{Interview} Kate Danley, author of THE WOODCUTTER

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Check out today's review of THE WOODCUTTER by Kate Danley!

The WOODCUTTER is available on Kindle for $3.99, 
as well as in paperback form at Amazon, B&N, etc.
What a great deal!

Kate Danley is twenty year veteran of stage and screen with a B.S. in theatre from Towson University. She was one of four students to be named a Maryland Distinguished Scholar in the Arts in the annual competition. 

Her debut novel, The Woodcutter, was honored with the Garcia Award for the Best Fiction Book of the Year, is the 1st Place Fantasy Book in the Reader Views Literary Awards, and the winner of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy category of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

Kate is also the author of the Maggie MacKay: Magical Tracker series, 5:00 BREAKOUT, and QUITE A PAIR.

Visit Kate on her website and Twitter!
An interview with 
Kate Danley

I love the way you integrated fairy tale lore into your own original novel. Can you talk about how you came up with the concept for THE WOODCUTTER?

I've been an actor for decades, but I reached a point where I needed a better day job to support my art. I decided to enroll in school to become an x-ray tech, which was one of my dumber ideas. Flash forward to a soul-sucking anatomy class: I was sitting there one day waiting for the teacher to arrive, just hating my life. This was back when phones didn't do anything but call and text, so I needed something to pass the time. I opened up my notebook and I asked myself if I could escape into any story, how would it go? And I wrote the first scene of THE WOODCUTTER. 

They say you should write what you know, but I think it is a little more accurate to say write what you love, and I love fairy tales. Each day in class, I would escape with my favorite characters on these grand adventures instead of taking notes. But I needed a central figure to tie everything together. There is an archetypal hunter or a woodsman found in so many stories, so I posed the question, "What if it was the same guy going from tale to tale?" 

At the same time, I was becoming involved in the comic book scene. Now, I have trouble reading comics, because I think in words. Pictures make me lose my train of thought. Likewise, I had these comic friends who had a hard time with books because they think in images. If someone writes, "She looked at the sunset", they didn't need an author to say, "It was swathed in reds and oranges and pinks." They've painted the picture themselves and the extra words are a distraction. But my friend introduced me to Neil Gaiman's BLACK ORCHID comic and the illustrations are so gorgeous, my word loving brain was able to let go. I suddenly got it. So I wondered if I could do the same thing for my comic friends. Could I create a rich, beautiful story with as few words as possible for people who thought in pictures? Could I make the story easy and gentle and accessible, while still keeping it interesting? What I ended up doing, though, was reinventing poetry. 

I think if there is a Rosetta Stone to THE WOODCUTTER  I would just recommend reading it slow. If you devour words like a starving person at an all-you-can-eat buffet, THE WOODCUTTER will be disappointing. But if you can slow down and let each word settle, tasting it like dessert at a fine French restaurant, you'll get it.

What's next in the pipelines? (Hopefully more fairy tale lore?)

I can't say too much, but one of my upcoming books does have a fairy in it... and it is derived from a tale... sooo... hopefully it will give lovers of THE WOODCUTTER something to look forward to. I also have two books for my Maggie MacKay: Magical Tracker series coming out this year. It is an urban fantasy adventure set in Los Angeles. I also am working with several amazing authors and screenwriters on a serial release in The Dead Man series, which will come out from 47North this fall.

Someone gives you a key ring and says you can open any door you want, save one. Then they leave you alone with all those keys and doors. What do you do?

Well, fairytales have taught us to first open up the most humble door, so I'd head there first. Hopefully, there'd be some enspelled prince waiting inside or a fairy godmother there to shower me with riches. Then I'd open up all the rest, except for that one, and enjoy. If I have learned nothing from Bluebeard's wife, I have learned to listen when told, "DON'T OPEN THAT DOOR."

Your favorite obscure (or less well-known) fairy tale?

I'm rather partial to Snow White & Rose Red, only because I was so excited to find another story with my favorite character. And she has a sister! Okay, so it is not exaaaactly the same Snow White, but in my imagination, she is.

Most overrated fairy tale?

I'm going to make a lot of enemies here... Let me explain to the end before coming at me with pitchforks. 

My first exposure to Beauty and the Beast was the story illustrated by Walter Crane and I LOVED it. But some of the retellings of Beauty and the Beast trouble me, because they have lost the gorgeous message of the original. I KNOW! I KNOW! Everyone now hates me. But I'm bothered by, "He is violent and mean, but stick around and be nice and he'll come around." The original, as I'm sure all your readers know, is that the Beast had the gentlest of hearts and the sweetest of souls. All that Beauty was asked to do was look beyond appearances to see the beauty inside, which is one of life's very important lessons. So, I love Beauty and the Beast when it draws upon the original story. When it focuses the other direction, I just wanted to stand on a rooftop and shout, "YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!"

This or That?

Evil Queen or Wicked Witch?

Evil Queen - her clothes are always fabulous.

Seven League Boots or Glass Slippers? 

Seven League Boots. I'm very awkward at parties. But boots to get me to Europe in just a few steps without the jet lag? Sign me up!

Talking Birds or Talking Mice?

Talking birds. I actually have two little parakeets who talk. They say "Coffee?", "Thank you", "Wanna watch a movie?" and "You're so cute". As they fly around my head and try to eat my breakfast, I try to remind myself it's like I get to wake up in a fairytale every morning, and not that I have a bird who decided to take a bath in my Cheerios.
Would You Rather...
Face 3 Billy Goats Gruff or 3 Bears from Goldilocks?

Oh jeez. Probably Billy Goats Gruff, because, yes, I'll have bruises and get a good dowsing, but that seems slightly better than getting eaten over some lousy porridge. I hate porridge.

Drink an Alice-ish "Drink Me" potion or eat part of a witch's gingerbread house?

I'm a sucker for cake and good frosting. Gingerbread house!

Be able to spin straw into gold or have precious gems drop from your lips when you speak?

Straw into gold. Seems like the gems would get in the way when you're trying to make a point. "You're a jerk!... yes, you may keep those rubies I just spat at you. Now listen to what I'm saying! ...yes, and the emeralds, too. You're just picking a fight now, aren't you?"

Thank you so much, Kate!
THE WOODCUTTER was one of my favorite Fairy Tale Fortnight reads this year.
I'm excited to be featuring it, and look forward to the book you were hinting about!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Kate Danley
Release Date: Out Oct. 14, 2010,
re-released by 47North Nov.  6, 2012
Publisher: 47North
Received: For Review

Deep within the Wood, a young woman lies dead. Not a mark on her body. No trace of her murderer. Only her chipped glass slippers hint at her identity. 

The Woodcutter, keeper of the peace between the Twelve Kingdoms of Man and the Realm of the Faerie, must find the maiden’s killer before others share her fate. Guided by the wind and aided by three charmed axes won from the River God, the Woodcutter begins his hunt, searching for clues in the whispering dominions of the enchanted unknown. 

But quickly he finds that one murdered maiden is not the only nefarious mystery afoot: one of Odin’s hellhounds has escaped, a sinister mansion appears where it shouldn’t, a pixie dust drug trade runs rampant, and more young girls go missing. Looming in the shadows is the malevolent, power-hungry queen, and she will stop at nothing to destroy the Twelve Kingdoms and annihilate the Royal Fae…unless the Woodcutter can outmaneuver her and save the gentle souls of the Wood. 

Blending magic, heart-pounding suspense, and a dash of folklore, The Woodcutter is an extraordinary retelling of the realm of fairy tales.


  1. Ahh, you make a valid point about Beauty & the Beast! Though it's a good thing I read on before I began sharpening my pitchfork. ;) I love the part about your parakeets - I wish I could teach my guinea pigs to say "coffee"! Great interview, Bonnie!

  2. Great interview! I have The Woodcutter on my TBR list and I can't wait to read it.


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