We had the good fortune of connecting with Danika Stone and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danika, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The most important element in my own success is the simple refusal to stop when other people said I couldn’t succeed. Call it initiative, or determination, or just plain stubbornness, the final outcome was the same: I kept going when people around me walked away. I honestly believe there are numerous authors (and artists and creatives) who are one “no” away from a “yes”, but they never realize their dreams because they don’t stick it out.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I love the description of artist / creative rather than just author or painter because it really does capture what I do: create. I love making things – ALL things! – and I let myself be drawn into all forms of creative expression, including writing and painting. This ability to focus on multiple projects and find success in many fields is what I’m most proud of, since it’s much harder to find success over many areas than just one.
I never truly planned to be an author. It was a passion that evolved over time, and grew into where I am today. I ‘discovered’ how much I loved writing through fanfic, and it was by exploring AUs (alternate universes) that I realized I had the potential to create my own stories and characters. That finished first book was only the first step. It was a long ten year battle to get an agent. (I believe I queried 300+ agents over several more books.) But I never stopped believing it would happen. I just needed to work at it! So I did.
I listened to the advice that every declining agent gave me. I held onto the good suggestions; I let go of the disappointments. I wrote more books in multiple genres and I made connections with other aspiring authors. Eventually I had a new book written thatI felt was strong enough to find an agent. Sure enough, I did find the right person to represent me! The rest is history.
In the same way, my career as a fine artist has evolved over time and with the same spiralling trajectory. Over two decades I’ve built a repertoire of work, and this year I finally signed with an art gallery. Was that process easy? No, but in the same way as with publishing, I never stopped believing.
My biggest piece of advice? Tenacity is worth far more than talent.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in a windy corner of Southern Alberta, close to the Rocky Mountains, so our first stop would be for a hike. Waterton Park, AB, is one of the most pristine parks in the world and my favorite hike happens to be Carthew-Alderson. This is a long 25 km trek that takes hikers past five different lakes and multiple summits. I did it twice this summer and I still love it!
With a bit of nature under our belts, we’d switch directions and take in some of the finer side of life. There are many fine dining opportunities in the nearby cities of Calgary and Banff National Park. My favorite restaurant happens to be Maple, in Banff. It has Canadian cuisine that is second to none. While we were there, I’d suggest a visit to the century-old Banff Springs Hotel and a swim in the nearby hot springs.
Since we’d still be in the area, I’d likely plan a bit of culture into our travels too, either meeting up with friends of mine from the art world, or by visiting some of the many galleries in the area. For a sparsely populated area, Alberta has a thriving art community. The Glenbow and many of the private museums would be on our itinerary.
Lastly, we’d relax with a bit of boating, either in Banff or Waterton, or one of the many other lakes, so we could watch a mountain sunset. There’s really nothing like it!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
This shoutout is dedicated to all the unpublished authors out there. First because they’re the biggest supporters of my success, and second because I know some of them are wondering if they’ll ever get their big break. Never forget: It only takes one person to fall in love with your book!
Ruzz Cann Derek Lidstone Danika Stone