INTERVIEW WITH —
AUTHOR, DIANNE PEDE
Thank you for stopping by! Dianne and I met through our newly formed Marketing Group called Kidlit@Heart. Everyone will hear more about this group in the coming months.
Where do you live? Edson, Alberta
When did you know you wanted to become a writer? I think I was born a creator. When I learned how to read and spell, the writing began.
How did you become a writer? The first story I remember writing was when I was about 6 years old. I must have been angry with my friends and wrote a tale of revenge. It involved a kiss and seeing someone naked. I was smart enough to know that this would not be considered acceptable subject matter for my age, so I ripped it up and threw it in the garbage. My poor mother rescued it from the garbage, probably with the intent to save an early masterpiece. I vaguely remember trying to explain that it was not a true story and I had written it in anger. From that point on, I knew writing was a voice for my emotions and imagination.
What do you write? I have an eclectic collection of works that I jump back and forth to and from. I am currently working on a YA portal fantasy, a tv sitcom pilot, and a varied collection of picture books. Poetry and essays are some favorites that are currently on the back burner. Recently, I wrote a couple of magazine articles that were published in a local magazine, The Edson Neighbours. The article names were: Welcome to Your Backyard, Alberta! And, Author Spotlight: Karen Spafford-Fitz and Books for Reluctant Readers. A long time ago, I wrote children’s book reviews for the Edmonton Journal.
Where do your ideas come from? This answer is hard to explain. I would say it is a combination of a spark, followed by curiosity and an exploration of playing with ideas and words. This eventually becomes an internal knowing that I need to create some sort of project with the idea. That first draft can be anything from a poem, an essay, an outline, a story, etc. Sometimes, it is a parody using a familiar song. Weird Al has one of my dream jobs!
Tell us about your book(s): My first book was a work-for-hire published in two versions. The generic version is called, ‘My Dancing Feet’ and is available through Amazon and other online sellers worldwide. A personalized version can be ordered from emanbooks.com and has the name of the dancer on the cover and in the story. Pages at the back in both are for the reader to personalize their dance memories and have a keepsake to treasure.
Tell us about your publishing experience: It was a huge learning curve and great fun! I knew next to nothing and still there is so much that remains to be learned. Writing is one of those areas where there is growth and progress, but never a final destination.
What is next for Dianne? I was hired to write a soccer book similar to the dance book, but the project was put on hold after it was completed. We shall wait to see what becomes of it. I am working on a Creative Writing Certificate through the University of Toronto and plan to continue learning and developing my craft. My YA novel is in need of some TLC as I carve out the 2nd draft. In the fall or early winter, the tv pilot will come out of the drawer for revisions and rewrites. Picture book projects and webinars are always on the go.
My newsletter topic this quarter is literary rejection. I’ve provided some public information on the topic below:
- Literary rejection is just what it is, a rejection of your story or project.
- Writers fail for many reasons and it’s hard to say why a particular publisher declined your work. Maybe your story didn’t fit what the publisher published, or your story was similar to a story just published, or it could be your story was full of errors. Or it may be none of these reasons and it’s just the wrong time.
- There are various forms of rejection, such as a standard phrase, “This isn’t the right fit for me.” Or you may receive a very nice letter explaining why the editor did not want your story. But the most common is a ‘no reply’.
- There are several ways to handle a rejection. Take a break from writing, whether it be an afternoon or a week. Ask for help on your story through a critique group, or developmental editor. Enroll in acourse to improve your craft. But whatever the reasons are that your story was rejected, don’t give up. If you believe in your story, resubmit at another time. Never stop writing and submitting!
Dianne, what has been your experience (if any) with literary rejection? When I was in my late twenties, I went to New York and hand delivered PB manuscripts to several publishers, certain this would get me a deal. I was wrong. But I did get a few hand typed rejection letters. I began submitting again a few years ago, and received a reply from an agent within a few hours of sending out the first query. It read something like, ‘I’m very interested and am going on holidays tonight. Touch base with me at the end of August.’ Sadly, nothing came out of this and I’ve had at least 30 rejections on that one picture book manuscript. I also had two offers from hybrid publishers, one that I had to pay for the pictures, the other, where they would pay for the illustrations. I turned both down because I wasn’t keen on paying part of the publishing costs and giving up control. I had one agent request additional manuscripts, but then sent a form letter not even acknowledging the additional manuscripts.
How did you overcome the negativity? The first few rejections were more exciting than negative. After that, my heart would sink for an hour or two. For me disappointment is best overcome with action and finding a silver lining. So, telling myself they weren’t the right agent or publisher for me, and that the best match would happen at the right time, was helpful. Then preparing a new submission or diving into my latest project was very therapeutic. Combine those with a walk in the forest, and rejection simply becomes an expected part of the process.
How has rejection made you a better writer? It motivates me to improve and revise my manuscripts and query letters. That initial manuscript I submitted was 1100 words. I thought it was ready to be published because I had recently completely a course on writing picture books. Ha ha, famous last thoughts! Many classes and rewrites later, it is now 500 words. And still seeking the perfect match in the publishing world.
How have you remained focused for so many years? I wrote a middle grade novel many years ago, then had a long break other than writing for myself. When I began writing again seriously, I had the gift of time and the knowledge that I needed to be creating to be fulfilled. I do my own version of Julia Cameron’s, ‘The Artist’s Way’ program, which I highly recommend to anyone who has a spark of creativity they would like to nurture. I also have the gift of hyper-focus, which is part of my ADHD and allows me to become obsessed with my interests and projects.
Dianne, one last question, tell us something that no one knows—something about you that isn’t posted anywhere on your website or social media.
Growing up, I was a diehard figure skater. Sometimes I dream I am skating again, working diligently on the figure 8’s we would practice for an hour each session. Thinking about it is almost as meditative as the actual practice was.
Thank you, Dianne. We can’t wait for your next project to be released.
Dianne can be found at the below links.
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