Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Interview with Dionne Lister, Author of 'Shadows of the Realm'

Today I'm welcoming Dionne Lister to Flight of the Dragon. Dionne has just self-published her debut novel Shadows of the Realm and I've invited her here to talk a little about herself and her work.

Dionne is a Sydneysider (for our overseas readers, Sydney, Australia) and she is currently studying an associate degree in creative writing.  When she's not writing, she's trying to keep fit or she's on Twitter. Dionne co-hosts a hilarious podcast called Tweep Nation, which can be found free on iTunes. 


Thanks for joining us today, Dionne, to talk about your new book Shadows of the Realm and your life as a writer. I'm always fascinated to learn more about the way others write. Do you write an outline before every book you write? 

Never. I have an idea in my head about where I want to end up but I never know how I’m going to get there.

I used to write like that but I confess the lawyer in me overpowered the creative and now I outline like mad. There is something very free about writing the way Dionne does, though. What authors have influenced your writing?

Stephen King and David Eddings. I just love how you get totally swept away in their worlds. I used to love being scared as a teenager and David Eddings writes characters you care about and uses humour, which I like.

We have that in common! I love them both, although I don't think I write like either. I still find David Eddings very funny. Have you ever hated something you wrote? 

Ha, ha, yes. I tried to write a romantic short story once and it was an absolute disaster – it made me cringe.

Everything I wrote before about 2005 makes me cringe, so if that's all you've got, you're doing well! Can you tell us who designed the cover for Shadows of the Realm?  

You gave me a few questions to choose from but I had to answer this one. Robert Baird is an Australian artist who does sci fi and fantasy art. He has done the most amazing cover. We picked a scene from near the end of the book and the cover he has done has exceeded my expectations.

I love the cover, and as you know, I am SO stealing him if/when I ever need a cover done. Did you learn anything from writing your book and, if so, what was it?  

The most valuable lesson. That we are not born as amazing, bestselling authors. It takes a lot of work and then some. I’ve enjoyed the process and become a better writer as well. The only scary thing about this lesson is that you know if you keep writing, the book you write in a year will be much better than the one you published today, but there’s comes a time you have to let it go.

Ah, yes, letting go... Let me know how that works, will you, I have some trouble with it. What was your favourite chapter or part of Shadows of the Realm to write and why?  

Without giving too much away, there’s a chapter that has horror and gore, and I loved writing that. It actually scared me so I had trouble going to sleep that night; it creeped out Tonya, my editor, as well. After I wrote it I was thinking, “where did that come from.” I imagine it was from reading too much Stephen King as a teenager.

Crivens! I'll have to keep an eye out for that one! Is there anything of you in any of your protagonists, do you think? 

Yes, he, he. One of the main characters, Bronwyn, has trouble forgiving people after an argument. I used to be a grudge holder, but I’m not so much now. A lot of my characters try to see the funny or positive side to a situation and that’s something I usually do.

I think if I said there was anything of me in my protagonists I'd frighten a few people. It's great you can say you've moved on from your characters' flaws! Do you have a day job you do as well as writing? 

Yes, I write and edit content for websites and edit books.

Every writer's dream day job! OK, now we're going to ask a few fun questions, so bear with me if these seem a little out of left field. If you were a tree (or animal) what kind of tree (animal) would you be? 

I know it’s not very original, but I’d be a Siamese cat – elegant and pampered whilst being able to leap tall fences in a single bound.

Pfft, you don't always need to be original to be cool! What would I find in your refrigerator right now? 

Fruit, veges, biscuits, yoghurt, eggs, milk, easter eggs – my fridge is bursting at the moment and there’s probably only one mouldy thing in there!

Easter eggs! You still have Easter eggs? I'll be round in just a minute...  OK, last question before I raid your Easter egg stash - what is the last book you read? 

Wanting by Richard Flanagan. I had to read it for Uni and I enjoyed it.  It’s not normally a book I would look for but that’s what uni is about, expanding your mind.

Is that what uni is about? Uh, yes... of course. Well that's the last of our questions, any last words you'd like to share?

Just wanted to say thank you so much to my wonderful friend Ciara, for having me as a guest and to let everyone know that she gave me wonderful feedback which made my book a lot better than it would have been.

Aww, thanks Dionne. I don't purport to be perfect or a brilliant writer, but what goes around comes around and I try to help out other writers as and when I can. 

Shadows of the Realm is available as ebook and paperback here at Amazon. 
About the Book: Bronwyn and Blayke are two strangers being drawn into the same war. Their world is facing invasion from the Third Realm. While they move unknowingly toward each other, they are watched, hunted, and sabotaged. When the Dragon God interferes, it seems their world, Talia, will succumb to the threat. Can they learn enough of the tricks of the Realms before it’s too late, or will everything they love be destroyed?

The young Realmists’ journey pushes them away from all they’ve known, to walk in the shadows toward Vellonia, city of the dragons, where an even darker shadow awaits.

If you'd like to know more about Dionne, you can find her here:

Twitter: @DionneLister
Blog: www.dionnelisterwriter.wordpress.com 

Dionne and I are both entered in the Best Australian Blogs 2012 Competition, dionne for her blog DionneLister - Writer and me for both Flight of the Dragon and Somebody Has To Say It. If you like this blog, or Somebody Has To Say It, or Dionne's blog, we'd be eternally grateful if you'd be so good as to stop by and vote here.

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Thanks for stopping by and visiting with us!


Dionne Lister said...

He, he, it's exciting to be interviewed - this is the first one for my book so thanks for your support you wonderful Dragon Woman you :) (I mean that in the most positive way possible lol)

Ciara Ballintyne said...

 My pleasure :-) I am proudly a dragon lady!

Emilia said...

You still have Easter eggs? Mine don't last half way through Easter...

The Belgariad was the first fantasy series I ever read and I still like them. Great to see other who like them.
Love the cover, the dragon's head reminds me of an allosaurus (I'm a dino geek as well as a fantasy geek).

Maureen Hovermale said...

Fantastic interview you two! :D David Eddings? YESS! Polgara is a fav of mine. A Siamese cat brings to mind that song: We are Siamese if you please. We are Siamese if you don't please. ;)

Dionne Lister said...

How funny. The original dragon the artist drew had a pointy mouth, and I didn't like it. When I described what I wanted he asked, "Oh, so more like a dinosaur." Lol The Easter eggs, that goes to show you how much chocolate the kids got. I think it just got finished this morning.

Dionne Lister said...

I liked Polgara, no-nonsense woman. I think one of my characters - Avruellen, is a bit like that.  I can hear you singing - you are very talented Maureen :)

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