Interview with Dianne Zanetti

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Western Australia. Our family was living in the small wheat-belt town of Quairading when I was born, but we moved to the capital city, Perth, just over a year later. I spent my early childhood and junior Primary school years in Perth and within walking distance from the idyllic Scarborough Beach. We followed my father’s career around the countryside and moved every couple of years, so I also lived in the small country towns of Cranbrook, Quairading (again), Cunderdin, and Northam (boarding school) until the early 80’s when I left home and relocated to Perth. Since then I’ve lived in Sydney on the east coast of Australia and in the towns of Mukinbudin and Quairading (for the third time) and prior to starting university in 2009, I’d spent twenty years living off-and-on in Perth and the Pilbara mining town of Newman.
How did living in these locations influence your writing?
I’m not sure. I suppose any sort of travelling provides a writer with a broader range of landscapes to choose from when establishing place in a story, but I think it has probably helped me more with character development than anything else. I’m conscious of the different ways people from urban, rural, and remote environments speak, behave and interact. I understand their motivations and cultural idiosyncrasies. I suppose that comes from having to observe people and to work out what is considered ‘normal’ in each new place.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was in primary school; but, apparently, I was making-up stories and acting them out with my imaginary friend well before I could write. The first poem I wrote (which my mother kept) was written in 1972 at the age of nine and it was about a hockey stick.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I don't remember the first story I wrote or any stories I wrote at school, but I remember receiving an award at a school assembly in Year 9 for writing the best story about “Nothing” and I only remember because I was banned from my English class for voicing a strong objection to the ridiculous topic. I wrote my story about a boy named “Nothing” while seated at a desk placed outside the Headmistress’ office.
What is your writing process?
My writing process involves three stages: thinking, writing, and editing. Its probably 30% thinking, 20% writing and 50% editing and re-writing.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I’m one of those writers that retreat from the world to write. When I’m writing, the rest of the world (and everyone in it) ceases to exist. So, when I’m not writing I’m catching-up: firstly with the essentials like washing, grocery shopping and reading my mail, then with people. I have four young-adult children, my sister, my mother, my nieces and nephews and friends to catch up with so I’m socially busy in short bursts. I then I go into a wind-down mode when I stay closer to home and read and paint and think while I clean my house and start preparing to write again.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I read on a Kindle - I got it for Mother’s Day a few years ago.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
It depends. I read to keep myself up-to-date with reader trends, which is work-related reading, but when I want to read for pleasure, I look for literary fiction that has been placed on shortlists or won an award in a writing competition. Sometimes I scroll through the literary fiction best sellers until something jumps out at me. But, I don’t always read literature. Sometimes l read popular fiction. I’ll pick a well-known author or choose a big book - and I’ll read anything from an Andy McNabb action adventure to a Catherine Cookson romance. What I look for depends entirely on my mood and whether I want to embrace and experience life or escape from it. I’m also in a book club and read e-books that are recommended by fellow book club members.

Before I select an e-book, regardless of genre, I usually read a couple of on-line reviews and pay attention to reviews that give the lowest rating. If they mention anything like, “needs editing”, I know I won’t enjoy it. Errors really annoy me. I also like to read the sample chapters first because if a book doesn’t hook me straight away, my mind will automatically switch to editing mode and I’ll feel obliged to highlight grammatical errors. That makes the reading feel like work instead of time-out and relaxation.
Describe your desk
I have desks - plural. I have a desk for all my household paperwork in one room and in my office I have two desks: a computer desk where I do internet research and write from and a writing desk that I read, re-write, and edit from. But, for some reason, my work still manages to spill over onto my dining table, kitchen benches, and into my lounge room. When I take a break and de-clutter the house, I make piles and arrange the paperwork on my writing desk in a way that only I can understand. It looks really chaotic, but it’s organized chaos.
What are you working on next? When will it be published?
I’m currently writing a journal article that discusses the notable effects of meal replacement products used in conjunction with an intermittent fasting program - which won't be published here.

I had a lot of fun writing “Betrayed” (I’m still in love with my ending) and I plan to publish more fiction stories next year. If anyone wants to know when I’ve published something new, they can friend me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter as I will announce it there.
Published 2014-06-03.
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Books by This Author

Betrayed
Price: Free! Words: 2,780. Language: English. Published: May 29, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » European
Teenager, Olivia Tobias, discovers that everyone has a dark side - including the people she loves. When Olivia is forced to pack her bags and leave the family home in the middle of the night, she has nowhere to go. Who can she turn to? Her boyfriend, Mark? Can he be trusted?