Interview with Dyane Forde   Leave a comment

IMG_1382 (2)Today I am interviewing Dyane Forde, another friend from the Authonomy website where she recently reached the Editor’s Desk with The Purple Morrow, an outstanding fantasy that I was pleased to support for the last couple of years. Lela

 

Tell the readers something about yourself, Dyane. 

I’m from Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Our country is officially bilingual (English and French) but Quebec is decidedly a French-speaking province. I can speak and write in both English and French—most of my professional work is done in French. I also know some Spanish and I’m learning Japanese on my own, which is a lot of fun. J

I am married and have two children who keep me busy and feeling young—when my knees and back don’t hurt, lol—and a dog named Sparky and a cat named Jack Jack. I picked the cat’s name after watching Cinderella. Those mice were too cute!

 

When did you start to write?

I started writing when I was in the first grade. We were instructed to write a story which I later brought home to show my mother. She looked at it, said it was good and then added, “You know, there are other words you can use to say ‘walk’.” I then discovered how much fun it was to look up new words to replace mundane ones, which led to realizing how powerful that could be—totally adding new life and, sometimes, new meaning to a sentence or idea. I was hooked.

I wrote stories throughout elementary school, poems during the high school to university years, and then stopped writing for a long time. I had a very difficult job and was married with kids, all of which left little time to do anything creative. About 4-5 years ago, things settled a little, and once I got back to writing, I decided to take hold of my lifelong dream to write a book. I haven’t looked back since.

 

The Purple Morrow series deals with loss and grief as well as love and healing set against a backdrop of human cruelty. What was the inspiration for the series?

I’ve always been interested in people’s inner workings and how we deal with the challenges we face. The idea for The Purple Morrow started a few years back when I wanted to explore themes related to loss, redemption, and moving forward. The story of a man unable to deal with the past while being thrown into a crisis demanding that he settle things to move on seemed a good place to start.

The Purple Morrow started very simply; I’d intended it to be a solo book. But as the story developed and the characters matured, I knew the full tale had to be explored. The world of Marathana blossomed, becoming multi-cultural, each people group following their own cultural or religious beliefs. Magic and spirituality are also firmly rooted in this world and play essential roles in determining which side–good or evil–will prevail. I had a full-fledged trilogy on my hands.

 

Are there any parallels between Jeru, Nyssa, Kellen and folks in your real life?

At first, not really. When the idea of the story came to me, I had a strong sense of the type of man Jeru needed to be (strong, earnest, human, flawed, committed—an Everyman) as well as the kind of woman he would fall in love with (determined, smart, vulnerable but courageous)—both came to life rooted in the themes underlying the story. As the story developed, I did base parts of Jeru’s character on myself. Some of fun, lighter side of his personality was gleaned from certain people in my entourage, especially the way he speaks. I’d get stuck on a phrase and would actually stop and go, “Okay, what would so-and-so say in this situation?” and then write what came to mind. Worked every time!

Kelen came to life when I was walking home from the bus one day and I felt strongly that a good villain was needed, someone who could embody the Rovers’ viciousness while still having a heart and soul people could relate to. A few metres from the house, his introductory scene and backstory dropped into my head—it was one of the closest things to a vision I’ve ever had lol–and that was it. I went home and wrote it out. I’m thrilled that he’s become a very popular character.

 

Does your career as a social worker influence your writing at all?

Yes. I’m preoccupied and deeply moved by human emotions, hurt, pain and the struggle to overcome. My hope is that through my stories people can relate to the characters and their challenges and failures while being encouraged by their successes. It’s important to me that readers feel like each story was written with them in mind and, hopefully, they can take something positive from the reading experience.

 

How does your faith influence the stories you tell? What role does the “High Spirit” play in your own life?

I mentioned that I hadn’t written for years. I couldn’t. Any creative person who needs an outlet to stay sane can understand how painful that was. But one day, the story for my first book, The Eagle’s Gift, dropped into my head. That night I went home and started the first serious writing I’d done in ten years. And I haven’t stopped. This is important because I honestly feel that it was God who ‘uncorked’ me and who has been leading me along this very convoluted and difficult path of writing/publishing. Everything that has happened has been beyond my expectations: I’m nobody, just a person who loves to write and decided to grab hold of her crazy dream, yet I have met some fantastic people, have found support and encouragement in so many places…I don’t know what the future holds but already I feel as though I have come a long way and am eager to see what’s to come.

 

You’re self-published. Did you attempt to find a traditional publisher or did you always know that you wanted to go this route?

I originally started by going the traditional route but abandoned it after a few ‘almosts’ and many more rejections. I almost signed with one small publisher but didn’t in the end for a few reasons, one being that I feared losing control of my story. So I turned to self-publishing to make sure that the story I wanted to tell remained intact. I also wanted to learn the process of bringing a manuscript to print. That experience alone was invaluable.

 

Do you have any advice for writers who want to publish their works?

Where do I start?! I’ve shared many thoughts in other interviews and on my blog but I think the things that stick out most to me now are these:

  • Be patient. Success might come quickly but chances are it won’t. And that’s okay. Paying your dues and doing the hard work to improve at the craft; learning from failure; learning the business side of writing; and figuring out what you want to achieve and what you’re willing to put in to get it, are all essential parts of the process. Expecting long term results is one way to avoid burning out and the constant threat of discouragement—your expectations are key in how you weather the storms that will
  • Write as much as you can, whatever you can. I believe it’s important to not stick to only the same style or genres. There’s so much to explore and to try! Poetry, flash fiction, long short stories, novellas, essays, blogging…Everything you learn along the way can be used in one way or another, and finding interesting ways to combine styles, for example, can create something fresh. Not to mention, surprising yourself when you succeed at something new can build confidence.
  • Try, try, try! Submit articles as a guest blogger, try interviewing another author, try a writing competition, and practice your pitches on friends. You never know what you can do until you give it a go. Don’t let fear stand in the way of your growth.

 

What are your future plans for the series?

I’m working on getting Wolf’s Bane, the sequel to The Purple Morrow, edited, and the draft of third book, Berserker, is in progress. I also have three other WIPs on backburners, The Dragon’s Egg, The Eagle’s Gift, and Big Boy, as well as a YA novella I just completed called The Cloud-Gatherer’s Tears which is sitting for a bit until I get to revisions. Information about these stories (with excerpts) as well as my other short fiction are found on my blog www.droppedpebbles.wordpress.com. I like to keep busy. J

 

Contact Diane!

“I love to hear from Readers and I always write back.”

Website:  http://dyegirl1373.wix.com/dyanefordewriter

Twitter @PurpleMorrow

Google+

Google G+

DyaneFordeWriterAmazon: The Purple Morrow

Amazon Author Central Page

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DyaneWriter

Authonomy: http://authonomy.com/writing-community/profile/bf0113e2-c9fa-4792-82c9-6bd5d5425377/charlotte12/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/11441024-dyane-forde

Tumblr: http://dyegirl.tumblr.com/

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=286343198

Email: dyegirl_00@hotmail.com

Stay Tuned for Writer Wednesday   1 comment

Posted August 27, 2014 by Lela Markham in Writing

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Dry Cabin Entertaining   1 comment

Tim was in his mid-20s and tired of working two jobs. His career job was still growing, so delivering pizza gave him money to set aside an emergency fund and cover an occasional luxury, but he wanted evenings free.

The solution was dry cabin living. Any place he might rent in town would have running water, which you paid for in addition to rent and electricity. Typical town rental, driven by military housing allowances, was one-third higher than rent on the outskirts of town in what the military deems substandard housing.

Tim looked at five different places and selected a clean, brightly-lit frame cabin in a community of such cabins in the Goldstream Valley, a granola community just north of Fairbanks. The cabin had a private outhouse, a loft and a bedroom on the ground floor. It had a full kitchen, sans running water in the sink. Perfect!

Tim set about turning his new home into a comfortable nest. I suggested he check out Samson’s, a local hardware store. He walked in there and, with guidance from dry cabins knowledgeable staff, bought an Okie bathtub, a solar shower, a porta-pot and a collection of Gerry cans.

Two weeks later, he invited a bunch of us out for a house warming.

Tim had taken the loft for his bedroom and turned the ground-floor bedroom into a bathroom/coat closet. A dresser that had been left behind by the previous tenant served as a counter for the dry sink and a vase of water awaited those who wanted to wash their hands after using the chem toilet, which held a blue fluid that controlled the odor. Tim explained that after we left, he’d dump the holding tank in the outhouse, which was the only time he used that facility.

Except for washing my hands in cold water at using the rest room and needing to put ice in my drinking water since there was no tap to run, Tim pretty much lived like everyone else. He was clean, healthy and his house was bug free. He didn’t use paper plates, washing his dishes in a tub in the unplumbed sink after he heated the water on the stove. The solar shower lived in the loft near his bedroom. At first he disposed of the gray water by hauling it to the outhouse, but eventually, he discovered the house had a drain of sorts in the corner of the kitchen. An attached sewer pipe carried the water out to a homemade cistern that slowly seeped away into the ground during the warm months.

Tim lived in the cabin for three years and during that time, the only time he seemed to struggle with dry cabin living was when his folks visited from the Lower 48 and that was only because they teased him. He even grew a garden, laboring with a neighbor to divert a small creek for irrigation. Twenty years later, he speaks fondly of the cabin, though his wife had insisted that they move as soon as they were married.

Despite my assertion that I would never live like that, it is doable and can be done well, if the person choosing it is motivated.

Posted August 26, 2014 by Lela Markham in Uncategorized

New bulbs have hidden costs   Leave a comment

New bulbs have hidden costs – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Letters To Editor.

A funny and biting take on the forced use of CFL bulbs.

Black Soil   1 comment

I started this series with outhouses and now I’m ending it with an in-house outhouse.

Okay, technically they’re called composting toilets.

No, they don’t stink — at least they don’t when properly maintained.

Obviously this one is a manufactured model, but you can build your own and Alaskans often do.

Multrum toiletAre you shuddering yet? Most Lower 48ers gag at the idea of a compost pile in their house. But let’s face it, if the alternative is going to the outhouse at three am in 40 below zero weather, a composting toilet doesn’t sound half-bad.

The access for the compost is usually outside of the home.

And, yes, if it’s done correctly, you can actually use it on the vegetable garden.

Not that I would, not until it’s had a season or two of traditional composting just to satisfy my own shudder factor.

For the record, I live in a house with running water connected to a traditional municipal water and sewer system. I am a modern Alaskan who prefers flush toilets. My last post on the subject will be my memories of visiting a friend who lived one of these alternative lifestyles.

It’s all about how you deal with the poo.

Yes, I wrote that!

Why Celtic Fantasy?   Leave a comment

Originally posted on The Willow Branch: Book One of The Daermad Cycle:

I recently read an article about how European-based fantasy is ethnocentric and overdone. The writer lamented that English I speaking writers did not branch out into the other cultures of the world to mine their myths and history to base fantasies on.

Point taken. Europe is not the only culture in the world and other cultures present a rich, largely untapped resource for fantasy writers.

I based my main society on Celts. Maybe I was being ethnocentric. My own heritage is Irish, Welsh, Swedish and French-speaking American Indian. I mine the Celtic and Scandinavian cultures for the first book of the Daermad Cycle. At some point I may touch on the Wyndake culture. I hint that other Earth cultures exist in Daermad as well. If the Cycle goes long enough who knows where it will end up.

It’s important to know that writing what you know is good advice that…

View original 128 more words

Posted August 23, 2014 by Lela Markham in Uncategorized

Going Grey   1 comment

There are people who cannot drill a well who can install a traditional septic system and leach field, but there are many people for whom that is not an option. The Goldstream Valley is notorious for lacking “perk” which means that a septic system will not work. And what do you do instead?

Well, you take a page from the motor home industry, of course, and install a grey water tank.

Grey water is that water which is used for showers, doing dishes and laundry. Because of the soap involved, bacteria isn’t an issue and after the solids have settled out, as you can see from the illustration, it can be retained for gardening. You wouldn’t want to drink it because it still contains particulates of phosphate, but it can be reused for other household tasks.

Of course, we all know that there’s more involved in effluent than grey water. My last post on this subject will be all about poo.

Yes, I wrote that!

Posted August 23, 2014 by Lela Markham in Alaska

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