Last year, Dayna Lorentz released No Safety in Numbers, which ended up being one of my favorite books of the year! Of course, that’s not surprising for a book that was pitched as a mashup of Life as We Knew It and Lord of the Flies… and then actually lives up to the hype! In case you missed it, you can find my review here.
Today, Dayna visits The Hiding Spot to celebrate No Easy Way Out, the sequel to No Safety in Numbers, which released yesterday, July 16th ! Read on to find out more about Dayna and her novels: the almost B-movie titles, how being a lawyer prepared her for writing, and, of course, her favorite word (which may or may not have sent me in search of a dictionary)!
And last, but not least, be sure to enter to win a copy of No Easy Way Out, which Dayna has kindly provided for one winner here at The Hiding Spot!
Did you have trouble writing any of your characters or specific scenes within the novel? Or, were any characters or scenes particularly easy to write?
Marco was disturbingly easy to write. I mean, his voice, every scene, it all just flowed out of me. I say disturbing because, well, I don’t want to spoil anything, but he goes on an interesting journey over the course of the trilogy. I went to some intense places with him. And it was disturbingly easy to go there.
Has the title changed or stayed relatively the same as your novel journeyed towards publication?
Titles completely stress me out! The original title for this series, as I pitched it, was Mallrats. Once it was acquired by Dial, that wet noodle of a name was scrapped. My editor and I bandied about a bunch of different titles trying to hit on exactly the right one. We tried innumerable combinations of words with Mall (Dead Mall, Mall of Death, etc.), all of which just sounded like B-movie titles. We gave up on mall and, after many other attempts, finally struck title gold with No Safety in Numbers.
Of course then we faced the problem of having to come up with titles for the other two books in the series that would match. I spent days trying to come up with catchy four-word titles beginning with “No” that were vaguely aphoristic. It’s much harder than you’d think! In the end, I think we found some winners for the second and third books—No Easy Way Out and No Dawn Without Darkness.
What book or author has most influenced you as a writer or in general?
I feel like every time I read a good book it influences me. Heck, every time I read a bad book, I learn something. I can tell you who I want to write like: David Mitchell. I love how weird and wonderfully detailed and intricately plotted his books are, how he can create such distinct voices and write such evocative prose.
What jobs did you have on your way to becoming a writer/published author? Is there a certain work experience that has shaped your writing?
Mostly, I was a lawyer. I worked as a litigator in a big corporate law firm in New York, and then was a law clerk in the Federal and Vermont state courts.
Much of what I learned while lawyering has influenced and enhanced my writerly endeavors. First of all, as a law student and then as a lawyer, I developed a punishing work ethic. When you spend a year having to pull down ten or more billable hours a day, anything less feels like slacking.
Second, I learned how to write clearly and succinctly, and about the importance of structure. Most court filings have strict page limits, so your goal as a litigator is to make a well-structured argument covering every possible point as clearly as possible in as little space as possible, all this while leaving room for case citations.
Finally, a lawyer is essentially a vessel for her client: your job is to represent another person’s interests and tell his story in a compelling manner. This is basically the same job I have as a writer—I am the representative for my characters and it’s my job to put their stories down in the clearest, most concise and compelling way possible.
If you had to pick a favorite word, what would it be and why?
Palimpsest. It’s such a lovely word to say, and just thinking about it stirs up the stuff of story.
My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Who, what, or where can be credited as your personal escape from reality?
Movies. I love movies. I especially love going to the movies with my husband and then getting to sit and talk about the film with him. Maybe it’s less the movies and more the talking with my husband. We have such fun talking and arguing about everything and nothing.