Interview with a character: Dan Ellison

Posted Mar 17 2015, 1:00 am

Welcome to If this is your first visit here, I write mostly young adult contemporary novels and also have a grown-up romance called Goodness and Light available, too. In case you missed last week’s blog, here’s how you can find author Lillian Marek, whose hero Lucien Chambertin is a French adventurer (or is he?).  

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Lillian Marek spent too many years in journalism. She got tired of listening to lies and decided to turn to fiction, where the good guys win and the bad guys get punished.

In this hero interview, I’d like to introduce you to Dan Ellison, the main character from my novel, SEND, which was released in 2012. Dan remains my favorite character. He was, after all, the first to be published. But it’s more than that. He’s so…real. I know where all his scars are. I know where he’s ticklish. I know how his muscles curve.

The muscle’s not for show. It’s for survival. An annoyed voice interrupts us. 

Oh. Hello, Dan. Dan’s a tall, big young man with sandy hair and stormy eyes. 

“Yeah, hey. So, um, the first thing you should know is Dan Ellison’s not my real name. It’s Ken. Kenneth James Mele. I was named Ken after my grandfather and James after my father. But I changed it. Legally. I did it to protect everybody. My parents. My grandfather. Me. But it hasn’t helped. People always find out what I did. And then we have to start over. Again.”

Dan, tell us about your deepest fear. Have you ever told anybody what it is? Is there anyone you’d never tell?

“Oh, no. I’m not afraid of anything…” He laughs once, a short breath of air. His eyes are anything but quiet and when he catches me looking, he closes them. “Just…you know…ruining lives. Liam Murphy’s. Mine. His family. My family. I’m afraid that I’m not, well, normal. And that I never will be again. I try to hide it, try so hard to pretend everything’s fine, everything’s just perfect so that my parents don’t find out. I’ve already put them through too much.” 

Is there anybody who’s made a positive influence on you?

“A positive influence… 


I think you have to be open to positivity. And for a long time, I wasn’t. Yeah, there have been a few people who inspired me to keep going, to keep trying, even when I knew I was beyond help. My dad. My dad’s the best. He never turned his back. He never looked at me with disappointment in his eyes and God knows I sure gave him reasons to.”

Where do you go when you want time by yourself?

“By myself? Did you forget about Kenny?” He laughs out loud for a long moment. “I’m never exactly what I’d call by myself but that’s okay. I live with it. I like to run on the beach. The shore is where I grew up. I love the ocean. I spend as much time on the beach as I can and somehow, even I find it peaceful.” 

Do you have secrets?

He laughs harder. “Secrets? What, the fake name isn’t enough? That I might be crazy isn’t enough? Okay, okay, a secret. Let’s see. I killed somebody. Oh, it wasn’t murder. It was an accident. But the thing is, that doesn’t matter. Kid’s still dead. And it’s my fault. So I changed my name. I moved to one new town after another. Because even though it was a stupid accident, people never look at you the same way again once they find out.”

If you could ask for one thing, what would it be? 

“That’s easy,” he replies with a grin. “I wish for a TARDIS. A Time-Turner. A DeLorean. Hell, I’ll take a malfunctioning transporter. Anything that would let me go back in time to eighth grade and prevent me from clicking that damn Send button. Can you make that happen? You’re a freakin’ writer, aren’t you? Rewrite my story. Make me good again.” That bright grin does little to hide the torture I see in his eyes.

Okay, thanks for answering my questions, Dan. 

“That’s it? You’re not gonna change a word, are you?” He says with a glare.

Dan, this interview’s over. 

“No, it’s not. It’s never over.”

I’m sorry.

“Sorry. Yeah, I get that a lot. I’m going for a run.” He jumps to his feet, strides out the door, slamming it behind him. 

Wow. Um, sorry about that. Dan is pretty intense. If you’d like to know more about Dan and what he did, pick up a copy of SEND. Thanks for reading. Be sure to check out next week’s interview with author Debora Dale! Meet Debora’s hero, small-town restaurant owner, Jake Marlon, in her romantic suspense novel, Tears before Love. 

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Debora Dale is a New Yorker, born and bred. Her first literary love is contemporary romantic suspense – to read it and to write it. As an adoptive parent to six shelter cats, one of her biggest daily writing challenges is typing a complete sentence without one of her cats taking over her keyboard.



9 responses to “Interview with a character: Dan Ellison”

  1. Debora Dale says:

    Wow, Patty, he is intense, but I can understand why. Great interview. I loved SEND and wouldn’t want you to change a word of it…and yet, for a minute there, he had me hoping you would rewrite his story and ‘make him good again’. Powerful stuff.

  2. Wow, that was a tough interview! Dan really has a lot of baggage. Makes you wish we could go back in time. I’m still on the lookout for Doctor Who!

  3. Intense is the word for it. You have a powerful story there, Patty, and my heart aches for Dan.

  4. Gwen Petrarch says:

    Intense seems to be the descriptor for Dan. You can’t help but be torn like he is over what he’d done and sympathetic over the repercussions! Beautiful!

  5. Patty Blount says:

    Thanks for the comments, everyone! Dan’s middle name is Intense :)

    He remains my favorite character to date, probably because, as Gwen noted, you can’t help but feel bad for what’s gone through while also feeling a little satisfaction that he’s been punished for what he did.

  6. Kyrsten says:

    Hello Patty,
    I absolutely loved your book! I finished it in a day. The only thing is at the end of the book Dan is waiting for Kenny to reply to Send the email to Julie. Do you have any plans of finishing the ending? Like were they going to meet again? No doubt it’s a great ending but for the past three hours it’s been driving me crazy about what happens next but there is nothing more to read in the book! Thank you for your time.