Everyone, please give a warm welcome to author Danica Davidson. We chat about manga, cyberbullying, Minecraft, and plenty more! She’s previously been interviewed on one of my favorite book blogs, The Little Red Reviewer. Make sure to check that out for even more about Danica. Now, on to the interview!
Is there a genre or literary niche that you feel hasn’t gotten its deserved amount of attention?
I think things tend to move in waves, and as you notice certain sales dominating publishing, then it’s all about that kind of book. It changes every so often, but there are usually a few types of books that garner the most attention, and others that fall to the wayside. Personally speaking, it can sometimes be very difficult to pitch my Minecrafter books for reviews or interviews, because there can be a stigma about kids’ adventure books. People assume adventure books can’t have much depth. But I write books that have lots of cliffhangers (to keep kids excited) and talk about real issues at the same time, like cyberbullying. It’s important for me that these books are fun and also have deeper meaning.
If you had to choose someone to rescue you from the jaws of certain death would it be a superhero, supernatural creature, or a space alien?
I think I’d have to go with superhero. Then again, what kind of supernatural creature?
If you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?
The Simpsons. It’s been my favorite show since I was seven, and I like to joke I learned half my vocabulary from it. (In fourth grade I used to walk around and use the word “perspicacity” because I heard it from Lisa.) As an adult, I realize how well the show is written for both kids and adults, and tons of jokes went over my head back then. I think it’d be amazing to watch all over and not know what to expect, because so many jokes would catch me off-guard.
How does modern pop culture influence your work? Do modern cultural references date a piece or add touchstones for the reader?
It depends on what I’m writing. For my manga book, Manga Art for Beginners, it goes into how to draw popular manga character types, like ninja or butlers. With my Barbie comic Barbie: Puppy Party, Barbie and her sisters put on an adoption event for the local shelter, so it’s not pop culture there, but it’s a reference to reality and animal welfare.
For the Minecrafter books, I talk a lot about Minecraft and tech, so that puts it very much in the now, but that’s also the point of these books. I also talk about cyberbullying in the books, which is sort of a “now” thing, but treating people badly is still treating people badly, and that’s not going to go away. Tech just allows us new, anonymous, farther-reaching ways to harass people. I hope these books can help kids be able to talk about cyberbullying, how it affects them, and how we can all be good online citizens.
I also take on cyberbullying in a short comic I wrote called “Picture Perfect,” which will be in Tales from the Crypt from Papercutz in 2017. It’s much darker than the cyberbullying in the Minecrafter books.
If you were sent on a quest which other manga authors would you take with you?
Is this for survival or for fun? For survival, I’d have to check out their skills. If it’s for fun, then I’ll just get distracted by their great art and probably get nothing accomplished. I’d bring along a lot of bishonen artists who’d probably get tired of me asking them to draw all sorts of things for me.
Are there any manga characters you would like to cosplay or have cosplayed?
I don’t generally cosplay myself, though I love seeing what people come up with. I’m more into “becoming” new characters by writing about them as opposed to dressing up like them.
If you could sit down and have tea (or a beer) with 5 fictional characters, who would you invite to the table?
Lisa Simpson from The Simpsons, Kazutaka Muraki from Descendants of Darkness, the Phantom from The Phantom of the Opera, Raven from DC Comics and Stevie from my books.
Care to share an awkward fangirl/fanboy moment, either one where someone was gushing over your work…..or one where you were gushing over another author’s work?
I probably sounded like an idiot when I got to meet Tamora Pierce at the ALA convention. I was telling her I started reading her books when I was in middle school and I loved them so much and I was writing for MTV right then (I showed her my badge so I’d try to look professional) and maybe I could interview her for there and lots of incoherent (another Lisa Simpson taught word) chatter. But she was very nice.
Places to Find Danica Davidson
Danica Davidson is the author of the Minecrafter novels 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; the how-to-draw manga book Manga Art For Beginners; and the comic book Barbie: Puppy Party. Her books have been called “EXCITING” by Forbes, “RECOMMENDED READING” by School Library Journal, and have been spotlighted by Sci Fi Magazine, Barnes & Noble Kids Blog, MTV and other publications. She was also one of a small group of writers to receive a Webby honor at MTV for Best Youth Writing.
Book Blurb for Battle with the Wither:
After finally defeating Herobrine and rescuing his father, Stevie is looking forward to putting the prophecy far behind him. Bidding his friends farewell, Stevie returns to the Overworld to make up for lost time with his dad.
But their reunion is cut short when a Wither attacks the Overworld, destroying their house. When Stevie rushes outside to survey the damage, he can’t believe his eyes; they’re surrounded by deadly ghasts, blazes, and zombie pigmen from the Nether! Somehow, Herobrine has found a way to retaliate from beyond the grave—and now the entire Overworld must face his vengeance.
In the exciting conclusion to the Unofficial Overworld Adventure series, it’s up to Stevie, his dad, and their friends to restore balance between the Overworld and the Nether, defeat the Wither, and—most importantly of all—protect each other.
In particular, this adventure series is created especially for readers who love the fight of good vs. evil, magical academies like Hogwarts in the Harry Potter saga, and games like Minecraft, Terraria, and Pokemon GO.