Interview With Minecraft Author Danica Davidson



Recently I had the honor and privilege to interview Author Danica Davidson. Danica is leaving her mark on the literary world with quite an extensive resume but her crowning achievement is being the author of a series of books based on the smash hit video game ‘Minecraft’.



Horror Fuel: “What or Who, inspired you to become a writer?”


Danica Davidson : “I just liked telling stories ever since I was a little kid. I have stories from when I was three, that I either wrote IN VERY BIG LETTERS or my parents wrote down when I dictated it to them (and the letters look much better). I was writing and illustrating my own stapled-together picture books in first grade and writing novels in middle school. I was even submitting to agents and people in publishing at that time, and they all told me I was too young. I didn’t give up.”



Horror Fuel: “You have quite a list of notable accomplishments, you have written for over fifty magazines, newspapers and websites most notable mentions, MTV, The Onion, CNN, Publishers Weekly and the Los Angeles Times. How’s writing a Minecraft story different from your other works?”


Danica Davidson: “Thank you! I really started out in journalism because of how hard it is to get books published, so I wanted to earn money writing while building my platform. With my journalism, I was often covering graphic novel or manga titles (which was fun), or I was writing news stories (which, if you take a look at the news, wasn’t always so fun). I have a lot more fun letting my imagination run wild with books.”



Horror Fuel: “You wrote a Barbie comic book as well, do you like comic books?”


Danica Davidson: “Yes! And here’s the ironic story about my Barbie comic: I was writing to all different comics publishers, trying to get in, and I noticed that the comics publisher Papercutz was publishing new Tales from the Crypt. Being a fan of horror fiction, I sent in a spec script, thinking that with the best case scenario they would take it, and with the worst case it could still be a writing sample to use. It took a while before they read it, but I also let them know I could write in other styles if they had anything open. So, based on them liking my Tales from the Crypt story, they asked if I could write a Barbie comic because they were seeking a writer for it. Yes, Tales from the Crypt got me Barbie! Barbie: Puppy Party is already out, and I will be in the new book Tales from the Crypt: The Stalking Dead coming out in January. My story there talks about cyberbullying, like my Minecrafter books, but it’s much more gruesome in Tales from the Crypt, of course.”


Horror Fuel: “What was your first comic book to own?”


Danica Davidson: “The first I remember was a Betty and Veronica comic my mom bought me in elementary school. I thought I wouldn’t like it, but then I did. I really did. And then I kept reading comics and got really into manga as a teenager. And so it continued.”



Horror Fuel: “What can we expect to see in the new Overworld Heroes Adventure series?”


Danica Davidson:  “This is a spinoff to my first series, Overworld Adventure, and it takes place right after the first series ends. In Overworld Adventure, we’re introduced to 11-year-old Stevie, a Minecraft character who finds a portal to Earth, makes friends there, and goes with his friends to all different worlds. During the course of the six books in the series, they stop cyberbullies from taking over Minecraft, fight the Minecraft monster Herobrine and visit both the Nether and the End. The books are Escape from the Overworld, Attack on the Overworld, The Rise of Herobrine, Down into the Nether, The Armies of Herobrine and Battle with the Wither.




In this new series, Stevie and his friends are back, but they’re about to face a new set of villains and adventures. They’re also going to be learning the history of the Overworld (which I make up for this) and solving a number of mysteries. This series has an arc going all the way through so that mysteries brought up in the first book won’t be answered until the last. At the same time, each is a self-contained story. The books are aimed at ages 7-12, but I do have older and younger readers.”



Horror Fuel: “What is it about Minecraft that you think attracts gamers of all ages to play?”


Danica Davidson: “I think because it inspires imagination. It lets you be you. You want to build? Go ahead. You want to fight monsters? Go ahead. So in that way it fits really well with being the background of a story.”



Horror Fuel: “What inspired you to bring real issues that kids face today into Minecraft?”


Danica Davidson: “I thought it would add extra depth to the books. I get more into books where I can relate to the characters in some way. When I was a kid, sometimes books would make me feel less alone when they’d talk about real kid issues, especially ones that kids themselves didn’t always feel comfortable about. Like, feeling insecure is something we all know about, but it’s not something we can all feel comfortable talking about.”



Horror Fuel: “Will Stevie and friends encounter the new “Monster of the Night Skies” mob that’s coming to Minecraft in January?”


Danica Davidson: “Not in this series! I started plotting this series over a year ago, and all of the books are written except for the last one. So this news came in a little late to be included.”



Horror Fuel: “Has anyone from Mojang (the game’s Developers) contacted you because of your books?”


Danica Davidson: “No, but I do know some people at Microsoft, the company that bought Mojang, who are fans of my books and uses them to talk about Minecraft.”



Horror Fuel: “What’s the most important lesson you want young readers to take away from your writings?”


Danica Davidson: “For me, the most important thing is that they get into the books and enjoy themselves. I talk about real stuff like cyberbullying and friendship, but I also have tons of action and lots of chapter cliffhangers. I don’t want any of the serious things to overshadow the adventure or feel heavy-handed. But while enjoying the books, I hope some of the more serious stuff can touch readers the way books have been able to touch me, to make them feel less alone, to help them feel empowered.”




Horror Fuel: “According to an infographic by HistoryDegree.net, 42% of video game console owners are Women; do you think we will see that number climb in the coming years?”


Danica Davidson: “It wouldn’t surprise me at all. There are a lot of fun video games out there!”



Horror Fuel: “Do you think games like Minecraft have a positive impact on Gamers who happen to be Female?”


Danica Davidson: “For a really deep answer, that would be something to ask a lot of female gamers and see what they have to say. I can only speak for myself and that Minecraft has had a positive impact in my life. When I started writing my Minecrafter books, I noticed the other Minecrafter novels out there seemed more male-oriented, with the main characters all male, so I felt it was important for me that my two main characters, Stevie and Maison, are a boy and a girl. I just wanted it to feel more even-handed in that aspect. Maison, by the way, got her name because I was trying to find a girl’s name that meant “builder.” When I couldn’t find one, I changed the spelling of the name “Mason,” which does mean “builder,” and this character was born. Maison is a creative 11-year-old girl who wants to be an architect, and she’s the first person on Earth Stevie meets and she soon becomes his best friend. In The Rise of Herobrine, we also first meet Stevie’s cousin Alex, and she is a real spitfire who loves adventure and her arrows!”



Horror Fuel: “Besides Minecraft, you seem to be really into Anime and Manga as well, is there a particular Anime and/or Manga you identify with?”


Danica Davidson: “My favorite is Descendants of Darkness, which is a horror title aimed more for women than men. They used to play it on the Sci-Fi Channel at night, but I found it before then.”



Horror Fuel: “You helped write the English Adaptation for the Manga series, Millennium Prime Minister, if given the opportunity again you would write more English Adaptations, if so, is there a particular Manga series you would love to edit?”


Danica Davidson: “That was definitely an interesting job. I wouldn’t be opposed to adapting more manga, but lately, my concentration has been on books. When adapting, the publisher would send me the original manga still in Japanese, and the translation of it. Because Japanese and English are such different languages, sometimes the translation can sound a little stilted. So my job was to rewrite the translation so it sounded more natural to how we would talk, without losing the meaning of the original. I didn’t get a say in what titles I worked on; I was sent whatever needed to be adapted.”




Horror Fuel: “You also wrote a ‘How To’ Manga book, have you considered writing your own Manga?”


Danica Davidson: “I would love to! That first book is just about how to draw in the manga style, going into twelve to fifteen steps on character design, so readers can really see how it’s done. I have a sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates, coming out in the spring, that is more advanced and talks about how manga is actually made in Japan. I worked with a professional Japanese artist, Rena Saiya, on it.”




Horror Fuel: “Anime and Manga seem to be becoming quite popular with young viewers/readers over the years, why do you think that?”


Danica Davidson: “Because they have awesome stories, and they know how to end episodes with a cliffhanger so you have to watch that next one! When I first started watching anime, I thought, “I need to write books with cliffhangers.” Now I do!”


Dragon Ball Z fans will get this…



Horror Fuel: “With the current climate in the United States, do you think Video Games, Anime and Mangas have the potential to teach the nation’s youth on how to deal with bullies, equality, racism, sexism and other social issues that are taking center stage all around us?”


Danica Davidson: “I think that any kind of storytelling has the ability to help us heal, seek common threads of humanity, and speak about difficult subjects. I think in order to do that, we need to write from a place of honesty, and not from a soapbox.”



Horror Fuel: “What are your tips for aspiring writers/authors who want to help promote literacy like you?”


Danica Davidson: “There are a number of different angles to promote literacy, like helping out at a local school or library. I give school and library talks (sometimes over Skype, depending on where they are) and tell kids about my early love of writing and reading, and I encourage them to follow and work for their passions. I also try to write entertaining books that will keep the kids turning the pages. Sometimes when kids say they don’t like to read, it may be that they haven’t found books that speak to them yet. Instead of telling kids what they should read all the time, maybe we can ask them first what they like and then help them find books on those subjects.”



Horror Fuel: “Where do you plan to take your writings next? Are there any new books in the works?”

Danica Davidson: “The Overworld Heroes Adventure series will be coming out throughout this year, and then we’ll see what happens next. I like writing in all different styles and genres. I want to write for kids, but I also want to write for older readers as well, including adults. I have a lot of interests, and writing helps connect me with those interests. Please check out my website or my Twitter  for updates. Thanks!”


And thank you Danica for taking the time to answer! Check out her website and books and keep an eye out for more Mincrafting adventures!


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