Diana Kathryn Plopa
Where are you from?
Tell us your latest news?
New Release: “The Griffin of Greed” A gentle fairy tale that teaches children the value of the intangible.
When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing nearly all my life, but only really got serious about it in my twenties. I’ve always been drawn to the magic of the written word. It helped that for a time in my teen years, we didn’t have a working TV.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In my early twenties, I wrote and self-published a book of poetry. That’s when I realized that writing was the calling of my heart and soul. I didn’t sell a lot of books… but because I was able to financially break even, I’m calling it a success. Since that adventure, I’ve learned that poetry is hard, and I really shouldn’t write it! Nowadays, I prefer fiction.
What inspired you to write your first book?
So, because I didn’t do well at it, I don’t count the poetry collection as my first book. When I really felt like a writer was when I wrote my memoir, “Wolfe Cub”. It’s a resource for all those people out there who chose to be a single parent – not because of death or divorce, but because it was the right choice to make. My son came to me one day in his teens, and told me that he thought I was a good parent. He asked me to write down how I did it so that when he had kids, he’d have a better idea of what to do and not do. After such high praise, how could I not write the book?!
Do you have a specific writing style?
I like complex ideas and language combinations that make a person think. I love my lexicon and I work hard at expanding it regularly. I love stories that delve into people’s emotions and perhaps show a story in a way that a reader may not have considered before. So I guess my style might be categorized as “unusually normal.”
How did you come up with the title?
For “Wolfe Cub”, it was easy. Wolfe is my maiden name, and my son’s surname; and adding “cub” seemed to make sense. For my satirical novel, “Free Will”, that was easy, too. Free Will is the concept that the book challenges readers to look at in a different way. “Griffin of Greed”, my new children’s book, was also an easy choice. That’s exactly what the entire story is about. So, I guess I’d say that choosing titles is easy for me because I simply look into the story and try to come up with a title that speaks best to what the reader will encounter.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
In “Griffin of Greed”, it’s about teaching children that those things that don’t have a price tag are far more valuable than anything they might find in a shopping mall… and they last longer, too. For “Free Will” it’s all about allowing our imagination to accept a different line of thinking. In “Wolfe Cub” its about realizing that children are people, not possessions; and if we treat them with the same respect and adoration we want for ourselves, they can grow into spectacular human beings.
How much of the book is realistic?
“Wolfe Cub” came directly out of my daily journaling while raising my son – so all of it is realistic. The novel and kid’s book are just for fun… although who knows what the afterlife could really be like?
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
For “Wolfe Cub”, yes… the others are strictly products of my very unique imagination.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Anything written by William Shakespeare was a huge influence. He showed me that wordsmithing can be fun. A.A. Milne’s “Pooh” series was instrumental for teaching me to be gentle with my writing. And I love reading Michael Crichton’s work for the rich details. Combing those attributes is pretty much where my writing lives.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Probably A.A. Milne. The imagination written in his pages, and the gentle way he worked with characterization is how I try to focus my energies when I write. Rich imagination coupled with very diverse, interesting characters is what I try to emulate.
What book are you reading now?
Right now I’m reading “The Atlas Gene” by A.G. Riddle. It’s an interesting foray into science and the human condition. I’m ab out half-way through, and am enjoying it so far.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
As a publisher and editor, I’m fortunate to read work from new authors all the time. Some of them are quite spectacular. But, in order to not play favorites, I won’t name them here. Outside of that, I’ve recently discovered Peter Clines, Gabrielle Zevin, Robin Sloan, and Gigi Pandian. I don’t know how new they are to the writing world – but they’re new to me, and I’ve enjoyed them all immensely. I’m looking forward to reading more of their work.
What are your current projects?
I have a “non-traditional” romance titled “A Tryst of Fate” currently with my editor (hoping to release in March); I’m working on a science fiction piece called “The Last Strand”; and I’m also working on a government conspiracy piece called “The American Plague.” In addition, I have another children’s book, a historical novel, and a crime novel all n outline stage. I tend to work on several projects at a time to avoid writer’s block and boredom. My imagination takes me to many places simultaneously – so I just keep taking dictation and transcribing the scenes as effectively as I can.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My writing buddies. I’ve found that being actively engaged in a writing community makes my craft stronger. And, it’s a great emotional support, as well.
Do you see writing as a career?
Thankfully, for the past four years, it has been one – although I’m not making millions – yet. If I can swing it, I’ll never go back into a corporate job again!
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nope. I’m pretty happy with the way all three of them have turned out.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My father was my first inspiration. He used to play word games with me and he read aloud to me from a very early age. When I discovered that he was also a writer, it gave me the confidence to really pursue storytelling. Through my teen years, I just practiced. Now, I’m writing for real – and he’s still a tremendously supportive element to my writing.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure. “A Tryst of Fate” is a “non-traditional” romance told from the point of the man. There is an unusual love triangle at the center of the story, and because my main character is a writer himself, storytelling takes a huge role in the progression of the story. I could tell you more, but the story is also a bit of a mystery, and I don’t want to give away too much.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes! I have the hardest time writing physically violent scenes. I have a fantasy novel that’s been sitting in my drawer for the past twenty years because I’m having a huge problem writing the final battle between the giants, orcs and other horrific creatures. Blood and guts writing is not my strong suit. Bashing people’s skulls in and describing the carnage is very difficult for me. I’m hoping to find a workshop that specializes in this area someday.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’m torn between William Shakespeare for the amazing use of language, and A.A. Milne for the tremendous treatment of characters.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not yet… but this historical novel I’m working on might involve traveling at some point. We’ll have to see what the characters ask of me, and where I need to go in order to fulfill their demands.
Who designed the covers?
I use an incredible cover designer, Renee Barrett of The Cover Counts! She is fantastic in her ability to somehow sneak into my brain, with nothing more than a synopsis for a road map, and pull out just the perfect cover. A bonus to her creative work is her more-than-affordable pricing. You can reach her at www.TheCoverCounts.com
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I’ve never seen writing as “hard”, per se. I am often frustrated when ideas don’t come as quickly as I’d like, or when characters take me down a path that isn’t in my outline (they’re usually right). But I wouldn’t say writing is ever hard for me. The story ideas come at me about as frequently as I take a breath.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Because I have a goal to write a book in all of the major genres, each book poses new learning experiences that the last one didn’t have. I’ve learned to use a different vocabulary collection when writing for children than when writing for adults; when writing about my own life experiences I needed to remember that not everything about me or how I live will be of interest or help to someone else, so choosing content was important; and with fiction, well, each story brings a host of lessons. Sometimes when I think a certain scene will work, I later discover that it really doesn’t and I either cut it or revise it. And probably the biggest lesson has been to stay mindful of the audience and write the story that will make them happy – while still satisfying myself, too.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Put your butt in the chair and write every day. Make writing a daily habit. It doesn’t have to be spectacular or earth-changing words that you’re putting on the page. The important thing is that you’re creating a habit that will ingrain “muscle memory”. Just like with athletes, you have to strengthen your writing muscles every day to reach Olympic caliber results.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Only that I hope they enjoy the stories that I offer; and that I’m very appreciative for each hands that holds one of my books. For without them, this would be a passion without purpose. Thank you to all those who have read my work – and all those who may read my work in the future.
Read an Excerpt of “The Griffin of Greed”… http://user-v20vihi.cld.bz/The-Griffin-of-Greed2
Connect With The Author At: http://greywolfepublishing.com/Diana%20Kathryn%20Plopa.html
Purchase “The Griffin of Greed”at: http://www.amazon.com/Griffin-Greed-Diana-Kathryn-Plopa/dp/1628281308/
Other Titles By Diana Kathryn Plopa