Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I am pleased to bring you Dianne Marie Andre. I LOVE meeting authors like me, who had no intention, understanding, desire, or spark to write until well into adulthood. It makes me feel a little more “normal” among us writers. Please read on and enjoy Dianne Marie’s interview as much as I did. She is giving away a copy of her latest release, so read on to see how you can enter to win!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Before I became a writer, I held various occupations. These included private piano instructor, craft designer, receptionist, administrative assistant, and barista even though I don’t drink coffee. My favorite occupations are what I do now, writing and photography, but my most significant endeavor is Mom of two sons currently raising their own families.
I live on twenty acres with my husband, Joe, and our adorable rescue dog, Ralphie, hens, cattle, and a bazillion trees. Family, chocolate, fresh flowers, lush gardens, and Mexican food always make me happy.
Tell us about your current release. I have a two-book series. Book one, Ashley’s Gift, A Story of Loss and Self-Forgiveness, is about a grieving mother who learns the healing power of self-forgiveness. Book two, Lily’s Gift, A Story of Sacrifice, is about an abused woman who discovers her greatest gift is the power of love. Both e-books give readers a glimpse of God’s grace and hope in life’s difficult circumstances and joyous moments.
My current work in process (WIP) is a sweet romance. The story is written by an aging man who recalls his life at twenty-three when he returned home in 1954 to wrap up the past, unaware it would revitalize an old fantasy.
How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher (or agent or audience if you self-publish)? When I allow fear to control my emotions, it takes prayer and an encouraging word from the Bible to get past the pity party. The support of my husband, a critique group or partner also snaps me out of the wasted energy spent on fear. Often, I repeat Joyce Meyer’s words, “Do it afraid,” before I click send to publish or market my books.
What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I didn’t always want to be a writer. In fact, the possibility never occurred to me until I was a young mother of two teen boys. At that time, I fell in love with the essays published in Victoria and Country Living magazines. After learning I had cancer, I wanted to write my own essays, so I enrolled in a creative writing course. It was so much fun I decided I wanted to be a writer. Over time, I left my job and enrolled in college full-time. After graduation, I wrote and designed hardcover family biographies, and created a gardening newsletter which I later converted into a blog. Then, a friend invited me to a fiction workshop. I agreed to go even though I didn’t believe I had enough imagination or skills to write fiction. Due to health issues, I attended only two of the one-year workshop sessions. I also gave up blogging because of poor dial-up, the only internet connection available in my area back then. It didn’t take long before writing withdraws settled in so I looked at the first fiction workshop assignment and decided I could do it. A year later, Wi-Fi was available in my area, and the assignment became my first published novella.
Have you always wanted to write a book? I didn’t always want to write, let alone create a book. After recovering from cancer in my early forties, preserving memories was important to me. I could do that by writing essays. Family members and friends loved reading about themselves. It was a beautiful experience that led me from one writing path to another until books became my focus.
Which of your characters most reflects your personality? I don’t incorporate my personal traits consciously, but thinking on your question and based on the characters in book one, I admit I can be selfish like Jenna, a good neighbor like Miss Sullivan, loyal like Robert, and I have Ashley’s faith.
In book two, I’m determined like Lily. I’m not sure I possess any of Max’s or Liam’s traits but I’d like to. The mysterious Tobias is special, so I’ll just leave that for speculation.
How hard is it to come up with names for your characters? What are some of the sources you use? It’s not too difficult. I use websites that list names popular at different time periods and with the meaning behind each. I search book covers, magazines, and a book I purchased years ago when I was expecting my first child, Baby Names from Around the World by Maxine Fields.
Clema (in book two) was a character’s name in a western movie my husband and I were watching one evening. I immediately liked it because it was different and it contained my maiden name (Clem). In my current WIP, some characters don’t have last names. It just wasn’t necessary. But that could change as I go through the editing process.
Do you have a particular character that you fell in love with and keep them alive in your mind? I love Sonny in the sweet romance I’m working on. He’s the man all women desire: kind, thoughtful, encouraging, wants the best for the woman he loves, and he has culinary skills. Since I don’t like to cook, that’s a big plus in my mind.
Here is where you can find Dianne Marie online:
Dianne Marie is giving away her newest release! See below how to enter to win: