I have for you today an interview with my friend and fellow PDMI Publishing author Dianne Gardner. Dianne’s an accomplished author, a skilled painter, and is even, I hear, pretty darn good at fencing! She has a new novel coming out called “Altered”–this one not from PDMI–which I plan on checking out as soon as possible. I advise you to do the same, and also to read “Deception Peak,” Book One in the Ian’s Realm Saga, available now from Rara Avis and PDMI Publishing. And now, here’s Diane.
1) How long have you been writing? How did you get started?
You know the typical answer? All my life? Well, that’s not so true. I wrote as a teenager. Poems and dark prose. I was a Hamlet sort of person, very introspective. Then I stopped writing as a young adult mostly because I had a family, seven children, and very little time to write. I picked it up again about five years ago. Finished my first novel in 2011 and had it published in 2012.
2) I know some of your work draws on history. Which do you prefer—historical fiction or fantasy?
I love finding historical figures that lived unusual or tragic lives. That’s what the story Cassandra’s Castle was inspired by. I did combine that with fantasy so you can call the novel a historical fantasy. I will probably always include a fantasy element in everything I write. With fantasy I can go anywhere, do anything. I want my characters to have that opportunity as well.
3) How does being a visual artist as well as a writer affect your fiction?
I think being a visual artist and a write gives my work both an abstract view as well as add another dimension. I see things differently having been an oil painter for so many years. Laying down the abstract of a painting is much like forming a book. And to be an artist, or an author, you have to see the picture ahead of it’s manifestation. That’s what keeps you going.
4) What are some of the books/authors that have inspired you?
I am inspired by C. S. Lewis. His outlook on life, his fresh way of thinking after all he went through during the war, and his love for God and the good things in life I find refreshing. C.S. Forester is another favorite author of mine. I love ocean travel, wicked waves and high seas! Almost all my books have some ocean life in them. The book I’m writing now is about mermaids and dolphins.
5) Do other art forms—paintings, music or films—ever find their way into your fiction?
Of course they do. We write who we are and if we surround ourselves with the classics, they show up. In Cassandra’s Castle my supporting character plays the violin. I found it exciting to describe music! In Deception Peak, Ian is fascinated by the artwork that decorates the Kaempern’s yurts, tales of the hunt.
6) How did you get started writing the “Ian’s Realm” Saga?
It began with the dragon. A nine foot by four foot oil painting of the dragon that is. From there I heard Ian whisper that he was going to take that guy on. So the story began.
7) What are your feelings on the publishing industry today? You’ve been with a couple different publishers thus far—how have your experiences been?
I think small press is a great way to break into the industry, especially if you write genre related. I would be wary self-publishing without some books under my belt and some good editors. I have to admit, I do have a secret desire to get an agent.
8) What advice would you give new writers?
Study the craft. Make sure you know the rules before you try to break them. Look at your work through someone else’s eyes. There is always, always room for improvement. Take critique, but make sure you respect those who give it to you. Be bendable.