Archive for the ‘writers’ Tag

Interview with Cat Nicolaou   2 comments

Cat NicolaouToday’s interview is with debut romance novelist Cat Nicolaou. Cat is a friend from the Booktrap independent authors group, a source for many of my interview victims. Welcome, Cat!
Hello, everyone. This is Cat calling from Greece.
Tell us something about yourself, Cat.
I come from a small island in the center of the Aegean Sea. I live there with my family and my pets. I am a cat person mostly, though all kinds of animals are welcome at my home. I am in my thirties now and I am a businesswoman besides being a writer.
What was the first story you wrote and how old were you?
I am not your usual type of writer who have been writing since childhood. I was always reluctant to write my thoughts down fearing someone will see. But I used to make up stories in my mind all the time. Anyway, I finally decided to try it 4 years ago. My first story was called “In somebody else’s shoes”. It was going to be a mystery, but I never managed to finish it. I have half of that novel. I might revisit it one day. What I did finish, though, in the summer of 2012 was my debut novella When Time Comes, which I wrote while working on a novel called “Is Love Just By Chance?”. The latter will come out next year, but it was completed at the same time as the novella.
I am a native Greek, but I’ve been taught English at a very young age. I also speak French and German but not as fluently as English. The English language has always fascinated me and ever since I was taught that, my mind started functioning in English, if I can say that. I told you that I used to make up stories all the time as a kid. Well, they were all in English. I used to picture myself talking with people in various situations, exclusively in English. I sometimes think I might have been English in a previous life. I have a huge fascination with 19th century Britain. I think writing in English helps me open up. I am a rather shy person in real life so by writing in English, it feels like it’s not me talking but someone else.

Except from when I was at school and had to write stories in Greek, the only other time I did that was when I took part in a Harlequin competition this year. I got 12th place unfortunately and only the first ten were published by them. But I translated that story in English and you can find it as a bonus story on my “When Time Comes” e-book.

Tell us a little bit about the island you live on. It sounds stunning.
My island  is in the centre of the Aegean Sea. It’s not very big, but has a vast cultural history. I’ve visited most of the islands in Greece, but to my eyes mine is the best. The beaches are magnificent and people are friendly and hospitable and there’s always something to do here. Lots of cultural events take place here and you’ll never get bored of the nightlife, especially in the summer.

It’s a great place for writers as well. I live in a village and at times it’s so quiet that the only sound you hear are birds. Perfect setting to sit down on a porch, look at the view and write. One of the things that really inspires me here is looking at the sea. Honestly, it feels like the movement of the waves takes everything else away from my mind and brings back only ideas for my stories.

What are you passionate about?
Passionate? I was having a chat with a mutual friend last night and I told her that passion is one of the strongest words in the Greek language. We do everything with passion. We work with passion -you know me enough to agree that I am a workaholic who never stops- we love with all our passion, we sing and dance like that, we love food and drink too much. Every single aspect of life is passion for us Greeks.
I grew up with some Greek immigrants here in Alaska and you are a passionate and vibrant people.
Someone told me I am too loud as a person because of my temperament.
But specifically? Well, the only thing I can tell you about right now is that I am passionate about my work, that includes my day job and my writing.
What is something you cannot live without?
I can’t live without coffee. I tried that once … worst week of my life. But to answer your question in all seriousness, I have been taught to be content with very little, so I don’t mind living without a lot of things. I don’t get attached to materials.
One thing I don’t like, though, is living alone. Though I spend most of my time on my own, I want to know there is always someone there.
I’m going to drop you off in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer, so you don’t need to worry about freezing to death. I’m providing the food and bug spray. How do you spend your time and what do you bring with you? If you bring books, what books?
Ok, first of all, you used the bug word on me. If there’s going to be bugs there even if I have a spray, I’m not going anywhere. hahaha
It’s just mosquitoes the size of small planes. Nothing to worry about.
Nevertheless, I would have to bring my brother along for that part. He’s my bug exterminator. I like fishing very much. Can I do that there?
Lots of fishing, although you would have to hike a bit to fish from the cabin I am thinking of. The Chatanika River has grayling, salmon and white fish. 
And I like to explore when I visit a new place, so long walks it would be.

As for books, whatever I come across at the time. I am an avid reader and though I prefer romance, I read everything.

Cat Nic When Time Comes

Talk about When Time Comes.

When Time Comes was published in February 2015. It is now distributed by all major book sites. It is a romance novella set on the Greek island of Rhodes. The main characters are Athena and Alex. Alex is a famous rockstar and Athena is an art teacher. Athena is thirty-four and Alex is in his forties. He is at the peak of his career and always on the go. Though Greek, like Athena, he lives abroad and has never performed Live in Greece. When he announces a series of concerts in Greece, Athena jumps on the opportunity to see her lifelong crush perform for the first time. Fate is on her side and they meet aboard the ship destined to Rhodes. A lustful weekend follows and then the story takes you 6 years later when Alex revisits Greece for the final concert in his career. Will they get a second chance?

Well, you have to read the book for that.

You are a new author. What are your literary plans for the future?

I am currently working on a novel called The Island of Bliss. This will be a ‘clean’ romance. I don’t want to reveal too much yet since it’s a work in progress, but it won’t be my usual kind of writing. As I mentioned before Is Love Just By Chance? will come out next year. That is actually my favourite story. The MC is Kate who is an editor for a well-known publishing company in London. Her love interest is Cameron, the assistant she is hiring, but they keep having troubles and they can’t be together until those are solved. But their love is not just an accidental meeting. The resolution comes from a weird-looking author who gives Kate a book that takes her back to 19th-century England.

Well, that sounds intriguing.

Other than that, I can give you the titles of my other WIPs: “Teach A Teacher A Lesson”, “A Ride To Last” and “The Reluctant Professor”. The last one might be a series; I haven’t decided on that yet. These are all romances that will contain some steamy scemes. I don’t however use explicit language. I don’t like that. My scenes are steamy but I like to think that they border on erotica, but are not quite that. Readers so far have attested that my novella is quite pure for erotica. Well, that’s why you’ll find my books categorised as contemporary romance.

Anything else you would like to say.

I’d like to thank you for this opportunity, Lela. I hope I didn’t bore your readers. As you might have figured out by now, I love chatting so don’t be afraid to contact me. I love connecting with readers. You can find me on Facebook and Twitter and look for The Booktrap, an Indie Authors Community. I am there too, as well as many other great authors worth discovering.
Website: http://catnicolaou14.wix.com/cat-nicolaou Subscribe to my mailing list to get updates about me and other authors.
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Agony of Criticism   Leave a comment

There are writers and there are authors. Unlike some in the publishing field, I am not convinced that all that separates a writer from becoming an author is publishing a book. I think some unpublished writers are authors in progress while some published writers will never be authors.

It’s a painful truth, but one does not simply sit down and write a good novel. There’s research, there’s writing, there’s rewriting and editing … and more than anything else, there is critique.

How you accept critique is part of what separates writers and authors.

I’ve been scribbling stories since I was 12. I had some critique on my fiction in high school from my teachers, but for most of the decades between then and publishing my first novel I was writing fiction for my own amazement. Then I decided I really wanted to advance a book to publication and I started to submit it to friends to read.

I guess my friends love me. They all said pretty glowing things about the manuscript that would become the seedbed for Daermad Cycle. Somehow I knew that wasn’t completely honest. I went one step further and submitted it to the writers site Authonomy. Mostly I got good reviews and that felt a little bit more honest because these people didn’t know me. Some of the reviewers gave minor critique — moves a bit slowly, takes a long time to get to the point, it’s awfully long — but I wasn’t really sure what to do with that critique.

Then it happened. Somehow I attracted the attention of a notorious misanthrope on the site and he (or that iteration was a she, I think) decided to critique my book.

If you’ve never been run over by a Mac truck, I don’t recommend it.

I knew this was a mean, mean person, but her words bit deep. She (or he) really hated my book. Worse, though a truly miserable human being, this person was also a great writer.

There are three ways to handle that sort of critique:

  • throw the project in the trash bin where the critic suggested … thereby proving that you’re a writer and not an author in progress;
  • ignore the critique and keep the project as it is … also suggesting that you may not be an author in progress;
  • learn from the critique what is worth learning.

The author in progress does the third thing. After I got done being mad and sad in cycles, I resolved to come back to the critique in a while (that turned out to be three months) and mine it for what was worthwhile. Because this person had a history of being deleted from the site, I printed out the critique and put it away for later consumption. In the meantime, more nicer reviews came in that sort of agreed (in a nice way) with the mean review. I recognized that this mean critic had given me solid advice in a truly despicable manner and her critique was really not substantially different from the more soft-soap critique of the nicer reviews. He was brutally honest and that was exactly what I needed.

I went back to the book and applied the critique in a reasonable manner. I broke the manuscript into smaller more manageable portions (thereby creating a series, which is almost never a bad thing in epic fantasy). I was honest about how slow it was and I resolved to change that. I included death and mayhem much earlier than I was comfortable with. I excised the info dumps and limited the beautifully detailed descriptions I like. I added more complex characters, including some actual bad guys. And I got a better book, which got better reviews, but I also gained the confidence to pick a date to publish. You see, buried in that really mean review, was a off-hand statement that I had to mull for a long while and when I came back to it after the rewrite of the book that would become The Willow Branch, Book 1 of the Daermad Cycle, I realized that it was a very subtle compliment. Nasty guy actually thought there was a kernal of something in the book worth saving.

But if I’d done what I thought he was advising — burn the manuscript, eat dirt and die — I never would have come to that realization and either one of two things would have happened. Either The Willow Branch never would have been published or … I shudder to think this — the book entitled that would have been a mediocre book that should not have been published.

One of the major things separating writers from authors in progress is how they handle critique. All critique is useful to those who are willing to use it.

Interview with Dyane Forde, Indie Author   5 comments

Dyane FordeMy friend Dyane Forde visited me following her decision to end contract with her publisher. She is now fully an indie author. Check out my earlier interview with her here.

 

Talk a bit about the Purple Morrow and where the sequel is in process.

 

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 and move on seemed a good place to start.

Purple MorrowThe 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.

 

At the moment, Wolf’s Bane, the sequel is is scheduled for release February 23! I’m really excited about its release, as I’ve been wrestling with this book for a while. It was hard! The scale and scope of the story is larger than Morrow. This book takes the reader deeper into the conflict developing across Marathana, introduces the reader to new players and people groups, and drastically raises the stakes. Questions of identity, and individual choice versus the greater good are explored. Jeru struggles to take difficult steps forward in his destiny while Kelen fights a new evil dogging his every move, all of it leading to a devastating end. It was the biggest challenge yet, but I am thrilled with the result.

 

WolfsBane_Cover_2015_smashwords (1)Why did you choose to leave your publisher and go independent?

 

In honest truth, there were a few reasons. First, I didn’t like dealing with the limits. I like to be in control, and having to go through someone else to organize a giveaway or set up a coupon, or upload the book to other distribution platforms, for example, were major problems. Second, I didn’t like not knowing exactly how many sales I was making. I am sure they were honest, but money is money and when it comes to that, I want to see the details, real time. Third, I had to buy my own books to sell. Now to be fair, this is how I sold the most books and made the most money, BUT producing paperbacks and shipping them over the border (I live in Canada) was expensive. I only ordered one shipment because the second time around the cost of production had gone up. At that point, I said, “This is crazy. I can’t even afford to produce my own books!” Fourth, splitting sales with a publisher whom I had already paid to produce the book when I was essentially doing all my own marketing and publicity was another big issue for me. So I decided enough was enough. I’d learn to produce my own books to the best of my ability and manage the whole shebang myself. Voilà!

 

Talk a bit about your experience with going independent.

See all that bravado up above? That got me to the point of getting out of the contract with the publisher and to produce an ebook and print version of Morrow (the latter is not yet available), but it didn’t prepare me for the burden of carrying the whole thing by myself. Yes it was good to be in control, but it was also frighteningly discouraging to suddenly be aware that sales might not be as swift as I had hoped/thought (maybe ignorance IS bliss). I was faced with the reality that in order to sell I had to get my act together more now than ever. It was a taste of reality I hadn’t been ready for.

 

Also, getting books into stores (brick and mortar) is harder without a publisher backing you. So that is also something to be aware of, for those who are looking to see their books in a storefront or something.

 

That being said, for the time being, I don’t think I would want it any other way. I like the flexibility to write the books I want to write, without having to conform to an editor or publisher’s expectation of what will sell. I used to be stressed out that, without a publisher, I wouldn’t be taken seriously or that I wasn’t a legitimate writer. But through this experience, and others, I’ve come to realize that I like who I am as a writer, and that the stories I tell best are those that come from me. My voice and style are unique to me, as are the ideas and themes I choose to explore. Some people will ‘get’ me and some won’t. That’s okay. I might never be famous or see my books sell tons of copies, but for those who do enjoy my books and stories, I can rest in the knowledge that, for the hours they came along for the ride, we connected. Maybe even had a few thrills and shared some laughs, too. And maybe, when they put the book down, they’ll want to see what’s in store for them in the next one. 🙂 What more can a writer ask for?

 

Whatever else you would like to add.

I love chatting with readers, so if you’ve enjoyed reading about my writing journey, I’d love to hear from you. My contact links are below. Oh, and my blog is open to featuring writers of all levels who are trying to get themselves ‘out there’, so drop me a line if that’s you. It’s been said that writing is a lonely art, but it doesn’t have to be. We are a community, so let’s connect! 🙂

 

Book links, author links, all that good stuff.

 

Website

Blog

Google+

Facebook

Twitter: @PurpleMorrow

Smashwords Profile

Amazon Author Profile

Tumblr

LinkedIn

Pinterest

 

 

Interview with Nicholas Kotar   Leave a comment

Displaying headshot.jpgToday, I am meeting with Nicholas Kotar, writer of Raven Son, a delightful fantasy that I am pleased to be re-reading. Raven Son was one of my favorite Authonomy books because it was a dark tale that mines a culture that hasn’t been overdone by previous writers and it includes themes of faith and redemption without sugar coating human nature. Lela

 

Tell us about yourself, Nick.

There’s a story I once heard about a certain Russian writer (I have my suspicions it was Chekhov), who was asked what he did for a living. He answered, somewhat surprised, “What do I do? I love my wife Olga!” There’s a lot of wisdom in his answer, in addition to its humor. It’s an answer I happily appropriate. My lovely wife, our new baby son Adrian, and I live near a Russian monastery in upstate New York farm country, where I recently completed seminary studies and now I work as an editor and translator for the monastery’s press. I come from a family of Russian émigrés who were forced to leave Russia after the Revolution of 1917. This has led to the rather strange designation that we apply to ourselves: Russian-American. Despite the passage of time, I still strongly identify with my Russian roots, and my writing comes from that strange place of conflicted identity and tortured soul and searching for beauty.

 

How did you come to write a fantasy based on Russian fairy tales?

Displaying COVER_print.jpgLargely by accident, if you believe in accidents, that is. I’ve been steeped in fairy tales since I was a kid, and Tolkien’s fantasy is the reason I write in the first place. Raven Son (which is inspired by both) began writing itself in a marine-themed café in Amsterdam airport during a 13-hour layover on the way to Cairo. I had convinced myself that I shouldn’t sleep at all to avoid jetlag (which, incidentally, didn’t work), and after the third cup of coffee of the morning, I pulled out my moleskine and just started to write. It was a scene where a Syrin, a paradise bird from Russian mythology, reveals herself to the main character, hinting at catastrophic events to come. As I wrote, more and more fairy tale motifs and characters suggested themselves to the story, perhaps because Russian fairy tales are often morally complex. They grapple with the darkness that attacks the human heart in astounding ways.

 

Can you give any examples of what makes these tales so compelling?

The characters that inhabit these stories are very modern in some ways. There’s rarely a traditional damsel in distress, the female heroines are often quite plucky (sometimes alarmingly so), some of the “bad guys” have the odd habit of switching allegiances, so you never know whom you can trust, and ending is rarely simply “happily ever after.” The darkness present in these tales is palpable and real, not just as a convention, but in ways that suggests inner conflicts that are all too real in life. At the same time, the stories never succumb to the moral nihilism present in so much modern literature, especially fantasy. So for my purposes, these tales are wonderful because they grapple with the reality of suffering and evil, but they provide much more than a simple solution for all problems. Inner transformation is expected of these characters, and if it doesn’t happen, they die, or worse, they become deathless. It’s very compelling stuff.

 

Tell us a bit about Conquering Time Publications which published Raven Son.

After I graduated from UC Berkeley, I taught for a while in a small Orthodox Christian private school in San Francisco. During my time there, we had a brilliant group of teachers, some of whom were inspired poets and writers. We would regularly meet to read and discuss literature – Dostoyevsky, T.S. Eliot, Tolkien, Charles Williams, and others. Eventually, some of us began to write our own stories and poems, and we would discuss them as well, just like the Inklings used to do in the Oxford of Tolkien’s day. Then we began to organize public readings of our new works, and eventually we began to write stage productions of storytelling and choral music. This collaboration of different artists named itself Conquering Time (an allusion to a life from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets), and we’ve now performed on both coasts of the US, in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Paris. When I finished Raven Son, our group decided it was time to venture into publishing as well, and we have several projects in the pipeline in addition to Raven Son.

 

If you could do anything you wanted to do or be anyone you wanted to be in this lifetime, who would that be?

If I had unlimited money, I’d go on a long walk through North England with my wife and son, stopping over at B&Bs with four-post beds on the way. Then we’d find a nice cottage somewhere in Derbyshire where I’d spend a year writing. That would be amazing.

 

 

One of your readers suggested that Raven Son could be allegorical to the condition of the United States in the 21st century (or the Russian Revolution in the last). True?

It’s is a tricky question. It sounds like a question Tolkien was asked regarding the allegory in the Lord of the Rings. He bristled at the word “allegory,” and suggested “applicability” would be more proper. I agree with his approach. Allegory is not a very convincing form, because it tends to preach and hit people over the head with its message. But at the same time, like many Russians, I can’t disregard the moral issues and dilemmas of my time, and my own wrestling with moral problems can’t help but come out in my fiction. So of course some aspects of America in the 21st century will inevitably appear, though perhaps indirectly. As for the Russian Revolution… I grew up with stories of how glorious Tsarist Russia was. My grandparents fled their homeland because they were persecuted, and any émigré fiction will have a heavy dose of nostalgia. The Revolution is an event that stands tall in my own cultural formation. It’s a Rubicon of Russian experience, so to speak. It represented the breakdown of everything that my family has considered good and beautiful, and to see similar processes slowly occurring even in the US of today frightens me. So it’s not just nostalgia; it’s an engagement with a historical event that continues to resonate in our own time. I think good fantasy will always engage with moral quandaries in a brave way, without providing easy answers or pat solutions. However, I would be hesitant to call Raven Son an allegory. It’s an adventure story, first and foremost.

 

How do we find your book?

 

http://www.amazon.com/Raven-Son-Nicholas-Kotar/dp/0615960278

 

Nick’s Website: http://www.raven-son.com/

 

Find Nick on Facebook.

 

 

 

Interview with Polly Johnson   Leave a comment

Displaying F_DSC_0124 - Copy.JPGWelcome back to Writing Wednesday. Today I am visiting with Polly Johnson, the writer of Stones, a novel of grief, loss, acceptance and friendship.

Tell us something about yourself, Polly.
I’m married to David and have two grownup girls who are great friends. I live about twenty minutes from London, which is handy to pop in and out to events, but I also have some nice countryside around me. I work in a secondary school with special needs students of all kinds, but I dropped a day last year to concentrate more on writing.
When did you first start writing?
I’ve always written. I have ‘books’ and illustrated stories and poems the earliest of which was done when I was seven. Apparently I’d disappear upstairs for hours to draw and write and read books.
We know each other from Authonomy, Harper-Collin’s slush-pile site where writers can interact with one another for critique and cross-pollination. Two things — I know you as Cariad, which means “beloved” in Welsh, I believe. Why is that your screen name?
I am half Welsh and spent a lot of time there through my life, so when I was choosing a name to use on Authonomy, that one just popped up. Perhaps it reminded me of the country and my dad, who isn’t here anymore.
Second, what has the Authonomy experience done for you and your writing?
Well, apart from Stones being picked up by Harper Collins, I think the main thing has been talking to other people who write, because it can be such a solitary experience. I do have a writing group (we met on an Arvon course about six years ago) where we crit. our writing very honestly, but the comments and friendship you get on Authonomy is the main reason I’m still there.
In Stones, the main character, Coo, is a teenager dealing with the untimely death of her brother from alcoholism. What inspired that theme?

I suspect, me. I wrote it after a period when I’d written nothing and was stuck because I became fixated with thinking about audience and theme and what was popular. I realised I’d forgotten about writing for ‘fun’. I decided to go upstairs and just write without even thinking, like I used to do, and Stones came out of that. I didn’t intend it to bear any relation to real life, but the fact is that I also had an alcoholic brother who wrecked the family, and a lot of unresolved issues like Coo has, so I suppose that surfaced in the book.

What are your plans for the future with regard to writing? Stones has been published by Harper-Collins. Will there be more books to follow?

I have finished a second one, which I’m sending out to agents because I don’t have one still, and I’d like to be in paperback and not just e-book if possible. It is speculative fiction and aimed at adults. I’ve also just started a third, which is aimed at a YA audience. There’s also a picture book idea knocking around, when I have time.

Polly, this is where I let you talk about whatever you want to talk about.

Not sure I have much to add. I’m not brilliant talking about myself. I do have a bit of a bee about e-books and Kindles! I don’t happen to think that anyone’s book should be on sale for 99p for instance. It is often years of work, and it is a unique product. I think books and writing are devalued by a price that is less than you pay for a cake in Starbucks.  I’ve also just discovered that there is a site offering my book for free download – along with whoever else that doesn’t know about it, and that annoys me too. E-pubbing has led to a culture where people think they should just be able to get a book (or piece of music) for nothing, and I think that’s wrong.
I totally agree with you. That’s a needed rant that I hope resonates with other writers and readers.
Links to your book(s) and an author pic and if you have an author website would also be good.
Here’s a tiny url to my book on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/qx93x33
You can reach Polly at the following:
https://www.facebook.com/PollyJohnsonauthor?ref_type=bookmarkand my wordpress blog (very dull)

http://pollyjohnson.wordpress.com/

And Twitter:

https://twitter.com/PollyJohnson5

Interview with Dyane Forde   1 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

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