Here's a quick interview with debut author, Diana Ayers-Wellspring. Her debut novel Lavender Dreams hits the stands March 14th. Check out the quaint love story between couples that span young and those with lots of love still left to give.
Questions for authors
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, so the readers can get to know you. The Reader’s Digest version please:
I was born in New York City, and lived there until I graduated from nursing school at the age of 21. I was kind of a wild child – did the kinds of things that I would be horrified by if I was a parent now. Lots of drugs, playing hooky, other types of risky behavior. Happy to say that I survived with my brain relatively intact, though it has probably given me a somewhat skewed sense of the world.
I decided to go to nursing school because at the time there weren’t very many career fields open to women. I envy the young women making choices about their careers now – there are so many more options.
2. What’s the name of your book, and how did you come up with that title?
Originally I called my book Lavender Meadows, but decided that it sounded too boring. I changed the name to Lavender Dreams because it sounded more interesting, like there was actual action and desires included.
3. What are the names of your characters?
Sarah Chase is the name of my main character. But there are a lot of characters in my book – more than 30, as people come and go in the course of the story. As I named more characters, I tried to give them some more diversity.
4. Do they have any significance either to you personally, or to how you’d like them perceived?
I’ve always liked the name Sarah, and I chose Chase because I wanted a name that had some forward momentum without tying her to a specific cultural group.
5. What has been the biggest challenge to writing this book?
The biggest challenge of writing this book has definitely been to keep some momentum. I started it over 10 years ago, and went through several approaches, including first person, before I settled on an omniscient narrator. It was difficult to figure out how to give all the characters their opportunity to speak, and so finally I decided to start each section with a different character’s activities.
6. What have been the biggest surprises?
I had no idea how the book was going to end until right there at the last. I think that was what made it so difficult to keep going – I didn’t know what I was aiming at. The characters continually surprised me with their antics.
7. Do you find writing difficult or does it come fairly easy to do?
I go long periods of time without writing – something I am hoping to change. I will think about the book, kind of like writing in my head, then sit down and keep writing, sometimes for eight or 10 hours until I am exhausted. When I was doing technical writing I could knock out a book in a couple of months, but then I was not writing from the heart. I also had a boss tapping her fingers waiting for my stuff and reminding me of deadlines. I do work much faster and more efficiently when I have a deadline.
8. Do you have any personal routines that you follow when you write?
I have a small room with a desk, lots of bookshelves, and way too much clutter. I have a dictionary and thesaurus close by, and of course my cat Pokadotsi is always right there. He is good at jumping on the keyboard, writing arcane messages, and picking the key tops off the keyboard and throwing them on the floor. This has given me good knowledge of the qwerty keyboard, because I often have to reassemble mine. Usually when I finish a project I put all the papers pertaining to that project away so I start new things with a clear space. It’s like emptying a buffer on the computer.
9. What does your writing environment look like?
Lavender Dreams took me over 10 years, but I write pretty quickly when I write technical material or nonfiction. I wrote over 100 books in 20 years.
10. How long does it take you to finish a book?
I started with a very vague concept – a nurse who goes off and does something different. The ideas kind of came in waves – unfortunately, the waves came months apart. I didn’t get the final concept down until pretty close to the end of the project.
11. Is that from start to finish, from idea and concept, to the final period in the book?
The final clean-up probably took me close to a year.
12. What’s been the most important piece of advice someone has given you?
My friend Charlotte, also a writer, always encouraged me to go to writing groups and classes, which I have found very helpful. I am much more focused when someone is waiting for me to turn something in.
13. What kind of advice would you give someone thinking about taking up writing?
Don’t endlessly talk about what you are writing. I think it diffuses the creative energy. Save it for when you have something accomplished. Don’t let people read your stuff too soon. Don’t edit and write at the same time, or accept edits from other people before you have a substantial amount done. Don’t assume editors are always right.
14. What are some of your pet peeves?
People who use their, there, and they’re incorrectly, people who use “it’s” as a possessive, who don’t use spell check, who try to write dialect by just misspelling words, who use cutesy spelling, like Kat Kingdom.
15. So here are a few rapid-fire questions for you so that the reader can get to know you better.
a. coffee or tea? coffee
b. Finish the sentence I like to write when... I like to write when I am all alone, maybe a little high, and have nothing else going on.
c. my favorite food is… My favorite food is cheese, followed closely by anything chocolate.
d. dress-up or jeans and T-shirt? sweats and t-shirt
e. Thesaurus or synonym dictionary? Thesaurus, although sometimes synonyms come in handy.
f. Writing by hand, dictation, or on the computer? Prose on the computer, poetry by hand
g. Favorite vacation spot? The ocean, Oregon coast, Hawaii
h. Early bird or night owl? Night owl
16. Can you share something with the reader they would never have guessed about you?
I am a lesbian (just kidding - they probably did guess that) I have been married twice to men.
17. Is there a genre you haven’t tackled?
I would like to write a screenplay for my novel
18. What genre are you just dying to try out?
19. What’s next on your writing agenda?
I am working on a sequel to Lavender Dreams. Hopefully it won’t take me another 10 years!