Spotlight Interview: Dianne Gray

As many of you know, the lovely Dianne Gray is our Spotlighted Author. She has granted me this great interview and I hope you guys enjoy it! Be sure to stop by one of her pages (listed below) and say ‘Hello’. 🙂

Q: Can you give us a quick summary of who you are?
If I go by my twitter profile I am “Author, dream catcher magician and writer of The Everything Theory”
So I guess you could classify me as an author. I have five novels under my belt. Three of these have won national or international writing awards. My latest novel The Eleventh Question was published in late October and (as far as I know) it hasn’t been put forward for any awards. I say ‘as far as I know’ because when ‘Soul’s Child’ won the You Write On Book of the Year Award in September, I actually had no idea it was in the running! It was a fantastic surprise.
I’ve been published by Harper Collins, Harlequin and Ginninderra Press – but in 2011 I decided to get into self-publishing. I found this gave me a lot more freedom to write what I please, when I please and how I please and I’ve never looked back! My writing is very flexible. I write about anything I’m interested in or thinking about at the time and I don’t stick to a particular genre. It may sound selfish, but I write for myself and not to an audience. If the audience reads and likes my work, it’s the icing on the cake for me. I’ve always been a great believer in keeping true to what’s in your heart and not looking outside for what you think other people will like. You’re never going to be able to please everyone, so you’re better off doing what YOU like.

Last week I ‘gave up my day job’ to pursue my dream of writing full-time. Normally, I would take a long holiday once a year to just focus on writing, but now I can spend all my time getting those new ideas out of my head and onto paper.

Q: What is the biggest lesson you have learned about being a writer in your 16 year career as one?
1. Never give up. I know this sounds clichéd, but it is so true. I remember when I entered one of my short stories into a small local writing competition. It came nowhere – but I knew it was a great story. Instead of throwing my hands in the air and giving up on that story I entered it into a big international competition. I was shocked when it won, but it just goes to show that different people like different things and just because someone doesn’t like a story it doesn’t mean it’s not a good story and that no one will like it. That’s the beauty of writing, as long as you like what you do and have faith in your craft, you will always be on the right track.
2. People will love and hate your writing. There’s not a soul alive that has ever written a book that everyone loves. Take all critiques for what they are worth and move on. Remember that an opinion is just that and someone’s opinion doesn’t make you a greater or lesser person.

Quick Five
1. Favorite Novel: Midnight’s Children
2. Favorite Musician: David Gray
3. Favorite Quote: It’s easier to walk through life if you’re not nailed to a cross (from my short story “Corrugated Dreaming”)
4. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? Lead-lighting
5. If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor? Oscar Wilde

Q: If you can have one lasting impression on your readers what would you want it to be?
I like to encourage people to think. When I write a novel or a short story there is always something included that encourages thought. I want people to come away from reading my work with a new thought or a new idea in their head.

Q: Lastly, being that you are now in the Spotlight, are there any parting thoughts you would like to share?
I’d like to say thank you to all those who are reading this post. I really hope you’ve enjoyed it.

Q: Where can readers follow you?
Twitter “Zigotide” Facebook “Dianne Gray Author” and (of course) “WordPress”.

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57 thoughts on “Spotlight Interview: Dianne Gray

  1. Yeah, Dianne! A very nice and encouraging interview. I love that you said you write for yourself and not to an audience. And I see you are still smiling from smooching James Taylor on the roof. 😉

  2. Nice interview Dianne. I’m interested in how you feel liberated now that you self-publish. Now you can write all the lovely original descriptive stuff you want, for example – you were forced to cut that back in ‘Sleeping Gods’.

    • Yes – When Sleeping Gods went to the editor for publishing they wanted most of the descriptive narrative cut. (A bit if background – it won an award and the publishing company running the award was going to publish it). I was more naive back then so I did cut a lot of it out. Anyway, the deal didn’t end up going through so that was the first book I self-published (probably because I was so disappointed and cranky that I’d been mucked around so much – and I don’t get cranky very often!)

      But once I self-published I realised what a breeze it was (and that I was actually getting the profits from my books and they weren’t all going to publishers!)

      I had the same issues with The Everything Theory – it also won an award and the publishers told me they would prefer I remove all references to Australia from it to be published. I knew better this time and told them ‘no thanks’. And anyone who has read this book will know that Australia is a main part of the story and it would have fallen apart without it.

      I’ve rattled on a bit here, Roy 😀 Thank you so much for the question!

  3. Thanks for the reminder to write for yourself first, because you’ll never please everyone, and also not to give up. What a great story that you were first not placed and then won a bigger competition – really encouraging, thank you!

    • When I won that award (after not being placed in a minor competition) it really opened my eyes to the very fickle world of writing. Some people just don’t like things and others do and that’s really the reason you should just write what you want to write and put aside what other people ‘think’ and ‘want’ 😀

  4. Excellent interview ..I knew you were ‘famous’ but didn’t know to what extent 😦
    As I said in the past you are so lucky to be able to do what you love, when you can and not have the barriers of work to get in the way. I started my other story but have become obsessed with blogging…is that bad? Should I not be devoting more time to my ‘work’ …writing in any form is my release and I am so comfortable with writing blogs…sad but true. Though I am only the unknown Author of my Memoir, some people have purchased and that in itself is such a wondrous thing. I am not getting rich by it nor was that my intent. To have the knowledge that other people out there in the world have bought it to read is what spurs me on..blogging or otherwise and I am grateful for that.
    Well done Di you should be very proud of your accomplishments ..I am
    🙂

    • Thank you! I’ve become a bit obsessed with blogging as well! But I can really only sit down and write a novel when I’ve got a lot of time. Leaving work and moving and now rebuilding the old house will take up too much time to focus solely on a novel so blogging is a great release for me to keep my hand in until I can find that time.

      I’m really glad your memoir is doing well – writing it is a great thing and the fact that people like it and want to read it is the icing on the cake 🙂

      • That is some of the best advice I have ever heard–to look at writing as “a great thing” and people liking or reading your work as icing on the cake. Thanks, Dianne.

  5. Sorry, Tiffany, I stupidly thought I was replying to Dianne. However my comment about the interview still stands of course. Sometimes I cannot believe how incompetent I can be, computerise. Forgive me, please?

  6. So inspiring! I truly enjoy articles about people who have found their way in the world and are very happy making a living off their talent. I wish that for everyone. I love how you were so dedicated too, taking your vacation time to concentrate on your craft. (I’m similar in that respect). And may I add — you are drop dead gorgeous! 😉

    • Ah! Thank you for the drop dead gorgeous comment! Flattery will get you everywhere!!! LOL 😀

      I just seem to be the kind of person who can’t force the writing. I need to sit down for a long time and think about it and ponder on what I really want to get out of story. Some people can spend half an hour a morning writing – I can’t do that and don’t really want to – once I start I need to keep the rhythm going. So, like you, I take that vacation and make the most of every second without being interrupted.

      Thank you so much for reading the interview and commenting – it means a lot to me 😀

    • Tiffany has done a wonderful job – she’s a great interviewer! I love a bit of inspiration to start the day 😉

      Thanks for coming by, Anna. I’ve got all your books on my other computer that is at home many miles away (damnit!), so I’m downloading them again now on my Galaxy note so I can keep reading 😀

      • Ta love for checking out my stories. 🙂

        I really needed to be reminded about just who I am writing for (uh, that would be me), as so many on the NaNo forums are in this agent/publishing house mindset, losing sight of WHY the writing really matters. So bless you for setting this writer’s heart at ease.

  7. Great Q & A . . . and I so agree about writing for yourself.

    From my post ~ Our Field of Dreams:

    Whether or not something I write resonates with a given reader depends on the reader. If I write honestly, my intended audience will appear while those who are not intended to be in my pool of readers will drift away.

    When we are enjoying the journey, we stop worrying about finding our intended audience ~ we trust that our intended audience will find us.

  8. You interview well, Dianne…really enjoyed it – wow, 16 years is a long time for writing and I’m very happy for your successful career. it’s a hard road to walk so count me as an admirer from across the miles and water.

  9. Engaging interview, and I find having this sort of background info and real understanding of the author enhances my appreciation of the novel… I’m a few chapters in to The Eleventh Question and have become quite attached to the characters already 🙂

  10. Great interview, Tiffany. I enjoyed learning more about Dianne’s writing and especially liked that she wants readers to think and take something from her novels. Novels enrich our lives.

  11. You really are famous 😆 Great interview. I’m excited you are able to write full time now.

    I love your comment on handling critiques. Logically, it’s easy to see that not everyone will like all of our writing…keeping emotions out of it can be difficult.

  12. Loved the interview Dianne. I also love the fact you write for yourself and not an audience. Some day I hope to be able to do the same. Congrats on giving up your day job and writing full time. That’s something else that’s on my bucket list.

    • Thanks, Donna. It really is a dream come true to be able to focus only on writing and not have to worry about the ‘day job’ – it’s been on my bucket list for some time 😀

  13. Since writing is such a solitary venture I think it’s easy to lose sight of how subjective it is. Great advice to write for yourself first and foremost, that way any rejections/negative reviews don’t really matter as long as you enjoy what you wrote. It’s also good to keep in mind that what one person loves, another will hate, and vice versa, and really it doesn’t mean anything. I’ll try to keep all this in mind on my own writing journey – thanks for sharing! Great interview, very encouraging. 🙂

    • I’m so glad you liked this 😉 Writing is kind of like life – we can hope everyone likes us, but in reality there will always be someone who disagrees with what we say or will have opposing opinions or thoughts. It’s really good to keep this in mind because rejection or opposition is easier to deal with when we think like this and don’t take things to heart. Best of luck with your writing journey! 😀

  14. Dianne, I am curious to know which self-publishing route you took…with an online publisher or did you totally self-publish under your name? I am thinking of going that way with my next book so your input would be appreciated.

  15. Diane, you’re are too decorated an author to be following me. I’m not worthy.

    Just kidding. Sounds like you’ve had one hell of a writing career so far! I bought “The Eleventh Question” on the Nook that Santa Claus brought me this Christmas, but it was a POS, so I took it back. (Apparently *The Big Guy* doesn’t read Consumer Reports…)

    I have $25 in my account at the moment, so as soon as I can, I’m gonna purchase it again and pick up where I left off.

    \m/

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