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
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
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/