September 12th, 2016 | E-mail interview by NINa
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NINa: Your Condemned project differs you from writers and composers who put out their work in only one format, since you've merged the novel and the album. What does the creative process look like? Do you have a plan for the general atmosphere, spend time on visualizing scenes, dialogues and lyrics prior to writing them down and recording, or do you just trust your imagination and let things happen more spontaneously?
Darice M. Kannon:
First, I found music that captured the emotional theme that resonates throughout Condemned
. I listened to bands like Disclosure, Panic! At The Disco, Hollywood Undead, Asking Alexandria, Papa Roach and Drowning Pool. Then, I sat down with my brother in Cleveland, James Pequignot (producer and co-writer for the soundtrack), and created "Going Under
", a song that connected me emotionally to the spirit of my protagonist, Brenda Summers. For me, it's all about the drama when creating these characters and nothing brings the drama better than music. After that, I turn to my husband who is a film major to help me devise the overall story and create an outline.
NINa: How does the merge of the two work? What have been the biggest obstacles and distractions so far? Do you type directly in the computer or prefer writing by hand in a red leather, ornamented, hard-cover notebook? ;)
: Technology merges the music and writing. Without it, I would not have the creative range. For example, James works with me over the Internet from Ohio to record the vocals here in Los Angeles. James is the secret sauce to the mix and final product of the soundtrack though we are over two thousand miles apart.
The biggest obstacle is time, or the lack thereof. It's taken me over three years to get this novel together and while that may seem like a long time compared to some of these young writers who take a novel down in a month, writing is just a hobby/passion at this point. I now work a full time day job in the legal profession on top of raising my young twin daughters. The weekends and my lunch hours are all I have to focus on this project.
I find it faster to type directly into a Word doc on my MacBook Pro. In addition, I can research with ease and create music all on the same piece of machinery. Plus, it's great to be able to take it anywhere.
NINa: Most writers make themselves a character in own books, even if they don't admit it openly. Have you placed yourself in Condemned?
: I see myself in almost all of the characters, but there are strong pieces of me in my protagonist, Brenda Summers, the young A&R Executive at OC Records.
NINa: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Is it always a matter of 'believing in yourself' or self-discipline and hard work to have the book completed and published? Or maybe it's other people's encouragement that makes writers succeed? Finally, where will you publish your book, and in what formats?
: Find your authentic voice no matter what anyone thinks and build the empire behind you. Also, outline your story. Without a spine to follow, it's possible to quit because you lose your voice and begin to question yourself. Trust me, when you are starting out you will lose your way and doubt what you are doing. You need something to go back to… a base… a spine. Once the overall arc is established, you can tweak and perfect your voice because you can back write and become prophetic. The competition is so fierce because everyone thinks they can write and everyone has that opportunity, but those who apply time tested techniques and believe they can pierce the veil should not stop trying.
I lean on my faith, self-discipline, determination and encouragement from family and friends to see me through this process. I've come through many trials and tribulations over the years and the one resounding lesson is to never let anyone define my story. It also helps tremendously to have a husband that is extremely supportive.
My plan is to self publish Condemned
as an e-book when the time comes, but for now, I'm releasing the rough draft of Condemned
scene by scene on Wattpad
. My goal is to gain followers of the writing and the music. With sites like Wattpad, who knows what is possible? I'm testing it right now and all of you are all part of that experiment. Vote yes or no, but vote and let me know what you hope happens based on what you've read.
NINa: I understand that as a married mother of two twin girls, involved in creative projects, you probably don't have too much time for reading books by other writers. Nevertheless, could you perhaps list a few titles that had the biggest impact on you so far? Do you have any favourite genres?
: Dean Koontz's Fear Nothing
made a huge impact on me. I love the concept of an isolating disorder turned into a powerful characteristic and resonating theme. I also read several of Sandra Brown's romance novels and had to stop because I found myself expecting men to actually chase me this way. Thanks Sandra!
The Illuminated Rumi gave me hope past what I thought I knew about religion and fear. I'm very spiritual and believe in many things beyond what can be explained or understood.
An interesting side note: the paranormal is something that's always found me over the years and while I was shooting the music/book video
for "Going Under" we were completely blown away by the paranormal anomalies
we saw when reviewing the footage.
NINa: Is your characteristic, clear, and extremely well controlled voice a natural gift or have you spent countless training at a music school?
: Very nice compliment and thank you for saying so NINa! I worked very hard singing in cover and original bands, which stretched and created different tones to my voice. I also trained with quite a few vocal coaches over the years. I'm actually very rusty right now and would have to work hard to get back into good vocal shape. Studio work is all I've been doing for over three years and I'm grateful for that.
NINa: I think "FITH (Fire In The Hole)" could become a great tune for a movie about contemporary romantic relationships or just a single hit song at most radio stations. What professional music opportunities are you looking for to expand your audience, make a living, and perhaps learn something new? Have you tried reaching out to the movie industry or radio stations?
: I have not submitted "FITH
" to any opportunities. Right now, I'm in the 'build it and they will come' mode because I believe I have to do some legwork to gain leverage.
: The information taken from social media can be used in many harmful ways so I limit my use of it. For me these accounts represent a lack of privacy. I see people sharing their every thought on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and it just seems like too much information. While in some instances these types of accounts have proven useful, I'm not interested in sharing the details of my life like that.
NINa: Is your musical career focused on studio work only or do you also perform live? Any plans for a series of concerts for Condemned?
: I'm only doing studio work for my novel at the moment. It's great because the process is intimate and allows me complete control - something that took me a long time to attain. I'd be grateful to have a book signing in the near future at some club in Hollywood jamming with other musicians. I miss that so much.
NINa: Do you have plans for any future releases? Any guest musicians you would like to see on them?
: I have two more novels in the Modeus Lives series with more original songs as well. As far as guest musicians, I would be honored to have any one of these bands below as well as the ones mentioned previously: Nothing But Thieves, Breaking Benjamin, Evans Blue, Bastille, Lacuna Coil, Devour the Day, Coldplay, Red, My Darkest Days, Eve to Adam, AWOLNATION.
Reviews: "FITH" short review
| "Going Under" detailed review
| Buy DMK music: Bandcamp
Pictures come from Darice M. Kannon's archive, all copyrights reserved by their respective owners. Questions proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński.