When I attended the Speculative Fiction Festival back in March, I had the pleasure of meeting Dionne Lister, where she sat on the panel for Publishing into the Future. Dionne was there to represent the self-publishing side of the industry, and as an Indie author I was excited to hear her speak.
I love supporting my fellow Indies, so I contacted Dionne and asked if I could purchase a copy of her first novel, Shadows of the Realm. She suggested we meet in Sydney for a cuppa, and she graciously signed my copy for me. I asked Dionne if she’d be interested in an interview for our Aussie blog and she was happy to oblige. So, today I welcome Dionne Lister to Aussie Owned and Read…
Describe yourself in three words.
Determined, focused, happy.
Shadows of the Realm is your first novel. Tell us a little bit about it.
Shadows of the Realm is an epic fantasy for the whole family, from eleven year olds up to as old as you want to go. It follows the journey of two teens, Bronwyn and Blayke, who can perform magic. They’re called realmists and take power from the Second Realm. The gormons, evil cousins of the dragons, are going to invade their realm and kill millions of people if the realmists don’t get organised. Bronwyn and Blayke are rushing to do the bidding of The Circle (an experienced group of realmists). They have to reach Vellonia, city of the dragons, so a meeting to decide a plan of attack can happen, but they are attacked along the way.
What were your reasons for deciding to self-publish?
No one else wanted to do it and I didn’t want to wait my whole life for someone else to validate me. I’m also impatient and hate waiting for rejections. Publishing a book has been a life-long dream and was something I could achieve. So I did.
Which part of your publishing journey has been the hardest? Is there anything you’d do differently?
The whole thing is a lot of hard work, but nothing is harder than anything else in particular. The only thing I would do differently is to make sure I had an editor who was recommended by someone who was a good writer. My first experience was terrible: the ‘editor’ stole $400 and didn’t edit anything.
Do you plan your writing, or are you a pantser like me? Tell us about your writing process.
I’m a pantser like you :-). I don’t do detailed plans, although I have it in my head where my characters need to get to and then I just write. I know roughly how the end of the third, and final, book will go, but nothing is for sure until I write it. Whenever I come across plot problems, I don’t worry because whenever I go to bed for the night, they seem to resolve themselves either in the time just before I fall asleep or when I just wake up.
A Time of Darkness the sequel to Shadows of the Realm has recently been released. Can you give us a short sneak peak?
Thanks for asking ;). Ok, here’s the blurb:
While Bronwyn languishes in a cell in the bowels of Vellonia and the dragon king argues for her death, the gormons are one step closer to destroying Talia. To add to The Circle’s problems, Leon’s plans to overthrow his brother, King Edmund, are moving ahead faster than anyone could have imagined, and someone will die as a result. The realmists and dragons are doing all they can, but how could it possibly be enough when thousands have already been slaughtered? The prophesized time of darkness, a time the realmists have dreaded for the last thousand years, has begun.
You’ve also published a book of short stories called Dark Spaces. Do you find short stories harder to write than a full length novel?
Short stories are easy, although my short stories are very short—usually 1500-2000 words. They write themselves and are much easier to edit than a novel because everything is quicker (for obvious reasons). I mainly write crime/thriller short stories and I love building the tension quite quickly then have a satisfying, punchy resolution.
You’re an editor in the real world. Do you find yourself wanting to edit and correct the books you read, or are you able to switch off and just read for enjoyment?
Lol! Sometimes I can switch off, but usually I notice all the errors and it annoys me, but I do my best to ignore them. There are always mistakes—even in traditionally published books. It’s hard to be perfect when there’s so many little letters to check out.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
I’m assuming you mean in general, not just with writing. I’m easily annoyed so I have a lot and it’s hard to pick just one, but I’ll try. People who rip-off others.
Where is the one place in the world you’d love to travel to?
I’d love to go back to France because it’s amazingly picturesque and atmospheric.
If you could spend a day with an author, who would it be and why?
Michael Cunningham because I’d love to pick his brains about the way he writes.
This or that – which do you prefer?
Tea or coffee? Coffee
Heels or flats? Flats (to wear) Heels (to look at) Sorry, I couldn’t help it ;).
Summer or winter? Winter
Movies or TV? TV
Coke or Pepsi? Neither (a few years ago, I would have said Coke)
Paperback or eBook? Paperback
Purple or pink? Purple
Apple or PC? Apple
You can stalk Dionne at the following places
K. A. Last is a YA author and has recently self-published her debut novel – Fall For Me – available at Amazon and Smashwords. She drinks lots of tea, is obsessed with Buffy, and loves all things pink. K. A. Last hangs out on Facebook or you can find her on twitter and Goodreads. She’s also been known to blog once in a while.