Monday, July 3, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: DiAne N. Gates

1     Tell me about yourself. What got you started in writing?

Writing and painting have battled for my attention as long as I can remember. During my early teens, I won a writing contest with an article entitled The Basis of a Great Nation is the Christian Home.
In my junior year in high school I won a scholarship to Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida, but my folks nixed the school and the scholarship—they painted from live, nude models, and drank beer—which the parents said were out of the question for their Southern Baptist gal.

I’ve written and illustrated five children’s books—The Master’s Plan, a four book devotional series for families with elementary age children, and a stand-alone book, Arnold, about an ant who refuses to behave like an ant should. But they’re keeping each other company in my file cabinet waiting for a publishing house home. The book about Arnold the Ant took Best Children’s Book at the 2012 North Texas Christian Writers’ Conference. While I’m relentless writing, painting, and scurrying about the county taking photos, I’m deplorable when it comes to selling myself and my books.
       
      How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

Margie Lawson, teacher, psychologist extraordinaire, always gives a personality quiz before one of her seminars. Turns out I’m so far off-the-charts right brained the word schedule is nowhere to be found in my technicolor brain. I’m always writing—in my head, on scratch pads, napkins, with lots of midnight time in front of my screen.
      
      How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or some other method of getting your words down?

After I signed the contract for Roped, we remodeled the third bedroom and dubbed it my “writing, painting, photography, sewing cave.” Or in my husband’s vernacular, a place to confine my clutter.
Early this past year I spilled a glass of sweet tea across the keyboard of my lap top, soooo….I’m confined to my desk top or pen and paper ‘til I sell a buncha books!
      
     What’s your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite  part about writing?

Oh, my goodness! That first wind-in-your-face and fingers flying over the keyboard draft is thrilling! Same as painting a canvas—a picture of words. In case you haven’t guessed, I’m a reckless SOP writer… (seat of the pants) …but, LOL, you knew that, didn’t you?

My least favorite part? The seemingly endless edits—helpful, necessary, but nonetheless endless. Sigh!
    
     How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it 
      take you to write your book?

I enrolled in a writing class eons ago and my assignment was to write about a child I didn’t know. At the time, I was a wallpaper contractor and my partner-in-paste was a barrel racer with a pre-teen daughter. She invited us to a couple of rodeos and I was hooked! Rodeo is an exciting world, not for the faint of heart, and it teaches kids to care for their animals. Hmm, and it’s hard to text or play computer games while ropin’ and ridin’. And grows responsible, courageous kids, who have the ability to think and act on their feet—ahem—or in their saddles.

The characters sprang to life in my brain and those two sassy teens of Roped, and their families play continually in my head, reminiscent of the teen years of my own two kids.

It took years and a portable, manual typewriter for the first book to morph into a coherent story. Then I had to learn to write. The soon-to-be-released second book in The Roped Series, Twisted, took a year. My WIP, Untied, should take about six months. And I’m already spinning the yarn of Book Four, yet to be named.
        
     What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?


Of course, I have a Facebook Author Page. I write two blogs. One entitled Moving the Ancient Boundaries, for the big folks. I’m also a foodie and write The Southern Side of Flavor, where I share family recipes and creative ways to make food tasty when weight and other nasty elements, like salt and cholesterol, show their ugly heads. I also write a monthly article for Crosswalk.com and blogs for Heart” wings”.com All of these sites promote my books. I use ENT, The Fussy Librarian, Book Cave, and Net Galley, but best of all is word-of-mouth. Which brings up the subject of my new street team! I still have a couple of spaces available if anyone’s interested.
    
     What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

I mentioned my WIP, Untied, and by the time this interview goes live, Twisted will be released by Pelican Book Group, July 14th—taada! This second book in the series gives us a peek into why Jodie Lea Fairgate is such a snotty brat—the generational sins of her family going back several generations—creating turmoil, teeming with international crime and murder, destroying anyone who is foolish enough to get in their way.
             
     Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

After the sudden death of our twenty-eight-year-old daughter, sixteen years ago, I entered the GriefShare ministry. GriefShare is a Christian Support and Healing Ministry for those who’ve lost loved ones. I’ve been mulling over a book telling the stories of many of our attendees who would like to share about their rough road through recovery from loss. And, of course, I need to get busy finding a home for those drawer-sitters before I’m too old to care.
   
      What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn’t believe he/she has enough talent?

Everyone has a story to tell. Whatever your topic, get it on paper. Find a local writer’s group and join an edit group, or ask several other writers to join you in sharing their ideas and reading each other’s work. Listen. Read. Learn. And polish what God has given you, praying, and asking your Father in Heaven what He wants you to do with your story. He always answers, whether it’s yes, no, or wait a while. But never, never, never give up! Trust Him—

***
    
A Question for Kathryn:

Indie or standard publishing?
In this day of changing markets
 do you think both will survive? Why? Or why not? 

      I published traditionally first, then, years later, bought the rights back to my first book. I have been on my own ever since. I think both indie and standard publishing will survive, but I think indie publishing will continue to grow, while the standard fare will not. 
    
    There are so many great writers who want to share their work, and the opportunities are endless for that now. Used to be an Indie author had to buy multiple copies of their book (say 1,000 or more at a time), and, if truth be told, many of these books would remain in their basement for years in their original box. 
      
    Today, through print on demand, an author can purchase as many books as they'd like and can afford. The avenues for free advertising are growing every day as well. I am amazed at what is out there, both electronically and 'in person' to sell books.

    Like a standard paperback, I think there will always be a need for traditional or standard publishing, but, like a bird that has finally been set free, there will be many more authors who will finally be able to take flight.

                                                        
BIOGRAPHY – DiANE N. GATES
Texas writer, DiAne Gates, illustrates and writes fiction for children and YA, and serious non-fiction for the folks. Her passion is calling the Church’s attention to how far we’ve catapulted from God’s order and walking in obedience to Him as evidenced by her blog Moving the Ancient Boundaries.
DiAne worked as a photographer and writer for the East Texas Youth Rodeo Association magazine, and had the opportunity to be in the rodeo arena, feel the sting of Texas turf in her face and across her camera lens, giving birth to her western rodeo adventure series, released by Prism Book Group in August of 2015, ROPED. This first book of the series placed #5 on Top Ten Christian Reads for Teens and Tweens, 2016, as well as being a finalist in the 2015 Grace Awards, and a finalist in The Christian Literary Henri Awards for 2016.
 Book Two in the ROPED SERIESTWISTED, will be released by Pelican Book Group July 14, 2017. And the third book, UNTIED, her current WIP, continues the adventure of two Texas teens and their families. DiAne writes a monthly article for Crosswalk, an online Christian magazine.
She also leads LifeSavers, an adult edit group for North Texas Christian Writers. And has a new blog THE SOUTHERN SIDE OF FLAVOR, where she shares family recipes and many tricks to cutting calories while retaining a massive injection of southern and southwest flavor into each tasty bite. DiAne also facilitates GriefShare, an international support ministry for those who’ve lost loved ones.
Wife, mother, and Mimi, her passion is to share those hard life lessons God allows in our lives. Lessons she hopes will leap from the page into your heart and play out in loving family relationships.
http://www.dianegates.wordpress.com/ Moving the Ancient Boundaries
http://www.floridagirlturnedtexan.com The Southern Side of Flavor

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