Published by: Ig Publishing
Publication date: October 11th 2016
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
October is an ordinary girl. From her plain looks to her average grades, there seems to be nothing special about her. Then, three days before her eighteenth birthday, she develops a strange itch that won’t go away, and her life is turned upside down. Suddenly, she can hear dogs talk, make crows fly, and two new and very handsome boys at school are vying for her affections. After she starts “transplanting” herself through solid rock, October learns that she is not ordinary at all, but the daughter of a troll princess and a fairy prince, and a pawn in a deadly war between the trolls and the fairies. Now October will have to use all of her growing powers to save her family, and stop a mysterious evil that threatens to destroy the fairy world.
In the fantastical vein of authors such as Julie Kagawa and Holly Black, Extraordinary October takes us on a magical journey from the streets of Los Angeles to the beautiful and mythical underground fairy kingdom.
Today we welcome Diana for an interview!
Thank you for having me to your wonderful blog. I’m happy to be here. These are great questions.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?
In elementary school I wanted to be a spy. I wanted to be like Harriet the Spy, but work for the government like James Bond. I liked the mystery and the sneaking around and I have always liked watching people. I used to peek in windows, watching how my neighbors lived their lives and make up stories about them. I think it was a lot like writing -- but now I don’t worry about getting caught.
How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
Three years at least.
How do you come up with themes for your stories?
I start with a character – back to being a spy. I will see an interesting person – I’m always watching people in the grocery store or on the street -- and wonder what his/her life is like. That starts a story.
Do you have a schedule of when you write?
I like to write in the morning. Ideally, I would plug my computer into my head before I even got out of bed. That is my most creative time. Would someone please invent that computer attachment?
How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
I have a husband, two big dogs, and two big kids, so it’s hard. I’ve had to teach myself to say “no” to fun things like going out to brunch or on a hike. I have to be protective of my time. But learning to saying no has been great for things I don’t want to do. I can say I’m too busy writing to clean my house or do the laundry.
What elements do you think make a great story line?
I think a great story is about a character who wants something and has all kinds of conflicts to getting it. It’s as simple as that.
What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
I always get half way through and think it stinks and I should be writing something else. Even though it happens every time and I know it’s going to happen, I still spend a few days upset and anxious and ready to throw a year’s worth of work away.
How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite?
I’ve written six books. Extraordinary October is my first for young adults. I really loved writing this book. It was so much fun. It’s based on an idea my daughter had and because it’s fantasy anything could happen. I never would have come up with it myself and that was a blast.
Do you have a favorite character?
In my fourth book, The Care & Feeding of Exotic Pets, there is a 7-foot iguana named Cookie. I wrote a whole chapter from Cookie’s point of view. It didn’t make it into the book, but I loved writing from an iguana’s mind. I love Cookie and his odd, kidnapping, murderous owner, Oren, too.
Where do you write?
I write in my teeny tiny office in a corner of the garage. I don’t write in coffee shops – I’m too easily distracted watching the people and making up stories about them.
When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took?
I had one book with a big publisher and it was not a good experience. I prefer a small press where I get personalized attention. I admire people who self-publish, but I don’t think I could do it myself. I’m not a salesman, I don’t have the confidence to push my own work.
Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
My son said he didn’t like reading my books because he didn’t like “being in my head.” I guess I write a little bit like I talk and that’s weird for him. My daughter and my husband are fans, but I don’t know if they’d tell me if they weren’t. My first book was about a character with only a sister and my brother called me up and asked why he wasn’t in the book. I told him it was fiction! But he asks every time so I think I really need to write a book with a brother.
What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
I love to hike and I really love to read. Unfortunately, I don’t like to listen to books. Too bad because that way I could hike and “read” at the same time.
What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing?
Practice, practice, practice! That’s my biggest advice. Don’t think about writing the perfect short story or publishing or anything, just write what you see and what you think and what interests you. Practice.
What is your favorite book? favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write?
My favorite book is The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. I re-read it often. I think re-reading a book teaches so much. When I was young I read all the fantasies by E. Nesbitt. She wrote in the early 1900’s, fantastical fiction about British children chasing magic and getting into scrapes. Reading any good book inspires me – and sometimes intimidates me, which only makes me want to try it myself. I’m still practicing!
Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such?
I have the best group of writer friends. They are so helpful. Sometimes they read an entire draft, sometimes I ask one of them for suggestions about a particular problem. We do it for each other
Are you working on anything now?
I’m working on a mystery about a dog catcher.
Tell us 5 things that make you smile
There are so many! The smell of popcorn; my dog scratching her nose; watching my son watch sports on TV (he gets so amped); a cool breeze; clouds in the sky (don’t have them very often in LA) and rain! Rain would make me laugh out loud.
Tell us 5 things that make you sad
The drought: it’s bad and many of the trees in my park are dying. Politics: it’s okay to have different ideas, but not to use them to hate each other. Guns. Violence. When a woman can’t walk around or go to a party or have a cocktail and be safe. And, on a lighter note, I’m sad when I finish reading a really good book.
If you could travel anywhere in the world to visit a place so you could use it as a background for a book, where would it be?
Morocco. From the pictures I’ve seen it is incredibly different from Los Angeles. I imagine Marrakech smells of spices and strong coffee and sand and sweat and camel dung. That would be inspiring!
Here’s the teaser for Extraordinary October:
Thanks so much for being with us today, Diana!
I have always written and always wanted to be a writer, but didn’t think I could make a living at it. So I became a mime. (You can imagine what my father had to say about that.) I worked on the streets of NYC with two partners, stopping traffic in front of the Met and annoying tourists. When, to my great surprise, that didn’t work out, I returned to school in film–thinking screenwriters made a living. And when I had ten scripts and my agent had stopped returning my calls, I wrote a novel. I did it just because I wanted to love writing again and not think about selling or casting or marketability. That novel was Skin Deep, and it’s a testament to writing from your heart that the first person to read it, bought it. I’ve been trying to write from the heart ever since.
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