Be sure to connect with the talented and fabulous Dyane Forde
Dyane Forde’s love of writing began with an early interest in reading and of words in general. She remembers being amazed at how linking words together in different ways had unexpected and pleasing results on others. She loved the look of wonder and excitement that crossed people’s faces after reading something she’d written. These are what sparked a life-long desire to write all types of things, from short stories, novels, flash fiction, poetry…she enjoys delving into genres and forms of writing that are different than what she’s used to in order to stretch herself. Every story or book represents new challenges. Dyane writes to communicate, meaning that writing becomes a means through which she seeks to connect with people on a level deeper than intellect.
Accomplishments? In terms of prizes, as a teen her poem Mud is Grace, a commentary on racism, was published in an anthology produced by the largest Jewish community service group in her city. Aside from that, book one of her fantasy trilogy, The Purple Morrow, will be published in the next few months. This book is currently ranked 34th out of 5000+ books on Authonomy. Also, chapter one of her WIP The Dragon’s Egg was published in The Woven Tale Press emagazine http://woventalepress.com/2013/07/31/the-woven-tale-press-issue-5-3/, and My Face, a flash fiction piece on mental illness, is featured on Kori Miller’s writing blog http://korimillerwrites.com/flash-fiction/my-face/. The blog will also soon feature another of Dyane’s flash fiction pieces called A Gift for Mother. Lastly, a collaborative work with photogragher Fleur Alston was published in the Stories with Pictures emagazine at http://www.storieswithpictures.org/easy-chair/
*Let’s meet Dyane.
D: Hi Alana! Thanks so much for inviting me to chat with you today.
A: Pleasure to have you! Let’s get cracking. I’ve got a lot to ask you Dyane.
What are you addicted to?
Coffee! Nothing fru-fru either, just a simple cup of strong coffee with cream (no milk!) and sugar. It’s liquid sanity.
How do you work through self-doubts and fear?
By facing them. I learned a long time ago that if you never try, you’ll never know what you can do. Regret is something I hate to live with, so when faced with a challenge, I give it my best shot so at least I can say I tried. When I succeed, there’s no greater feeling in the world! Also, one thing people probably don’t know about me is that I am a Christian, and in truth, my faith is really what enables me to go beyond the limits of my own strength and fears.
What makes you happiest?
Being with my kids. Watching them grow up and taking interest in things. They also make me laugh the most. Kids say and do the most hilarious things, so having them around is fantastic.
What’s your greatest character strength?
I don’t expect things to magically ‘fall into my lap’ so I naturally determine to work hard in order to achieve my goals.
What’s your weakest character trait?
Despite my sunny and friendly personality, I can become easily irritated and cranky, especially when I’m tired. I like (need!) my personal space.
*Ahem…I am exactly the same.
Why do you write?
Writing allows me to break through the various social facades to communicate what I really think or feel about something while doing it in a fun and entertaining way. I wouldn’t go up to a stranger and say, ‘Dude, I’m feeling really pissed off because of this and that!’ or, ‘Life is really kicking my butt right now!’ but I can say it in a story, also the chance that I might be able to connect with someone through whatever I’m sharing in a story motivates me a lot.
Have you always enjoyed writing?
Always. Words have always fascinated me.
What motivates you to write?
Wow, good question. A few things. Like I mentioned above, I like to write when I have something to say. I like to think that what I have communicated might resonate with someone else. I write about all sorts of themes, but most often I’ll tackle a life question I’m struggling with, or I’ll write simply because I feel upset or angry, or just happy. I always write from an emotional place and build my stories around that. Still, other times, for fun and to stretch myself, I’ll experiment with a new genre or style. The results are always exciting and surprising.
What writing are you most proud of?
Everything! Each story, poem or book expresses a part of me as well as my skill level at that moment. I like to look back and see what was going on in my life in addition to how well (or not) I was able to express it. Also, in regards to new writing projects, I often set goals for what I want to accomplish or purposely ‘test’ myself by trying something I’ve never done (or don’t know how to do) to keep things fresh. That is one reason why I ventured into flash fiction. The fact it seemed impossible to me was exactly the reason I wanted to do it, seeing something totally unexpected end up on the screen, is very satisfying. Still, if I were to be more specific, I’d have to say I’m most proud of my books. I slaved over them and each one represents specific challenges, failures and successes, and I can see how I’ve grown as a writer over the years.
What books did you love growing up?
Lord of the Rings, The Fountainhead, Dune, Clan of the Cave Bear, C.S Lewis’ Space Trilogy, are some that come to mind at the moment.
Who is your favorite author?
Those I mentioned, as well as Frank Herbert, Margaret Atwood, Ray Bradbury, Yan Martel, amongst others.
What book genre of books do you adore?
That’s changed A LOT over the years. Sci-fi and fantasy have always been favourites of mine, though. I have also enjoyed spy thrillers, British classics and American classics. I like books which are well-written. Since I’ve started writing seriously, it’s become difficult to read a book without ‘editing’ it as I read, so if there are too many errors or elements of ‘bad writing’, I get pulled out of the story and just can’t continue.
Is there any books you really don’t enjoy?
Romance. No offense to anyone who enjoys these stories, but they have always driven me crazy. I enjoy a realistic love story, one that shows both sides of love and a relationship that is built on the real fundamentals of love. I guess anything that paints love or relationships in an over-idyllic, unrealistic way is too much for my practical-oriented mind, I’m afraid.
Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?
I’m Canadian and live in Quebec. That means I have to read, speak and write French, skills I’m proud of. It’s a great province and really beautiful.
How did you develop your writing?
Practice and determination! Being willing to make mistakes and learning from them. Being willing to challenge myself and try things which are out of my comfort zone. I’m always curious to see what I can do and I love to surprise myself. That said, I have made a TON of mistakes and luckily, others pointed them out to me. Reading and critiquing other people’s work helped me learn how to analyze a story as well as what to do and what not to do in mine. It also helped me figure out how to write a novel. Still, one of the best tools I had was my writing buddy, who really pushed and said the ‘tough’ things I didn’t want to hear but needed to.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Life experiences. Things I’ve gone through, questions about life I’m wondering about or struggling with. Things I see happening around me. I’m a social worker by trade so I’m surrounded by human drama, and I admit, how I see the world is often influenced by my work. Hence sadness, grief, human struggle, and realistic (flawed) characters always feature in my work. How I choose to write of them are influenced by other arts I like, like anime and movies. On a side note, I am very into anime right now. I find the character arcs, fantastic elements, storytelling, and drama extremely satisfying and exciting. Also, getting outside the North American POV of storytelling and general world view is also refreshing.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
Getting published. I find that the traditional market is so narrow, and even though publishers and agents say they want something unique, it seems as though they are actually looking for the same things that are already out there because they know they will sell. I wrote my fantasy books according to what suited and interested me, and I find that they don’t fit squarely into any fantasy sub-genre. Publishers tend to like things they can easily categorize, which makes sense from a marketing point of view. So I just decided to publish them on my own and hope to develop my own niche of readers who like what I write.
What marketing works for you?
Twitter, G+, Tumblr and my writing blog (www.droppedpebbles.wordpress.com) work best. Facebook has become less useful over time, I found.
Do you find it hard to share your work?
No. I really enjoy it. I write with the hope that people will read my work and I enjoy getting feedback. It encourages me to keep writing and to find unique ways of telling stories.
Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?
Yes. They are all eagerly awaiting the release of my first book, The Purple Morrow. My husband is a graphic artist and he created all my book covers. My sister is an illustrator and she will be creating fan art for my WIP The Dragon’s Egg. Another friend is working on character sketches of the main characters in Morrow. Not to mention that my daughter likes to be my creative consultant for my fantasy stories (kids have ENDLESS imaginations and, for them, anything is possible. As a writer, why not connect the dots from idea to story so the fantastic can happen?). My son is busy writing comics and is determined to write a graphic novel. Of course everything has explosions and laser guns, lol but it’s fantastic to see how they have been influenced by, and are involved in what I love to do.
*That’s great to hear that you have so much amazing support around you.
Do you plan to publish more books?
Yes, The Purple Morrow is part of a trilogy. The sequel Wolf’s Bane is completed but awaiting feedback from beta-readers (I’m accepting volunteers!). Papilion, the last book, is in development. The Dragon’s Egg, a YA fantasy novella, is also in the works as is a spy-action serial called Big Boy.
What else do you do to make money, other than write? It is rare today for writers to be full time…
I’m a social worker. I work with the intellectually and physically handicapped (that’s the term we use here in Quebec so I hope it doesn’t offend anyone) and those with autism.
How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
Laptop. My mind thinks way too quickly for my fingers to keep up. Also, I don’t like having to rewrite everything so I usually go straight to the computer.
Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?
There are so many people. There are a bunch of people from the Authonomy site who have been staunch supporters of my books. There’s my writing partner, who has literally, from 4000 miles away, slapped sense into me when I had my writing meltdowns (never underestimate the power of a good slap, lol). There are a bunch of new friends I’ve met on G+ and through my blog who are perpetual supporters, and they really buoy me up when the road gets tough. Thank you, everyone!
Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?
There are three books planned in the adult fantasy series. The Purple Morrow is the first. Through the vehicles of Jeru, Nyssa and Kelen’s personal journeys, the book explores themes of hope, trust, love, individual choice and redemption against the backdrop of the threat of world domination at the hands of the greedy and arrogant Northmen. The second book, Wolf’s Bane, is completed and I’m very excited about that. It follows Jeru’s journey as he continues to discover and accept his role in the unfolding events, and as he searches for Kelen, the Rover (Northman) commander who wreaked so much havoc in book one, and whom we learn has a special connection to Jeru’s life. Book three tells of the conclusion of the clash between the Northmen and the Southernmen, and all mysteries about the Purple Morrow and the Papilion are revealed.
Here is the blurb for The Purple Morrow:
The Rovers had been sent to decimate the Southernlands. Instead they awoke its saviour.
Ten years have passed since the Rover army tore through the Southernlands, leaving behind a trail of devastation and death. Most believed the attacks were random acts of brutality. The wise, however, knew the truth: the Rovers sought to destroy the one thing powerful enough to thwart their conquest. They were searching for the Papilion.
A new commander bent on completing the mission left unfinished by their predecessors, leads the Rovers back into the Southernlands. Fierce and determined, he comes armed with a precious artefact and a secret purpose.
While the Southernlands reel under the new terror, the Purple Morrow, harbinger of hope, appears to Jeru, an unsuspecting and solitary clan hunter. Finding himself enmeshed in a series of incredible events beyond his control, Jeru is compelled to take the first steps towards discovering his ultimate destiny.
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
I watch anime mostly. And big action movies. Oh, and zombie movies.
How often do you write? And when do you write?
I write as often as I can, whenever I can. Inspiration can come at any time. There are times when I like to hold an idea in to let it mature before getting to the computer. I find these stories always come much easier and are richer for it. But sometimes, everything comes at once so I just have to sit down and get it out. I don’t have a set word limit. That’s too much stress and for me, I think it might hinder the spontaneity I like about writing. So even if it’s a 100 word flash fiction or a scene of a chapter, or a full chapter, I’m happy, as long as I produce something of quality. If it’s crap, I let it sit for a bit and then go back to fix it until I’m happy. Then I move on to the next project. Quality counts more for me than the number of words I produce.
Do you have an organized process or tips for writing well? Do you have a writing schedule?
No. I don’t like to outline. I do it now because I have to, especially since I’m writing a trilogy and a serial but it’s not something I like. I prefer to wing it, to see what develops and then edit the draft to make the story cohesive.
Tips to write well…? The Internet is full of sites offering writing tips. The thing is that these rules are actually guidelines, IMO. Each writer interprets and uses them according to his intended design so that the rules can change depending on the style and genre as well as the purpose of the piece being written. There are many good to great writers out there who have successfully broken convention, and there are respected alternative magazines and e-magazines out there filled with experimental and ‘odd’ pieces. That said, I still think it’s essential that before ‘bending the rules’ writers should first know what they are.
For this question though, I think I’ll focus on something more personal, like a writer’s attitude. I would encourage writers to be willing to challenge themselves. Try new voices, new ideas and themes and genres. Be willing to think outside the box in order to show the world something they haven’t seen yet. Be fearless. I was having a hard time writing Morrow until about chapter 8, when I just decided to say, ‘To hell with the rules and the ‘you shoulds’ and ‘you shouldn’ts’ and I just wrote what was in my heart. It was the most fun I’d ever had writing. I felt so free! Editing took care of the aberrations which followed and brought it all into order. But the end result was so much better because of that dip into experimentation and full creative freedom.
Sometimes it’s so hard to keep at it – What keeps you going?
Yes, I do get burned out. There is so much pressure to write, to market, to do the social networking thing. And on top of that I have a family and a full time job. I try to stick to smaller projects when I feel tired. Flash fiction and sometimes poetry are great for that, since it helps maintain the link to my creative centre without stressing me out to produce big, elaborate projects when I’m not up to it. Even when I feel dry and like I can’t stand to write, deep down I know it’s what I was put on this earth to do, so I just wait it out until things settle and I find my groove again.
What color represents your personality the most?
Purple. I’m very moody. It’s my favorite colour and you’ll see it in some form in almost everything that has to do with my ‘brand’.
What’s your next project?
Right now I’m still building my blog as well as working on writing short stories and my WIP novels. I’m also submitting work to e-magazines and have even had a few published. I am procrastinating writing book three of my series, though. The thing is, I get so wrapped up in writing my books, and it’s such a big time commitment that I’m not sure I’m ready to go there yet. But I’m writing scenes here and there waiting for the time true motivation strikes.
Thank you, Alana, for this opportunity to share a little of what writing means to me. It was a pleasure and an honor, and I wish you all the best in your own future endeavors.
Check out Dyane’s brilliant book covers designed by her Graphic Artist husband:
Connect with Dyane:
G+ : Dyane Forde
WordPress Blog: www.droppedpebbles.wordpress.com
Authonomy profile (samples of my three books, The Eagle’s Gift, The Purple Morrow, Wolf,s Bane: http://authonomy.com/writing-community/profile/bf0113e2-c9fa-4792-82c9-6bd5d5425377/charlotte12/
*Thanks so much for answering my questions Dyane. It’s been fascinating getting to know you a little better and discovering how you keep motivating yourself. Keep up the great work! Thanks for dropping by and keep in touch.