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 novels – The Rise of Herobrine and The Armies of Herobrine – and what else she is currently up to.
Yanes: I last interviewed you about your career and your novels Escape from the Overworld and Attack on the Overworld. Any big life changes since then? Have you been bitten by a radioactive spider?
Danica Davidson: Nothing as interesting as a radioactive spider! I’ve just been writing. This series runs for six books: 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. Everything is turned in and done, except for Battle with the Wither, which I’m currently revising and will be turning in soon. Phew!
Yanes: Besides the Overworld books, have you worked on any other projects?
Danica: Yes! My book Manga Art For Beginners just came out, and it’s all about how to draw manga. I worked with Melanie Westin for it, and she’s an amazing artist who was referred by an editor at VIZ Media, America’s largest manga publisher.
I’ve worked as a journalist covering manga for years, and I’ve also written the English adaptation for the American publisher Digital Manga Publishing. With this book, we really break down how to draw manga characters. A lot of the how-to-draw books I see out there show you maybe three steps and a finished drawing. This book uses twelve or so steps per drawing, so you can really see how it’s done. It starts with how to draw basic things, like faces and body shapes, then goes into common character types in manga, like ninja, magical girls and butlers.
I’ve also written a Barbie comic book called Puppy Party that’s coming out from the children’s comic book publisher Papercutz. I’d written to a bunch of comics publishers, sending my résumé and writing samples, and they got back to me and asked if I’d be interested in writing Barbie. I was! So my comic is about Barbie, her sisters and their new puppies throwing a big party to find the local shelter dogs homes, and it’s coming out this fall. I’ve seen some of the art for the first few pages and it looks great.
Yanes: As a writer, how do you think you’ve grown since your last Overworld book?
Danica: This is the first time I’ve ever done a series like this. For the first book, I turned it in knowing it might be a single book. But it did well, and then the publisher wanted a sequel. Now it’s become a full-out series, and I’ve been building on the past books. Some of it is learning as I go, but it also feels really natural.
Yanes: What do you know of your audience for the Overworld books? Is there a type of demographic that your books tend to resonate with?
Danica: The books are aimed for ages seven through twelve, though I get emails from parents who read the books to their five-year-olds, and I also know adults who read them and enjoy them. I visit schools and libraries, and these events mainly attract kids in the age group I was hoping to get.
I’ve been writing stories since I was three, so I have a whole backlog of things I’ve written through my childhood. Whenever I’m about to work on a new Minecraft book, I sit down and read some stuff I wrote when I was eleven, because that’s Stevie’s age. That gets me into character for the voice and feelings of an eleven-year-old, because I want it to be as honest and real as possible.
Yanes: What was the inspiration for The Rise of Herobrine?
Danica: Music discs in Minecraft. You stumble upon them sometimes when you’re playing, and this idea hit me: what if you found a music disc that told a prophecy? What if it said the Overworld was going to be destroyed? As soon as that flashed through my mind, my ideas started spinning.
In the book, Alex, who’s the cousin of the main character Stevie, discovers a music disc with a prophecy on it foretelling the end of the Overworld. No one believes her until Stevie, because everyone else she’s shown the music disc to doesn’t hear the prophecy! That’s because only the people involved in the prophecy can hear it, and so Stevie, Alex and their friends realize that it’s up to them to save the Overworld. This starts the Herobrine arc of the series, which will continue in Down into the Nether and lead up to a giant, world-spanning battle in The Armies of Herobrine.
Yanes: As an “unofficial Minecraft” novel, is there anything you can’t write about in regards to Minecraft?
Danica: I don’t think there’s anything I “can’t” write about. It’s more than it isn’t officially read over and endorsed by people at Mojang. My publisher, Skyhorse, does other unofficial Minecraft books, and they work out everything with the rules and copyrights, so I thankfully don’t have to. I just write.
Yanes: What are your long term goals for this series? Can this book series even be leveraged into other media adaptations?
Danica: I would love to see a television series based on it. It’s technically possible based on the contract, but because there’s going to be a Minecraft movie soon, I don’t know the odds of it going through because it would be seen as competition. But if it could work out down the line, I would love it. It’s a very visual series, so I can see it being made into a cartoon. And I’m a big fan of animation, so I would love that.
Yanes: Finally, what are some projects you are currently working on that people should look out for?
Danica: Currently I’m finished up Battle with the Wither. All of my Minecraft books will be available by fall (Down into the Nether, the next book, drops June 21) and my publisher will also be coming out with a box set. That doesn’t mean this will be the end of me writing Minecraft, though . . . I’m hoping to see Stevie’s adventures continue in a spinoff series. My agent has a YA fantasy series of mine, I’ve been working on an adult novel, and I have some more kids’ comics ideas in mind. This is what I love doing, and my hope is for readers to enjoy the adventures with me.