Some of Daniel’s Thoughts & Advice on Writing

Daniel Grotta, writer, by Sally Wiener GrottaA portion of a 2013 interview with Daniel, reprinted from The Cult of Me

You’ve written for most of your life, what inspired you to start writing fiction?
As a photojournalist, I was frustrated by not being able to put words to the pictures I was taking. Then, as a journalist, I became frustrated not being able to write my own opinions and perspectives to what I was reporting. Fiction was simply the inevitable evolution of this process of discovering the world and wanting to make some sense of it. Creating my own stories is my attempt to understand human nature and my own place in the universe.

Did your experience in writing non-fiction help when you started your stories?
Of course. I not only use the editorial skills I developed and perfected over the years, I simply extended the reality of what I saw and observed by asking the question “what if” and letting it take me where it would. One of the more important lessons I learned from journalism is Read More

War Correspondent and Relief Activist: Adventures & Disillusionment


Biafra, photo by Daniel Grotta
Biafra, photo by Daniel Grotta

After the motor scooter accident that cut his time at Temple University short, Daniel worked in a photo store just long enough to buy some Leica M4 cameras. Then he set sail for England, which became his base for several years. As a photojournalist war correspondent, he covered several hot spots including Northern Ireland, the Middle East and the Biafran War.

The horrors of the mass starvation in Biafra hit Daniel hard. As a direct result, his next adventure was as a member of Operation Omega, in which a handful of relief workers/political activists drove an ambulance halfway around the world from England to Bangladesh. Read More

On the Home Front

Daniel GrottaStill needing to use his talents for some greater good, Daniel threw himself into investigative reporting. That was at a time when magazines still had budgets to support the kind of probing and fact substantiation that could take months for a single story. Covering politics and politicians, secretive sects, white collar criminals, the global munitions industry and such, his research was so solid that some of his stories resulted in indictments.

As magazines became less interested in supporting investigative journalism (a combination of shrinking budgets and fear of litigation), Daniel segued into producing more feature stories, which eventually led to syndicated columns as a books and classical music critic, and travel journalist. (“I was tired of being shot at, but still enjoyed travel.”)

During this period, he also worked as a book editor, as well as researched and wrote J.R.R. Tolkien, Architect of Middle Earth, which was the first biography about the creator of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

Team Grotta


Fantasy Man by Sally Wiener Grotta
“Fantasy Man” by Sally Wiener Grotta, from a photo by Peter Treiber

Soon after Daniel and I met, he taught me photography so we could travel on assignment together. Our work took us to all seven continents (including three times in Antarctica) plus numerous exotic islands (such as Papua New Guinea and Madagascar). Our articles and photo spreads  appeared in numerous glossy magazines.

When I bought Daniel a Radio Shack computer for its word processing capabilities, he immediately recognized the future. Using the same critical skills and instinctive insights that made him a successful investigative reporter and book critic, Daniel was soon delving into technology,Read More