INTERVIEW ~ D. Wallace Peach
I want to thank Diana Peach for taking the time for this interview. When you read about her everyday writing schedule of ten to twelve hours, it becomes clear why taking time for this is so appreciated.
BCP; You mentioned in your bio that you didn’t read as a child, until you opened J.R.R.
Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”. Was that experience the catalyst for you to begin writing?
DWP; Before we start, Grant, let me say thank you for initiating this interview. I love chatting about the art and craft of writing. I’m an addict; I’ll admit it.
In the long run, yes, Tolkien influenced my decision to write, but not directly. As a kid, I was an afternoon television junkie, and my exposure to fantasy was limited to fairy tales. Tolkien blasted open my imagination, literally transporting me to another world. His fantasy was epic, deeply human, and emotionally rich. The themes of love, loyalty, and heroic sacrifice enthralled me. The Hobbit kicked off a voracious reading habit that continues today. I’m certain that if I hadn’t become a reader, I would never have written a single word.
BCP; How much a part of reading Tolkien influenced you to become a writer of fantasy?
DWP; I love fantasy, but truly, I enjoy a well-told tale in any genre. I started writing fantasy because I thought I could escape the “R” word—Research. Yes, I’m lazy. I figured if I didn’t know something, I could just make it up! Well, as you can imagine, that was ridiculously naïve. I do quite a bit of research in order to bring my worlds to life.
BCP; On average, how many hours a day do you claim for writing?
DWP; I’m extremely fortunate to be able to write full time at this stage in my life. As a rule, I write 10-12 hours a day, 5-6 days a week. Yep…this writer has a hard time maintaining a balanced life. Writer’s block is not a problem for me as much as my brain simply going numb. I set the alarm for 4 AM every day, brew coffee, grab my laptop, and kick back in the recliner. That way by noon, I already have 8 hours in.
BCP; Do you have a dedicated space or room when you write, or can you sit down in any environment and produce?
DWP; I have a writing loft above my husband’s workshop that I use during the summer. Hummingbirds fly in through the open window and hover over my head, and bees live in the walls, filling the space with a soft hum. Coyote families and great horned owls occasionally add their voices to the magic of my writing world. Out here in northern Oregon we heat with wood, so during the winter, I’m indoors by the woodstove. I do require big chunks of undisturbed time—harder to come by in the winter and another reason to start my day early.
BCP; For me, writing can be divided into two primary approaches. The constructionist and the stream of conscious style. The constructionist analyzes the story as component parts, andis able to add additional parts in short spurts of writing. That, for me, is structurally a cognitive exercise. On the other side of this practice is a loosely defined area of intuitivewriting, accomplished by mentally ‘getting into voice’, becoming the story sensorially, and connecting emotionally to characters and events. From that induced perspective,describing metaphorically the experiences, for the reader. Which camp might you find yourself? Why?
DWP; The stream of conscious style, definitely. I become my characters, particularly during the first draft when their stories are pouring out of me. I lose track of time, forget to eat and drink, skip showers, ignore the home and family. I enter the “zone.”
I’ll give you an example of how deeply immersed I become. The Bone Wall is a grim book and while writing the first draft, I began to experience heart problems, serious enough that when I went to bed at night I wasn’t sure I’d wake up in the morning. I suspected the book and the stress I endured through my characters’ lives. A cardiologist determined that I had a non-threatening arrhythmia exacerbated by dehydration. When the first draft was finished, all my symptoms vanished.
Why do I write this way? It’s just what works for me. I write with a outline of the plot, but the characters have to feel organic. The story takes shape chronologically so their cognitive and emotional development flows naturally.
BCP; As a traditionally published author, what type of experience did you have in the process of getting your book to print?
DWP; After surviving the inevitable parade of rejects, the experience of publishing my first book was validating, thrilling, and frightening. You describe it as a birth and it certainly felt that way, my creation taking physical form, there for the world to love or destroy. As a newbie to the world of publishing, the experts smoothed the process for me. They handled all the technical details and legwork of getting my book to the public. Through the editorial process, I learned new elements of the craft that I was blind to, simply because that level of constructive criticism had never come my way. It made me a better writer.
BCP; You plan on self-publishing your upcoming book “The Bone Wall” after having threebooks published by a traditional publisher, as well as a new trilogy coming out this year.Why have you chosen POD Publishing this time around?
DWP; Two reasons: One is timing. Traditional publishers have other clients—it’s not all about me! Can you believe that? It takes a long time (in my unqualified opinion) for books to cycle through the traditional process. My publisher is working on getting my trilogy out—a sequel to Myths of the Mirror—and I’m too impatient to slide this new book to the bottom of the pile. Of course, now I have to attend to hiring an editor, obtaining a cover, and all the details that I took for granted before.
The second reason boils down to a desire to experiment with marketing. Even with traditional publishers, particularly small presses, marketing falls heavily on the author’s shoulders. This seems to be the norm these days, and whining about it hasn’t improved my sales. I’d like to experiment with discounts, pointed giveaways, and other pricing strategies that I currently have no control over. My hope is that more aggressive sales of The Bone Wall will result in readers picking up my other books, which is good for me AND my publisher.
I suspect I will ultimately end up doing a combination of traditional publishing and self-publishing. And my experiment is just starting. It may be wildly successful, a total bust, or make no difference at all. I’ll be sure to give everyone an update on results next year.
BCP; Thank you so much for your time Diana. It has truly been a pleasure. Hopefully you will come back when your new trilogy comes out this year. For the readers, the trilogy continues the story begun in "Myths of The Mirror". A wonderful story written about in an earlier post.