Genre Hopping — Welcome Back Dana Cameron

I am such a fan of Dana Cameron. She’s a talented author and an amazing human. She has a brand new thriller out — Exit Interview and I can’t wait to read it.

Name (s) Dana Cameron

Genre(s) Mystery, Urban Fantasy, Thriller, Historical, Horror

What drew you to the genre you write?

I started writing mysteries because it was my favorite genre through the years, and I knew the structure. My inspiration for the Emma Fielding mysteries was a site looter with a gun (drawn, alas, from real life!), and that seemed to fit right in. The Fangborn novels (peopled with vampires, werewolves, and oracles) arose out of the short story that Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner asked me to write—I had so much fun, I kept going! My latest book is a thriller, Exit Interview (available December 6). I realized from my earlier books that I loved writing action scenes and this was the result.  

What sets your latest book apart from what is out there?

I love thrillers, love reading them, love watching them at movies, but none of the big franchises prominently feature female leads. There’s no Jane Bond, no Jasmine Bourne. On top of that, when there are women who are part of their organizations, they never seem to be quite as tough as the men. I wanted the high-concept, thrill ride with female protagonists and my take on the genre.

What’s it about?

Reporter Amy Lindstrom has just witnessed the sudden, suspicious death of the powerful arms dealer she’s been investigating. Jayne Rogers, the deadly covert operative assigned to work with the arms dealer, has been accused by her boss of killing him, as well as turning traitor and picking off her former colleagues one by one. The only one who believes Jayne is being framed is Nicole Bradley, whose technical skills are as stealthy and lethal as Jayne’s abilities with her fists and weapons. All three must work together to prevent a hidden arms cache from falling into the wrong hands.

Exit Interview is the first full-length “a.k.a. Jayne” novel. The character has appeared in stories in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (as a “Black Mask” feature), and in collections including Killing Malmon and Shattering Glass.

What sparked the idea?

My husband had just quit a job at a large corporation, and all he had left was the exit interview. I’d never heard of such a thing, and, frankly, it didn’t sound like much fun. I suddenly wondered what an exit interview would look like for a covert operative.

What are you currently writing?

I’m revising Anna Hoyt, a novel based on the short story “Femme Sole.” It’s noir, set in 18th-century Boston. The original story was in Boston Noir, edited by Dennis Lehane.

Do you write a series or standalones? Why?

So far, the novels have been part of a series, because that’s what the publisher wanted. In both the Emma Fielding mysteries and the Fangborn novels, I had arcs I wanted to follow with the main characters. If there’s a good response to Exit Interview, I’d write a sequel in a heartbeat. As much as Jayne scares me, she’s a lot of fun. With Anna Hoyt…she’s hard to live with. It would take a lot to write another book with her, but she always, always surprises me.

What are you reading right now?

Nothing But Blackened Teeth, by Cassandra Khaw; Vasquez, by V. Castro; Please Don’t Sit on My Bed In Your Outdoor Clothes, by Phoebe Robinson.

What is your favorite deadline snack?

I hate to admit it, but I really love Cheetos. When I’m in the throes of finishing a book, I’ll reward myself for every chapter edited or rewritten.

Do you have a favorite quote or life motto?

You only have one life; this is not a dress rehearsal.

Favorite writing space?

My office.

What do you see when you look up from writing?

A poster from the comic Bitch Planet (by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro); my investitures from The Baker Street Irregulars (“The Giant Rat of Sumatra”) and ASH (The Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes—my nom d’daventure is “The British Museum”). The Edgar nomination for “Femme Sole.” A few very personal framed things, including the cover art from my books. A flock of LEGO minifigs (Scarlet Witch and Okoye, among others) and dice are on my computer stand. All things that remind me to keep pushing myself.

Thanks so much for having me, Wickeds!

Readers: What traits do you like to see in a strong female character?

Dana Cameron writes across many genres, but especially crime and speculative fiction (including the Fangborn novels). Her work, inspired by her career in archaeology, has won multiple Anthony, Agatha, and Macavity Awards, and has been nominated for the Edgar Award. Several of Dana’s Emma Fielding archaeology mysteries appear on the Hallmark Movie & Mystery Channel. When she isn’t traveling, she’s weaving, spinning, or yelling at the TV about historical inaccuracies. Exit Interview (an a.k.a. Jayne novel) is available now; #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Gardiner said, “Exit Interview takes off like an express train and never slows down. Grab this book, buckle up and hold on for a terrific ride. 

19 Thoughts

  1. Welcome to the blog, Dana! I can’t wait to read Exit Interview. I write quieter (and gun-free) badass female protagonists, but even in cozies, they have to save themselves and not have anyone else swoop in to the rescue.

      1. Ah, my bad! ASH stands for The Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes–the brilliant women who formed their own group before women were allowed to join the Baker Street Irregulars. They’d protest outside the BSI Annual Dinner in the snow! It’s an honor to be among them.

    1. Thank you so much, Edith! I hear you–I made an explicit decision that Emma Fielding would learn self defense, rather than buying a gun, to keep herself safe. Jayne’s such a different person.

    1. Exactly so, Kait! I really appreciate when a female character can find her own way out of a jam.

  2. Hmm, what WOULD an exit interview look like for a covert operative? Interesting.

    Women who are resourceful, intelligent, and competent, but not afraid to ask for help when needed, are high on my list.

    1. Liz, asking for help seems to be the hardest thing for everyone! I consider it a major accomplishment when someone does.

  3. Welcome back, Dana! I’m so excited to read Exit Interview. I like smart women that don’t always do everything right and who can be vulnerable.

    1. It’s such a balancing act, isn’t it, Sherry, to write human characters versus caricatures? Thank you for having me!

  4. Wonderful interview with Dana Cameron, one of my fave authors. Exit Interview is next on my TBR list. Btw, Sherry, I’m reading Three Shots to the Wind and loving it! Love Chloe Jackson and the Sea Glass Saloon.

  5. Loved the Emma Fielding series! I will definitely get Exit Interview. I don’t read a lot of thrillers; but with Dana Cameron as the author, I’ll make an exception!!

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