Romelia: WHEN DID YOU FIRST REALIZE YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER?
Danial Donai: It all started growing up very poor in the outback of Australia. Our old thunder-box; it was a make-shift outdoors toilet for those readers not familiar with crapping outside downunder. Called the shitter or crapper by most outback folks, this toilet was also the most feared abode of relief for me as a kid; it had an un-sturdily structure made of a bare wooden frame covered with rusty corrugated tin sheeting, the same as our shed only this place stunk to high heaven.
The toilet itself consisted of a splintery wooden seat attached to the top of a small makeshift drum which sat over a deep hole in the earth below, one I prayed I’d never fall into. I was so afraid to enter our crapper, as its interior housed dozens of poisonous spiders that waited their next victims from their sticky webbed lairs. I would only enter this foreboding place of nightmares by the forces of nature. I had to think of something fast to keep these creeping arachnids at bay whilst I attended to my business at hand, then it came to me like a flash of lightening – tell them a STORY and this will keep these eight-legged fanged assassins intrigued, I thought. It worked! They never advanced toward me while I was in that vulnerable position, the only problem was, I couldn’t tell them the same story twice or I thought they would no longer be intrigued with it and I would surely receive a deadly strike. So, with that in mind I would make up a new story every time I entered that thunder box and let me tell you, that’s a lot of stories and by the time we moved into town, my creative mind for storytelling was well imbedded into my DNA – A WRITER WAS BORN…
Romelia: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE A BOOK?
Danial Donai: My time writing time varies greatly depending what story and format I’m working on. When I have an idea in mind and I’ve decided to start on that inception, I will work constant twelve hours a day 5 to 6 days a week on the project at hand until the first draft is complete. Then there are always 3 or 4 drafts to follow;
For instance, a feature film screenplay for a 100 minutes of screen-time will take me around 6 to 8 weeks to write the first draft.
A 300 to 400 page novella will generally take me around 12 solid weeks.
When I am in creative writing mode I will always stock my pantry with enough tucker to last 6 days. My phone will be switched onto silent, I will only leave my office to eat, sleep and use the bathroom. On the 7th day is my Sabbath and I’ll hit the market and rest the mind. That process is continues until the writing is complete.
Romelia: WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INFORMATION OR IDEAS FOR YOUR BOOKS?
Danial Donai: I used to have a company called ‘Foreseen Films.’ The reason I called it this was because nearly everything I’ve ever written I had foreseen the story in a dream in full detail. I would be seated alone in a large movie theatre and I’d intently watch the complete story on the big screen. So, I always had a pen and paper on a night-stand next to me when I slept. Usually I’d awake around 3 or 4am with a vivid story still fresh in my mind and I’d quickly write the jest of it then return to my slumber. The next morning, I would awake and proceed to block out the new story on my computer.
Romelia: WHAT LITERARY PILGRIMAGES HAVE YOU GONE ON?
Danial Donai: I have been on many storytelling pilgrimages and always on my own. For example; I’ve been into jungles and deserts to meet and live with different indigenous tribes to help me understand their ways of life, all for a scene or story. I’ve spent many days and nights on old square-rigger sailing ships and deserted islands to tell a story of the past.
Romelia: WHAT IS THE FIRST BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY?
Danial Donai: I have read many books that made me shed a tear or two but the one book that really made me weep every time I read it was, The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks.
Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST UNETHICAL PRACTICE IN THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY?
Danial Donai: One of the main unethical practices in the publishing industry to me in my early days of writing and would be plagiarism. My work has been plagiarized on a few occasions over the years. The other would be the lack of honesty and genuine people in this industry.
Romelia: DOES WRITING ENERGIZE OR EXHAUST YOU?
Danial Donai: I would say it does both. I’m am full of energy and enthusiasm throughout the storytelling process, then by the completion I’m mentally spent for a day or two.
Romelia: WHAT ARE COMMON TRAPS FOR ASPIRING WRITERS?
Danial Donai: I think some of the traps would be;
Not totally dedicated to your craft of storytelling. You must write almost every day of every week, year after year, maybe even for the rest of your life. I personally write around two thousand words a day and have done for most of my storytelling life.
Another trap, would be to not write from your heart and to not read as much as you write.
Romelia: DOES A BIG EGO HELP OR HURT WRITERS?
Danial Donai: To be honest, I really think most egos can be mistaken for creative passion. You need to fall in love with your next idea, so madly that you squirrel time away, waste hours dreaming of the possibilities, be willing to forgive your project having tantrums and not do what it’s told and still be willing to give your creation time and sleepless nights. That passion, that self-belief, that almost desperate love has to be there to truly go through all the internal and external resistances that always come up to really make your thought a thing. Making ‘thoughts into things’ is a concept that you either have to get very good at, or source people who are willing to help you along the way. No piece of art, be it a film, a play, a TV series or an exhibition gets made and out into the wider world without a real sense of belief that this idea is brilliant, unusual and worth exploring. Ego is often misunderstood in the creative world. We all have seen those writers who boast about their next great project, which gives them some sort of gravitas and position, or worse an excuse to behave badly.
Romelia: WHAT IS YOUR WRITING KRYPTONITE?
Danial Donai: That would have to be a woman’s interruption, hu,hu.
Romelia: HAVE YOU EVER GOTTEN READER’S BLOCK?
Danial Donai: No, but I do find it easier to concentrate while writing then reading.
Romelia: DID YOU EVER CONSIDER WRITING UNDER A PSEUDONYM?
Danial Donai: No I never have.
Romelia: DO YOU TRY MORE TO BE ORIGINAL OR TO DELIVER TO READERS WHAT THEY WANT?
Danial Donai: I always, always try to be original. I write only with my heart, my imagination and my subconscious mind.
Romelia: DO YOU THINK SOMEONE COULD BE A WRITER IF THEY DON’T FEEL EMOTIONS STRONGLY?
Danial Donai: I can only say from my experience, that being a very emotional person myself helps me tremendously when writing about character and their interactions. I believe someone who feels no emotion has a disorder called ‘Schizoid personality disorder’ This one of many personality disorders. It can cause individuals to seem distant and emotionless, rarely engaging in social situations or pursuing relationships with other people. I think these people may find it hard to write the portrayal of character’s feelings unless they can experience these emotions first hand.
Romelia: WHAT OTHER AUTHORS ARE YOU FRIENDS WITH, AND HOW DO THEY HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER WRITER?
Danial Donai: I really don’t know any other Authors other than myself. I have never taken a writing class and basically keep to myself in this realm.
Romelia: DO YOU WANT EACH BOOK TO STAND ON ITS OWN, OR ARE YOU TRYING TO BUILD A BODY OF WORK WITH CONNECTIONS BETWEEN EACH BOOK?
Danial Donai: Most of my work has an open ending to the story. I get attached to a lot of my characters in a book or screenplay and enjoy bringing some of them back in the sequels.
Romelia: IF YOU COULD TELL YOUR YOUNGER WRITING SELF-ANYTHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Danial Donai: Dare to dream and never stop reaching for the stars…
Romelia: HOW DID PUBLISHING YOUR FIRST BOOK CHANGE YOUR PROCESS OF WRITING?
Danial Donai: It hasn’t changed my writing process.
Romelia: WHAT WAS THE BEST MONEY YOU EVER SPENT AS A WRITER?
Danial Donai: Buying a computer and a writing program.
Romelia: WHAT AUTHORS DID YOU DISLIKE AT FIRST BUT GREW INTO?
Danial Donai: Steven King.
Romelia: WHAT DID YOU DO WITH YOUR FIRST ADVANCE?
Danial Donai: NA
Romelia: WHAT WAS AN EARLY EXPERIENCE WHERE YOU LEARNED THAT LANGUAGE HAD POWER?
Danial Donai: NA
Romelia: WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT MAGAZINES FOR WRITERS TO SUBSCRIBE TO?
Danial Donai: I haven’t subscribed to any magazines for writers in the past. Maybe I should take a look at a few?
Romelia: FROM WHERE YOU GET INSPIRED WITH YOUR FIRST BOOK?
Danial Donai: My first book ‘The Night Flyers’ was based on a true story that was told to me from a good friend.
Romelia: DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN A FEW SENTENCES. TELL US SOMETHING WE DO NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU AND SOMETHING YOU HATE ABOUT THE WORLD.
Danial Donai: * I believe strongly in Jesus and our heavenly father and what we can learn from the Holy Bible. This in itself has made me the honest, caring and loving person I am today.
* I once was a Hollywood stuntman for 25 years and worked closely with many of the stars.
*One of the things I don’t like about our world is the Tyranny within it.