Today I have the ever-kind and fun Diedre Knight for an author interview. She's one of my avid blog readers and always stops by whenever I have a guest. Now it's her turn! She's telling us about her children's book SAWDUST and her writing process. Let's give her a heart Write with Fey welcome!
Hi, Diedre! Can you tell us about SAWDUST?
Big time changes brew on a sixties-era breeze for small-town marble champ, Benjy whose only concern is winning and fishing until the day he meets a new girl in town and loses all his marbles. Benjy’s quest to win his marbles back is complicated by the crazy antics of his bear-sized dog, especially when there seems to be a thief among them and everyone is a suspect, while Benjy tries to deal with his feelings about a charismatic cowboy who just might steal his mother’s heart.
Genre: Children’s fiction
Release date: June 2015
1. What inspired you to write SAWDUST?
A co-worker happened to have and adore the same kind of dog who’d terrorized an entire neighborhood when I was a kid. It was fun and somewhat therapeutic to write about a massive, lovable dog J
2. I love massive, lovable dogs! How did you pick the title?
Actually, the setting came first this time. I love digging for vintage bottles and snooping around old western mining camps and towns to get a sense of the people who once lived there. As I stood inside a dusty old one-room wooden schoolhouse…I knew I’d write with that in mind someday.
3. What book(s) would you compare with SAWDUST?
Just about anything by Judy Blume or Jerry Spinelli; “Jake & Lily”, or Kate DiCamillo’s “Because of Winn-Dixie”.
4. Are any of the characters based on real people?
Yes, in “Sawdust” many of them are—including Wilson!
5. What are a few things we would find in or on your desk?
Oh, the usual stacks of paperwork (grin), two spiral notebooks (one for work, one for writing), a rainbow-haired wishnick, and a day-planner. The bottom drawers on both sides typically contain treasures such as crayons, peanut M&Ms and a Ziplock bag full of dog cookies.
6. Dog cookies...perfect for SAWDUST. Has something unusual ever influenced your writing?
Oh absolutely! Those kinds of things manage to weave their way into many of my stories for YA and older.
7. How old were you when you read the first book that had you hooked?
Nine, maybe ten. It was “The Velvet Room” and I was so enthralled, so engulfed I knew I not only wanted to keep reading; I wanted to write that effectively, too.
8. Your advice to new writers?
If it’s in your heart to write, then by all means do so!
9. Perfect advice! Describe your writing process:
As a consummate list-maker, the process generally looks something like this:
Idea: Man/boy (?) mistakes snake rattles for Bird-of-Paradise seed pods and plants them in his yard.
A). A massive magic tree then grows, orange blossoms, snake-like branches stretch and sway with velvet-textured catnip leaves that rattle in the wind…
A. 1) Cats and Owls come from miles around
B.1) Owls make cats disappear
B.2) Tree makes owls disappear
C.) Determined cat will not give up, he must have some catnip
10. I love your example. Share three random facts about yourself:
I lived on a ranch near the Arizona/Mexico border with 2 horses, 21 cattle, 5 dogs, 3 cats and a peacock.
I don’t mind chili for breakfast sometimes.
I am left-handed, though not with a baseball bat or scissors.
A southern Arizona native, diedre Knight shares her world with her longtime hub-friend and two ponies (chocolate labs) she calls “the girls”. She enjoys camping in the woods and reading mysteries and thrillers. Her passion is crafting tapestries of youthful yarns depicting life’s complexities for and about kids and the young at heart.
Her work has appeared in Stories for Children’s magazine, Society of Southwestern Authors, AMW’s Mystery Mania and she is the author of “Beanie’s Backyard” and “Sawdust."
Please leave Diedre a comment! :)