By Peggy Morehouse
Congratulations to Diana Stevan on the release of her novel, A Cry From The Deep.
It’s such an accomplishment to take an idea and weave it into a published novel. Diana tells us about her author journey below:
- Where did you get your idea for A Cry From the Deep?
Diana: A screenwriter friend of mine asked me to write a screenplay with him about a woman who dies in a shipwreck hundreds of years before, but is later connected to a woman in the present. Though we couldn’t come up with a story we could agree on, the idea of some kind of connection between two women from different centuries resonated with me, especially since I had been so enamored with a movie I saw as a child, one that had a similar idea. The movie was I’LL NEVER FORGET YOU with Tyrone Power and Anne Blyth. Tyrone Power is a scientist who ends up going back to the past, falling in love with a woman there, and then when he returns to the present, he meets someone who looks like her. So, when we abandoned the idea of working together, I started playing around with that notion and when I decided my protagonist was going to be an underwater photographer, the story took off.
- Tell us about when you first decided that writing was a vocation you wanted to pursue.
Diana: In my early twenties. I was newly married, and perhaps all those years as an only child living with my grandmother and parents in small quarters gave me much to reflect on. I was essentially shy and an observer of life. I was living in Winnipeg at the time, and joined the Manitoba Authors Association. I attempted to write some short stories and managed to get a few city newspaper articles published, one on Fitness and the other on Travel. But writing took a back seat, when I returned to University to pursue my Master of Social Work degree and my attention to that and our children took center stage.
3. How long did it take you to write A Cry From The Deep? What inspired you to begin this novel and take it to completion?
Would you believe fifteen years? That’s holding on to a dream a long time. It was a mammoth project as I had embarked on a story that required a lot of research. In the meantime, I published a poem, a short story, wrote three screenplays (none produced) and co-produced three short films with my grandson, one of which was co-written by him and myself. And with family responsibilities, for my children, grandchildren and elderly mother and our love of travel, I had to grab time for writing when I could. But even with all that, the story kept calling me to finish. I must say, that my next novel, a historical fiction based on my grandmother’s life during WWI, in what is now Western Ukraine, is now complete and took less than two years to write.
- What frustrations did you encounter on your novel writing journey? How did you move past them?
My frustrations have always been about time. Unlike some authors who can seclude themselves and write without interruption, that wasn’t true in my case. But having said that, I have no regrets. I wouldn’t do anything different if I could go back, as I’ve had a rich family life. As for how did I move past my frustrations? I just kept plowing forward, one step at a time. Knowing I was getting closer to my goal, I was content. I’m also a member of a wonderful group of female writers in Campbell River, British Columbia. They have been a tremendous support and inspiration to me. We’ve helped one another become better writers. But there’s also an understanding that we all need this support to nurture our creative juices. And my dear husband, Robert, helped tremendously, as he was always willing to hear yet another addition to my story, and for that I’ll always be thankful.
- What type of publisher are you using? How did you make that decision?
I’m using CreateSpace. It wasn’t an easy decision. For awhile, I pitched my novel to quite a few agents, and had some requests for a full manuscript, but no one bit. As I’ve had agents before for my screenplays, I wasn’t sure if it was all about the writing, or something else with the publishing industry in flux. Also, I had the experience of watching a former member of our writing group get a top agent and a fabulous publisher, but she still had to wait three years before her book came out. As my book has taken forever to write, I didn’t want to wait any longer, so I took matters into my own hands. And because of all the glowing reports of the self-publishing process and product from fellow writers about CreateSpace, it seemed that going indie with me at the steering wheel was the right thing to do.
- Can you tell us about some of the resources you used to help you with the craft of your novel writing?
Diana: There have been many. I attended the Surrey International Conference of Writers three times, where I got invaluable tips on the craft of novel writing. At one of them, I took a Master Workshop with Donald Maass and afterwards, used his book, Writing The Breakout Novel. We’re also all living in a time, when the internet provides valuable notes and advice on novel writing. One blog I favor is Writer Unboxed http://writerunboxed.com/about/ And though screenplay writing is different from novel writing, many of the principles are the same. So, I credit the many screenwriting workshops I’ve taken over the years as some of the resources I’ve used to develop my writing craft. And of course, my writers’ group, which I’ve mentioned above.
- Do you have any word of wisdom for people considering writing a novel or a memoir?
Read, read, read. The more you read, the more you understand what goes into a novel or a memoir. Also, take classes, look for info. on- line if you get stuck, and join a writers’ critique group. Being a member of one that provides constructive criticism is invaluable.
About the author:
Diana Stevan likes to joke that she’s a Jill of all trades as she’s not only worked as a clinical social worker, but also as a teacher, librarian, professional model, professional actress and a sports writer-broadcaster for CBC television. She’s published fitness and travel articles for newspapers, poetry in the U.K. journal, Dreamcatcher, and a short story in Escape, an anthology. Her debut novel, A Cry From The Deep, a romantic mystery/adventure, is coming out on October 15, 2014. A mother of two and a grandmother of three, Diana lives with her husband Robert on Vancouver Island, in beautiful British Columbia. You can visit her at http://www.dianastevan.com
About A Cry From the Deep:
When Catherine Fitzgerald, an underwater photographer, buys an antique Claddagh ring, she is troubled by nightmares that set her on a path to fulfill a promise of love made centuries before. As she begins to unravel the mystery of the woman who haunts her dreams, she has to come to grips with her own struggle to find true love. Set in Provence, Manhattan, and Ireland, this romantic mystery also takes place in the deep, where the lure of buried treasure tempts salvagers to break the law.