Tag Archives: writing

Author Interview: Diane M. Robinson

Diane may be a self-proclaimed delusional fantasy writer, but she takes the craft of writing well seriously. Her goal is to leave something original and fun in the minds of her readers. I think she has hit that goal out of the ballpark with this interview. I’m pleased to welcome Diane to No Wasted Ink.

Author Diane M. RobinsonHello Wendy and readers of No Wasted Ink. My name is Diane Mae Robinson; I am a children’s fantasy/adventure chapter book author who lives in an out-of-the way magical forest in central Alberta, Canada. Yep, magical forest: gnomes, elves, dragons, castles, all of it. People who know me say I am somewhat delusional—ummm, aren’t all fantasy writers?

Besides being a writer I have other jobs, which pay for the upkeep of the magical forest: dental office manager, art teacher, and writing instructor. In this magical forest, I live in a small castle-type house, which my husband and I designed and built by ourselves several years ago. The forest is also home to my five horses and four dogs. Through the years living here, I have worked on building many wonderful medieval-type flower gardens and stone pathways, filled with sculptures of magical creatures that I have made. These gardens surrounded by the forest is where I get my inspiration for writing fantasy.

When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing around the age of eight–well after I had learned to read and, by then, had read every children’s book in the small town library—when I decided to make up plays and perform them for the neighborhood kids. The only other volunteer in my plays was my younger sister, which was good and bad—the themes of the plays were medieval; my sister would not act the part of the prince unless she was allowed to wear her cowboy duds. So, as I was the princess being rescued by my handsome prince (aka cowboy), the plays were performed to a live audience of five until a particular day when chaos struck. My prince had a simple task—jump from the roof of the house and rescue me where I was tied to a tree by the evil villain. The prince (aka cowboy) jumped, broke her arm, my mom heard the racket, I was untied by mom, sister went to hospital, sister got home from hospital, I asked her: “Why didn’t you just use your cape?” Mom banned me from ever making up plays again. When sister forgave me, I wrote more plays that she agreed to be the prince (aka cowboy) in. So, what else to do but bring my merry band of play watchers deeper into the forest and out of prying eyes.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I have considered myself a writer ever since I started writing plays at age eight: I write, I create, I am a writer.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

I am currently working on book three of my fantasy/adventure series, Sir Princess Petra’s Mission–The Pen Pieyu Adventures. Book one, Sir Princess Petra,—The Pen Pieyu Adventures, was published in 2012 and has since won three major book awards. Book two, Sir Princess Petra’s Talent—The Pen Pieyu Adventures, was released in Sept. 2013. I am also working on a grammar book for elementary grades; this book has a medieval theme and the characters from my series are in this book also.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve always preferred fantasy stories and movies over all other genres. So, once the characters of this series started invading my head several years ago, they became so real to me that I had no choice but to write about their adventures. Often, I just feel like the writer while they tell me what is going to happen.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I am definitely a character-driven writer over a plot-driven writer. Plot is very important in children’s books, but if kids can feel and see the adventures through my characters. to me, all is won. I have an out-of-the box sense of humor and this comes out in my characters and their situations.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The characters woke me up in the middle of the night, dictated their names, told me the places, declared their situations, and yes, even forced me on the titles of the books. Does this ever happen to other writers? Just curious.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The main character of this series, Sir Princess Petra, is a princess whose greatest accomplishment is becoming a knight. She accomplishes this through kindness, understanding, and acceptance of others; all to the dismay of her father, the king, who thinks knights have to be big and mean and nasty.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

All my characters and situations in the stories are purely fictional—made up in my delusional (or so I’m told) mind.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

I’ve been reading C.S. Lewis for years. His stories influence me by the way the reader can totally get lost in his fantasy world. Lemony Snicket influences me with his sharp wit and humor, and the bizarre situations of his stories. Both of these writers inspire me to write engaging stories for children that leave a mark, have good values, and are fun to read.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

I think anybody that writes a great story is a mentor because they instill in us, other writers, the need to write well.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

The cover designer and illustrator, Samantha Kickingbird, was selected by the publisher as she works there. I had no choice in the matter and didn’t see the first illustrations until well into the set-up stages of the books. I couldn’t have asked for a better illustrator for this series.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

As I tell my writing students: If you love to write, learn to write well. Don’t be in a hurry to publish. Re-write and edit, and then do it again and again until you have nearly created perfection before submitting your manuscript to publishers. My first book was rejected 27 times over a 9 year period before I finally received a traditional publishing contract. And my 2nd book was well on it’s way to receiving numerous 5 star reviews before I acquired a literary agent. It takes patience, perseverance, and the art of writing well before you have a book that you can be proud of.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Write from your heart, with passion and imagination, and you will breath life into your stories.

Sir Princess Petra's Talent Book CoverDiane Mae Robinson
From a magical forest, near St. Paul, Alberta, Canada

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AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

Cover Artist: Samantha Kickingbird
Publisher: Tate Publishing, LLC

AMAZON BOOK ONE
AMAZON BOOK TWO

BARNES & NOBLE BOOK ONE
BARNES & NOBLE BOOK TWO

ABE BOOKS 1
ABE BOOKS 2

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksMarketing your books is one of the important aspects of being an author that is new to the field. No longer do we as writers depend on a publishing house to sell our books for us. We have to do the marketing ourselves. This week No Wasted Ink features several articles on this topic for your edification.

Take Charge of Your Author Business: 5 Aspects to Consider

Stop Using ‘Poet Voice’

Beth Bernobich: Writing Advice, the Meta Post

YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM IS NOT YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWING

14 Never-Fail Tricks Every Writer Needs to Know

4 COMPLETELY SCIENTIFIC WAYS TO KNOW IF YOUR CONTENT IS COMPELLING

Publishing is a Business…Why I Don’t Give my Book Away for Free

Which 5 Book Genres Make The Most Money?

10 RESOURCES FOR WRITERS AND BLOGGERS

7 Top eBook Blog Tour Sites

Writing Spaces: Art Deco Style Home Office

Art Deco Style Home Office

The writing space was taken from This Old House Magazine, the Desk Set, April 2006

There is much to love about this open and cheerful writing space. The golden walls contrast the white built-in shelving and desk to create a cozy, yet open feel. There is plenty of room for your books, art and a couple of friends. The art deco style windows bring in lots of light in a stylish manner that sets the mood for the room. The old-fashioned Persian rug softens the hardwood flooring. About the only thing that I don’t like about the room are the chairs. I’d prefer a comfortable leather roller chair to work in. All in all, there is plenty of inspiration to this home office.

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksThis week I was surfing more general writing tips and experiences and below is the result. Enjoy the latest batch of writer’s links here on No Wasted Ink.

7 Easy Steps to a More Pretentious Poem

Secrets of getting your book into bookstores

Kick it up a Notch: Top Tips on Writing a Page-Turning Novel

Worldbuilding Lessons From History

Reflections on a Writing Retreat: A Review of The Porches in Virginia

Creating story flow: the secret power of cause and effect

10 ways to make editors fall in love with your work

The Secret Tool That Will Put Your Writing Over The Top

Twelve Questions You Should Ask Before You Enroll in an MFA Program

How to Create the Habit of Writing

Kidding Around at the OC Children’s Book Festival

People at the Book Festival 1

When I arrived at the Orange Coast College campus, I was not sure what to expect. I had heard of the Orange County Children’s Book Festival for years, but because I did not have children, I had never gone. I decided that this would be the year I changed that. It was a beautiful southern California day of bright sunshine, a cool breeze and temperate temperature. I discovered ample parking in the campus lots with signs clearly stating that I was free to park without a permit or a charge.

It was a short walk between buildings to find the fair, which was free of charge to enter. There were large canopies everywhere, each one filled with authors, exhibitors and educational vendors. There were booths with tutoring services, illustrators, and plenty of authors that specialized in children’s books. A large main stage dominated the open area with a few smaller stages for other child friendly entertainment available. One popular booth had a kitchen and cooking demonstrations. Many of the Moms stopped there to catch a cooking show and relax in one of the shade covered chairs.

Wow. All The Children!

For every adult there were at least two to three kids running about. Most were between the ages of 3 to around 12 years. There was plenty for them to do; from having their faces painted, to making bookmarkers, listening to live storytellers on the stage, or stopping to pose for a photo with various “monsters” in bright costumes. The trackless train that wended its way through the festival seemed to be popular with the little ones. The ride was full every time it passed me while I was there. I did not see many children thumbing through books, they had far too much energy for that, but their mothers did seem to stop and look over the book booths with an eye toward purchasing. I liked that the Children’s fair was enclosed by the college buildings, so even if the little ones were running about, there was no danger of them running off too far.

There were dozens of authors with tables promoting their YA or children’s books and there was no way to review them all. However, a few struck my interest.

Nikki White - Author and BallerinaNikki White’s table was not far from the main stage. For an author, this might prove to be deadly since you are off the walkway, but in Nikki’s case, her booth decor and striking ballerina costume drew people over. Her book is called Prima: The Ballerina and it is a book designed to teach ballerina dancing to children who might not have access to instructors.

The illustrations in her children’s instruction book were created by her husband Ethan White who created a posable doll that the couple later photographed in the various dance positions being discussed in the book. It created a colorful and friendly character for children to relate to.

Dani Dixon - Illustrator and AuthorDani Dixon is an artist connected with Tumble Creek Press. It is a website of comic books, webcomics, trading cards, and more. Dani had several portfolio books of her artwork on display at the children’s book festival which was quite intriguing.

Dani-s artwork

My last highlight is a small press that had booked a double table and featured a full stable of children and YA books. Ink Smith Publishing is a small independent publishing house with big aspirations. Their authors and editors work together to develop books, marketing plans, and sales. They have only been around since 2012, but they are growing steadily. Their books sell internationally, including Canada and the UK.

Ink Smith Publishing

I enjoyed my time at the Orange Country Children’s Book Festival. I found it well attended by several hundred people, the majority of them small children with their mothers or fathers. There was far more there than books and authors, the exhibitors offered a great deal for parents and homeschoolers to learn from. It was a comfortable event with plenty of restrooms available, a food truck court and wholesome entertainment on the various stages. All of the authors had full tables and professional style canopies to protect them from the sun.

If you are a YA or children’s book author, it is an event you should consider attending. Authors of adult books might want to think twice. While there were people of all ages at the event, it did attract children the most.

Main Stage at Book Festival

Storyteller Booth

People at the Book Festival 2

Cooking Pavillion