D.H. Nevins was born in Toronto and currently lives in a quiet area of Ontario, surrounded by forests and lakes. By day, she is a personable, friendly school teacher. By night, she silently chuckles as she writes about destroying the world. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys world travel, hiking, camping, flying around on her motorcycle or dabbling in live theatre.
Hi Danielle, thank you for taking the time to interview with The RAC (Reader/Author Connection) Magazine!
Thanks so much for inviting me to be here!
I’ve read a little bit about you and you are talented in so many ways: you are an actor, a hiker, a world traveler, a teacher, a writer, you ride a motorcycle… whew, I’m tired now! Have you always had a lot of energy?
Ha, ha… Well, I wouldn’t say I’m particularly talented, although I DO tend to dive into far too many projects. And I’ll be honest. I’m so different from how I look on paper. I don’t feel like I have much energy at all, and worse, it seems as though I never get anything accomplished. It takes me ages to finish writing a book; our home renovations have been going on for 3 years and we’re still not finished; I’m not acting in or directing anything at the moment; and while I’m typing this, I’m giving the stink eye to a neglected stack of marking, sitting on the couch beside me. I think the rest of it (riding a motorcycle, traveling and hiking) simply gives me a way to escape it all!
What is the most beautiful place in the world you’ve visited, and why?
This is an intensely difficult question. I’ve been fortunate to have seen a great many beautiful sights, from striking landscapes to marvels of architecture, where each place is gorgeous for its own, unique reasons. How could I choose one? Um… Rainbow Mountain, Peru? Bagan, Myanmar? Yangshuo, China? I thought about this for over a week, and began to realize that there was a place that wasn’t simply a feast for my eyes—it warmed me right through. Bandhavgarh National Park, India wasn’t my first thought. It was my last. It lingered when I tried to think of other places, and even now, years later, I smile when I picture it.
That was the shorter answer. If you’d prefer some more detail, just continue below…
We visited the park over three days, with the intention of spotting a Bengal tiger in the wild. First, let’s look at the setting, itself. The park was established on lands that once belonged to a Maharaja, and as such, trekking through the jungle made it feel like I was in the middle of The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling. Huge banyan trees grew over intricately carved temples, their roots dripping down over venerable stone walls. We would walk through the jungle, searching for tiger tracks, and come across moss-covered statues twice our size, or pop out on the edge of a high cliff, a swath of rich jungle far below.
Okay, so that explains the setting. But the beauty runs deeper. The park was once a game reserve—where the maharajas would hunt—and in beautiful irony, is now a sanctuary for these animals. Access to the public is allowed, but is quite restricted, with only a small number of passes made available each day. This keeps the animals wild and the jungle unspoiled. And we did see tigers, by the way—two of them (on one encounter, we accidentally got between a female tiger and the spotted deer she was chasing—but I can’t hijack this whole magazine, so I’ll end the story there). Needless to say, the experience of visiting Bandhavgarh was sublime.
I read that you and your husband are both teachers in a small rural school. What’s that like? Do your students know you are a writer?
It’s great to work at the same school as my husband. We both use our breaks to operate the breakfast program, coach, run clubs or help students, so as funny as this might sound, we hardly see each other! We car pool together, though, and that gives us a chance to catch up.
As for the second part of your question, yes, my students definitely know I write—they’re fascinated by it, and many have told me they’d like to write their own books someday, too. They’re far too young to read my work (I teach kids who are 8 and 9 years old), but we do talk about it. I have, for example, shown them how many drafts of a single chapter I went through when I was teaching them about revising and editing. They can get so excited about it. Their enthusiasm for writing—actually, for life—inspires me.
Your book, Wormwood, is not your typical romance story. In fact, it is listed under the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre. Please tell us more about Kali and who she falls in love with.
I agree; Wormwood certainly doesn’t fall within typical romantic tropes. If I ever tried to market it as such, romance readers would probably lynch me for drowning their sweet expectations with darkness and tension! Although Wormwood does have romance, it’s deeply tormented.
The story is told through the eyes of Kali, a young woman who works as a trail guide in a National Park. She’s likeable and relatable—a bit awkward around other people, but strong with an almost naïve kindness and drive within her. One day, she meets Tiamat. He’s a strange young man seeking the solitude of the forest and who seems almost crippled by anguish. He won’t tell her what is bothering him, but in their time together, the two of them form a connection.
Five years later, Kali is hiking through those same woods when all hell breaks loose. The ground splits, trees fall and lava spews. Kali runs to a clifftop to flee the destruction, when she is saved by the very one causing the chaos. Tiamat, it turns out, is one of 100 half-angels, under orders to rip apart the surface of the Earth so life can start anew. He and his brothers are not only required to destroy the planet, they must also track down and kill all human survivors. When he protects Kali, Tiamat sets them both on a course of deceit and violence, where good cannot be trusted, and evil is subjective. Kali believes she can see through his mask and she falls for Tiamat. But how can she trust the one who is meant to kill her?
What is next for you, Danielle? Any new books/projects/traveling?
Well, as we’ve established before, I’m a bit impulsive (i.e., an idiot) when it comes to taking on new projects. I’m currently writing the third and final book of the Wormwood Trilogy, titled, And from the Shadow, Light. I hope to get that out in the New Year. I’ve begun some writing and research on Monster, a prequel to the trilogy, and am also plotting out a historical fiction. Other exciting news is that I’ve agreed to pair up with a very talented artist on a graphic novel project—I’ll write and he’ll illustrate. That project won’t commence until I’ve completed And from the Shadow, Light.
My husband and I are also happily mired in dreams of travel. We love planning out and talking about our next round-the-world backpacking trip. It won’t be until 2021, but it requires a lot of prep. As usual, we’ll drop everything—including teaching—and we’ll be traveling for about 8 months straight. This will be our fourth such adventure. Oh, that reminds me! I’ve also been writing a non-fiction memoir about our travels. We’ve had some unusual experiences, from staying in remote villages, to hanging out with monks—and all the earthquakes, typhoons, accidents and floods in between. However, it remains to be seen if anyone would want to read it. I haven’t mothballed it yet, but… my answers in this interview are making me think I should be more selective about what I take on!
Thank you, Danielle, for your time, we appreciate it! We wish you the best for your future endeavors.
It was absolutely my pleasure!
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