Monday, 26 January 2015

D. M. Read

Author: D. M. Read
Best Known WorksSomewhere a Drum Waits for Me
Where you can find her: Website
Top Writing Tip: Know where you’re going before you go. In other words, for a successful novel or short story, you must visualize the ending, then the way to get there.

Hi Diana, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us.

Tell us a little about yourself, what are the main life experiences that have led to this book?

I began to follow the Goddess path in the mid-1990s. As my experience with the Craft grew, so did my fascination with it. Many of the people I’ve met on the Pagan path have sparked ideas for stories.

When did you realise that you were Pagan?

I didn’t actually realize it until I read Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance. Then I knew. All my life I’d felt out of sync with everyone else, with what society expected of me and what I was supposed to think. When I read her book I realized in one blinding flash that I was, had always been, and would always be, Pagan.

When and why did you begin writing?

Oh, when I was quite small. My mother told me that when I was eight I was reporter, editor, and publisher of a little newspaper entitled Freedom and Torment. I don’t remember anything about it, though.

Do you plan your stories before you begin?

Absolutely!  I visualize my short stories in scenes. I visualize the chapters of the novels I write in scenes also. However, with the novella I’ve loosened up a bit. I just sit down and start writing. I’ve got a general idea of where I’m going, of course, but I must say the novella is free-flowing and a lot of fun to write.

Are you published or self-published, and what has been your experience of this process? 
My first novel, Layoffs, was published POD (print on demand) with a company that is now out of business. Witchfire and my previous book, The Deer at Lammas Tide, have been published by Smashwords, and now BookBaby has brought out Somewhere a Drum Waits for Me, available in Amazon's Kindle store, iBooks, Nook, and other places. I'm just getting started with ebooks, and I'm in love with the whole concept. I have also had articles published in The Washington Post and by a nonprofit organization’s newsletter.

Do you think ebooks have changed the publishing market for better or worse?

For the better, definitely!  It used to be that a beginning novelist had almost no chance of getting published unless he or she was related to some movie star or politician or other big name. Now one can write a book and be published on Smashwords, Kindle, Kobo, Amazon, and a variety of other sites. There’s a readership for every kind of novel - sci-fi, historical, romance, whatever. For the last few years I’ve preferred writing about Paganism. I like writing about everyday Witches and Pagans who occasionally experience magick in their lives.

How did the topic of your book come to you?

Sometimes the title of a story will appear many years before the actual plot comes to me. That happened with The Deer at Lammas Tide and Somewhere a Drum Waits for Me. Other times, though, someone will recount an anecdote or I’ll read something in the newspaper and my imagination immediately kicks in with a title and a story to go with it.

How long does it take you to write a book?  Are you a fast writer or a slow writer?

It depends. I have very little time in which to write. When I was a freelancer, I wrote between paying jobs. Now I snatch an hour at night and often write on weekends. With my historical novel, I’ve been agonizing over every scene. The simplest statements, such as, “He looked out of the window,” leads to questions: did they have windows in Roman Britain? If they did, were the windows glassed in or just hangings of cowhide? One has to stop and research every detail.

Who encourages and inspires you?

When I was younger, my parents encouraged me. Hardly anyone else did. Now, the people who encourage me are my friends in the blogosphere.

Do you socialize with other writers or are you a solitary author?

I know only two writers in my personal life and they're too far away to hang out with, except on Facebook. I do sometimes attend sessions by a women’s writing group run by a friend of mine.

You have quite a few GLBT characters in your stories and novels, what's the significance of this?

Our GLBT brothers and sisters are part of our society and should be able to see themselves and their lives reflected in the fiction they read. Nothing annoys me more when I pick up a contemporary novel and realize that the author appears to think our society consists of only Caucasian heterosexuals. What a boring world this would be if that were true!

For the same reason, I’ve started giving ninety percent of my female characters brown eyes. An optician once told me that thirty-nine out of forty people have brown eyes, which is something you’d never realize from reading most fiction.

Tell us a bit about your story, key characters and plot.

Somewhere a Drum Waits for Me is actually a collection of short stories, my second collection so far. The brief description is as follows:
An American engineer in West Africa encounters a visitor from the Otherworld at Samhain; a wisewoman discovers that a chair she bought in a second-hand shop possesses magical properties; a young Druid calls on his patron god, the Green Man, to help him save a redwood forest; a twelve-year-old girl undergoes a coming-of-age ritual in the Craft of the Wise; and a lawyer calls on Ma’at, the Egyptian goddess of truth and justice, to help her track down a killer. 

Some of the same characters that appear in The Deer at Lammas Tide appear in this collection also, and some characters are entirely new. The mood ranges from feel-good, to intriguing, to downright scary.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and, if so, how do you overcome it?

Yes, and when it happens I sit down and write one line. Just one. And that leads to another line, and another. Sometimes I have to just sit down at the computer and “talk to myself” on the screen. You know, asking the character questions about his or her motivation, what he or she is thinking or feeling that day, and that kind of thing. There are stories that have been difficult for me to write because the original idea was so tenuous. However, when I’ve kept at it I’ve managed to complete every one of those stories!

What are your future plans for writing?

I have a couple of things in the works: a novella set in the present day, and a historical novel set in Roman Britain. I’ll be doing short-short stories every month for the Fiction Café on my Website. This month's short-short is called The February Lover.


Thank you once again for taking the time to talk to us, Diana. We wish you all the best with Fiction Café and your future writing.

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