Dianne Sagan was raised in Texas and is now a full-time ghostwriter and author.
Shelagh: Please tell us a bit more about yourself, Dianne.
Dianne: I have been a story teller in my family since childhood. I’ve always loved reading and books. My background includes degrees in History and Communications. I’ve been writing professionally since 2002, beginning with a regular editorial in the regional newspaper where I live. I’m an internationally successful ghostwriter with one of my books hitting the Best Seller list on Amazon.com.ca (Canada). 2009 has been a busy year with three books released – Rebekah Redeemed, Shelter from the Storm, and an anthology Flash Tales. I am also a consultant, group facilitator, and inspirational speaker.
Shelagh: When did the writing bug bite?
Dianne: I got the bug for writing in high school. The English program included a regimen that taught us how to write essays. I fell in love with it. Years later when I had children I wrote stories for them and used their names and antics. I really think that I always wanted to be a writer.
Shelagh: When you started writing, did your books have an underlying theme?
Dianne: When I first started writing, I felt the need to write down what was spinning in my head. At first, I just enjoyed the process and began working on the craft of writing. Even though I put off really focusing on becoming a writer until my kids grew up, I knew that someday I wanted to be a full-time writer.
When I write a book or a short story, I try to entertain the reader but usually have an underlying theme. To date, my books have a theme of hope, strength, and overcoming your conditions for a better life. It is a reflection of some of my own experiences.
Shelagh: Briefly tell us about your latest book. Is it a series or stand-alone?
Dianne: Shelter from the Storm is a contemporary novel that focuses on the turning point and personal growth through violent circumstances of the main character, Brittany Camp. It is set in Seattle during the worst snow storm in fifty years. It can be a stand alone, but I am working on the beginnings of a sequel with ideas for a couple more books with the same main characters sharing different circumstances.
What’s already being said about the book as it is released:
In Shelter from the Storm, award winning author Dianne G. Sagan tells a story that is all too real and all too prevalent in our society, but Sagan will have you on the edge of your seat, in tears, as you open your heart to Brittany and her children.
“Poignant and positively captivating, Sagan’s latest, Shelter From the Storm, will have you reading far into the night. A must read!”
—Deborah LeBlanc, Best-Selling Author of Water Witch
Shelagh: What’s the hook for the book?
Dianne: Chapter 1
Brittany peered out the window. Abel could return home at any moment. She knew that if he caught her and the children they might never escape. With trembling hands, Brittany dialed the number.
Shelagh: How do you develop characters and settings?
Dianne: I develop my characters using several sources. I’m a people watcher and see interesting faces or over hear conversations in restaurants that spark my imagination. The Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan developed a model for understanding the interaction between situational response and influence. I use these styles as part of the process. I also like to find pictures in magazines that look like my character. I then put the picture on an index card and write down basic information about them. I usually do this for all the major characters. As I begin writing, I also allow my characters to develop along with the story.
As far as settings, I use places that I’m familiar with in most cases. If I’m writing about an area I haven’t been before, then I research in depth everything from maps, pictures, and talk to people who have been there. I also read other books about the area or that are set in that area. I do use internet sources, but spend hours at the library.
Shelagh: Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?
Dianne: In many ways, I am an organic writer. A lot is developed in my head before I ever start writing. If I think of some ideas, then I will jot them down and keep them in a folder. When writing fiction, an outline forms as I write as I see where the story is going, that way I don’t get too far off track. However, when I am writing I give myself permission to change directions if it is better than where I thought I was going with the plot in the first place. Most of the time I know where I want things to end so I work on making the elements of the story and the situations end up in the same place even if they come from different directions.
Shelagh: Do you have a specific writing style and preferred POV?
My style has been described as lean, sensitive, honest, and emotionally compelling. My preferred POV is third person. However, even though it is not as popular as it once was, I also like to use the omniscient point of view so that you can have different chapters that focus on different characters view points. You just have to be careful when using it so that you don’t confuse your reader.
Shelagh: What are your current projects?
Dianne: I actually have a second book coming out December 2009 as well, it is an anthology Flash Tales: An Adventure in Words. I am one of five contributors. The stories are flash fiction, each no more than 100 words using a series of required words. It’s quick and fun. We even give the reader space at the end of each series of stories to try their hand at a 100 word story using the same words.
I am currently working on the second book in the series, Touched by the Savior. Its working title is The Fisherman’s Wife. The first book came out earlier this year, Rebekah Redeemed. In addition, I have notes started for a sequel to Shelter from the Storm.
Shelagh: Where can folks learn more about your books and events?
Dianne: People can learn more about my books at my website: http://dgsagan.tripod.com or on my blog where I have guest bloggers, discuss writing, ghostwriting, and life as a writer http://diannesagan.wordpress.com.
Shelagh: Thank you for joining us today, Dianne.
Dianne: Thanks for the opportunity.