Today, Dianne Marie Andre answers “10 Questions” about her writing. Dianne, a writer of women’s fiction, delves into the hearts of her characters with inspiring stories you’ll find in her novels, articles, and essays.
Linda Covella: Welcome, Dianne!
When and why did you decide to become a writer?
Dianne Marie Andre: My writing journey began twenty-five years ago when I took a creative writing course. I started writing essays, and eventually designed hardcover family biographies, and created a gardening newsletter later converted to a blog. Then, a friend invited me to a fiction workshop. I reluctantly went because I didn’t think I had enough imagination or skills to write fiction. Meanwhile, I gave up blogging due to deficient dial-up, the only internet connection available in my area. It didn’t take long before writing withdraws settled in. I looked at the first workshop assignment and decided I could do this. A year later, Wi-Fi was available, and the assignment became my first published novella.
LC: I love that story. The writing bug really burrowed its way in, didn’t it? 🙂
What is your writing process: where do you write, how often do you write, are you a full-time or part-time writer, do you outline or do you plot as you go, etc.?
DMA: I have a clear story idea of the beginning, middle, and end in my head. As I write, I fill in the blanks. At some point, I create a timeline. As a full-time author, writing hours are unmeasurable. I work Monday through Friday in my home office which you can read about here. In the evenings, I work a little in front of the TV with my laptop.
LC: Where do you find your inspiration for your stories? Do you draw from your own experiences?
DMA: A story idea pops into my mind. Some aspects come from my own experiences, like my love of nature and photography. It’s magical in the beginning before the hard work begins. Then it’s magical at the end when it’s completed and published.
LC: That middle is hard work!
Who is one of your favorite characters from your story (ies), one that you enjoyed creating and writing about, and why?
DMA: It’s always the current protagonist I’m working with. That is who I’m getting to know, developing a relationship with, watching him or her grow.
LC: Do you incorporate (or inadvertently find) any of your own personality traits into your characters?
DMA: I admit I can be selfish like Jenna and determined like Lily in books one and two. I’m a good neighbor like Miss Sullivan. Loyal like Robert. But nothing like the troubled Benny. I believe I have Ashley’s faith. I’m not sure I possess any of Max’s or Liam’s traits but I’d like to. The mysterious Tobias is special, so I’ll just leave that for speculation. I don’t incorporate any of my traits consciously.
LC: Do you find your stories are more plot driven or character driven? Please explain.
DMA: I go with how the characters, circumstances, and timeline unfold. I do try to maintain a balance of both.
LC: Did you read much as a child?
DMA: Reading was difficult so I didn’t develop a love for reading until my late thirties. When I look back at my academic years and learning disabilities, it gives me a wonderful sense of what it means to never give up on one’s self. Everyone has weak areas, hidden skills, and talents waiting to develop into something beautiful. It doesn’t have to be big, just self-satisfying and worthwhile.
LC: That’s very inspiring that you persevered through difficulty reading to becoming a published author!
How important do you think reading is for writers?
DMA: There is so much to learn from books and authors, I can’t imagine not reading.
LC: Who are some of your favorite authors and/or books? What draws you to them?
DMA: I love The Christmas Tree by Julie Salamon who tells why a living tree has meaning and value to a nun. The author reveals how one person’s choices influence others in ways we don’t expect. It’s a story of ordinary people we can all relate to and feel the emotional tug of letting go.
LC: Anything new in the works?
DMA: I’m working on a sweet romance. I love the story, written by an aging man who recalls his life at twenty-three when he returns home in 1954 to wrap up the past, unaware it would revitalize an old fantasy.
LC: Sounds interesting, and I imagine it’s fun and challenging to write from a man’s perspective.
Bonus question 🙂 Do you have anything you’d like to add?
DMA: Thank you so much for inviting me to share a little about my writing world. I hope it brings encouragement to those who have a dream but are too afraid or unsure to move forward.
LC: I enjoyed having you, Dianne. Thank you!
Dianne Marie Andre writes uplifting deep-felt women’s fiction. Her published articles and essays include regional and mainstream magazines. Before Dianne began her writing career, she held various occupations: private piano instructor, receptionist, administrative assistant, and barista even though she doesn’t drink coffee. Her favorite occupation is writing and photography. Dianne lives with her husband and her adorable rescue dog on twenty acres with hens, cattle, and a bazillion trees. Family, chocolate, Mexican food, fresh flowers, and lush gardens always make her happy.
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