Hello Diane. Can you introduce yourself?
I'm Diane Perry based in South Shropshire.
How long have you been writing?
Since I was 14 but I have been writing with a view to publication for 15 years.
What first got you interested in writing?
My mother, she writes too and inspired me from a young age as she was doing a home based writing course. She started to get articles published and I wanted to do the same.
Do you attend a writing group?
I joined Wrekin Writers in 1997 and have been a member ever since.
Why do you attend a writing group?
By talking to other members I have gained so much more confidence in my own writing.
What is the most valuable thing you've taken away from your writing group?
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. There are a lot of experts out there and if you can tap in to there expertise, they will help you to succeed.
What genre(s) do you write?
Natural history, Children’s stories and novels, Humour. I love nature and the fact that I never really grew up! I am definitely a child at heart.
If we're all honest, I think we all are children at heart! Are there any genres that you don't enjoy writing?
I would love to have a go at historical fiction but it scares me a bit as you have to be so accurate. There is not a genre I don’t like, it’s just that I am not very good at some of them.
What types of things do you write?
Articles, non fiction humour and Children’s books.
Who/what influences your writing? Where do you get your inspiration from?
The environment usually inspires me. I get ideas constantly as I never switch off really.
How do you come up with your characters' names and personalities?
Day to day life, sometimes you hear a name or meet a person that you want to capture in story.
Have you ever had anything published?
One Hundred Waysfor A Chicken to Train Its Human was published by Hodder and Stoughtonin 2007. (Under the name Diane Parker) I have also had several magazine articles published. I am hoping to self publish my first novel on Kindle this year.
I am working on my own ebook at present. I think it’s the way ahead as it is so difficult to get in with a publisher or even an agent. If you can prove yourself through ebooks, it may lead on to a publishing deal in the future – well I live in hope!
Have you ever sent your writing to agents/publishers?
Yes I have sent a lot of work out to publishers, even my novel which did get some very good feedback but the competition is so strong out there unless you are a published writer in fiction. I take every rejection I receive, work on it again and send it out again, that is the only way. Never give up!
Have you ever attended an open mic event for spoken word performers?
No, much too scary, I am not that confident!
Have you ever entered any writing competitions?
I came second runner up in the NAWG (National Association of Writers' Groups) Children's story in 2009, although I have never won a competition this still gave me great confidence to carry on.
How important is it for you to share your writing?
Very important, that way I can learn from my mistakes and get some feedback to improve.
Do you have a writing routine?
I set aside one day completely if I can but I even try to write during my lunch break at work. I often think of ideas on my journey to work and write them down as soon as I can.
Do you start out with a complete idea for your stories, or do you just start writing and hope for the best?
I just get a basic idea, a plot or a character or place and work from there.
Do you have an editing process?
I read aloud, I give it to as many people as I can to get an independent opinion.
What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?
I love it all. I love to learn and research subjects and escape into another world that is only mine for a while when I am writing.
Apart from writing, what are your other hobbies/interests?
I love animals and the countryside. I have two ponies and five chickens and love being in my garden if I am not writing.
Ah, now I see where you got your inspiration from for your novel! What types of things do you read?
Too many to list really but JK Rowling, David Almond and Michael Morpurgo are my favourites.
Do you have any favourite lines from novels/plays/poetry/songs, or any favourite literary quotations?
Yes. A line from The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans - "What happened to him, laying down like that was the worst thing he could imagine. And you know what? He found out that it was okay."
If you could have written anything, what do you wish that could have been?
I have so many favourite authors but I guess David Almond is one that I admire most.
What is the best piece of writing advice you've ever been given?
Never, ever give up! Even if you get rejections, keep going, keep getting better and you will succeed!
What advice could you give to a new writer?
Set realistic goals. It can take time to have any success in writing. Not many people will have a best selling novel. Celebrate the fact that you are writing and sending work out there, even if it is just a letter to your local newspaper. They are your words and if they are published that is a success.
What are you working on at the moment?
My novel - Red Kite.
Do you have a website/blog/Twitter/Facebook dedicated to your writing?
Thank you Diane.