Name : Diane M Dickson
Where are you from: Bradford, Yorkshire UK
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc :
I was educated in 1960’s UK and failed my eleven plus and so plodded my lazy way through a pretty mediocre secondary school, but it’s so long ago now that I think I should stop holding a grudge!
I have been married for more than forty years and have a daughter, a son, daughter in law and son in law and two grandsons, who are all wonderful people.
I suppose the only thing about me that is a little bit different is that I spent over 20 years living and working in the Middle East. It was great fun and it was before the current unpleasantness so the worst thing that happened really was being shouted at to cover my head, which I chose not to do, although we did leave when the bombs started. My most interesting job was in the Human Resources Department of a Military Hospital in Riyadh that threw up challenges which really helped me to find strengths that I didn’t know I had.
We now live part of the year in a house in the middle of a forest in South West France and the rest of the time in the West Midlands, UK.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I have just had a collection of Novellas published by my wonderful publishers The Book Folk and am at the holding my breath and crossing my fingers stage. It was a bit of a risk to publish the collection but we thought it was worth a punt. The Book is called “Knock Knock You’re Dead” and it is not surprisingly three murder, mystery novellas.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I am working towards that moment.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I have always loved writing and one day a short sentence about a red sports car popped into my mind and it spawned a story that I just had to write down. That “book” was absolute rubbish and is long gone but that was the moment the bug really took a big bite.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
No I don’t think I do I just write in a style that suits the story at the time and I find that a huge part of the fun.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
We have a lot of fun throwing words at each other when we are looking for titles for the published books and then suddenly one will stand out from the rest. This one is more about the mood of the stories than a specific reference to anything in them.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not in the latest one no but some of my others touch on the subject of domestic violence which is something that appalls me and that I think we should talk about more. Leaving George is about a woman fleeing an abusive marriage, Pictures of You is about an older woman who falls for a younger man only to have him become violent, Who Follows is again about a romance that turns violent. But generally I just write what The Muse gives me.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ?:
In the novella collection one of the stories is about a nurse who has worked in Saudi Arabia and there is quite a lot of truth woven into that one. Generally, though I have trouble convincing people that I am not a downtrodden and abused wife – which is pretty difficult for my husband!
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I am often surprised at how many times real life sneaks into my books, although it is never really deliberate.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I read constantly, I am never without at least one book open on my Kindle and usually we are listening to one on Audible together and I will pick up one of my paper books and re-read something that I love. I can’t pick out one from all of those although of course I do have favourites, The House on the Strand, Frenchman’s Creek, Duma Key, The Cormoran Strike series, The In Death Series by J D Robb, I am a Reacher Creature and love nearly everything Terry Pratchett wrote and on and on.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am reading Even Dogs in the Wild which is the latest Rebus book by Ian Rankin and listening to The Stars Tennis Balls by Stephen Fry on Audible. .
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
It seems that there are wonderful new authors appearing every day and I would hesitate to pick out one because for sure tomorrow there will be another.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am editing the next novel that I will hopefully be sending to the publisher next week and then fingers crossed until I hear whether or not he is willing to take it on. I also help to run a Short Story Web Site and we have just finished publishing an anthology of stories in ebook and Paperback to raise money for The Book Bus which is a UK charity that takes books and reading to children in the developing word that one is called Literally Stories – The Anthology and is available on Amazon
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I have always been a solitary writer and just ploughed my own furrow.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Not for me because I have had a long working life, so I am lucky enough to be able to do it for the love of words but I think that there is no reason why it should not be.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I am still editing the latest book so it’s getting changed, and changed and changed but nothing too drastic. In Knock Knock You’re Dead those stories had been around for a while so they had been edited. But I think there are always things that you see and wish you could make better.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I have just always done it, ever since I could hold a pencil. I still have a book of poetry that I wrote when I was about seven years old, it’s just always been there.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
It is the story of a developing relationship between a rather straight laced and conservative young man who is trying to make a career as an Estate Agent and a quirky and rebellions young woman whom he meets by chance. But, there is greed, madness, murder and hidden drama bubbling away under the surface.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Commas and the placement thereof.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I think I covered that earlier but apart from Terry Pratchett there is Daphne Du Maurier, Stephen King, JK Rowling (in both guises), Lee Child, oh I could go on and on. I suppose it would be best to say the one I am reading today!
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, they are mostly written from memory of the places we have been and we have been fortunate to have travelled quite a lot over the years.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
For my self-published books my daughter did most of them, she is a very talented graphic designer and illustrator so I am lucky there and the ones published by The Book Folks are done by their own designers.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I enjoy writing very much so I wouldn’t say any of it is hard but I quite often lose heart in the middle and think that I am writing rubbish and I have to force myself to carry on. I publish chapters on my blog and that does keep me disciplined and stops me giving up.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Yes, I don’t know enough about commas and the placement thereof!!
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Oh I would not presume to try and advise other writers except to say read your stuff aloud and keep on keeping on and believe in yourself.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Just, thank you.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
My dad used to read to us when we were small and I remember Gulliver’s Travels being a favourite and I think Heidi is the one that I read over and over.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I cry very easily especially when I see people striving and overcoming challenges but also I hate to see anyone disappointed or abused, but on the other hand a brass band can reduce me to a slobbering wreck and don’t ever take me anywhere near a school concert!!
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
John Lennon because I grew up in Liverpool in the sixties and I think that he genuinely believed we could have a better, peaceful, fairer world.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I don’t want a headstone but I would like people to remember me as kind. I do try to be kind.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Gardening and Cooking mostly though I love going to the cinema and walking.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I don’t watch much television at all but we do like Game of Thrones. We do try to see the latest films when we are in UK and we really enjoyed The Martian and The Suffragette, the latest James Bond not so much.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music:
Cajun chicken, purple, anything that moves me whether it is Country, Classical or just drumming.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I have been lucky enough to have a varied career, I have been a veterinary nurse, a nurse’s aide, a medical secretary, a Human Resources officer, Medical Records Clerk and PA so I think writing is enough for now.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?: Diane’s Stories Site
Thank you so much for asking me to do this interview. It has been fun.