I’m delighted to have an author-to-author chat with lovely Deanna today, whom I have met through Wonderful Read of the Month network. She is not new to my site, as she has kindly contributed a fabulous article on 5 Elements That Make a Novel Engaging. Please join me in welcoming her, and be sure to ask her questions if you have any by the end of this interview.
Deanna, can you please tell us something unique about yourself?
I graduated from the University of Northern British Columbia with a BA in History. So, for that reason, I love history. Right now, I’m really interested in the Middle Ages, particularly the Holy Wars, now commonly called the ‘Crusades’. I’m particularly in awe of medieval warfare: the armour men wore, the weapons they used, the techniques they used in battle, and the artillery they used. This interest has led me to learn the art of medieval sword fighting, not with real swords of course.
I would not mind being able to use sword in real life . The movements are very graceful in my view.
Who, living or dead, do you most admire?
I don’t admire one single person. I admire anyone who suffers many setbacks in life, but manages to become successful in the end. I have great admiration for successful people…well anyone who’s humble, kind, generous and empathetic.
I agree. Ordinary people and their humble efforts can be most admirable. What inspired you to write your latest book?
Well, the latest book I wrote is a contemporary YA novel, titled TO BE MARIA. This novel was just released on July 31, this year. Right now, it’s only available in electronic format; the paperback is set to be released in October 2012.
TO BE MARIA follows the story of two 17-year-old girls who seek out popularity, but only to find themselves in the wrong places and…at the wrong time.
I was never popular in High School, I never fit in with anyone really. It was a tough time in my life, so for the longest time, I’ve wanted to know what it was like to be popular. Is the grass really greener on the other side of the fence? This question has led me to delve into all sorts of issues teenage girls–even adult women–deal with on a daily basis, such as body image, wanting to fit in, bullying, rejection, insecurity and friendship.
How interesting! Apart from personal experiences, please tell us about your favourite book/author and if they influence your writing, and how?
Right now, Ken Follett’s PILLARS OF THE EARTH is my favourite book. I love everything about this book: the writing, the characters, the storyline, the history. I learnt so much about medieval England just by reading this novel. It’s worth several more reads.
I’m not a copycat by any means, but Follett’s writing is spectacular. It really inspired me to work harder to improve on my writing skills.
Wonderful! Do you have a routine for writing? How long does it take you to complete your current book?
I don’t have a set writing routine, although I find that I write the most and the best in the afternoon or the evening. I’m not really a morning person.
I write my novels long hand and I don’t write every day. Lately, I’m finding myself on a two week on, two week off schedule. I plan on writing much more frequently, though. But for that reason, and because I write longhand before typing, it takes me over a year to complete a novel. It took me over a year to complete the writing of TO BE MARIA.
Oh yes, it is quite time-consuming to write longhand, but a novel in just over a year is not that long from my point of view. What do you do when you’re not writing? What’s your favourite pastime?
When I’m not writing, I’m actively involved in my local community theatre as an actress. The kind of theatre I’ve been involved with for the past two years is Story Theatre, aka street theatre. We’re a small troupe and we perform various short stories to an audience of children and adults at several outdoor venues on the Sunshine Coast (the community in South-Western British Columbia, the place I call home) throughout the summer months.
So, yes, acting is my favourite pastime.
Wow, well done! You must have so much fun performing !
Do you use Social Media for promoting your work and communicating with other writers? What’s your take on it?
I’m an avid user of, and believer in Social Media. Out of all the Social Media there is available, I use Facebook and my blog the most. It’s fun to reach out and get to know other authors, even though it’s only through virtual means. I think networking is vital to any author’s success. It’s not only about book sales. It’s about community. I would encourage anyone to spend at least an hour a day on social media, making the effort to get to know other writers.
I couldn’t agree with you more, Deanna.
Do your characters talk to you? Have you ever used people you know as a character?
They talk to me in my dreams. Sometimes if I haven’t worked on my novel, my characters will visit me in my dreams–often it’s not on good terms–and I’ll know that I need to work more on my novel.
I never use people I know as characters, but I do take from the personalities–good and bad–from people I know/have known and incorporate that into the characters I create.
If you could go anywhere in the world to write your book. where would it be?
Honestly, the best place to go is my imagination. I love getting lost in my own imagination. There’s something so satisfying about it; I don’t have to worry about anything, and besides, that’s where my best writing comes from.
Imagination, absolutely vital for fiction author of all genres.
Here is a challenge: describe your latest novel within 140 characters, as in a tweet.
Well, my latest novel…absolute latest novel…is MARIA’S PLEA, the sequel to TO BE MARIA. I’m only on the 14th chapter, so I don’t yet have a good 140 characters to describe what this novel is about. That will come later when this novel is finished. So you’ll have to stay tuned…
About the Author: Deanna Proach is the author of two novels: DAY OF REVENGE (Inkwater Press) and TO BE MARIA (PULSE). She’s also an avid blogger and actress.
Deanna, thank you for such an informative and insightful talk with me, and I wish you all the best with your future endeavours !