Thirteen Questions with DEANNA RICE
I find that it usually energizes me, especially when the words come easily and quickly; when my characters take over and start making their own decisions and I try to keep up with narrating it all. Occasionally, usually toward the end of NaNoWriMo, when I’ve fallen behind on my writing goals and I’m struggling to catch up while also meeting all of my work, home and social responsibilities, I will write late into the evening. Those late, stressful nights are the only times when writing exhausts me.
- What is your writing Kryptonite?
I like stories and Netflix has so many to choose from…
- Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Absolutely! Romance novels sell like hot cakes, as they say, and I’ve considered writing a couple to at least get my name out into the publishing world. The only problem with this plan is that I’m not sure I want anyone I know to read dirty the dirty bits and start looking at me differently. Just imagine if my mom read it!!
- Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
The book I’ve nearly completed is currently a stand-on-its-own work, however there is the potential for subsequent novels in the same universe. The second novel, which I started last NaNo, was just going to be its own work but it’s now definitely going to be part of a series. I’m already planning plots for the next installments.
- If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Keep going. Maybe you don’t think your stories are that great but keep writing and you’ll continue to grow. There are people out there who are waiting for your words.
- What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Two years ago I went to my first writing convention/conference, Readercon. A friend and fellow writer invited me to join her and I’m so glad I said yes. It was amazing to be surrounded by so many people who were working toward the same goals. By the time I was getting into the car to head back to Maine, I had several new novel ideas swirling around in my head and I couldn’t wait to get back home so I could start writing!
- What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
There’s this awesome picture of a very young me (maybe 4?), sitting on the floor in our house. I’m beaming up at the camera while I pose beside the crayons I had arranged on the floor to spell out my name. One of the n’s is backwards but my parents were so thrilled and proud of me. I think the memory of their joy stayed with me through the years and influenced my love of words, books and writing.
- How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Ooh, that’s a good question. I have one that is very near completion, I just need to finish my second round of editing, then get it out to a couple of beta readers for some initial feedback. I have another that’s roughly ¾ written but will need plenty of editing. I have a third which was several chapters in…then I somehow managed to lose two chapters… I was so distraught I just walked away from it. I hope to return to it at some point but the pain is still too fresh. If we count the stories I wrote as a kid, I’m probably at…..5 or 6 unfinished works?
- How do you select the names of your characters?
I write a lot of fantasy so I’ll often think about the time period in which I’m setting my story. Most recently I started a novel set in Victorian London, so I did a bit of research into what names were popular in that region in the 1800’s. I browse through names until I find a few that I like, then gradually narrow them down until I settle on one. Sometimes this process takes a bit longer than others, haha!
They do, absolutely! My mother also writes so she’s always encouraged me to be creative and work on my stories. My dad doesn’t really get the writing thing but he knows how much I want to make it happen and is supportive of my efforts. My husband is probably my biggest cheerleader and supporter. He will periodically ask me what progress I’ve made in writing/or editing and give me a good, swift (metaphorically speaking) kick in the pants when I need it!
- How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Well, the book I’ve nearly finished has taken me several years. I stopped and started many times, including starting over a couple of times, even changing the time setting. Once I found the right time period and setting, it took roughly a year to get the story out and start editing. The story for my second novel is nearly out, aside from some editing and a few scenes I want to add in during that process. The shorter time period means I’m getting better at this thing, right?! XD
- Do you believe in writer’s block?
I think I believe in it, yeah. There have been times when I’ve just felt stuck in a scene; where nothing seems to be going the way I want it to and I just can’t find the words I want. In the past I would just step away from the novel for a while. Unfortunately, this would lead to me not doing any writing for an extended period of time. Nowadays, I tend to just write through the blocked scene. Even if the words are awful when I write them, even if it’s a painstaking task to get them out, eventually I will find my way out of the scene and move on to something that gets my creative juices flowing! I’ll fix that bad section during editing!
- What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I’m friends with Melissa Burkhart and you, Richard! I’ve also met a few others through NaNo who, though I don’t know their names, are an important part of my daily social media routine. All of these people (including you, Richard), are such a huge inspiration for me. Everyday I see updates about what they’re all doing, how much progress they’ve made and how excited they are about their work. They make me want to work harder and do great things! Good luck to all of you! You’re amazing! <3
Deanna lives in central Maine with her husband, Matt. She just completed her Master’s Degree in English this past December, and has been working on her writing since then! She’s nearly completed editing of her first novel, has completed roughly half of a second and has a second short story in progress. When not writing, she can be found knitting, reading or watching the latest Marvel movie or Game of Thrones episode.