I asked Deryn Pittar, author of this week’s featured new release Lutapolii – White Dragon of the South, to share her thoughts on her writing with us.
Deryn, tell us about the first book you had published.
Love’s Bright Star was published by Secret Cravings in 2012. It was a huge thrill and from that experience I learned about the editing process, prior to publication. They also published the following four books in the Future Movers series; but unfortunately Secret Cravings closed down in 2015. These futuristic romances are being republished over a six weeks’ time span in June/July this year with Junction Publishing. I am reading through them again (yet another editing process) and I’m delighted that I don’t have the desire to change anything. Because they are set in the future, luckily, nothing has dated!
Six years later, with their republishing, I will have had published a total of eight novels, with a ninth one coming out in October. But I have had many short stories and poems published in between times, in a variety of genre.
Was ‘Love’s Bright Star’ the first novel you’d written?
I’d love to be able to say ‘yes’ but in truth it was about the fourth. One of them I rewrote five times and it still sits in my files. (I can’t bear to delete 70 thousand words. I might need a bit of it one day.) I tried to write for Mills and Boon to begin with, but my mind refuses to stick to a formula; this is probably why I often set my stories in the future, where there are no restrictions on my imagination. However, I consider all those original unpublished manuscripts as a learning curve I had to travel, and not one word was a wasted effort.
Do you write today in the same genre as your first published novel?
Sometimes, but I jump about. I’ve written and had published a few contemporary romance novellas and lots of short stories, some sci.fi., some a comment on a serious subject and a few light romances. I tried to write horror (with a friend) and we ended up with a black comedy. I like to put a twist at the end of my short fiction. I’ve also dabbled in haiku and other forms of poetry, plus I love a writing challenge. Often a contest’s premise is a good reason to try another genre.
What authors have influenced your choice of genre?
Asimov’s science fiction novels gripped my imagination as a teenager, opening up the possibilities available to a writer. Then Anne MacCaffrey came along with her Dragons of Pern series, which introduced dragons instead of robots.
How long did it take from when you began Lutapolii’s manuscript to launch date?
I wrote Lutapolii – White Dragon of the South quite quickly, over a few months, about two years ago. He grew from a short story, which became chapter one. He took on a personality and had a life plan I simply had to follow. Once told, his story lurked in my files for a year as I searched for a cover, then Junction Publishing said they’d like to take him and they found his picture. I had to change one scene to fit in with his final appearance, but he’s such a magnificent fellow I didn’t mind at all. I’m thrilled with the response to his story. It’s not often you get to read a story written by the dragon himself. It’s written for adults, but it fits just as well into the Young Adult classification. There is a mating scene in it, but that’s all noise, smoke and frightened sea birds. I don’t know how dragons mate and Lutapolii refused to tell me.
What is your latest project – or projects?
I recently co-wrote a novella with Meg Buchanan, about an angel who falls in love with a soldier. It centres on Halloween, her brother’s plans for that night and the soldier’s decision to prevent her being harmed. Angelfire is a quirky love story and was fun to write. I had a short story which became the premise for the story. We shared further plot lines and wrote the scenes we each had ideas for; then shuttled the manuscript back and forth to be read, changed and added to until it all hung together. This will be released in October this year, with promotion beginning in September. Perhaps when Meg has time in her busy publishing schedule we will write a sequel.
I have just finished a novella for a winter anthology submission call for Roane Publishing. I called it Thunder Makes Me Cry and I’m hoping it will get accepted. I wrote it with a winter theme, just for their submission call. Heaven knows what I’ll do with it if they don’t want it. They are releasing another novella of mine, Escorts for Hire….Heartaches Free, in their summer anthology in August.
What question do you always wish an interview would ask you?
You often hear writers moan about ‘writer’s block’ (no ideas) or the editing process and how they hate cutting out words and scenes; and how dreadful it all is. Yet no one actually asks them if they enjoy it!
I‘m asking you now. Do you enjoy being an author?
Yes, I love it. Sometimes I run out of ideas, but I never panic. Eventually something will pop into my mind; a kernel that grows into a scene, which might develop into a novel. I love the craft of tightening a story, getting rid of extra words, paring it down to say as much as possible with as few words as you can. Of being able to give the readers a time, place and setting that will drag them into the story and, best of all, hold them there.
Through writing I’ve met a wide group of people I can correspond with, and share work and ideas with. To know there are like-minded people out there, tapping away, feeding their mind-pictures onto the page is a comfort because writing can be a solitary hobby – if you let it. I don’t.
What are you currently reading?
I belong to two book clubs, so often have to read a book that is not of my choice. This doesn’t do me any harm and often leads me to discover new authors. I’ve just read The Song Collector by Natasha Solomons. It is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, with beautiful language. At page 30, I decided I was reading too fast, so I began again and took my time to savour every page.
Daniel O’Malley has written two fabulous science fiction/fantasy novels: The Rook and Silhouette. I’m waiting for his next novel. I also enjoy Robert Galbraith’s series (JK Rowling) and I’m waiting for Lethal White to be released. I think the lady at the library is tired of me asking if they have it yet.
Thanks, Deryn, for giving us this time. I’ve learned more about you than I knew!