Tag Archives: The art of writing

What Was She Thinking? An Interview with Novelist, Poet and Painter, DiVoran Lites

11 Feb


I consider myself a reader rather than a writer. Not only am I a reader, I am a very curious one. I love knowing why a writer choses a subject or location and sometimes I just want to know “what was she thinking? To satisfy my unseemly curiosity I decided to offer author interviews.

For my first interview, I have chosen novelist, poet and artist, DiVoran Lites. She is a chief contributor here at OldThingsRNew and one of my dearest friends.

jungle divoranHer debut novel Sacred Spring was released on Amazon in November 2012.

DiVoran, I would like to welcome you as my first author interview and thank you for allowing me to practice on you.

 Thanks for choosing me. I feel honored. It will give me a chance to think through some of the motives, the trials, and the joys of writing novels. I love anything to do with writing for example, grammar books such as, Eats, Shoot & Leaves, by Lynn Truss, to listening in the car to Building Great Sentences, a college course from The Great Courses. In other words, I’m one of those who enjoy the nitty-gritty of writing, so this will be fun.

I know you love nature. Is that why you chose to set your first novel at a Florida spring?

As you’ve probably heard readers say before, the setting chose me. Many years ago, we camped at De Leon Springs. It was before it became a State Park, when it was a bit run-down and the word was that it was  slated to be sold for a subdivision, but I thought that would be a shame because De Leon is one of old Florida’s most beloved, beautiful and historical spots. My imagination worked as we swam, ate, slept and in general made ourselves at home and relaxed with our children. One friend said I took up my pen and created an alternate fate for the springs.

The Story of Sacred Spring could have been written without the faith element. Why did you choose to include faith?

Could it have been written without the faith element? Maybe, but I couldn’t have been the one to do it. Leaving God out is like leaving out the sun, the moon, and the stars. Way before there was ever such a thing as a “Christian Book Market,” there were writers who included their faith in their work. A great story is paramount, but to my way of thinking any book that turns out to be worthwhile is made up of what is called “moral fiction.” Moral is good, but why not take it just that logical next step and let God join the party. He wants a part in everything we do.

Do you have a work in progress?

My work in progress is the second novel in my trilogy of Sacred Spring, Living Spring, and Clear Spring.  My husband has read the chapters and marked things that needed clarification. It’s a big help, because when I know what I’m talking about I assume any reader would know, but that isn’t always so.

Writing your first book can be a challenge, why did you choose  to start out with a trilogy?

In a way, Living Spring is a sequel, to Sacred Spring, but in another way, it isn’t. My favorite author, D. E. Stevenson wrote seventy novels and you could be sure that when you started one you would again come upon someone you knew in a previous one. I loved that. It was always the most delightful surprise. The story goes forward with the lives from Sacred Spring, and the loose ends from Sacred Springs slowly tie themselves into tidy bows, but Living Spring is a full new story as well.

Many of the people who read Sacred Spring ask when they’ll learn what happens next. For those of us anxious to read Living Spring, when do you expect it will be published?

It is almost ready and  I plan a Spring release.

I know that you have been writing for a long time. How did you decide to publish through Amazon?

Some time ago, when I first wrote Sacred Spring I did all the things you’re supposed to do to get a book published. Far more people do their best to write good stories with great characters and follow all the rules in getting them published than those who actually get published. I had a good book. I won a writing contest with it and got a lot of great reviews and encouragement from various publishers’ editors I met at writer’s conferences. I had an agent, for a time, as well. However, for who knows what reason, no one actually bought it.

The publishing houses spend so much money and time getting books out there, they have to be sure they will make their money back plus a profit, so a lot of times they go with authors who already have the highest possible sales—the big ones like Nora Roberts and John Grisham. The competition, in other words for the publisher as well as for the unknown writer is fierce.

When I discovered I could publish with Kindle for free I grabbed the chance because I knew my books and my writing would be worthwhile to its particular audience. If I hadn’t tried one more time, it would have been like spending hours, days, money, toil and a lot of love on a huge banquet and then hiding it all in the kitchen where no one could taste it.

For our readers who might have a manuscript in a drawer or have always wanted to write but were afraid of the publishing process,  would you share your publishing journey?

First, I was advised to get a professional editor and given the name of Beth Lynne at BZ Hercules. Not only did she go several extra miles for me, but also she was consistently kind and encouraging. Her services were reasonable and she did it all very quickly. She prepared the book for Kindle (apparently Kindle speaks a different computer language) and she prepared it to be printed in paperback by Create Space. Beth has an affiliate who can and will do everything to get you a good cover whether you supply the images or she does. That was especially important, because I painted the covers for my trilogy myself and wanted them to show to the best advantage. I’ve been thrilled with the work of Laura La Roche at laura@llpix.com on Sacred Spring and can’t wait to see what she’ll do with the cover to Living Spring. I never dreamed publishing could be so easy, nor that self or indie publishing could be so inexpensive, especially with its print on demand through Amazon.

The theme of our blog is old things are new. Tell me something from your past that you feel has become new  or fresh again.Our blog is called Old Things R New reminding us that when we receive Christ as Lord and Savior all things in our lives, in our pasts, all mistakes, and sins, are gone because he atoned for them–paid for them, saved us from them. The new life that ensues is wonderful, full of surprises and serendipities.

One of the things in my life that was old, but has now become fresh and new is my friendship with Onisha Ellis. We met over thirty years ago and helped each other through a time of spiritual questioning. We were dear friends, then things changed and we were no longer running in the same circles or members of the same church. Onisha worked every day, I got busy doing my things and we fell out of contact, accidently meeting in the mall or the library and loving it, but not getting together again because of our busy lives.

One day I saw Onisha’s daughter, Rebekah Lyn,  in a big store and we got to talking about writing books. I knew she had always wanted to write a novel and I now had one I wanted to write too, so we agreed to help and support each other in starting those very books. We met for over a year, by end of which each of us had a brand new novel.

Onisha was tremendously involved in Rebekah’s writing career, and was starting her own blog site, Old Things R New. I wrote to her and she invited me to join the blogging team. She also offered to help market my novels and our friendship which, originally, was based on love and mutual respect lifted into new spheres, we had never dreamed of. We now talk almost every day via email. We love discussing so many things. We again have mutual goals and mutual friends and we have each other’s backs, which means so much in today’s society. Now we know that God can take an old, valuable friendship and make it new again. As a matter of fact, the same may be said of my relationships with Patricia Franklin, Judy Wills, and Charlene Gibson whom you probably do not know.

When my daughter was in Girl Scouts we learned a song that said, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold.” I thank God now for my Old/ New friends and although I do have newer friends and truly love them, the old friends are newly precious to me, too.

From an Amazon review by author, poet and editor Mary H Sayler:

     This personally awaited book does not belong in the “First Book” category as that implies the work of a novice, which DiVoran Lites is not. For years she has patiently perfected her craft, working on all three books in this trilogy with great care in doing her research, writing, revising, and finally, releasing the novel at a timely time. Her credible characters carry us quickly into their story and the Florida story too, presenting an authentic and lively perspective that’s thought-provoking and well-told.

I would like to thank DiVoran again for agreeing to be my first interview. I hope our readers enjoyed it too. I would appreciate your  feedback.-Onisha

DiVoran Lites books can be found at Amazon

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DiVoran Lites aretwork can be viewed at Creative Art Works

        

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