Name: Dana Siska
Graduation Year: 2014
Double Concentration: Marketing/ Literary and Cultural Studies
Hometown: Woodcliff Lake, NJ
HC: What inspired you to begin writing?
DS: Bryant’s LCS programs have really peaked my interest in writing and art. Even though I chose a dominant business school, I preferred my LCS classes over every other class I took during my freshman and sophomore year (and still do today, too!). Taking classes at Bryant that cultivate your creativity is extremely important in the Bryant Environment and the professors here make sure you find your hidden talents! I’d have to definitely thank Professor Walden, Professor Coughlin, and Professor Hasseler as they have inspired me to begin writing longer works. When writing the content of my novel, I also took inspiration from Viktor Shklovky’s theory of defamiliarization. My book intends to slow down the objects we normally pass over every day and describe them in a darker dimension… (you know, that Stephen King “creepy” factor). Famous artist Zdzislaw Beksinski was also a very large inspiration to me, as his paintings of terrifying dreams launched my horror novel idea.
HC: Has writing a novel been on your bucket list?
DS: I’m ALL about trying new things and having new experiences. I’ll go through phases where I have sparks of inspiration of doing something, whether it be painting, learning a new sport, or cooking something from scratch. Most of the time, the end product is terrible, and in most cases worthy of a wall of shame, but writing was something that always kept my interest. Now that I have something that I truly enjoy doing, I guess I can check it off the list! :]
HC: How have you gathered ideas for your horror novel?
DS: Horror movies were definitely essential in gathering ideas for my novel. I’m a horror movie junkie so I’ll get ideas anywhere from classic Hitchcock films to Guillermo Del Toro’s CGI creatures. I also conducted studies while watching Bryant Students react to certain horror movie scenes and analyzed the degree of fear they were experiencing. It was a funny, yet very eye-opening experience to learn how much goes into creating the perfect hair-raising scene. My novel also takes place in a post-apocalyptic environment, so I watched a lot of my guy friends play Call of Duty Black Ops to look at the digitalized environment. Anything from the weather conditions to the type of modern warfare being used have all made me further my knowledge on the subject.
HC: Can you reveal the title and a little summary?
DS: I’m still in the process of finding a name for it. Since my book involves the human body and sickness, it will probably be in some sort of anatomic language and/or Latin. I have thought about the title Hemonoctem as a possibility, but it’s not set in stone yet. In terms of a summary, the final draft is not complete yet. BUT, I can tell you it involves two sisters who scavenge the Northeast after a bio-electronic virus wipes out the majority of the population. The rest will just have to be an element of surprise!
HC: When will you wrap up your first novel?
DS: That’s a tough one. I don’t write the chapters in order and I also write whenever I have time. It’s quite difficult to balance school work, job hunting, and writing, so it’s not moving as quickly as I would hope. I’m hoping for a 300 page book so in the next coming year or so I plan to have it reviewed and published at that time.
HC: How has the process been writing a novel?
DS: I have had such a supportive process writing my novel. LCS 491 is an English Practicom class that I am required to enroll in in order to graduate with a concentration in LCS (BEST CLASS EVER). Terri Hasseler loved the idea of being able to use my novel as my project for the semester. This really helps blocking time to my book and schoolwork at the same time, which is a relief! I have her as my support, Professor Walden as my advisor, and a group of GREAT LCS majors reviewing and critiquing my writing. My business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi and sorority Alpha Omicron Pi have been nothing but supportive toward my dreams. I am so happy I have a school environment and such great friends standing behind me on this new venture!
HC: Any advice for aspiring writers?
DS: If you’re interested in writing and don’t quite know what you want to write about, first think about your interests already. I love horror movies and that passion bounced off into me writing in the horror genre. Second, always carry something to write with at all times. Most of the time while I’m in my 8 am classes, I outline and think of new things (sorry, Professor!). The time you are most productive should include writing, even if it’s for 10 minutes daily. Third, make sure you’re knowledgeable on the subject you’re writing about. The more resources you find and analyze, the better. Lastly, don’t give up when you have writer’s block. It took me months to finish a single chapter of my book, so keep going even if you sometimes can’t find the words to write. No one completes a book in one sitting, so be patient and explore your creativity. You never know what’s hiding in your mind.