Me: How long have you wanted to be an author/writer?
Deanna: I've wanted to be an author for close to eight years. Although, I didn't consider writing professionally with the goal to be published until four years ago.
Me: What is Day of Revenge, your novel, about and how long did it take to write?
Deanna: Day of Revenge is set in 1793 France, during the Reign of Terror. The story entails a group of counter-revolutionaries who work within their war torn country to overthrow the revolutionary government.
Me: Will Day of Revenge be a standalone novel or the first in a series?
Deanna: Day of Revenge is a stand-alone novel.
Me: What was it like when you got the acceptance letter for Day of Revenge?
Deanna: Well, to be honest with you, it felt really surreal. I didn't jump up and down or go tingly with excitement right away--that came later. I was rather numbed. I felt like I was in a dream.
Me: What publishing company are you currently signed with?
Deanna: My publisher is Inkwater Press. They are a small press based in Portland, Oregon. The people who work there are simply amazing. Every time I email them, they get back to me in the same day. The cover art designer, Masha, did a fantastic job with the cover and the interior. It's creative, professional and also catchy. I will be working one-on-one with Kelly, the publicist, on a marketing plan for my book. For this reason, I will be travelling down to Portland in the middle of September to meet with them. I'm very much looking forward to meeting them.
Me: Are you managing any other careers along with writing? If so, how do you find time to both write novels and juggle other another career(s)?
Deanna: I do have a BA in History, but right now I'm not settled in another career. Although, I do work for my parent's company part-time doing secretarial work. I'm also an actor, involved in my local community theatre. I'm a part of the Driftwood Player's Storybook Theatre. We have performed in various short, fairy-tale stories at all of the major and not-so-major festivals all over the Sunshine Coast, the place where I reside. I've also recently been cast as the lead character in a 'Bedfull of Foreigners' a play that will be performed as dinner theatre at the end of October. This play is put on by the Peninsula Players.
Me: Would you like to see Day of Revenge be made into a movie/TV series?
Deanna: Yes, I most definitely would. I would be thrilled to see my characters come alive on the big screen. I've actually had a few people ask me if/when my book is going to be made into a film. I've responded saying, "God willing, in a few years time it will be made into a film. I will be sure to let you know when it happens."
Me: If Day of Revenge was ever picked up by a movie or TV company and they let you cast the characters, whom would you pick and why?
Deanna: I'd pick Angelina Jolie (Julienne d' LeVasque), Leonardo Dicaprio (Henri Varennes), Liam Neeson (Samuel La Font), Ben Barnes (Emmanuel d' LeVasque) and Meagan Fox (Lisabetta, Samuel's young cousin). I'd choose these actors for their talent and I know they would do a fantastic job of acting out my characters. There are also other characters in my novel, like Robespierre, but I can't think of anyone offhand who could play them.
Me: What's the hardest thing about writing?
Deanna: Finding the appropriate amount of time to sit down and write. My life is so filled with theatre and with the marketing and promotions of 'Day of Revenge' that I have little time to spare for writing. The writing of 'To be Maria' is so stop-and-go that when I sit down to write I have to read the last two pages where I left off to stimulate my imagination in order to keep the plot moving along smoothly.
Me: What's the easiest thing about writing?
Deanna: When I do sit down, my creative thoughts flow so naturally and so easily that I can keep writing for hours on end. The other easiest part of writing is being able to put myself into the heads of my characters. All of my experience in acting has really helped with this process.
Me: Did your story ideas and plotline flow naturally or did you have a few bumps in the road?
Deanna: Generally my story ideas and their plotlines flow really well. But, that is probably because I take the time to write my books long hand. I wrote most of 'Day of Revenge' long hand and now I'm writing 'To be Maria' long hand. I do this for various reasons: My creative thought process flows so much smoother when I'm working with a pencil and paper than by looking at a blank screen. I can catch grammatical errors and inconsistencies in plotline much more effectively when I transcribe a handwritten draft to a computer draft.
Me: Are you currently working on another novel/book series?
Deanna: Yes. 'To be Maria' is my second book, and I've already written seventeen chapters. Well, I'm still working on the seventeenth chapter. I've been posting installments of 'To be Maria' on my blog. But as it is in rough draft and as my life is in huge transformation, I want to change the focus of my blog. I want to reflect on my experience in theatre and tell stories about the characters I play. I would also like to chronicle the history behind the writing of 'Day of Revenge'.
Me: I hear you are writing a novel, To be Maria. Mind giving us a little tidbit on that?
Deanna: 'To be Maria' in short is about two teenage girls who make bad choices. Although, I would love to provide a more in-depth synopsis about 'To be Maria', I can't until I've completed the book and it is ready for publication. The synopsis that I do have posted on my blog is rather misleading because the plot is taking a turn away from what I set out to write. It is good turn for me, because it stays in-line with the genre I plan to stick with--suspense.
Me: What made you write a book based on historical events?
Deanna: Ever since the ninth grade, I've always had an immense interest in the French Revolution. I've wanted to write a story set during the French revolution for the longest time, but the perfect story didn't come to me until my second year in my post-secondary training. And that was when 'Day of Revenge' was born. If you are interested in learning the full story behind my writing of 'Day of Revenge', I will be posting it on my blog starting later this month.
Me: Do you have a literary agent? If so, what is his/her name?
Deanna: I'm an un-agented author, as they say in the publishing biz. You don't need an agent to query small publishers. Many medium sized publishers even welcome submissions from un-agented authors. But, if you are desiring to get your foot in the door of some major publisher, like HarperCollins, Random House or Doubleday, then you do need a literary agent.
Me: If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring authors, what would it be?
Deanna: To become published is a very difficult and stressful process. And please don't take this the wrong way, because I'm speaking from my own experience. I'm not trying to discourage any writer from being published. If you want to become a published author, you need to have thick skin because you are going to need it to protect yourself from the sting of rejection. Rejection is a part of being a writer and while some of you may have luck at landing a contract with an agent or publisher on your first round of submissions, some of you may experience endless rejection until one editor or agent says 'yes'. You must not take rejection personally. The publishing industry is a very subjective business and just because one agent or editor may not like your work, that doesn't mean they are all going to feel the same way. I had 44 rejections before I signed my contract with Inkwater Press. Do not give up!
While you are sending out submissions, work on expanding your network both online and offline. Get involved with your local community. Volunteer for an organization or join a club or do both. Attend writers conferences if possible. Join an online group for writers. The Absolute Write Water Cooler is an excellent forum for writers. It is friendly and they have a lot of resources for new and aspiring authors. Open a Twitter account and/or expand your network of friends on Facebook. Most people think of Facebook as very personal. But, it doesn't have to be. It can be used as a powerful marketing tool. The internet has provided writers with so many new ways to market themselves. The more people you know, the better the chances of getting your foot in the publishing door. The same thing applies for first-time published authors.
Me: Along with being a writer, you are a historian-based blogger. What made you pick up a blog in the first place, especially one based on historical events and happenings?
Deanna: History was my major in university. I love history, especially European history. I initially started the 'Everything Historical' blog with the intention to provide people with basic information on different historical events and to promote 'Day of Revenge'. But, this summer the plotline in my own story has taken a turn and now I'm probably going to have to delete the 'Everything Historical' blog and keep my 'Des's Stories' blog alive.
Me: What authors have inspired you and why?
Deanna: J.K. Rowling really inspired me, not only for her immense talent and success with her Harry Potter series, but because I can relate to some of her life experiences as well. I've also battled with depression and I'm still battling with a personal financial crisis, to put it lightly.
Me: Did your parents, relatives, friends, co-workers, etc. support your writing? And, without their support, do you think Day of Revenge would ever've been possible?
Deanna: I've been blessed to have so much support and encouragement from my family, my friends and from my community as well. Without them, I know this would not have been possible.
Me: Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
Deanna: God willing-- and I say God willing because anything can happen in that time--I will be successful in my writing career.
Me: Thank you for spending time with me to answer these interview questions.
Deanna: It was my pleasure. And thank you, Casey, for taking the time to ask me these thought-provoking questions.