Dana Donovan grew up in New England where folklore and superstitions can mold a town’s history as much as its people. Since December is often such a busy month, I’m going to focus on Dana’s book of short stories, Death and Other Inconveniences. First off, let’s have Dana tell you about a few of them:
My inspiration for Bi’Dahji was a simple line that popped into my head: “It moved.” Just two simple words and I thought they would make a great first line for a story. Of course, the problem with coming up with the first two words of a short story is that you need another five-to-fifteen thousand words to follow. With little more than a first sentence to go by, it is no wonder that Bi’Dahji took almost as long to write, as did all the other short stories in this collection together, but that’s the truth. Before those words, there was no such thing as a tewechi, peeket, subit or troller.
(Just a side note: Bi’Dahji is a real word. It is Navajo, and means , on the rim, as in mesa).
Although some stories barely seep from pinpricks in the brain, others bleed, indeed hemorrhage onto the page as quickly as I can write them. That was the case with Murder at the Depot, and unlike Bi’Dahji, I had nearly every element of the story in my head long before I sat down to write it. In fact, I probably walked around almost two years waiting to put it down on paper.
The Gemini Effect came to me just as I was starting to fall asleep one night. Oddly, I get many of my ideas at that time. I guess it is the time when my brain starts to shut down for the night and my dream engine starts to purr. Gemini came to me then and in a matter of minutes, I had the entire storyline down in my head. I did not even worry that I might forget it in the morning. It was just that clear to me. The names, of course, came later. Often, a character starts out with one name in a story, but then it changes later. Nearly all the character’s names in Bi’Dahji did that. Oh, and a trivia tidbit for you: the magic words spoken to start the Gemini effect (Nimige ceteff neithso) is simply a scrambled version of
Gemini effect this one. Ooh, spooky.
You can read some of the above-mentioned short stories and find links to Dana’s other books at www.DanaDonovan.com.