This week I am very happy to be speaking with prolific New Zealand author Deryn Pittar, whose novels range across several genres, but always includes interesting characters and arresting situations. Deryn is also a published poet, and her felicity with words is eveident in her writing. Welcome, Deryn!
Last Word of the Week: Deryn, when did you write your first story?
Deryn: When I was a young mother, surrounded by small children. It was a short story about a guardian angel who’d been demoted for losing a client and was a nervous wreck over the antics of her new charge. It was published in a magazine for women. I didn’t write seriously again for many years as life intervened. Then ten years ago I wrote three novels in a row, none of them ever published, but it was a great learning curve and I’m still learning.
LWOTW: What do you think of dreams, imagination, and planning?
Without my imagination I wouldn’t be writing. Yes, I dream, but they are hardly ever of any use. As to planning, I barely plan. Just a few goalposts/turning points to aim for. A basic premise and some bare bone plot lines – the rest is ‘pantstering’ . I do make notes and jot down ideas but often find by the end of the books I’ve only used half the ideas and plot lines.
LWOTW: What’s the highlight of your writing career so far?
When my first contract arrived six years ago. Such a thrill. From there I learned all about the editing and publishing process. I have had eight books published since with various publishers.
Earlier this year Junction Publishing released my dragon story, and a cozy mystery. In June/July they also released my series of five paranormal romances called ‘The Future Movers’. I sometimes enter competitions and have had short stories, flash fiction and poetry published both in hard copy and in e-books. I like to stretch my craft by writing in different genre.
LWOTW: That’s an impressive CV! What are you most busy with at the moment?
I co-wrote a novella this year with a fellow author. It was a first for both of us and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The process flowed as we swapped ideas, then chapters; rewrote, tightened and added, each improving the finished story. It is being released at the end of next month (October) in time for Halloween. Called Angelfire, it’s about an angel who falls in love with a soldier. He has to thwart her brother’s schemes for Halloween and rescue her from harm. It was supposed to be a horror but turned into a romantic black comedy. Lots of fun with quirky enchanting characters. We are hoping to write a sequel and all going well I should be doing that, or have just finished it! I don’t plan too far in advance in case a better idea pops up. I will certainly be busy promoting this release and hope to have the cover to show you by the time this goes to press. We both learned we can’t write horror.
In between I’ve had two sweet novellas accepted for anthologies and I’m currently writing a contemporary romance involving a wager between two guardian angels. The angel theme seems to be reoccurring. I have no idea how long this will be.
LWOTW: Angelfire sounds great. Can’t wait to see it. If you could say one thing to aspiring writers, Deryn, what would it be?
Listen to advice and take what applies to you, because some of it won’t.
Don’t slavishly follow all the instructions you read about how other people write. Everyone’s creative process is different and you need to do it your way. Some people plan to the nth degree before they start, others pantser from the very first sentence. I’m a bit of both…
You should write with whatever method makes you feel happy, because writing is a creative craft and being creative should give you satisfaction – not angst, worry or despair. If you are suffering from those, you are doing it all wrong. Throw away the advice books and try another method.
Join some writing groups (on line or off), find some critique partners (not family or friends) and just keep writing. Get feedback, try different genres until you find your niche. Read, read, read and write, write, then write some more. You can’t edit a blank page. Words are great things. You can put them in any order and make different scenes. Be brave!! Even if you get it all wrong, no one is going to shoot you. Laugh, learn and start again.
Sorry this isn’t ‘one thing’ is it? But then I’m a writer and words are my tools.
Thank you for this opportunity and good luck to all of you who have read this far.
It’s been an absolute pleasure, Deryn, thank YOU for taking part. And for the very Last Word of The Week: What’s your favourite colour?
RED. (It’s vibrant and energetic, and warms me up when I wear it.)
Lutapolii - White Dragon of the South:http://geni.us/vA2Bz Luck be a Lady - Charles Paterson Investigates: http://geni.us/lrqmK https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000354971548 for up-to-date news www.facebook.com/derynpittar (allied with Virginnia’ De Parte’s page.) Blog: http://derynpittar.tumblr.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/@derynpittar
And you can now buy Angelfire:
ANGELFIRE BUY LINK: http://geni.us/m2WIB