Interview with Author Diane Graham author of I am Ocilla 5/02/2013
Diane, I was intrigued by the idea of your book, I am Ocilla, being written in first person present tense. That is truly unique so it got me wondering where you get your story ideas?
Oh, man. I can get ideas from the silliest things. As a matter-of-fact, it is a must for most of my fiction writing. Examples of that are dotted through I Am Ocilla in spades. Most of the characters and story ideas are based on real life flipped on its ear. I’ll give you one example. In the book, there is a species called Krakens. They are not giant squids, like normal lore. They are dragon-men. That idea originated from my eldest son. When we were building our house, it was very hot on the mountain. We had lost a lot of weight and my son’s britches were hanging; exposing a few inches of proper plumber. My daughter said if he was going to keep it hanging around, it should at least have a name. She dubbed it Mr. Kraken. My son obliged the ridiculousness by placing sunglasses at the top-backside of his pants and doing a voice skit for Mr. Kraken. The name stuck. When it came time to develop his character, Kraken it was. He loves dragons and wanted his character to be a dragon. So my silly made it work.
What is the usual process for your fiction writing? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I do a lot of pondering, but when it comes time to pour it on the pages, I pants it all the way.
Once you have an idea that sparks your imagination do you research your idea or do any world-building exercises, or do you just begin to write and see where the Muse takes you?
I do research to make sure names are lined up like I want and I research lore for fairy tales. But I like changing the normal interpretations of fantasy lore to suit my way of seeing them.
I’m going to shake a few people up here. I do not write every day. I write when I want to. I write when my mind feels like it will explode if I don’t empty it. That may translate into months of little sleep and tens of thousands of words or that may translate into nothing for six months. I don’t beat myself up over that…ever. I refuse to make something I love so very much into work.
Are you a full time writer? If so when did you make the decision and what factors led to the decision? If you are not a full time writer…Is your plan to one day being a full time writer?
Thankfully, I am a kept woman. My husband of 22 years provides me the freedom to do what I want and I still have three out of five children at home that I homeschool. Writing is not something I do as a job. It is simply part of who I am.
Can you tell us about your experience working with your current publisher? (Any other publishers?) (And/or your self-publishing experiences?)
I am currently with Splashdown Books. Grace Bridges and team are splendid. Splashdown allows a lot of flexibility to its artists that larger houses don’t.
What is your current release and (without spoilers) tell us about the new book or series.
I Am Ocilla is my debut novel through Splashdown Books. It is written in first person /present tense. That’s a tricky POV to write in and takes some getting used to for the reader. You are in the moment and you are in Ocilla’s head. In the beginning, she knows not a thing but her name. You find most everything out as she does.
Open your heart and mind to the simplicity and complexity of a name.
I know only my name. Beyond that is confusion, a void where fantasy and reality swirl together. Fairies, Giants, Elves, Dwarves, ancient Keepers, and…Dragons? A dark soul threatens the Five Kingdoms, but I am powerless to stand against him, overwhelmed by phantom memories, broken and lost.
Somehow, I must live. I must find my purpose. There are friends to love and battles to fight.
I know my name. Perhaps that is enough.
I am Ocilla.
This is my story.
Can you tell us about some of your other writing and any appearances or signings that you have planned?
I could, but then I may have to kill you, and that is just rude. You were kind enough to invite me here. What would my Momma think? As far as appearances? I’ll be at a grocery in eastern Oklahoma every other Tuesday of the year. Of course, I’ll be shopping, but I’ll be there. I’m kind of in the middle of nowhere, so book signings are not in my norm.
As an author what inspiration or advice would you give to a writer who is working to make the transition to Author?
Write with your bones and a passion. Believe in what you are doing and it will show in your work. Always open yourself to learning from other writers. That will hold true no matter how long you write and no matter how many books you get published. Read, listen to music, and watch the wonderful world around you God created.
Who is your favorite author, and can you recommend a book by that author?
That isn’t even a fair question. I am a bit biased, but I am rather found of my Splashdown colleagues. Have you read Robynn Tolbert’s Star of Justice, Kat Heckenbach’s Finding Angel, Keven Newsome’s Winter? How about Paul Baines’ Alpha Redemption or Caprice Hokstad’s Dukes Handmaid? Then there is always Kerry Nietz from MLP? The list is too long, but that is a good start for anyone that loves speculative fiction.
Thank you Diane!
If you would like more information about Diane Graham you can find her books on Amazon, and updates about her writing on Twitter, Facebook and on her website.