Archive for the ‘Diane Dooley’ Tag
February is Women in Horror month, so I am featuring women horror writers for my Monday’s Friends feature all of this month. My first woman of horror is author Diane Dooley. Welcome, Diane!
SJT: When did you first know you were destined to be a writer?
DD: I’ve always been a voracious reader, but for many years the idea as me as a writer never occurred to me. It wasn’t until I was on maternity leave with my second child that I decided to try my hand at it as an intellectual exercise. I wrote a novel in six weeks and it was terrible. But I’d been bitten by the writing bug and I’ve been unable to shake it off ever since.
SJT: Who would you cite as your influences?
DD: Ah, too numerous to mention, but I’ll give it a try. I’m very influenced by music. Often, the first little throb of a story comes while I’m listening to music or reading poetry. And the real world is a big influence, things I’ve seen: a house scarred by lightning rods, an abandoned graveyard, a rusted wheelchair in a ditch. Art is another inspiration, as well as the field of psychology. A short story soon to be published by Liquid Imagination was inspired by this photograph of an infamous psychological experiment:
Among the authors that have most influenced me are Octavia Butler, CJ Cherryh, Shirley Jackson, Philip K. Dick, Daphne du Maurier, Jane Austen, and Vladimir Nabokov. Add to this list an untold number of poets and musicians.
SJT: What advice would you pass on to beginner writers that you wish someone had told you when you were first starting out?
DD: Most likely you’re going to suck at first. Take the time to learn the craft of writing. Work hard, seek out critique, and don’t rush to publish.
SJT: Tell us about your latest release.
DD: DOWN BY THE DARK WATER is a Scottish Gothic, the first of three I have planned. It’s dark and twisted and is stuffed with characters nobody can like very much. I loved writing it.
SJT: You describe yourself as writing ‘romance, science fiction and horror – sometimes all in the same story’. Do you purposefully set out to mash genres, or does the story usually just develop that way?
DD: I really can’t help mashing up genres. I’ve tried to write to the specific tropes of specific genres, but those projects usually end up getting abandoned due to my lack of passion for them. I use that particular tagline to let potential readers know that anything might happen and to expect the unexpected.
SJT: Plotter or pantser?
DD: Kind of a hybrid. I think a lot about a story before I even sit down to write it. Often, the story is mostly complete in my head, and I just need to type it into words. I keep a few notes on characters and settings, but I don’t do a written outline.
SJT: February is Women In Horror month. Would you say that there is still a misconception out there that women don’t write horror? Have things improved? Discuss!
DD: I think horror is still very much a male-dominated genre. When I browse the book offerings it’s mostly male names on the books. One has to work a bit to find female horror authors, and I rely quite heavily on recommendations from others. I don’t know if I really fit well in the horror genre, to be honest. What I call my horror stories are very dark, very twisted, but rarely have any kind of supernatural aspect to them. My horror stories are usually about the most terrifying monster of all: humanity.
Have things improved for women writing horror? I’d say that self-publishing has allowed female voices to be heard more frequently. On the other hand, the sheer glut of books being published makes them just as hard to discover.
SJT: What projects have you got on the go at the moment?
DD: My main project at the moment is a horror novel set in rural upstate New York, where I live. As usual, it’s got a couple of genres going on. It’s a historical and contemporary dual timeline American Gothic sort of thing with an awful lot of body fluids and rotting vegetation. Typical me, in other words. Side projects are a blue collar romance set in the seedy side of the country music business, and the other two Scottish Gothic novellas.
Thanks for having me, Sara!
Diane Dooley was born in the Channel Islands and grew up in Scotland. She finally settled down in Upstate New York where the summers are short and the winters just might kill you. She lives with her best friend/husband and two obstreperous boy children in a fallingdown farmhouse in the sticks.
(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)
Continuing my tribute to Women in Horror Month, today I am following on by mentioning some of the women of horror I have met, and who have inspired me, over the years:
Sally Spedding: I first met Sally at the Winchester Writers’ Conference a few years ago. Part of your delegate ticket when you register is the opportunity for three one-to-ones, two of which can be with agents or editors. I picked Sally for my third non-agent/editor one-to-one because she was another writer who crossed the genres of crime and horror. I sent her the first chapter of DEATH SCENE. When I sat down for my fifteen minutes with her, she told me it was the best thing she’d read all weekend and I’d really made her day by sending it to her. Well, she made my week – nay, my year – by telling me so, and we’ve stayed in touch ever since.
Sarah Pinborough: Sarah is a versatile writer who writes in many genres, including YA, sf, horror and crime – or combining all of the above. I can particularly recommend her “Dog-Faced Gods” trilogy. Set in a near-future dystopian London, the main character is a paranormal investigator looking into a series of crimes. It becomes clear that there is something supernatural involved. I feel like I’ve known Sarah for ages, because I run into her at every convention I go to. But I think we first met at the World Horror Con in Brighton, less than two years ago.
Lisa Tuttle: Many years ago, in my first job as book shop assistant, an anthology of horror stories written by women came into the shop. Published by Women’s Press, it was called THE SKIN OF THE SOUL and Lisa Tuttle gave the introduction, making the argument that horror had been erroneously considered a man’s domain for far too long and it was high time to acknowledge all the fine women horror writers out there. I’ve been a fan of Lisa’s ever since. I got to tell her how inspiring I found that anthology at World Horror Con in Brighton – and it seems I wasn’t the only woman to do so, as she makes reference to it in a blog post on her livejournal blog.
Next, a shout-out to some Women of Horror I’ve connected with online, but haven’t met in person:
Rita Vetere: Rita’s WHISPERING BONES is a thrillingly scary horror tale.
Diane Dooley: Diane is also honouring Women of Horror on her blog this month, so go check it out.
Fiona Dodwell: Fiona is another Writer of Damn Scary Books.
Sealey Andrews: Sealey is also honouring Women in Horror Month on her ‘Girl in the Soapdish’ blog.
Jenna M Pitman: Jenna’s horror fiction can be found everywhere, it seems, going by her list of publishing credits.
Last but by no means least, I want to give a shout-out to the lovely ladies who are my co-bloggers on the WriteClub blog. They are all fabulous writers, and you should go read their books:
Seeing as how February has an extra day this year, next Wednesday will be the third and final part of my homage to women of horror, so be sure to come back next week.
Today I am pleased to welcome Diane Dooley to my blog.
The Reading Child; The Writing Adult
By Diane Dooley
Thanks, Sara-Jayne, for inviting me to your blog. I’ll try not to mess the place up.
I’m a regular reader of this blog and have been enjoying S.J.’s ongoing series of posts on ‘My Life in Books,’ in which she chats about some of her favorite books while growing up. We have a few authors in common, namely Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl. Today I’d like to tell you about three books I read when I was young that have been an influence on my writing as an adult.
First is ‘Children of Morrow,’ by H.M. Hoover (Published 1973). This was probably the first science fiction I had ever read. It’s about two children living in a post-apocalyptic society, in a cruel and patriarchal community that worships the nuclear bomb. This book riveted me. I read it over and over and over. It wasn’t a happy book; quite the opposite. The children were hated and abused, they were vilified for being different and eventually hunted. I wonder if it would even get published today? It was that depressing. But I loved it. No wonder that my writing today is on the dark side.
Next is ‘The Twelfth Day of July’ by Joan Lingard (Published 1970). Kevin and Sadie are two teenagers growing up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. One is Catholic; one is Protestant. They’re supposed to be enemies, but instead they meet, get to know each other and eventually start a romantic relationship. I grew up in the west of Scotland where there was also a terrible divide between Catholics and Protestants, so this book helped show me that it didn’t have to be that way. And to this day I adore love stories where two people from very different worlds get to live happily ever after against all the odds. I write them, too.
Finally, we have ‘The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole’ by Sue Townsend (Published 1982). Adrian is a pompous, annoying and adorable teenager, who is trying to cope with the breakdown of his parents’ marriage, falling in love for the first time and getting his poetry repeatedly rejected by the BBC. It was so darn funny! It made me smile and giggle and realize that perfect people just aren’t funny. It was his flaws and earnestness that made Adrian such a lovable guy to read about. To this day I prefer deeply flawed characters and trying to make readers laugh, just as this book made me laugh.
Did any of you read any of these books? Or was there another that made a huge impact on you? Please leave a comment to be entered for a random drawing for an e-copy of my book, BLUE GALAXY.
Incidentally, or rather not, Blue Galaxy is set in a desperate future, where an evil dictator is slowly bringing humanity to its knees. It’s a love story, where two people who should never have met fall in love. And the characters are flawed, funny people who love to zing lines of dialogue at each other. What I write is deeply influenced by what I like to read, including all the great books I read when I was much younger. Funny how that works, ain’t it?