Danica Davidson on her latest Minecrafter novel, working with Mattel’s Barbie, and Tales from the Crypt

"...for my young readers (because I do get readers of all ages!) it helps them feel empowered as kids..."

Danica Davidson has published thousands of articles over her career as a journalist. After having written for MTV, The Onion, CNN, and over fifty other publications, Davidson moved into the world of novels. Inspired by the videogame Minecraft, her novels – Escape from the Overworld and Attack on the Overworld – are set in the world of the game. Scifipulse is lucky to interview Davidson again to discuss her latest novel Battle with the Wither – and what else she is currently up to.

To learn more about her, you can visit her homepage and follow her on twitter @DanicaDavidson.

Nicholas Yanes: Since I last interviewed you, have there been any cool developments in your life? Have you developed any superpowers?

Danica Davidson: I’ve been really concentrating on my Overworld books, but there is more on the horizon. I just sold a short comic to Tales from the Crypt at Papercutz, and I’m also going to be working on a sequel to my book Manga Art for Beginners.

Tales from the Crypt should be out early next year, so that’s right around the bend. It’ll be an anthology graphic novel with different writers for different stories. My story is called “Picture Perfect” and is about cyberbullying gone really wrong. My Overworld Adventure books also take on cyberbullying, but there’s more of a positive note about friendship and online citizenship. With “Picture Perfect,” things turn deadly and also have a supernatural twist. We are talking Tales from the Crypt!

There is also talk of a spinoff series for my Overworld Adventure books. Here’s hoping!

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Yanes: Your latest Overworld book is Battle with the Wither and it is the sixth volume in this series. How does it feel to be able to have written a six volume series?

Davidson: Surprised but very happy. Whenever I work on these books, I really concentrate on them one at a time (though I’ll be coming up with ideas for future ones). It doesn’t feel as if I’ve sat down and written six novels! I’m very grateful that people are reading them and enjoying them, which lets me write more books.

Yanes: When structuring this series, were you able to plan for the end from the beginning?

Davidson: When I sold the first book to the publisher, they didn’t know if they wanted a series. They wanted to try out a first book. So after I wrote the first book in the series, Escape from the Overworld, I started coming up with general ideas for a sequel, just in case. I didn’t come up with anything super detailed in case the publisher didn’t want it. But I built off the ideas of the first book for the second, and the first book sold well enough a sequel was asked for. After I finished the sequel (I think it was literally the day after I turned it in), I came up with the Herobrine arc, building on what happened in the first books. The whole idea started with the image of Stevie finding music discs that told prophecies…and the rest snowballed from there.

Yanes: Looking back, what is your favorite moment of Battle with the Wither?

Davidson: I like the stuff with my main character Stevie and his dad, Steve. Steve has been more of a background character in previous books, and there’s been some tension because father and son, because they’re pretty different in some ways and Stevie is growing up. All of that comes to a head in this book.

Yanes: When people finish reading Battle with the Wither and the rest of the Overworld books, what do you hope they take away from it?

Davidson: I hope they couldn’t put the books down and got to know and like the characters. I hope for my young readers (because I do get readers of all ages!) it helps them feel empowered as kids. Stevie and his friends are all kids, but that doesn’t stop them from accomplishing amazing things.

Yanes: Overall, how do you think you’ve improved as a writer by working on these Overworld’s books?

Davidson: Well, I’m relieved I was able to take a standalone book and turn it into a series! This was a new way of writing for me, especially because I had such tight deadlines. I’m always trying to hone my writing and make it better.

Yanes: You also have another book coming out – Barbie Puppies #1: Puppy Party (NBM/Papercutz). How did you leverage your previous experience into getting a contract with Papercutz?

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Davidson: After I’d sold Manga Art for Beginners and I’d sold some SpongeBob comics to Bongo Comics, I pitched a bunch of different comic book publishers, asking to write for them. Papercutz wrote back with some interest. I sent them a spec script for Tales from the Crypt (because they publish that series) and it got a positive response, but they weren’t buying for Tales from the Crypt right then. They told me to hold on because they had some properties coming up and they’d need writers for them. A few months later, there was an email in my inbox that said, “Barbie?” Yes, that’s really how it happened.

Yanes: On this note, how does it feel to work on an intellectual property as popular as Barbie?

Davidson: When I realized Papercutz was asking if I’d work on Barbie, I just kind of stared at it for a minute, then it struck me I’d hit the jackpot in terms of popularity. Everyone knows Barbie.

Papercutz said they wanted a story to do with Barbie and puppies, so I came up with an idea that Barbie and her sisters put on a puppy party to get the local shelter dogs adopted. I wasn’t sure about coming up with anything glamorous, so instead I went with something puppy-related I really care about. Mattel watched over the whole process and approved my pitch and then approved my script.

Yanes: Finally, what are some other projects you are working on that people should look out for?

Davidson: I have different pitches out, so hopefully some other things will be coming up shortly. When I’m busy writing, I’m happy. Please check out my website or follow me on Twitter @DanicaDavidson for more book news.

And remember to follow me on twitter @NicholasYanes, and to follow Scifipulse on twitter @SciFiPulse and on facebook.

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