It’s great to have Daniel Harvell, the author ‘The Survivors‘ for an interview on Terraverum today! Getting to know a little more about this exciting book, I’ve asked Daniel a few questions to shed light on this intruiging story as well as his own writing experience.
Where did your idea for ‘The Survivors’ come from? I’ve always loved superheroes, but I wondered what super humans would be like in the real world. They definitely wouldn’t put on spandex and probably wouldn’t even fight crime. I started playing out the idea in my head and soon had my seven characters. For the title, I’m a big believer in the KISS philosophy: Keep It Simple, Stupid. These seven survive a plane crash. They’re the survivors. Voila!
Tell us a little more about your book, please. When seven strangers miraculously survive a plane crash, they become endowed with paranormal abilities. They go about their separate lives and they story explores what having these powers does to the characters, and how they have each use them to their own personal benefit (or demise). When the seven realize that one of their number is on a killing spree, the survivors begin to reunite to follow the clues to the murderer. But they all have secrets—any one of them could be the guilty (and deranged) party.
Where did the idea for your fantastic book cover originate? Christoph Michaud of 7Reed Design created the cover. We talked back and forth a lot about it and, together, came up with a pretty rocking piece of art. He’s an incredible talent. I have a poster-sized copy of the cover on my wall, and it never fails to get compliments.
Did personal experiences contribute or was it mostly imagination? Personal experiences definitely ruled the day. The overarching plotline was all imagination, of course, but the characters’ lives, trauma and characteristics were often born from my life.
Do you have a favourite character and why? Any scene with Dale Sadler made me happy. He’s so pompous and outspoken – I couldn’t (and wouldn’t) ever say the things he spews out … but it sure is fun to write!
Did you find it easier to write some characters more than others? None of the characters were particularly difficult – I pulled from a variety of sources (mostly friends) to make them come to life. The one I was most nervous about writing, though, was Megan. She’s a 12-year-old girl, and I know almost nothing about them!
Are your characters based on people you know or have you just taken something here and there to add to your literary tapestry? There are touches of myself in the lead character, Dakota. My mother’s faith resonates with Annabelle. Those are the two strongest reflections of real world people, but it’s almost impossible to write a character without having them echo something you’ve personally felt or experienced.
How long did it take you to write this book and what is your writing process like? The novel only took a handful of months to write, but it took years before I’d learned enough to refine it into the publishable material that it is today.
I’m a firm believer in outlining. That’s not to say that I won’t change or add a plot point mid-stream, but I really think a story is stronger if a writer knows all of the basic facts going into it. I think foreshadowing is an essential element in novels, and you can’t have it without a proper outline (or working backwards, but that’s a messy and time-consuming process).
Are there any ‘writing rituals’ that you rely upon? I don’t have any specific rituals other than making time every single day to write something. I prefer writing in the morning when I’m more energetic and my mind is clear (well, more clear than other times of the day!). Writing is a discipline, so it requires daily attention!
Is there a specific reason why you wrote ‘The Survivors’? Like many writers, I had the idea for my book, and I just had to get it out. There’s something extremely rewarding in having your story become “real” on the computer screen. We don’t, however, just do it for the reward (whatever that may be) – we often do it because we have an undeniable need to write.
If you could sit down and have a conversation with one of your characters, who would it be and what do you think you would talk about? Good question! It’s funny that these are my characters, but I’d actually have many questions for them. But if I could only choose one, it would likely be Beverly. She suffers an enormous loss in the book, and my heart broke for her. I’d want to listen to stories about her family and do whatever I could to be a friend.
How long have you been writing and has it been something that has always interested you? I loved books as a kid. I would read anything given to me. One night in fourth grade, I had an extremely vivid dream that I wanted to share with my friends. So I decided to write it down and pass it around to my classmates. It was a big hit, and I fell in love with the idea of being a storyteller.
What author has been an inspiration to you, as a writer? J. K. Rowling inspired me to get back to writing when I was ready to give it up. She crafted such an amazingly detailed world with Harry Potter – it took me back to the reasons I fell in love with being a storyteller at ten years old.
Is there another book that you are working on that we can look forward to? I’ve got a young adult novel, which will probably be out next month. I’m also currently writing the sequel to The Survivors – so many exciting twists and turns ahead!
What little word of advice would you give to up-and-coming authors? Always believe in yourself, even when faced with rejection. Allow yourself time to grow as a writer – it will happen but not overnight. Be persistent but with the understanding that there’s always room to learn and grow.
Where is your book available to purchase and are there other websites or pages that interested readers can follow you on?