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September 04, 2015

Author Interview with Diedre Knight


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?

Blurb:

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

BOOK LINK:


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). Magic tree doesn’t seem to care for owls

            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.



Bio:

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."


Author Link: 


Please leave Diedre a comment! :)



46 comments:

Blogoratti said...

Great interview, really insightful. Thanks for sharing!

sherry fundin said...

Funny how something can spark your inspiration. This looks like a fun read.
sherry @ fundinmental fundinmental

Pat Hatt said...

Big lovable mutts are fun indeed. Great advice to writers too.

diedre Knight said...

This was a lot of fun - so glad you came by!

diedre Knight said...

Thanks, Sherry! It was a joy to write, as well:-)

diedre Knight said...

Yes, and they also make handy back-rests ;-)
Thank you, Pat!

diedre Knight said...

Thanks so much, dear Lady Chrys, for having me here today!
Oh, and those two downloads you're offering are fantastic!

betty said...

Such a cute sounding book! Waving to a fellow Arizonian too (I'm in Prescott).
Wishing diedre much success with the book!

betty

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks for visiting, Blogoratti!

Chrys Fey said...

You're welcome, Diedre! I hope you got lots more comments throughout the day and weekend. :) And thank you!

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks for leaving Diedre a comment, Betty! :)

diedre Knight said...

Hi, Betty! Oh I love Prescott, such a beautiful town :-) And I adore watching quail, too :-) Thanks a bunch for your kind thoughts - sending you a cyber-hug!

Jeffrey Scott said...

Nice to get to know you Diedre. Love the insight into your writing process.
Like you, I'm left handed, but I also seem to be ambidextrous for everything else. Oh yea, my sister has a chocolate lab. They are lots of fun.

Chrys, thanks for another great interview.

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks, Jeffrey! I had a chocolate lab when I was a kid. Cocoa. :)

Jeffrey Scott said...

STOP IT CHRYS! LOL
That's the name of my sisters dog!

Yolanda Renée said...

Hi Deidre, I've eaten chili for breakfast too. Why not, I've had bacon and eggs for dinner. :)
Love the concept of your book Sawdust! Wishing you much luck and success with your release! Benji has his hands full!

diedre Knight said...

Hey there, Jeffrey! Glad you enjoyed and thanks for saying so:-)
Growing up in a predominately feline household certainly didn't prepare me for canines - ha - let alone all the other critters I've encountered, but it sure makes for endless inspiration!

diedre Knight said...

Ha! You're a woman after my own heart, Yolanda! I shall think of you the next time I enjoy a bowl of my favorite cereal (chili)!
Many thanks for your thoughtful words and wishes :-)

diedre Knight said...

Oh snap, Jeffrey! Please scroll down for my reply...one nudge on the elbow from one of my 'cookie monsters' and I hit the wrong reply ;-)

Jeffrey Scott said...

Actually, I did notice this already. I have done this on my own blog when replying from time to time.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Diedre, I love the sound of Sawdust. The cover is so cute:)

Lisa Thomson said...

Hi Deidre, Sawdust sounds like a great story! I'm also a lefty :) I like how you jot your story ideas in that format. It breaks it down so you don't lose your plot and then you can string it all together with your word magic. Nice share. Thanks Chrys for the interview!

diedre Knight said...

Hi Regina! And thank you, I was truly lucky to work with an illustrator such as Jeslyn :-)

diedre Knight said...

Good to see you, Lisa! Thanks, I know to some it may seem strange but it works for me when I can't sit down and write the whole story. Maybe its a 'Lefty' thing:-)

Chrys Fey said...

LOL! It's a common name, I think. But pretty funny.

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks for stopping by for Diedre's interview, Lisa! :)

Liz A. said...

Great interview. This book might be right up my eldest nephew's alley.

diedre Knight said...

Thank you, Liz! Glad you stopped by:-)

Mary Kirkland said...

That sounds like a fun book.

diedre Knight said...

Thanks, Mary! I like to think so, it was a lot of fun to write about a busy kid with a dog who has his own agenda :-)

sage said...

it is always fun to read your interviews, Chrys and Diedre's book sounds interesting and entertaining. Who can go wrong with dogs! (Have you read your native Floridian, Carl Haissen? He has a great dog book titled "Sick Puppy" It is funny while dealing with some of the issues of your state.

Shannon Lawrence said...

I love visiting ghost towns and old homesteads. There are a good number around Colorado. One I particularly want to go to is St. Elmo, which is so intact that the general store is open and some of the old houses are still inhabited. My daughter read Winn-Dixie last year and loved it. Will have to check this out!

Anonymous said...

Such a fascinating feature about the book and the author. A big dog, marbles, and engaging characters and plotlines. Looks like a great read. I'd love to explore old towns.

diedre Knight said...

Thank you so much, Medeia! And congratulations to you on your latest release :-)

diedre Knight said...

Wow, I've heard of the ghost of Annabelle Stark all the way here, in Arizona! Course, I do love such things ;-)
I bet your daughter will enjoy Wilson in SAWDUST, too! :-)

diedre Knight said...

Thanks for chiming in, Sage! And thanks for the tip on "Sick Puppy", reviews are quite compelling :-) It's easy to appreciate the work of one who loves his state as much as I love mine.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Really loved learning more about you, Dierdre. Great interview, Chrys. My last dog was a Norwegian Elkhound/German Shepherd mix, Hercules. It broke my heart when he died due to complications of my house fire. Sawdust sounds like a fascinating book. :-)

diedre Knight said...

Hi Roland! Good to see you :-) Glad you enjoyed the interview, I sure had a good time doing it. Chrys is just the sweetest gal...
So sorry to hear about Hercules. Similarly, my black cat, Pete up and left me after I dragged him from the desert clear across the states to the Carolinas where our new home burned to the ground the night we moved in. Pete went on to become somewhat of a legend on Helen's mountain while I, after one snowy winter, hightailed it back to the desert!

Nick Wilford said...

Fun interview. That sounds like a good way of forming ideas, too!

diedre Knight said...

Hi Nick! It truly was lots of fun :-)
The method does help keep my wandering thoughts together -ha!

J.H. Moncrieff said...

Great interview, and the book sounds really cute! I would have loved that story when I was a kid.

I wish you tons of success!

diedre Knight said...

Thank you, J.H.! And thanks for stopping by:-)

Chrys Fey said...

I'm glad you like my interviews, Sage! I love interviewing bloggers and authors. Now readers/reviewers are a little different. Though don't seem to care as much. I had a reviewer set up last month who never got back to me so I didn't have a reader interview for August. I hope this month's reader comes through.

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks for visiting, Roland!

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks for stopping by, Nick!

Chrys Fey said...

It's been a while J.H., you busy-busy lady. ;)