Musa Publishing Intern Dianna Gunn

Tell us something about yourself, Dianna.  A mini-biography, if you will.

Well, I grew up and still live in Toronto, Canada, which is the most

multicultural city in the world. I grew up pretty poor in a

neighborhood where my white skin was definitely not the norm, and

because of the area where I grew up, I got to learn a lot about

Indian, particularly east Indian, customs, which is kinda cool. I went

to Scotland once with my dad a few months before he died–cancer–and

fell in love. Someday I plan to live there.

 

Did you always want to be a writer?

I’ve always enjoyed telling stories, but the first time I remember

knowing I wanted to be a published author was when I was eight. I grew

up with Harry Potter–mom brought home the first book when I was six

and it had just come out and read it to me out loud–and it was around

the time Rowling made it big. Around that time, I realized that I

could actually get paid to tell stories, and I’ve wanted to be an

author ever since.

 

What part of writing do you find the most fun?  the most difficult?

For me, what I have the most fun with is a hard choice between the

writing itself–first drafting, as some call it–and the world

building that comes before and between drafts. Most difficult?

Definitely editing, mostly because I always find my motivation lacking

and it’s kind of depressing for me to see how awful my first drafts

really are.

 

How much of your personal life do you incorporate in your writing?

My writing is deeply personal. It all happens on other planets, so

other than the strong personal bonds between characters largely

resembling relationships I’ve experienced and the characters

resembling people I’ve met, most of it isn’t directly lifted from my

personal life–or is it? My parents’ role played a lot when I was a kid

and both made up worlds and characters. A lot of the books I’m working

on and have worked on are based in locations my parents created, so

it’s all deeply personal.

 

Tell us a little about what you’re working on right now.

Right now, I’m working on short stories and the March issue of <a

href=http://penumbra.musapublishing.com>Penumbra</a> for my

internship, which really means I’m procrastinating starting the next

draft of my novel, Moonshadow’s Guardian. Moonshadow’s Guardian is my

2006 Nano that’s been through a hundred drafts that I’m hoping will

only need one more before I can submit it to publishers. It’s about a

demon, Riana, who is summoned by the King of Moonshadow to end a

telepathic plague that’s raging across the land.

 

Is there anything surprising you’ve learned about the publishing industry that you’d like to share with us?

Well, when I first started learning about publishing, self-publishing

was not a respectable option and e-books were hardly sold. In the time

it’s taken me to reach a point where I’m almost ready to submit my

first novel to the publishing world, e-books have started to take over

the market and self-publishing has become a viable option. So it’s

more that I’ve watched huge change happen in the industry than that

I’ve been surprised by things I’ve learned.

 

What’s the most rewarding aspect about writing?

Well, as a non-published author, the most rewarding aspect of writing

is getting my characters to shut up and my thoughts to slow down. Once

I start getting published, and with my blogging, the most rewarding

aspect will be getting to meet people who love my work. Writing for me

is really about reaching out to other people and changing their lives

like Harry Potter and so many other books have changed mine.

 

Do you feel you chase the market or do you write from the heart, knowing you’re writing the best you can and someone will eventually publish your work?

I definitely write from the heart. In fact, I’ll always be a heart

writer, I think. I have way too much trouble writing about things I

don’t love to write for the market. Most of my older stories are

really based on role playing games between my parents or between me

and my dad, and they’re just stories that have to be told. I have a

lot of stories inside me that really need to be told, and I’m going to

write them out and find somebody who likes them. That’s that. I’m not

going to write for the market because I’m too busy writing my own

stuff. My critters all like my stories and someday I’ll find a

publisher who agrees.

 

How would you describe your writing style and genre?

Well, pretty much everything I write is fantasy, and apparently it’s

also YA. My most recent Nanowrimo was intentionally YA, but

Moonshadow’s Guardian was originally supposed to be adult. People

thought my narration was more YA, and rather than turn to third person

or wait for my voice to mature, I decided to focus more on certain

aspects of the story which could make it YA. I occasionally emulate

Anne Rice in terms of my style.

Right now I’m also working on the first thing I’ve written on Earth in

years, a paranormal fantasy/romance/historical thing, but I think my

style can still be sort of compared to Anne Rice. I try to describe

things vividly and I’m naturally poetic, although not exactly a poet.

 

Do you work on paper or a computer?  At home or in an office? What time of day do you write and why?  How much do you write a day?

I write all my novels on a computer because I type a lot faster than I

write–and handwriting hurts my tender wrist–but I write all my notes

on paper. All my world building, mythology etc. is done on paper, in a

binder or a notebook or whatever. I usually write at home, either in

bed or at a small corner desk we have(I live with my grandmother). As

for time of day, really the only time I have free is when I’m in

transit, finished school work early, or between when I get home and my

boyfriend comes to see me–he usually arrives around 8. Someday, when

I’m a full time writer, I’ll work odder hours, because I’m really a

night owl. How much I write is very different from day to day, but I

write at least a little bit most days with good days clocking in

between 3-5K–except during Nanowrimo, when you’d be frightened by how much I write in a day.

 

Do you have any favorite websites and/or blogs that you avidly follow?

Well, I obsessively tell everyone about Nanowrimo(nanowrimo.org,

National Novel Writing Month), and I used to read a blog called

Magical Words (magicalwords.net) every day, but lately I haven’t had

much time to read blogs.

 

Who is your favorite author in the whole world and why.

A few years ago I would have said J.K. Rowling. Then she wrote the

seventh book and I banged my head off my bedroom wall at least a dozen

times when I got to the end. Now I would definitely say Terry

Patchett, because he’s hilarious, he’s prolific, his world is awesome

and detailed, and he’s British. Well maybe that last one’s not so

important.

 

And, lastly, who has impacted your writing the most?

The person who has impacted my writing most will always be my dad. It

might have been J. K. Rowling who inspired me to pursue writing

professionally, but it was my dad who encouraged me every step of the

way. It is my memory of my dad, and the knowledge that he fought

cancer for a year in large part because he loved me and wanted to see

me grow up, that keeps me reaching towards my dreams. Most of all, I

think my dad’s dreams got lost somewhere, and I became his dream–he

wanted nothing more than to see me graduate high school, college, to

get a good job, to fulfill my dreams. I want to make him proud, and I’m

lucky because I know following my dream will do that.

Link to Dianna’s website:  http://diannaswritingden.com/author/diannagunn/

 

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20 Comments

  1. What a beautiful, heartfelt interview. I love that you’re following your dreams and honoring your father’s memory. I’m sure he’s proud of you right now!

    • admin

      Thank you for your kind words, Sara.

  2. Wonderful interview, Patricia! Dianna – hold onto your dreams, keep putting out good thoughts, and you’ll see your goals materialize before your eyes! Good luck!

    • admin

      Thank you for stopping by, Sharon.

  3. As always, a nice interview and Dianna, great to get to know you!

    • admin

      Thank you for commenting, Vicki.

  4. Dianna, your book, Moonshadow’s Guardian, sounds terrific. Love the concept. I read, almost exclusively, YA novels, so it’s just my cup of tea.
    Great interview.

    • admin

      Thanks for commenting, Amaleen.

  5. Beautiful and insightful interview. Dianna, I admire your strength in coping with your dad’s death as well as your tribute to him in your life. Wishing you the absolute best in all you endeavors. You’ve certainly made one invaluable contact…our Patti. With people like her supporting your efforts, you can only soar.

    Hugs,

    • admin

      Thank you as always for stopping by, Karen.

  6. It’s definitely a pleasure to meet you, Dianna. I’m sorry you lost your dad at such a young age. My own daddy was a huge influence in my life, and he always encouraged my writing. I know yours is proud of you and what you are accomplishing. And you and your grandmother are blessed to have each other so close. I wish you every success with your writing.

    • admin

      Thanks for stopping by, Cordelia.

  7. Emma Lane

    Very nice interview. So nice to meet you Dianna. You have a head start on your dream. Great you have started early.
    Good luck!
    Emma Lane
    ‘The Vicar’s Daughters 3’ and coming soon: Dark Domino

    • admin

      Thanks for commenting, Emma.

  8. Hi everyone,

    Thanks so much for all your kind words. I’m happy to be able to work in the industry I’ve always wanted to work in and to have the opportunity to meet wonderful people like you guys and of course Patti.

    And Patti, this is beautifully formatted. Thanks so much for having me here.

    ~Dianna

  9. Lovely, heartfelt interview. And Dianna, we have things in common…my novels are offworld fantasy, the lead female character’s name is Riana, and she’s a Guardian! (But I suspect that’s where the parallels end). Hmm, spooky. 🙂

    • admin

      Thanks for dropping by, Joanna!

  10. Great interview, Dianna! I loved hearing about your drafting and Nanowrimo work! Best wishes with your novel!

    • admin

      Thank you for visiting and commenting, Mindy!

  11. Hi Joanna,

    That’s awesome. I’d love to trade the two works someday when mine is in… uh… readable form.

    Thanks,
    ~Dianna

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