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Monday, October 17, 2011

Interview with Derrolyn Anderson and a Giveaway!

I got to interview the author of Marina's Tales, a series of stories about a teenage girl dealing with her newly discovered mermaid heritage, Derrolyn Anderson. She let me pester her with all kinds of questions and then didn't seem the least bit annoyed. And? She's offering her ebook as a prize for one of my readers. I think I may just have a new imaginary BFF.

On to the interview!

Me: You are an accomplished artist! What inspired you switch to novels? (And did you design your own covers?)

Derrolyn: Thank you! I’m not exactly sure what inspired me to start writing, but now that I have, it’s become something of an obsession. Art is something I’ve always done, and will continue to do, but for now it’s definitely taken a back seat to writing.

I’m finding the two disciplines have a lot in common, in that you’re trying to create an image – to paint a picture using either words or brushstrokes. They can also be equally frustrating! The picture you hold in your mind can be maddeningly difficult to realize, and you find yourself constantly slamming up against your own limitations. It’s a constant struggle to improve; the very best painting/paragraph is always the elusive “next one”.

My painting style doesn’t really scream YA, so I messed around with some stock photos on Photoshop for the covers. Book #3 is actually a picture of one of my three daughters, taken by her twin!

Me: How did you start writing Marina's tales? What was the first thing you put down on paper/computer screen?

Derrolyn: I’ve always read a lot, but checking out my daughter’s YA books (and revisiting the charms of first love) was probably what triggered me to start thinking about writing my own stories. I lived in the beachy little seaside town of Aptos for the first ten years of my marriage, and the cement ship in the story actually exists. I’m nostalgic for those foggy morning walks along the sand, so it seemed like a perfect setting for a paranormal romance.

I sold a painting and decided to use the money to buy myself a laptop of my own. So, armed with a loose idea and a few pages of notes, I just dove in, writing sequentially, and let the story take me wherever it went. I had absolutely no idea how it would end when I began, so I can’t imagine writing without a word-processing program. I’m in awe of anyone who wrote before the computer came along.

Me: The most terrifying thing to me is a blank page. How do you get past the debilitating paralyses of Writer's Block?

Derrolyn: When I first began writing, I was too stupid to be intimidated, and no one expected anything of me. I’m glad I didn’t give it too much thought, because now that I have a better grasp on how difficult the process really is, I might have found a way to avoid getting started!

Me: My Muse is powered by dark chocolate and Diet Pepsi. What foods tempt your muse?

Derrolyn: Coffee, dark chocolate and red wine. Three things I require pretty much daily, which coincidentally, have now all been deemed as good for you!

Me: Sometimes writers can get as superstitious as baseball players. I simply cannot write without music playing  (absolute silence results in no flow) and it seems like my best work is done when I'm wearing my favorite shoes.  Do you have lucky talismans, special pens, or any other item that you MUST HAVE in order to get to work?

Derrolyn: I like music too, and I’ve got a nice moody mix on my iPod I put on while I curl up on my bed with my laptop and notepads. The only other thing I require is peace and quiet, and that’s not too easy to come by with three teenage girls and a husband banging around the house and barging in on me every ten minutes.

Songs from the playlist include: Nick Drake – From The Morning, Keane - Somewhere Only We Know, John Lennon – Mind Games, and Matt Nathanson – Come On Get Higher.

Me: Some authors have to be in the mood to write, while others can only make progress when on a set schedule, regardless of inspiration. What kind of writer are you?

Derrolyn: I try to steal away when I can, usually after the workday ends and while my husband makes dinner for everyone. I’m a lucky woman- he’s cute and he cooks too!

Me: Do you have an advice you'd like to offer an aspiring writer?

Derrolyn: JUST DO IT! Ignore all the naysayers with their condescension and negativity; the only thing that matters is the feeling you get when you know you’re on the right track. Above all, remember, you can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself!

Thanks, Derrolyn! And just to show you what an awesome tale of foggy, ocean inspired fantasy she's created, Derrolyn is offering Marina's tales in ebook format to one lucky reader.

To enter, leave a comment on this post about your own writing misadventures. Or if you don't write, tell me about the worst or best book you've ever read.
For additional entries:
  • Follow my blog (or let me know if you already do).
  • Visit Derrolyn.com and tell me which of her pieces you like the most.
  • Blog about this interview and contest and include a link back here.
Leave one comment per entry. Contest closes Sunday, Oct. 23rd, at midnight MST.

Good luck!


i'm erin. said...

Wow, great interview! The worst book I ever read was Halo. I absolutely hated it. I do hope I win your contest.

Miss Angie said...

I've wanted to be a writer since I was a small child, I just haven't found the muse or the discipline to actually sit down and make anything of it. Other than blogging. Poo.

Great interview, those books look like fun!

Miss Angie said...

I follow you! :)

Miss Angie said...

I love the Winter Oak


and Russian Hill Autumn


Jessica said...

When I was in the 1st grade I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. Now watching my 5 year-old hit the "book making" phase I can see why I loved it so much. It was so new and exciting to make up and write down your very own stories.

Now I mostly just write on my blog, and not even very frequently. But I do still enjoy it.

Jessica said...

I follow you.

Alice Audrey said...

You should add this to Win a Book.

Lindsey said...

I'm not much of a writer, but I am huge reader. My favorite book? Man, hard to decide it changes all the time. . . . Today I would have to say my favorite book is The Hunger Games.

Abigail Beal said...

Congratulations Derrolyn Anderson on your new book! :) I completely agree about chocolate as a 'must have' for any writer. I also like classical music sometimes when I write.

:) Abigail

Abigail Beal said...

Oops! Forgot to mention I'm now following this blog!

:) Abigail

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