Author Interview: Daniel D. Shields
Hi, Daniel. Thank you for allowing me to interview you. I am honored and pleased to have you here on my blog.
Would you take a moment and introduce yourself to us?
Thank you granting me this interview. My name is Daniel D. Shields. I am originally from northern New Jersey but now call the high desert of New Mexico home. I love to write, can claim pasta and pizza as two of my favorite foods, and have a very cute Yorkie named Charlie who is a source of inspiration for my work. I’m 44, single, and famous for drumming up some very strange conversation topics, especially after a few margaritas! (No salt please.)
How long have you been writing?
I knew early on that I wanted to write. I started to write some short stories and poetry in high school but it was in college that the true passion for writing appeared. I was a theater major at Ramapo College of New Jersey and got hooked on playwriting. My first play “Beware The Wind”, a supernatural ghost story, was produced by the school as a full set production. There is nothing more surreal than sitting in the back of a theater listening to actors speak your words and a live audience reacting to them. I was very fortunate to have had that experience. I have a few other plays that are in various stages of development and really hope they get their chance to one day live on a stage. Shark & The Wolf: Predators and Prey is my first full length novel.
Would you mind telling my readers a little more about your book?
Did you ever wonder what animals would say to humans if they could speak? Would they question how we treat them? Would they debate our ethics and morals? What would they say about how we treat the planet we all share?
Shark & The Wolf: Predators and Prey is an allegorical novel about the exploitation of animals for the mere purpose of human sustenance and entertainment; an alternate reality where sentient creatures evolved intellectually and physically side by side with humans.
Shark, the world’s only Great White pool-playing shark, sets off on a mission to rescue his girlfriend, a hot fox named Vixen, from the nasty animal slave trading hyena, Old Jack. He soon learns that Vixen was just a pawn to lure him into the open; he was the main target all along. Faced with overwhelming firepower, Shark proves heroic by surrendering his freedom in exchange for the safety of the woman he loves.
Shark is sold to Shaw, a ruthless Las Vegas casino magnate who plans to use him as the star and main attraction in the world’s most brutal show; a horror that will pit animal against animal in the bloodiest gladiatorial spectacle ever created for human entertainment.
“Come One – Come All To See – The Only Great White Shark In Captivity.”
Shark, armed with his apex predator instincts, battles animals and his human captives in a bid to survive. Will he succeed?
Shark & The Wolf: Predators and Prey is an escape into an exotic world unlike any other in the current marketplace; an original plot that delivers a few key messages inside an entertaining adventure. Shark also happens to have one hell of a killer smile!
And yes, if animals could speak, they would be screaming their innocent little heads off.
Your book touches on subjects about human and animal trafficking, slavery, love, and revenge, to name a few. How difficult was it in writing about such varied topics?
The book took on a life of its own. I took the time, almost a full year, to let the story develop. As it did, certain themes and situations arose and I did my best to address each one from inside the mind of the character that was affected. The tricky part was that most of the characters were animals with humanlike characteristics. I wanted to stay true to their animals instincts but still give them human emotions. The topics of trafficking, slavery, love, and revenge, were not hard to write. I think as humans, we’re all exposed to a lot of information through things like: print media, television news, movies, the internet, and just good old personal interactions. We are constantly building on our database of knowledge. I tend to file certain things away in the back of my brain and never really know what’s going to come out until I tap into certain emotions from inside the mind of a character. It was amazing to learn how much I knew about varied subjects during the writing process.
Your book has a bit of a fantasy theme going for it with the fact that certain species have evolved to speak and sort of co-exist with the human species. How did you come up with the idea for the book?
The idea for Shark & The Wolf: Predators and Prey started back in 2006 when I co-founded a billiards company called LiquidWick Pool Cues. My two favorite animals have always been sharks and wolves. I came up with the idea to bring the billiards term “Pool Shark” to life and since every good action / adventure story needs the main character to have a buddy, it was easy for me to add in Wolf. The book started slow but then the writing took on a life of its own. It took about two years to complete between edits and rewrites. I’m a big fan of Sharks, Jaws is my favorite movie, I remember being in blockbuster video one night and not being able to find anything, I wound up renting Jaws and watching it for the 50th or so time. There is also something in the mysterious nature of wolves that I have always been drawn to. It was kind of natural for me that when writing a story about animals that these two creatures would be matched up together.
What type of research was involved?
The internet is an amazing tool for writers and research. I relied on internet research to look into the predatory characteristics of each animal in the story so that I could be accurate in their depiction. I also found that map sites were useful when trying to add true local flavor to scenes by mentioning real streets and locations. You can never do too much research, information is key to creating a well developed storyline.
Can describe to us, a little bit, about the world your characters live in?
The story takes place in a world where certain species of animals have evolved both intellectually and physically side by side with humans; humans remain the dominate species and animals are forced to be their obedient servants. In its own small way, I like to think it gives a voice to the other species we share this planet with.
The book brings the reader on a wild journey from Africa, to Key West, Fiji, South America and finally Las Vegas. I’ll be the first to admit that it does contain some graphic violence. And all I can say about that is, the world we live in is a violent place. The sub-title Predators and Prey says it all.
At the end of the day, my hope is that the reader can let themselves be swept up into the exotic world the story takes place in. If they do that, then I truly believe they will be taken for a ride on the Wild Side!
What’s in store next for you? Are you able to tell us anything about any of your upcoming projects?
That is a tough question. I have about five books inside me that are battling for my attention. The one I think is a top contender is main stream fiction about the horse racing industry. But who knows, I also have some cool concepts for supernatural ghost stories.
What’s your favorite book?
I have to admit that in high school when forced to read books and do book reports I was not fond of the task. It was not until later in life that on my own time and for no reason other than to just read and enjoy books I started to go back and read some classics. One of my favorites has always been “The Count of Monte Cristo.” I am a huge fan of Michael Crichton and the “Jurassic Park” series. The man was a true inspiration. I also enjoyed the “MEG” series by Steve Alten. It’s about a giant pre-historic shark so it’s not hard to make the connection of why I found it so interesting. Something people may not expect is that one my favorite authors is Robert James Waller most noted for “The Bridges of Madison County.” There is something poetic in his writing that makes the words dance on the page.
Your favorite color?
My favorite color is blue, but not just any blue. I was on cruise and was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, it was night and the moon was full. I looked over the side of the ship and noticed the color of the water illuminated by the moonlight, it was the deepest blue I had ever seen – it was the color blue of my dreams.
If your book were to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the main character of your story and why?
I would like to think Leonardo DiCaprio would play Shark. Other than being a terrific actor, he also is an activist for animal rights and has used his celebrity to help promote a ban on shark finning. He is a true hero and so is Shark, it could be a good match.
Do you have any recommendations for books that you think the blog’s readers may enjoy?
If you a fan of sharks and adventure then I would definitely check out Steve Alten’s “MEG” series. The books are all a lot of fun.
What do you in your spare time?
I like to read, travel, surf the web, and hang out with friends at the local pub. I’m also addicted to American Idol and The X Factor!
Do you take the time to outline your stories or do you just go with the flow and see where it takes you?
When I wrote Shark & The Wolf: Predators and Prey I was writing full time. I did not have a set schedule and just wrote whenever the urge came, which was quite often, and unfortunately not during normal hours. I remember sometimes waking up in middle of the night, turning on my computer, and typing away for hours. I like to write fast and worry about spell check later. I never let myself get hung up on the perfect sentence, paragraph, dialogue or even story direction during a scenes creation. I just let what wants to come out hit the screen and worry about fine tuning the scenes when I go back and edit, which during Shark & The Wolf, was countless times for each scene and chapter. I found it interesting to watch the scenes and the story tighten up with each pass that was made.
Do you have any tips, or thoughts, that you would like to offer to the blog’s readers?
Live life! And remember to enjoy the amazing journey!
Thank you so much for such a lovely interview, Daniel. I wish you the very best with your future works and look forward to reading them when the time comes.
Available for purchase via the following retailers: Amazon.
Synopsis: It takes place in a world where certain species of animals have evolved both intellectually and physically side by side with humans. In its own small way it gives a voice to the other species we share this planet with.
The novel addresses contemporary themes such as slavery, human and animal trafficking, love, friendship, greed, revenge and of course romance.
Fast paced and engaging, Shark & The Wolf: Predators and Prey is distinctive because it is unique, hard to categorize, and unlike any other books in the current marketplace.
About The Author:
Daniel D. Shields was born and raised in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. He is the youngest of eight children and draws a lot of his inspiration from his family and friends. He graduated from Ramapo College in Mahwah, New Jersey, in 1990 with degrees in both communications and theater. While at Ramapo, his play “Beware the Wind” was the first student production in the history of the college to have a full set production.
In 2006, Shields co-founded LiquidWick Pool Cues. LiquidWick is famous for its “Patented” LiquidWick True Stick 24oz Power Break Pool Cue which utilizes proprietary “phase shifting technology” to help add power to the pool player’s break.
Shields taps into his passion for billiards by using the sport as the backdrop of Shark & The Wolf: Predators and Prey. He enjoys travel and adventure and spending time with his Yorkie named Charlie. His fondness for animals, especially Charlie, is a source of inspiration for his work.
Shields currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Connect With Him Online:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Daniel-D.-Shields/e/B004T06JJ8