Please give Dyane Forde a warm welcome.
1. Can you tell us a bit about your books?
The idea for The Purple Morrow originated a few years back when I wanted to explore themes related to loss, redemption, and moving forward. The story of a man unable to deal with the past while being thrown into a crisis demanding that he settle things and move on seemed a good place to begin.
The Purple Morrow started very simply; I’d intended it to be a solo book. But as the story developed and the characters matured, I knew the full tale had to be explored. The world of Marathana blossomed, becoming multi-cultural, each people group following their own cultural or religious beliefs. Magic and spirituality are also firmly rooted in this world and play essential roles in determining which side–good or evil–will prevail. I had a full-fledged trilogy on my hands! Wolf’s Bane, the sequel, takes the reader deeper into the conflict developing across Marathana, introduces the reader to new players and people groups and drastically raises the stakes. Questions of identity, individual choice versus the greater good are explored. Jeru struggles to take difficult steps forward in his destiny while Kelen fights the evil dogging his every move, all of it leading to a devastating end.
2. When did you first realize that you wanted to pursue writing as more than a hobby?
The desire began when I was a kid. I thought the coolest thing in the world would be to write books. Eventually, I decided to go another route profession-wise, but the writing bug came back to bit me in the butt years later. I’ve pretty much been doing whatever it dictates since.
3. Did you initially set out to write a series, or did you originally have an idea for a stand-alone novel?
As mentioned above, Morrow was supposed to be a stand-alone novel. As the story got rolling and its complexity grew, I complained to my sister that there was too much material for one book. She looked at me and said, “Why not write two?” I looked back at her like she had just said the most important thing in the world and said, “Yes! I will!” And I ended up writing three books. But that’s it for this series. I have others on the back burner waiting to be completed.
4. What modern author do you admire most and why?
I had a thing for Margaret Atwood for a while. Her books are so clever, smart, sometimes sarcastic, and so beautifully written. Also, I love that she writes in many different genres: sci-fi, lit-fic, poetry, and non-fiction, for example. I mean, I think that’s what an all-around great author should be able to do—write anything and do it well.
5. What’s the hardest part of the writing process for you and how do you make it easier for yourself?
Finding the time and energy to write, at the moment. When my work day is done, I immerse myself in my kids and family life. For an introvert, that’s a lot to handle so I’m often too burnt to write. I just steal moments whenever I can to get work done.
The other challenge is selling books. I’m burnt out from social media and the marketing circus it has become and have taken to lying low to survive. I don’t get out there as much anymore and probably don’t sell as many books because of it, but I have to tell you, in all other respects, I’m much happier (and saner).
6. What’s your take on writer’s block? Does it exist, and if it does, how can you cure it?
I think it’s unique to everyone. I get annoyed when people say it doesn’t exist—how do they know what goes on in a writer’s head or heart? We can be blocked for a lot of reasons: fatigue, emotional distress, lack of confidence, having written ourselves into a corner, lack of the right inspiration. The list goes on. I think the thing is to not panic. Take some time to figure out what the issue is and sort it out. And keep writing. Even if it’s a few lines a day, even if it’s crap. I did that a while back with book 3 in my series. I wrote crap, but at least I wrote. And by the time the draught passed, all I had to do was sit down to rewrite and edit. But most importantly, I had stuff to work with.
7. How much of the series have you planned so far?
At the moment, I’m working on the first draft of book 3 of the Rise of the Papilion trilogy. I’d say it’s about 90% done. Once it’s done, I’ll let it sit for a few months, watch some anime, read a bunch of books, and work on other stuff. I write very intuitively and I don’t always see the big picture when my nose is up against the monitor. I find that taking time away and pulling inspiration from other sources rejuvenates me so that when I go back to the manuscript I’m full of ideas and energy.
8. If you could give an aspiring writer only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Be ready for the long haul. I know some writer friends who found success after a first book, but for most of us we have to be committed to this thing for the long haul. Be ready for the emotional roller-coasters; be ready to write while you’re exhausted because the muse is in full slave-driving mode; and be prepared for moments of utter dryness. Writing is like life. The creative spirit is a living thing, and like us it rises and falls, hits roadblocks and stumbles across solutions. The writer is just along for the ride.
9. What are you reading right now?
I just finished I Am Legend and now I’m reading Roots. So far, Roots is a beautiful book. The beginning takes place in Africa and it’s is just out of this world. I’m inspired by the talking drums, the fantastic landscape and a introduction to a culture I know nothing about. But I’ve only just started—90 pages into a 900 page book. I’m preparing myself for what’s to come.
10. What are you working on that readers can look forward to?
I just joined a series-submission site called Channillo, where I will gradually publish installments of an unfinished WIP called, Big Boy Burgundy: Man on the Run. It’s a sci-fi story I started years ago and never finished, and figured the series format of this platform would allow me to finally complete it. My sister, Amy Hands, is an illustrator and she’s working on the cover art, which I want to have a graphic novel-like feel. I hope to have the first installment up in a few weeks but here’s the blurb:
In a high-tech future, low-tech ex-operative Burgundy is on the run for his life. Falsely accused of killing the President of the New Republic, he sets out with Big Boy, his 500 Smith and Wesson Magnum, and Leyla, his unwilling yet capable techie partner to settle a score and clear his name.