Interview with Danika Stone, author of Ctrl Z

Q. Please tell us about your current release.

Ctrl Z is a romantic thriller which follows Indigo Sykes, a young woman on the run from her past, and Jude Alden, a computer hacker trapped in a net of deception. In true Hollywood blockbuster style, Ctrl Z takes readers on an action-packed thrill ride as the young couple is caught up in a cat and mouse as they try to escape the mob. Fast paced action along with a wildfire romance will keep you turning pages and guessing right up to the end. If you like quick plot, fun banter, and a burn-up-the-page romance, then Ctrl Z is for you!


Indigo Sykes has spent years trying to forget where she came from. She has a degree, a new life, and a quiet existence. Everything she ever wanted... But all of this comes to a screeching halt when an unexpected meeting with computer hacker, Jude Alden, changes her plans. Romance blooms between the mismatched duo, even while entanglements from Indigo’s past threaten to pull the two of them apart. Dogged by a history of running, Indigo’s hard-won security is shattered when Jude’s illegal activity drags both of them into a dangerous game. As the net of hacking and underworld crime tightens around Jude and Indigo’s dark history is exposed, the two of them must find a way out or risk bringing the consequences down on them both.

Reviews for Ctrl Z:

“★★★★★... An all around excellent read.” L. Sims, Amazon Top 500 Reviewer.

 “Ctrl Z is an easy-to-read, mystery thriller with a big slice of romance thrown in which definitely spices up the events taking place! Very enjoyable!” D. Ayotte, Author.

“★★★★★... In her powerful second novel, Stone once again creates a captivating cast of characters and weaves a rich, complex world around them.” E. Dropkin, Author.

“The book is a quick read as you’ll want to solve some of mystery and will not want to put it down!” Shelly Itkin, Amazon Vine Voice Reviewer.

“★★★★★...Ctrl Z is a compelling love story with unusual complications... I enjoyed this book greatly and can't wait to see more from her!” Madeline, Amazon Reviewer.

Q. Can you tell us about the journey that led you to writing?

A long time ago… (no, not just a few years; go back, WAY back, even longer than that)… I was a poor university student trying to balance my hopes for an Art career with the urge to write. I had a smidgen of artistic talent, a bit more writerly prowess, and reams of unfinished plot ideas. During these university days, I started a number of stories, but in the way that sometimes happens, I never finished them.

Life got in the way.

Fast forward more than a decade: I was a grad student, freelance artist, and non-fiction writer who taught New Media to make ends meet. I’d met and married my soulmate, and had three wonderful children. We had an amazing life, but the books I’d once dreamed about still were cocooned in my notebook, waiting to break free and fly away. I just needed a change of perspective to take that step.

On a very ordinary day in 2011, I was sitting in a grueling thesis meeting. My advisors were arguing when suddenly – inexplicably – my heart lost its rhythm. It wasn’t a one or two beat arrhythmia; this was a constant, unending heart stutter that left me feeling like I was going to die. My vision went blurry, my skin turned grey, my ears began to ring. By the time it ended I knew something was wrong with me. One doctor’s visit and an echocardiogram later, I knew why.

I had a heart condition.

Anger was my first reaction: I’d always been healthy. I didn’t deserve this! Fear was next: What if I died before my children? Eventually, I grew to accept it. An experience like this changes everything in your life. You can’t just say “next year…” anymore. You have to choose where your energy goes, and for me, it had to go to something I loved, but had neglected for far too long: Writing.

I dusted off the old notebooks, and started breathing life into the long-forgotten stories. Intaglio was my first novel, Ctrl Z is the second. Tathagata, now a Quarter-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel of the Year contest, was the third. Each of these three novels are ones I started (and forgot) so many years ago. Each one had been waiting to set free, and now they were.

Are they perfect stories? No, but then real life never is. Instead, they are a reflection of me and the things I’ve learned in the passing years. Each one, a little bit of the life I lived along the way. In reading them, I invite you to escape into another world, and for a little while let yourself dream. Life’s too short not to.

Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your current release?

One thing I wish I could have done while writing Ctrl Z was to have visited New York again, so that the details for the city could have been crisper. There’s nothing like being immersed in the city you are writing, and I had to rely on my memory (and google street view!) for the details. Someday I’d love to come back to NYC!

Q. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

I will fully admit that I am terrible at editing. I admire people who claim that it’s their favorite part (though I suspect they might be lying!) For me, editing is akin to torture. My favorite part of writing is when I’m in flow, and the pieces of the story are flying off my fingers almost faster than I can type. Editing is the inverse of that. When I start revising, I purposefully break it into ‘doable’ chunks because otherwise I’d never ever finish. The truth is, however, if I could have one magical power it would be an ‘edit’ button on my computer that would do the hard work for me.

Q. Do you have a musical playlist you listen to while writing? If so, what kind of music?

I always create a soundtrack when I’m writing. It’s a quick way for me to shift from my regular life to the life of the novel within a few minutes, and I think if it as part of the bigger ‘film’ version of the story which I have in my mind. It’s also a great way to think of themes in the story, and how those could emerge.

The Ctrl Z soundtrack is included on the website, along with a number of resources for the novel. If I had to select one song as the theme for Ctrl Z, I’d choose Damaged, by Plumb. Come check it out!

Q. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

This is going to make me sound very strange, but when I’m in flow with writing, I get to a point where I start dreaming about the characters. I will wake up in the middle of the night, with entire conversations playing through my mind, and I get up and write them out. Oddly enough, those nighttime notations are not in my handwriting.

Q. Do you plan any subsequent books?

The long-ago notebook is full of ideas just waiting to jump off the page, and that means I’m always writing. This winter I finished the rough draft of a science fiction novel, The Ashes of Absentis, and a few weeks ago, I headed out to the mountains to get footage for the trailer for Tathagata, which is a Quarter-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel of the year award. All of these things would never have happened without the wake-up call that changed my life. It’s been a wonderful journey and I cannot imagine not writing as part of my daily routine.

Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you for inviting me to be part of your blog. I’d like to invite all your readers to come chat with me on twitter @danika_stone. I’d love to hear from them! You can also check out for all the newest details on what’s going on, and ‘like’ the Danika Stone facebook page for updated info. I’m always doing giveaways, and sometime in April I’ll be doing a BIG promo where all my ebooks will be available FREE! Follow me to find out when. 

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