Name Dianna Beirne
A Million. Just kidding, 43.
Where are you from
Long Island, New York
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
The most important thing about me is that I am the grateful mother of a son who I adore. He is a sophomore in college this year, which makes me really understand the question, ‘Where has the time gone?’. I have a few different degrees, all in the field of Education. I started with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education then went on to get a Master’s in literacy and finished up with a Doctorate of Education specializing in Curriculum and Teaching. I spent several years teaching undergraduate and graduate students majoring in Education both on ground and online all while wishing to one day become what I really wanted to be, a writer.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I am currently working on the fourth book in my Aurelious Forty YA Fantasy series though I am in the very early stages….first draft, but hey you have to start someplace!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Like many writers, I’ve been writing creatively my whole life. But the things that I wrote throughout my life went in notebooks or loose pages floating around, unseen by anyone but me, so I wrote creatively but not seriously. I wrote because I needed to do something with the stories that I imagined in my head. Although some unwritten stories would fade away, others persisted until I finally wrote them down and made more room in my mind to imagine something else.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably about three years ago when I completed Aurelious Forty; Volume One, my first novel. By the time I finished One I had outlined all of Two and the beginning, middle, and end of Three (at least what I thought was the beginning, middle, and end of Three but crazy things happened in Three so the middle and end changed from what I originally outlined). So having completed the first book and confidently outlined the next two, that’s when I finally considered myself a writer because that’s when I finally felt that I really had something to say and enough of that something to create full length books.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I have always wanted to be a writer, literally always, for as long as I can remember and I have always wanted to write books. But I think there is a certain level of confidence that comes with being a writer and that was something that eluded me. I wanted to write novel length books but I didn’t believe I had the story in me. I think I was waiting for that moment, that idea that woke me up in the middle of the night with the world’s most amazing story but that moment never happened. Finally one day I told myself that I needed to stop waiting, I needed to make my own moment so I opened my laptop and started to write and the story happened as I wrote it. So, I think that I was inspired to write my first book simply by the desire to become what I spent my whole life wishing I could be.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I tend to write First Person Narratives. I’m pretty descriptive and try to give enough detail in a scene so the reader can really get a picture in their mind and I also like to, once and a while, talk directly to the reader to bring them into the story even more. I’ll ask them questions like, “You know what I mean right?” or “What would you do in this situation?”. My writing is very informal, I write like I talk. I do want to try out Third Person though, maybe after I finish Volume Four, but I’ll probably need a lot of practice.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
‘Aurelious Forty’ was not my original title, it is the name of the main character of the series, the one telling this story. An editor that I was working with on Volume One felt that my original title was very boring and wouldn’t catch anyone’s attention so she suggested Aurelious and I deferred to her expertise, and for the record, I think she was right.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are a few messages throughout the series. There is an underlying message of hope and perseverance. The hopes of several of the characters are tested but they hold onto to them and they keep working toward that thing they are hoping for even when they are challenged. There is also a message about uniqueness and how a person’s own individuality can be their greatest strength. We discover that our characters have special gifts that make them all different but their differences are celebrated and revered. Our differences are what make us better and stronger as a group.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Much of it is realistic but it isn’t necessarily the story line that is realistic, it’s more like the characters that are. They are real people. They can do presumably unreal things, which is the Fantasy element of the story, but they feel and think and act like real people do. This is a very emotional story, often times it can be quite dark though peppered with moments of lightness and humor. It is the emotions of the characters that are realistic, we have felt the way these people feel, we hurt, we love, we hope, we fear just like they do.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The major events in the story are not based on anyone I know but the feelings that the characters feel and the highs and lows that they experience as a natural part of life evoke reactions that are based on everyone I know or anyone I have seen from a distance. We all know someone, or several ‘someones’, or even ourselves, that feel they way these characters feel.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
All of the Chronicles of Narnia had the greatest literary influence on my life. They showed me that creativity is limitless and, in a book, anything is possible. They nurtured my imagination and rekindled its most youthful essence when I revisited the series as an adult.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I just started ‘Simple Genius’ by David Baldacci. It’s not the genre I usually go for but it came highly recommended by my mother so I’m trying something new. So far so good!
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
As an independent author, I am interested in other independent authors. Not only in their writing but also in their management and dedication. Publishing is changing and I am interested in the authors who are changing it.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Officially, my most significant project is Aurelious Forty; Volume Four but I am dabbling in a few other works, practicing in other genre.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I have a few wonderful friends who are totally supportive of my writing and this venture that I am embarking on. They are the people who read my work first, they help me spread the word, they tell me to keep going. I can’t choose just one so I will put them all as one entity of friends.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
In my dreams I do and I am currently doing everything I can to realize my dreams and make them come true.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, Aurelious Forty; Volume Three is my latest published book and it took on a life of its own. When I mapped out Three it didn’t look like it does now. As a matter of fact, this was supposed to be a trilogy, Three was supposed to be the end. But all of this crazy stuff happened that I didn’t plan for and bumped my trilogy to a series. I wouldn’t change it because this is how the story unfolded before me, the story leads, the writer follows.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
It’s just always been a part of me. I have no idea what the first thing is that I wrote but I do know that writing has always felt good and right. When I write I feel accomplished and satisfied and that’s been for as long as I can remember.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Aurelious Forty; Volume Four picks up right where Volume Three left off (each book starts right where the other ends so the reader doesn’t miss anything). In Four, Aurelious has to decide what kind of person he wants to be because he has consistently been pulled in different directions throughout the course of the series. We aren’t clear yet if he will be a good guy or not, he isn’t clear yet either. There will be an epic battle and a big reveal that the readers definitely didn’t see coming.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Technical things. I feel good about my ability to write creatively but I am not a great technical writer. There will inevitably be errors in grammar for example that I just don’t see, some will even slip by my editors. There was definitely a learning process for writing for Young Adults specifically about pacing and conflict for example, and I learned those technical requirements, or suggestions, during editing for the most part. So I would say it was the technical part of putting together text that challenge me the most.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
S. Lewis is my favorite Fantasy author for young people. The imagery that he used as well as the sophisticated language that he often chose were inspiring. I liked that even though he was writing for kids he wrote elegantly as if he knew kids would understand it even if some of the things he said were typically above a particular reading level. He challenged us with his words but through his descriptive language we understood all of it. For adults and for humor I love Janet Evanovich. She has this way of making very ordinary people extraordinary and creating humor in real life (or a slightly unreal life) situations. I think comic relief is important and she provides that.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I haven’t traveled at all for them. Most of what I write is something that I have imagined. If I need to get a better picture of something or if I need to know a fact like what kind of berries grow in the winter, then I Google it. Ah, Google.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Dane at ebooklaunch did all three of my covers and, hopefully when it’s done, he’ll do the fourth. He’s great to work with and super creative.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Writing the first page of the first book was the hardest part about writing my books. I took a leap of faith without a story, without any idea of how to do it, and just started typing. The hardest thing was convincing myself to stop waiting for the story to come to me but rather to go get the story from wherever it was hiding in my mind. I’m just glad it was actually in there!
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that sometimes you need to stop wishing for things and make them happen yourself. I learned that you need to stop waiting for a moment to come but rather create your own moment. I learned that time will pass you by while you wait and wish, it won’t stop until you’re ‘ready’ so be ready, stop waiting, stop wishing and just try it.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just start writing. Know that not every story will become a book or be publishable, but every story that you write will be worth the time and effort you take to write it. You will learn from every word that you put on the page, every writing will be some kind of experience that you have and, as writers, experience is our greatest tool.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you. Without readers, these things I write are just words on a page. The readers breathe their own life into the characters, into the story, they make it bigger then what it was when it was just an idea I had.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I can’t remember the first book because reading has always been a part of my life. My earliest memories regarding books though are snuggling into my father on Christmas Eve with my brother and sister and listening to him read ‘ ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ to us. He read it so beautifully; I can still remember the way his voice flowed with the words. The other earliest books that I can remember are the Pokey Little Puppy, I think he and I were kindred spirits, and Lyle Crocodile.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My son makes me laugh. He is one of the funniest people I know and the times that I have laughed the hardest in my life have been with him, that kind of uncontrollable laughter that makes your stomach ache, your face turn red, and tears stream down your cheeks. A lot of things make me laugh, but he makes me laugh the hardest. As for crying, I think it’s disappointment and cruelty that make me cry and those things can be represented in different ways and are pretty subjective. I will say that I laugh much more than I cry and for that I am very grateful.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I’d like to have a few minutes with C.S. Lewis. The Chronicles of Narnia were life changing for me and I’d like to pick his brain about how he came up with all of that!
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Well, let’s face it, it will probably just be my name and a date and I’m okay with that because I don’t want my loved ones to feel compelled to stand at my grave and read about my life. But if I did have something more written it might be part of a poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye, “Do not stand at my grave and weep. I am not there. I do not sleep.” I first read this poem at my beautiful father’s wake. He was right to choose it, it made me feel better, it still does. I believe that life goes on when we die and it can be glorious and that’s what I want my loved ones to think about when they visit my grave, my life continues.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I like doing creative things. I like making things, crafts, wreaths, home related goodies. I’m currently experimenting with all the things I can do with mason jars!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love t.v. shows like Broad City and Kroll Show. Unfortunately Kroll Show isn’t making new episodes any more but I can and do binge watch episodes on demand. American Horror Story and Hannibal are also favorites and the complete opposite of Broad City and Kroll Show. They all satisfy something in my entertainment needs I guess!
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
My favorite color is red, my favorite food is probably New York pizza (most likely because I don’t have it too often), and my music tastes are very varied. I like anything from Mumford and Sons to Pearl Jam to Imagine Dragons to Drake to Adele, you name it, it’s probably in my music library.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I would continue to teach in higher education, it’s a great job and my students have pretty consistently made my life richer.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I’d like to try a blog but I’m not sure what my platform would be yet. But I do have a website : www.aureliousforty.com
Amazon Authors Page http://www.amazon.com/Dianna-Beirne/e/B00DVQQYTQ/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1