Deeanne Gist rocketed up the bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere with her original, fun historicals. She has garnered rave reviews, four RITA nominations, and such honors as the National Readers’ Choice, Book Buyers’ Best, Golden Quill and Laurel Wreath Awards, as well as Books*A*Million’s and Romantic Times magazine’s Pick of the Month.
Welcome back today, Deeanne! What drew you to writing historical novels?
When I was of an age to read Nancy Drew, the ones my mother had on the shelf were the original 1930's versions. So they read like historicals to me. Nancy drove a roadster, she wore skirts and did all her investigating in high heels. I have had a love affair with historicals ever since.
If you’re anything like I am, one favorite book is hard to pick! Do you have two or three top picks among the historical genre that you would care to recommend?
My all-time favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird. I’m so excited about its sequel coming out this July. I can hardly wait!
To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorites as well. What do you consider the best resources for historical research?
If I was forced to pick one resource above all the others, I would say my favorites are first person accounts and newspapers from the time period. But of course I don’t limit myself to those sources. I use the library, historical societies, microfiche, local bookstores, historical sites, the Internet, diaries, journals, letters and just about anything I can get my hands on.
What or who inspired you to write historical fiction? How does that keep you plodding ahead with your writing each day?
I think it was simply my love of reading historical fiction that inspired me to write them. I absolutely love digging up little known facts from our country’s history, then playing the “what if” game. What if you were the very first respectable woman to hit the shores of California during the gold rush? What if you thought you were being sailed to the Washington Territory to be a cook, only to find out you’d been contracted to be a lumberjack’s bride? What if you were hired to do a man’s job and no one believed women had the skills, the muscles or the smarts to build stained-glass windows?
Those are the things that keep me excited about writing each day.
What helps you maintain productivity as a writer? And what do you find most challenging about the business of being an author?
The thing that keeps me at the computer is deadlines. Those are very motivating. As it happens, that’s the very thing I find most challenging about the business. It doesn’t matter what curves life throws you or whether you feel “creative” on any particular day. When you’re on deadline, you have a certain number of pages to write, and if you don’t write them, then that means they have to be written after hours the next day or at some point during the weekend.
I don’t much like that part. I’d much rather write without a deadline looming over me.
Do you feel you are more of a character-driven or plot-driven writer? How do you think it comes across in your writing?
I’d say that my plots are driven by my characters’ growth. That probably seems like a non-answer, but I am a very meticulous plotter. The fact is, though, the plot is built around making my characters face their biggest fears and overcome them.
Would you like to share about what you are working on now?
It’s a little too soon for me to talk about my work-in-progress. I’m dyslexic and a very slow writer, so I usually don’t reveal the premise for my next book until it is finished and available for pre-order. This not only helps alleviate a lot of pressure, it also makes the announcement of my new project fresh and exciting. Kind of like a baby-gender reveal party. Everyone knows the baby’s percolating in there, but the revelation of its gender has a big build up and a big celebration when it is finally announced. That’s kind of how I like my premises to be.
Do you have any last words of wisdom to share with aspiring authors?
Finish the book. You can always go back and edit it, but you can never make any forward progress in this business unless you finish the book.
That said, I have a series of videos I do called “2 Minute Tips for Aspiring Writers.” They offer some valuable tips on all kinds of things I wish I’d known when I was starting out. You can find them on my website (IWantHerBook.com) in the “Blog Archives” section.
Thank you, Deeanne, for joining us at Novel PASTimes. It has been a privilege to interview you.
I had a marvelous time. Thank you for having me!
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Here's Deeanne's question for you: What is the title of Deeanne’s latest book?a Rafflecopter giveaway