2. Why did you start writing? Probably because I just had to! I’ve been a compulsive writer all my life.
3. How did you start writing? As a child I wrote “newspapers,” greeting cards, letters to relatives, pen pals, and my own versions of story books. That graduated into school newspapers, high school yearbook, it just grew out of what I loved to do. Write. And rewrite.
4. How did you select your genre? I didn’t. In fact, I knew very little about YA because I hadn’t grown up with that. I read whatever I wanted. It was my first publisher who said, “This is a middle grade book. This one is YA.” Oh. I didn’t know. Now I do. I’ve learned a lot.
5. What is your writing day like? I treat my writing day like any other job. I go to work in the morning, take lunch, break for multitasking like putting the laundry in the dryer or walking the dog, then I’m right back to it. Sometimes I start the morning with a list of everything I hope to accomplish during the day, especially if I have errands to run. And, like other jobs, what you don’t get done during the day either gets done after supper or the next day. I don’t really have deadlines. I want to enjoy my complete life, not just the writing part. So I try not to beat up on myself too much.
6. How do you organize your writing? (outlines/note cards/post-its) It depends entirely on the work at hand. If the work involves a lot of research I start there. I put that in convenient piles to pull from as I need it. If it involves a lot of chronology like Avery’s Battlefield and Avery’s Crossroad, it’s important that I put the right action in at the right time. A time line taped on the wall over my computer helps me keep the action chronological. If it’s mostly fiction, mostly imagination, I just start right in. I write it and write it. When I’ve gotten a good bit done, I will either take a stab at a one paragraph description of the book and see how I’m doing, or I might start organizing chapters with titles telling me what happened in that chapter. Is that what I wanted to happen? Sometimes I’ll write a synopsis half way through, to see if I’m accomplishing what I had in mind. I organize lots of different ways. You might say I write it then I right it.
7. What’s the most surprising thing a character has “told you?” I think Gina Mangalli in Cracks in the Ice has surprised me the most. She is pure fiction, and from the first chapter she surprised me with what she wanted and what she wanted from me. She probably shared her soul more intimately with me than any other fiction character I’ve written.
8. Do you have a list of characters that you’re saving for future use? What kind of information do you keep on these characters? I don’t really save for future characters. If I run across an interesting idea for a story I’ll pin it on the bulletin board and watch it, see what happens to it. It might bloom. And if it does, the character will come along. Not all my characters are fictional. The real ones have been equally fascinating. It’s just as big a challenge, maybe even more, to tell their story using my words, but out of their mouths.
9. What does your work space/office look like? My writing office is in the loft of our log house. The wall over my computer is all window and looks onto the side of a mountain covered in rhododendron. I don’t really see the ground at all, just limbs, tree tops, birds, flowers and some sky. An interesting view of life.
10. What is your go-to snack when writing? No snacks. A bottle of water. A break for lunch, probably a peanut butter sandwich. Maybe fruit. I eat a good breakfast before starting in the morning. If I get chilly I’ll bring up a cup of tea.
11. If you could only recommend one NOVEL, what would it be? Why? The Book Thief. I love historical fiction. A book narrated by Death? What’s not to love about that! Creative, inventive idea, a wonderful insightful tale of WWII.
12. If you could only recommend one CRAFT book (writing, no crocheting), what would it be? Why? Write in Style by Bobbie Christmas. Easy to use, well organized, up-to-date. It’s my go-to.
13. Is there anything else you’d like to add? Thanks for having me. It’s fun to do this. My blog is a 30 second mini blog on my website www. BooksByDeanna.com, so this is a healthy change for me. Thank you.