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
“I love to hear from Readers and I always write back.”
Amazon: The Purple Morrow