Interview with Danica Winters
Welcome to Under the Covers Book Blog, Danica! We are so excited to talk to you about your Irish Traveller series. This is a fun new concept with a dash of paranormal!
ONCE A GYPSY is the first book in the series and starts the story of Helena. How would you describe her?
Helena is a character who spoke deeply to me. She is like so many of us in that she has been held back by her past and in order to move forward she has to accept what she cannot change and not be hindered by the judgment or actions of others.
Throughout the book she moves from being a girl who thinks some dreams are too big to hope for (thanks to the limitations of her culture and background), to a woman who realizes the dreams of a girl are too small for the powerful woman she is to become.
Though I am aware she is only a character, with each book within her story I grow to love her more and more. She is growing and changing, ever evolving into a woman I am proud to know. In a way, she is all of us, struggling to make the right choices and find the path she is meant to wander.
Obviously the setting is a huge part of this book. What is your favorite thing about Ireland?
Oh wow, do I have to pick one thing?
I have always been drawn to Ireland.
There is truly something magical about the Emerald Isle and that magic was, and continues to be, an impetus for this series. Each project makes me more enamored by the country, its history, and the cultures within its borders.
Additionally, my husband’s grandmother was from Ireland and before her passing I had the opportunity to hear some of her stories. Her passion for her culture and her heritage pushed me into thinking about this project and everything seemed to grow from that point.
This is certainly a book of the heart.
Just as important I think is the Traveller culture. What was it about this in particular that felt the right combination for this series and what research did you do to keep it accurate?
The Traveller culture was the central focus of Once a Gypsy and as the series progresses the culture’s values and roles will impact her choices, yet (without giving too much away) she is going to start moving outside of her cultural mores while also being deeply engrained in what it inherently means to be a Traveller. It will be fun for readers to watch as she changes.
As for keeping the books accurate, I actually have been working with Travellers from Ireland since 2012. Over the years, I have been interacting with their blogs and emailing people within the community. There are also organizations for Travellers welfare in Ireland that I have gone to for information and current events. The fire in Once a Gypsy was my way of incorporating events that were happening in Ireland when I worked on this book (though, the book did not play out in the same way as the fire in Carrickmines).
I have said it before, but this was truly an eye-opening experience. It was incredible to learn about their plight and the difficulties they face in their country—education standards and how it is direct opposition to their nomadic lifestyle, poverty, job availability, and bigotry are huge parts of their lives.
In the world today, I think their story can resonate with many. We are at a tipping point and it is my personal belief that we need to open our minds and our hearts and educate ourselves in order to overcome hatred.
It is my goal that this book and series can help change one person’s life. Perhaps it will help someone realize their inner-strength or it can help someone come to learn that we are all people—we love, we hate, we fight, we struggle, we dream. It is our similarities that must bring us together and allow us to see past race, culture, and gender.
In this first book Helena is just coming into her powers as well as dealing with a lot of personal and emotional changes. What can we expect from the next book in the series?
I’ve hinted in my answers, but Helena is going to continue and grow. She is going to be a woman we can all look at and love. She is sincere. She is kind. Yet, she is going to become stronger in her beliefs and conviction. She will find the strength to fight those who wish to make her submit and she yet she will learn to be able to be open and vulnerable to those who wish to raise her up with the power of their love and commitment.
What was your favorite thing about writing this story?
Unintentionally, this book comes as at a time when her Traveller plight parallels many of our own. Just like Helena, we must find the strength to stand up for what we believe in and stand against what we abhor.
This is paranormal week at UTC and as a writer of the genre, what is it about it that draws you in?
I love the fact that I don’t have to be limited by reality. I can make anything come to fruition if I have the power to imagine it. It’s an incredible freedom to be able to write whatever my heart desires.
What are some of your favorite books/authors in this genre?
Oh, I love/hate this question. There are SO many great authors. First, I had the chance to meet Charlaine Harris a few years ago. She is one of my idols. So she gets my #1 spot. In fact, almost a decade ago, I wrote her a fan letter telling her how much I loved her books and how she made me want to become an author. Here I am, years later getting to do book signings with her! Life is truly amazing.
What’s next for you?
I am currently wrapping up everything for book 2 in this series, Always a Wanderer. However, I also write for Harlequin Intrigue and have a book coming out with them (romantic suspense) in February entitled, Wild Montana (the third book in a connected series).
Beyond that, I’m writing novels that will be coming out next winter (Book 3 of the Irish Traveller Series and an entirely new four book series for Harlequin) and thinking up ideas for another new series! I’m a busy writer, and love creating great books and characters for my readers. I want to make them happy (and turning the pages)!
Thanks for taking the time and sharing with us today.
Thank you for having me. I appreciate you taking the time to have me. I know how much work goes into blogging, your efforts are appreciated.
And to the readers, thank you for stopping by. Everything I do is for you.
by Danica Winters
Released: November 1st 2016
Series: The Irish Traveller #1
Published by Diversion Publishing
Helena has never fit in with her Irish Traveller family. Aside from her opposition to marriage and her determination to attend university, Helena has the gift of the Forshaw, the ability to see the future.
Graham is the groundskeeper at a manor in Adare, Ireland. Though the estate appears idyllic, it holds dark secrets, and despite his own supernatural gifts, Graham can t solve Adare Manor s problems by himself. Desperate for help, Graham seeks out a last resort: Helena, whose skills are far greater than she knows.
When he promises to teach her to control her powers, Helena resists, afraid both of the damage her abilities might do and her increasing attraction to the handsome groundskeeper. Her entire way of life is at risk: Any involvement, especially romantic, with non-gypsies like Graham is forbidden. But fate has other plans for Helena s clairvoyance and her relationship with Graham ."