Inkpop Blog

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inkpopper of the Week: danakay

Posted by cat eyes & skinny jeans on July 5, 2010

“In school, I play on the field hockey team. I had never played a sport before trying field hockey and it was a totally new and fun experience. I have totally fallen in love with it.

“Being on a team is a lot like being a part of the inkpop community, actually. A whole group of people who understand exactly what you’re going through and working for. It’s a very special thing, a team or close knit community and I am so grateful for inkpop for that reason. They’re kept me inspired to write and edit.

“I am sure you can guess what hobby I am about to speak of next. Writing. It happened sort of as a mistake. I had always written academically but had never tried my hand at creative writing. I had been reading my best friend’s short story and was insanely jealous of her skill and creativity. She was the one who really got me started.

“As for home life, I live on a teeny tiny island off the coast of Massachusetts – there is only one regional high school and four towns. Again, I am enclosed by a close community. I do love it though, even when you know everybody and their cousin when dropping by the grocery store.

“I have one pup named Miles, who is an Australian Shepherd. He is full of energy.”

Though even Miles’ energy cannot compare with that of Dana’s (aka danakay). Once she began penning her novel Cadence (pronounced kay-dense), she was determined to make it as amazing as possible. With hard work, and a lot of input from all of her fellow inkpoppers, she was able to do just that – even going so far as to snag herself a gold star and a stellar review from the HarperCollins Editor’s when she was named a Top Pick!

Your inkpop project Cadence was recently a Top Pick, and received a wonderful review from the HC Editors. How do you feel that this review, coupled with your popularity on inkpop has affected you?

danakay: I am going to say something really cliché here, so prepare yourselves: I would be nowhere without inkpop. You can all sigh and roll your eyes now. It’s been said a thousand times over but it’s still true in my case. My manuscript was a mess when I first submitted Cadence to inkpop and look how far it has come! That is thanks to all the awesome commenters and friends here at inkpop. They have gone over and over my story and had patience with me. I thank them for that.

The HC review made me step back and look at Cadence in perspective. Rather than focusing on one scene, I looked it as a whole. Their advice was right on and I agree with everything they said. I could slap myself for not seeing it before! Cadence is an incomplete, work in progress but the HC review was really encouraging. I reread the review and it makes me want to revise, write and publish! Though I know I have a long way until publishing is a option, that is where I would ultimately like to end up, whether I am 18 or 81. The HC review is certainly going to help me get there.

Freya, Avah, Parker…many of your characters have very unconventional names. How do you choose the names for your characters?

danakay: Coming up with names is my favorite part! Before I can even begin writing a scene, I need the perfect name. To find them, I scroll through baby name websites for days, even months. It took forever to find Avah and even longer to find Parker. I had the most trouble with him, but now I can’t imagine anything different. Freya was the only one who didn’t come from a baby name website. We were talking about Norse Gods in Language Arts class and my teacher was talking about how she represented love, beauty and fertility. Since I had always pictured Freya as the motherly type, I thought it fit perfectly so I scribbled the name on my hand and ran home to write!

What made you fall in love with writing?

danakay: My characters and story. Cadence is my only piece of writing over 5 pages and I am so engrossed in the plot and angst that Avah is going through. I love that my friends Bella and Annabelle (known on inkpop as triplebeeebella and Ladedada73) and I can talk about her as if she is a real person.

Do you hope to make writing a career; or do you have other aspirations?

danakay: Cadence has been the only thing I have been dedicated to. I love the characters and I love the plot and there is no way I will stop writing about them but I don’t feel like writing is a career for me because I’m not sure of my ability to write more stories and be able to churn them out. While I would love to be published, I don’t feel like I need to write professionally. I see it as a hobby that I love.

If you had the chance to star as a character in any book what book would it be and why?

danakay: I would have to be Belly in The Summer I Turned Pretty, one of my favorite books. She is so relatable and funny and while her life is not perfect by any means, she works through it. I imagine the set for The Summer I Turned Pretty would be amazing were it made into a movie and the rest of the cast would be equally as beautiful as the set. Though the title does lend itself to being labeled as trashy chick-lit, it is a book that could teach everybody something.

What is your favorite theme or element in writing?

danakay: Personally, I love when I am reading a book and I read something that makes me think, “Wow, I do that too!” or I find something I can totally relate to, so I try to make sure everyone can find something in my characters that represents them. I want my readers to fall in love with my characters.

Pop, Pop, Pop! Rapid Fire Questions:

Favorite quote? You write such pretty words but life’s no story book. I’m not entirely sure where I found this quote, I think it was on We ♥ It (best website ever; you can find me under the name danakay) but I feel like it’s something that all writers can think about.
What’s on your iPod? Modest Mouse, MGMT, Snow Patrol, Owl City, The Billionaires, The Kooks.
New York City or Los Angeles? LA, although huge cities aren’t really my thing. At least in LA you can escape to the gorgeous beach.
Favorite pizza topping? Just cheese, I’m a vegetarian. Or pesto.
If you were granted three wishes from a genie what would you ask for? Uh oh! This is a hard one, but I would have to go with: more time in a single day, better memory (I hate when I can’t remember something, or recall a day in the past), and a cure for the common cold since I am sick right now and not allowed to go to the beach!

Over to you…who do you think should be the next inkpopper of the Week?

Erika (aka inkpoperika)

4 Responses to “inkpopper of the Week: danakay”

  1. Nella said

    I have an Australian Shepherd too, so virtual hightfive!
    Your town sounds really delightful 🙂
    It was a really interesting article!
    Congrats, Dana!

  2. Shirley R. Kleiner said

    Great article Dana! Quite interesting, and I loved it, every bit! Congrats once again (or just in case I forgot to mention it) on Cadence!

  3. HealedMyWings said

    Cute article, Dana! I love your favorite quote. I’ll have to write it down somewhere so that I don’t forget it.

    And I just about freaked out when I heard you have a character named Freya. I LOVE Freya (and all Norse mythology for that matter). Virtual high-five, deary! =D


  4. Alex Marie Bess said


    I’m sorry about the caps, but I’m really excited, I’ve heard this quote before!

    “You write such pretty words, but life’s no story book.” is from ‘A Tree Grows In Brooklyn’ by Betty White, published a VERY long time ago, even though I’m not quite sure exactly how long ago it was. It’s a coming-of-age classic about a girl who grows up at the beginning of the 20th century. A teacher says this quote to the main character (Francie Nolan) when she admits to lying in school.

    I’m so easily excited!

    ~Alex Marie B.

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