Whenever reading a novel, I always wonder how the author develops these creative storylines. Are they influenced by other writers? What’s their advice for others yearning to write a book etc. Today, Diana Brandmeyer, author of the upcoming e-book Mind of Her Own, will let us roam around in her head for a little while.
Tell me a little about yourself.
Can I make this up? Can I say I have ‘people’ who clean, cook and chauffeur me? No? Fine. Try not to fall asleep. I live in a small town on a private road. Sounds fancy doesn’t it? It’s not, there’s no gate and it’s gravel. I have 3 sons; all have married or moved out. So I claimed their rooms. I have a workout, sewing and guestroom. My husband doesn’t understand why he only has the garage. I suggested he learn to sew or workout with me. He said, he’d just use the guestroom for naps.
We have two rescue cats; they saved us from boredom. I’m addicted to words with friends, cotton candy and Diet Dr Pepper. Did you know there isn’t a period after the Dr? Yes, I am an expert on their label. I love things that sparkle and they don’t have to be diamonds. We stayed in hotel that had an elevator covered with sparkly paint. We rode it up, then down, then up and then my husband made me get off. Sparkles are so pretty.
If you could be any character in fiction, whom would you be / Why?
Jo, from Little Women. She lived in a house with an attic where she wrote and ate apples. I don’t know why this image appeals to me so much. Maybe it’s because I love old houses and solitude. The apples are a nice touch.
Describe your novel in seven words or less.
Impossible. J Good book buy it! Or, Coma plus kids equals headache.
What got you into writing?
My fourth grade teacher praised a Thanksgiving prayer I’d written. It was a moment when I realized I could put words on paper and someone other than my parents would read them. I liked that. I had a lot of stories in my head that needed to go on paper. I spent recess time on the swings writing stories in my mind. Then I put them on paper during math class. Yes, I did. I am sorry because my math skills are not good.
What is your favorite genre to read/write? Are they the same?
Reading is something I can’t stop doing. I like all genres except sci-fi—but there are exceptions in that genre I like too. Mysteries and Suspense are a favorite and I don’t write them because it’s the one genre I can read to enjoy. I’m not checking out sentence structure and how the characters move. When I read historical and contemporary, I sometimes feel like I’m rewriting while reading. Not that the books are badly written, more like I see what I would do differently.
What books have influenced your writing most?
Harriet the Spy the first edition. From her I learned how to capture dialogue on paper. I also learned it’s not polite to eavesdrop on your parents. That’s two long weeks I’ll never get back.
If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
I would be a professional ballerina—of course I would have had to start taking ballet at age 3 instead of 35.
You are a part of Tyndale’s Digital First Program. What drew you to publishing digitally?
Digital publishing is great. My first book was an e-book. I liked the quickness of getting it to the reader. The physical component to e-books that I enjoy is being able to change the font size and take 100+ books on vacation with me. As for quality of the books I have found most of them are well written.
Could you briefly describe the mundane details of writing: How many hours a day do you devote to writing? Do you write a draft on paper or at a keyboard (typewriter or computer)?
I write in scrivener, a program that helps writers be organized. If I get stuck I grab a steno pad and ‘dream’ on paper about what could happen. My time writing now varies. I used to sit at the computer and write for five hours. I can’t do that anymore it hurts my neck and arms. I have switched to using a dictation program when I’m rushed for time. My best time to write is from 3-6 pm. Please note that 3-6 pm is when my cat seems to need my keyboard to sit on.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Study, buy the writing books by Susan M. Warren, go to conferences, and join a critique group. Take online classes with Margie Lawson. Write, write, and then write some more. Never give up—unless you find you don’t love writing. Love what you do.
Now that you know a little bit about Diana, come back tomorrow (Dec. 6th) for an in-depth look into Diana’s writing process and the inspiration behind Mind of Her Own, available January 2013.
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