Hello, my friends! Thank you for joining me while we pick the brain of the dashing, Dianna Gunn. Thanks to all of the authors who have been part of this and will be part of this!
Same Rules: As is and my comments in italics.
Dianna Gunn is a freelance writer by day and a fantasy author by night. Her debut YA fantasy novella, Keeper of the Dawn, came out in April 2017. She also blogs about writing, creativity and life at http://www.thedabbler.ca and can frequently be found ranting on Twitter @DiannaLGunn.
- What writing advice would you give to your past self?
AT WHAT AGE THOUGH? You didn’t tell me so I’m going to pick 14 year old me (a little under 10 years ago) and tell myself that there comes a point in time where quality matters more than quantity. I wrote terrible books at an alarming rate for several years, and while it taught me many useful things, I wish I had slowed down and focused on a couple key books. Moonshadow’s Guardian, the adult fantasy novel I hope to self publish next year, would likely have already been published if I had concentrated more on editing.
I’m sorry I didn’t specify! You could have talked to your yesterday self and it still would have been great. We’re always changing. CREATIVE FREEDOM!
- What piece of advice do you commonly give, but have trouble following yourself?
Take time out of the day for self care. I know how important this is, and how much better I feel afterwards, but it’s so difficult to fight my inner workaholic. I’ve gotten much better at this in the past year, but I’ve still got a long way to go.
I think I asked you this question in the group and you made a video about it so… PROMO LINK: Dianna the Expert Follow her YouTube!
- What does your work environment look like?
A terrible mess because I have a tiny corner desk and not enough drawers. But my laptop is a sexy gaming beast with a glowing keyboard!
Damn, you make my work space sound so boring… haha
- What time of day are you most productive?
Usually 1-3PM, though it varies slightly based on when I wake up. I have terrible insomnia and I’m a freelance writer, so waking up can happen any time between 6AM and 1PM.
Write when you can!
- How do you motivate yourself to write when you’d rather not write at all?
Sometimes I remind myself that I’m getting paid and I really, really need the money. For my labours of love, I remind myself that I don’t want to be a copywriter forever. And if neither of those reminders can get me going, I brainstorm or work on world building notes instead.
Stay motivated! Your dream job will come alive soon!
- What would you do if you weren’t a writer?
Starve to death?
No, really, I can’t imagine doing literally anything else. At least not for more than a few months, and that would mostly be to break the monotony of my writing routine. I’d probably want to do something outdoors or something with animals.
- What is your favourite setting for a story?
I don’t care how stereotypical it is, I’ll always be a sucker for pseudo-medieval Europe fantasyland, especially if it’s far enough north to include pseudo-Vikings. What can I say? It’s in my blood—the Gunns are descended from the Gunni, who were actual Vikings.
You’re a Viking! So, I guess if you couldn’t write you’ll have to do something plundering and whatever.
- What type of person is your main character (on average)?
A badass warrior woman who completely lacks my clumsiness and various injuries (mostly caused by my own stupidity). Oh, and traumatized. Severely. I spare no one.
Harsh, but beautiful.
- Quick! Write a paragraph with this prompt: “the darkness rose through the sky.”
The darkness rose through the sky and unfurled, its wings—wings! They stretched wide across the horizon, enveloping the world. But worse than what they blocked out was what they revealed: glowing red eyes and the largest, sharpest set of fangs she had ever seen.
Left in its authentic first draft form. Hmm, I think I’ll have to use this creature…
I’d definitely read about this creature. Do it!
- Have you ever taught someone how to write?
I offer writing advice on both my blog and my Youtube channel, but I don’t teach people how to write. That said, I am creating a series of workshops that integrate theater exercises and writing sprints to develop characters. Hopefully those will expand into more workshops and eventually video courses for writers.
Told ya you were an expert.
- What world that you created would you want to live in?
Assuming I have to retain my current knowledge, skills, and physical condition(s), I vote none of them. If I get to be a magical being, I’d be a dragon living at Dragon Keep (a place in Moonshadow’s Guardian). Or possibly a Fatalis Intarnati, who are the beings that control all the worlds and gods in my universe.
I want to be a dragon too. I’m kind of obsessed with them. Badassness.
- How do you encourage yourself to keep going when you have doubts about your skills?
I don’t doubt my skills, only my sanity.
I am only half-joking. My sanity ran away a long time ago, there’s no doubt in my mind about that.
If you weren’t crazy, you wouldn’t be listening to the voices in your head that help you write.
- How did you feel when you first published any piece of work (novel, essay, short story, etc.)?
Now comes the fun part! Marketing (yes, I enjoy marketing), getting reviews/comments, and working on the next project. Because there’s always a new project—or twelve—to start.
You’ll have to give me tips on how to enjoy marketing, or I’ll just watch your YouTube Channel *subliminal messaging, watch her YouTube*
- What is your favourite quote from one of your stories?
Cheating again and taking a whole paragraph from my debut YA fantasy novella, Keeper of the Dawn. This is immediately after the main character, Lai, wins a trial by battle.
“Tears dripped down her cheeks, their saltiness filling her mouth, mingling with the metallic taste of blood. It took all her concentration to keep the smile plastered on her face as she lowered her arms again. Why are they still cheering? Yet only a year before she had cheered the loudest, egging her sisters on as they slaughtered innocent young men. Men who only wanted to serve the same gods they did.”
That’s definitely full of awesome imagery!
- What is your favourite book of all time?
This is a mean question. I cheat and pick a series, The Old Kingdom Series by Garth Nix. It has possibly the most fascinating and well developed necromancy system I’ve ever read, equally fascinating lore, and a series of well written women at its core.
What’s your favorite book in that series? Cheat your way out of that!
- Which author do you want to give a special shout out to?
Crystal Collier, whose Maiden of Time series always impressed me. I also interviewed her on my blog and she’s absolutely lovely.
- Do you think you’ll want to keep writing even after you’ve retired?
I’ll be writing until I’m dead. I can’t imagine life any other way.
- What’s your favourite book to movie adaptation?
Shawshank Redemption 110%. Followed closely by Mockingjay, which was better as two movies than as one book. Feel free to fight me on that. I won’t budge.
Shawshank is one of my ultimate fave movies! It was actually on TV today too.
- What actor(s)/actress(es) would you want to play you in the story of your life?
Jennifer Lawrence, duh.
- What project are you currently working on?
I’m going to write Moonshadow’s Guardian here to shame myself into finishing my actual WIP before this interview comes out. Moonshadow’s Guardian is the story of a cursed demigod who is given the opportunity to earn her freedom by saving the kingdom of Moonshadow—but first she must face her own memories.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Dianna! Good luck on this project and I wish you an awesome writing career!
Thanks for reading this! Stay tuned for more Canadian Authors to come!
If you have any ideas on what I should write about in my next post, head to the Suggestion Box. I’d love to hear from you.
STRENGTH FROM WITHIN, MY DEBUT NOVEL, IS AVAILABLE NOW IN KINDLE STORES AROUND THE WORLD.
Here’s a couple links to help you find it:
If you need help finding it for your country, let me know and I might have a link. Thanks so much! See you next time 🙂
Photo Cred: Stock Snap