If they don’t have it, I introduce them to others who do have it so they can help them through their dilemmas.
In real life, do you believe that love conquers all?
Love, a cool cloth, and a long drink of water will cure just about everything.
What did you have the most fun with when writing this book?
The most fun I had was after I wrote the book. The taxi driver in the story was based on a real woman. She was on Johnny Carson a long time ago (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDFhOK-3Me0&t=1064s – see 1:50). She gave him an oosik as a gift. I visited her and gave her a copy of the book, reading to her the excerpts that pertained to her. That smile was priceless and worth every word written.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? Favorite writing spot, sources of inspiration, pen or laptop, notes?
I always try to have a steno-style notebook with me when traveling (I go back and forth to Alaska a lot). When at home, I’m in my recliner, typing on my laptop, the excel spreadsheet with the story layout open on the right, the current chapter I’m writing on the left. When an idea hits, I plug it in somewhere on the spreadsheet, ready to expand into a chapter at a later time. I also have an ongoing ‘Notes’ doc going. The thoughts go from my fingers to the keyboard or pen and paper. I could never do talk to text because I don’t think linearly.
What are you working on right now?
I’m finishing up Phoenix, I’m Not for the box set Unforgettable Intrigue box set (release date September 30).
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
My Amazon Author Page is the most comprehensive site right now for my published works. I just created a Facebook Group page (https://www.facebook.com/ChillOutDani/) so latest information should be there. I’m so busy writing and publishing box sets that I don’t have time to keep up with my website.
An interesting fact: I am also a publisher! Chill Out! Books has published over 40 box sets. Have you ever heard of these series: The Unforgettables, Sweet and Sassy, A She’ll Remember and the latest two, Invincible and Irresistible? I have stories in some of these, but all the sets are chock full of great romances, some spicier or sweeter than the last, scarier or more endearing, but all are Unforgettable. Check them out. They’re free to read with Kindle Unlimited, too.