We’re well matched up, Gina Danna and myself.
First, she loves horses. My dad put me on a saddle when I was 5, and that was it.
Then, I studied Law in college, only to end up with an MD in History of Law. At some point, I realized I cared much more about how law reflects the health of a country through times than using it. Also, I’m too laid back to be a good lawyer. Life is too short.
Gina is a historian who, unlike me, has the guts to set a story in the past. And it does take guts, if only for the sheer amount of research you have to do for it. And her books sure hit all the right buttons. Being Italian, I want to read about gladiators. And how do vampires work in a regency novel? An ex sex-slave nobleman?
Her newest jewel, a novel set in one of the bloodiest (and my favorite) times of America’s history, the Civil War, promises to have enough drama to keep me turning the kindle pages.
So, let’s learn something more about Gina.
Vivi – Has your environment or upbringing colored your writing?
Gina – I’m a historian by education and, at times, by profession, and a living historian. Yeah, it affects how I write.
V – The strangest thing you ever researched for your book.
G – What Romans wore to the baths in 108 A.D. (discovered they wore bikinis similar to what you see today; amazing!)
V – Do you have any hidden or uncommon talent that helps or makes it harder to write the story?
G – Knowing too much on the time period/subject like the Civil War (it needs to be accurate and being a historian with a strong interest in the CW, I’m my own worst critique so…).
V – What do you struggle the most with when you write the story? Research, plotting, keeping the people in it at bay?
G – Research, because I want info now but it takes time. Frustrating.
V – Do you always have the reins of the story, or the people in it try to take over?
G – I wish I had the reins…. But sometimes, the characters have the solution to a scene that I can’t find.
V – What is your least favorite part of writing a story?
V – What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
G – See my horse – either riding or just spending time with him.
V – Your writing style in ten words or less.
G – Just write, for better or worse!
V – Which other writer you consider a mentor?
G – Bob Mayer.
V – Do you have a day job?
G – Yes. I am a Customer Service Agent at Southwest Airlines.
V – If you didn’t write, and could pick your profession, what would it be?
G – Museum Educator/Interpreter at National Parks.
V – If you could cast Hollywood actors for the adaptation of your latest story, who would they be?
G – Russell Crow or Channing Tatum (who was my visual for my gladiator).
V – How long does it take to write a story?
G – Depends. 3 months to 9 to 12. Depending on how much is plotted out prior to writing it.
V- Pen or computer.
G – Computer!
V – Music or silence.
G – Silence.
V – Alone or in public.
G – Prefer alone.
V – Outline or just write.
G – I’ve done both; outline makes it easier but can’t always do that so…
V – What is your work schedule like when you write a story?
G – Try to squeeze as much as possible with work/life.
V – Do you drink or smoke?
G – I work Customer Service for an Airline – of course I drink! LOL
V – If you could have any accent from anywhere in the world, which would it be?
G – England or Australia.
Here’s an excerpt of The Wicked North.
Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can, and strike him as hard as you can. And keep moving on! General U.S. Grant
Virginia, June 1862
Emma Silvers was not afraid to shoot Yankees.
She leveled the .57 caliber Enfield rifle at the line of blue coats standing before her porch at Rose Hill that evening. She counted ten men, fully armed and wielding torches. They reeked of wet wool, sweat and gun powder–a noxious mixture combined with the scent of pink roses surrounding the house. Bile rose in her throat. She swallowed hard.
The officer took a step forward. In the dim light, she couldn’t discern his face, though she saw him flinch as she pointed the muzzle at him.
“I want you off my land, now,” she demanded, her voice remarkably even despite her pounding heart. At twenty-two years and virtually alone, she knew one able-bodied man could easily overwhelm her. With no able men and few slaves remaining, she only had bravado left.
“Now, ma’am,” the Union officer began. He spoke like a gentleman, but, dressed in blue, he was an imposter as far as she was concerned.
Jeremiah, just behind her right shoulder, cocked the hammer on his rifle—a welcome sound to her ears. Good boy, Emma thought. If the Yankees didn’t believe she was a threat, she hoped the armed slave boy next to her got the message across. She wasn’t allowing any soldiers on her property again.
The rifle felt heavier by the minute, making her muscles ache, and she feared she’d drop it. The weapon was foreign to her hands, but as the war raged closer to her home, she learned to use it. She wasn’t very good at it, but, as close as the Yankees were, she was bound to hit one of them. She didn’t want to pull the trigger. The gun’s recoil would knock her off her feet, throwing her aim off. With so few bullets left, she’d hate to lose the shot.
The light streamed through the open front door across the officer as he stepped onto the porch. She saw his face and the nose of the gun slipped. Jack Fontaine, that good-for-nothing traitor! How dare he come here, especially after what had happened last summer? Rage took control and gave her the added strength to pull the muzzle up to his chest as she cocked the trigger.
“Emma, please,” he said softly. He looked at her the same way he had that night months ago, his green eyes glowing like emeralds in the light. She remembered those eyes, those mesmerizing emerald eyes. They were all hers the night she had lost her heart to him. The night he had betrayed her. Her anger flared. No. Not this time. Not again, she vowed. Gritting her teeth, Emma narrowed her gaze.
“Get away from me, Jack, or I swear to God, I’ll blow a hole through you and send you straight to hell!”
Inside the house, a babe wailed. Emma instinctively turned. Jack reached for her and she panicked, squeezing the trigger. The rifle exploded, throwing her backwards, pain shooting into her shoulder. But instead of falling, she found herself in Jack’s arms as they wrapped around her, shielding her back from the impact of the wooden floor.
The patrol stormed onto the porch and into the house. Lying in his embrace, his body shielding hers as his troops marched past them, Emma couldn’t breathe. Her eyes were wide open. She felt the heat of him around her. The scent of him invaded her senses. Warm, masculine, and spicy rolled into one. She fought the heat in her belly, but it was hard as his eyes locked onto hers, his lips only inches away.
She closed her eyes. Behind her, the wailing continued, and she heard the thud of soldiers’ boots inside. Her jaw tightened as she glared at him. “Get off me, Jack.”
If you want to read The Wicked North, you can find it on Amazon, by clicking HERE.
If you want more, you can catch Gina on her website by clicking HERE
I hope you enjoyed the reading, I’ll see you guys next week!