Interview with Deborah Ann Dykeman

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Colorado for the most part. When I turned thirteen, my family moved to Vermont and then upstate New York before heading to Arizona for a short time. We then returned to the Hudson Valley area of New York. I think living in these different states with their diverse cultures and climates formed and certainly influenced my writing. I had many great experiences and met different people in each of these states.
When did you first start writing?
I was always writing poetry and little, short stories when I was a child. At seventeen, I wrote a longer story on an old Royal typewriter. It took a lot of finger power to get it pounded out, but I kept at it. I kept the characters from that first story and then wrote my first full-length book about Jonathan and Elisabeth in a different setting. I wrote that on a typewriter as well, but at least it was electric! I went through a lot of ribbon and white-out!
What is your writing process?
My writing process is a little unconventional. All my stories are based on something I've dreamed about. I then get it down on 'paper' as quickly as I can. Then I do a lot of rewriting. I keep a lot of notes and have exact descriptions of each character and the places they live. By the time a story has ended, those characters are really a part of my life and I know them well. I hope that transcends to you, the reader.
What is your favorite time of day to write?
I do my best writing early in the morning. When I say 'early' I mean around three to seven in the morning. I have no interruptions that way and the words flow pretty well.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I absolutely love to share the stories that develop in my head. I can deal with hard issues that can affect us all as people. None of us live this life alone and sharing difficult times and happy ones encourage others.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story that I read that really impacted me was 'Gone With the Wind'. The Civil War period in history is probably my favorite. I also love the clothing during that time. I know the description process has changed a lot in writing over the years, but I loved Margaret Mitchell's descriptions. I learned a lot about the Civil War from that book.
How do you approach cover design?
I contact a very good friend of mine and she is fantastic at getting my ideas on that cover. Didn't she do a beautiful job on 'To Thee I'm Wed'? I just want to walk into that meadow each time I see that cover!
Describe your desk
My desk is pretty small, actually. I write on my lap-top, which sits on a fold-down area of a secretary-style desk. I have pictures of Gone With the Wind movie photos on the wall above my desk. One is a large puzzle my family worked on together. It was pretty difficult, but it looks great now. I also have a picture that my daughter painted. Just items that inspire me to write and feel comfy cozy!
Who are your favorite authors?
Where may I begin? There are SO many great authors and I love to read! It is difficult to narrow the list. Kate Morton is someone I discovered a couple years ago and I love her writing! I read a lot of Women's Christian Fiction, so Karen Kingsbury, Deborah Raney, Judith Miller, Lori Wick, Kim Vogel Sawyer, and Beverly Lewis are just a few that come to mind. I also enjoy Nicholas Sparks and Danielle Steel.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
When I e-read, my Kindle is my favorite device. I like that it is a bit larger, but still easy to take with me.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has been a fantastic opportunity for me! I have been able to publish my book and get feedback. It's wonderful to have it 'out there' for people to read!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Wow, that's a loaded question! Again, for so many years I was raising five children. Now we are down to just one child at home. So, I finally have time TO write! But I have always loved to be outside...gardening, doing cement work or some kind of landscaping. I also love to decorate and design. Our house has always needed a lot done, so I don't know what I would do without another project to work on!
What are you working on next?
I am currently working on a series. I have the first book written and have begun the second book. There will be four, maybe five books in the series. It will be about a family...of course, that is what I love to write about! Some of it is set in the late 1800's and then the early 1900's. It has been a challenge for me to write. I love to read about history, but it takes a lot of research to write about a different time period than what you've lived in.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My husband and I have five children. For many years I don't know if I was so much 'inspired' to get out of bed in the morning, or just in survival mode of caring for them. I have always been pretty excited to begin each day and see what God has in store. Life is a journey and it's fun to see where the path is heading each and every day.
What do you read for pleasure?
I usually read Women's Christian Fiction if I read a book. Right now I'm reading a lot of magazines like 'Midwest Living and 'This Old House'. I just don't have very long stretches of time to read lately and I can just 'zone out' for a few minutes. I would love to get involved in a really, good story, though.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book was inspired by my garden. Our youngest came in from putting compost out and she commented on how dead and deserted the garden looked. It was late October and it is a bit brown and ugly in a garden that time of year. Well, a lot of ideas started forming in my head with the mention of that and I went into my computer and started writing notes for my latest book. I hope to have it published by March 2017. And no, it's not about gardening tips!
Published 2017-01-24.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.