The Writing Life of: Deryn Pittar
This week on ‘The Writing Life of:‘ I am thrilled to be interviewing author Deryn Pittar. Deryn will be sharing with us detail of her writing life, telling us all about her latest book ‘Lutapolii – White Dragon of the South‘, which was released on 23rd January 2018 and answering a few fun questions too.
So without further ado I’ll hand you over to Deryn Pittar
I write futuristic and fantasy fiction, spiced with romance and adventure. This allows my imagination to run free, to create interesting characters caught in unusual circumstances and events. Sometimes I have the pleasure of watching science and technology catch up with my imagination.
I also write Young Adult, short stories and flash fiction; articles on writing and I am published in these genre. I self-published a children’s rhyming book and once won a prize for a short screen script.
I’m a published poet and I endeavour to put my poetry skills into my fiction writing to enhance the word pictures I create.
I live in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand which lives up to its name. I belong to the Romance Writers of N.Z., Tauranga Writers, and Spec.Fic.NZ (speculative fictionNZ).
1) As a child what did you want to do when you grew up?
I only wanted to be a wife and mother. I has a very thin frame and no bust so assumed I would be unattractive. I was wrong.
2) Who were your favourite childhood authors?
Too many to list, but Anne McCaffrey and her dragon stories made a huge impression. James A. Michener’s sagas enthralled me as well.
3) At what point in your life did you realise you wanted to be a writer?
In my early twenties I wrote a short story that was published and I realized I had a talent – but life and children and a shortage of time intervened.
4) How did you go about following that dream?
Once the nest emptied I decided to pursue my dream and learn how to write. It’s a craft that takes some mastering.
5) What is your writing day like? Do you aim for a certain amount of pages or words before you stop for the day?
No. Some days I write, some days I don’t.
6) Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I have, especially for an erotica piece I wrote, which I only did as a challenge – then it was accepted and I needed a pseudonym!
7) Do you have any strange habits before starting, or whilst in the midst of writing?
No, boringly ordinary. No rituals – just sit down and write.
8) Do you write longhand, typewriter, or on a computer?
Luckily I am a touch typist and still have the ability. The thoughts pour out of my fingertips. Such a great skill to retain.
9) How many books have you written? Do you have any unpublished work?
I have nine published books (mostly ebooks); several short novellas in anthologies and lots of short stories and poems published in various places. The first three novels I wrote are still lingering in my laptop, unpublished, but were great learning exercises.
10) Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a pantser, but I usually have a bare bone idea outlined and a couple of ‘goalposts’ to aim for within the story.
11) Do you read all the reviews left for your book(s)?
I try not to read reviews and if there are negative points I make a note of the complaint and try and do better next time. I don’t get upset about it. At least someone read the story! The main complaint is my stories end to soon and people want more, so I’m trying hard to write longer stories. I seem to specialize in novella length, about 40,000 words.
Concerning your latest book:
White Dragon of the South
Publisher – Junction Pub
Pages – 154
Release Date – 23rd January 2018
ISBN 13 – 978-0473423728
Format – ebook, paperback
Dragons can’t swim and they can’t catch seals – but Lutapolii can.
Lutapolii, a puny white dragon, escapes to the south to avoid his mother’s mocking words. He learns to dive, swim and catch seals but winter creeps up on him and he finds himself stranded. With luck on his side he manages to survive, and returns home in the spring, stronger, taller and very handsome – for a dragon.
After discovering he has been declared dead by the dragon queen, Lutapolii considers this absolves him of all loyalty and decides to establish a flight of his own in the southern seas. All he needs is a handful of lady dragons. Can he steal them from the queen’s flight? He’s matured over the winter and totally magnificent, so why not take the risk?
With a bit of luck she won’t miss them, until it’s too late.
Read how Lutapolii sets about enticing four young dragonesses to join him. Follow his conflicts with the dragon queen and his mother. And discover how the need to feed his growing family requires him to take further risks.
12) How long did it take you to get from the idea’s stage to your date of publication?
At the beginning of this year Junction Publishing released ‘Lutapolii – White Dragon of the South’. A novella about dragons, written by a dragon. Not a human in sight – but I could introduce humans in a sequel. The idea was triggered from a premise given: “A young dragon goes south and gets caught by the winter – does he survive and if so, how?”
I wrote the first chapter and just had to keep going. I wrote it over a few months but it took about a year to find a publisher.
13) How did you come up with the names for your characters?
I had a Finnish friend when I was young, called Liisa. The double ii is pronounced as an e, (our version is Lisa) so I ended most of the characters’ names with this. Not sure if it was such a good idea.
14) Can you give us an insight into your main character(s) life?, What makes them tick?
Lutapolii has been bullied and his mother doesn’t like him mainly because he’s been puny all his life. When he returns after his winter in the south he’s magnificent (in his opinion). He is socially a little inept but his sojourn in the south has given him confidence and he decides to establish his own flight, against the wishes of the dragon queen. Then he has to find some suitable ladies and entice them to join him. There’s jealousy, revenge, loyalty and love in this story. The characters have all the failings and foibles that humans have. It’s a fantasy that crosses over adult and young adult genre.
15) Which was your hardest scene to write?
The mating scene. How do dragons mate? I’ve no idea so it involved a lot of noise, smoke and frightened sea birds and suggestions rather than hard facts.
16) How did you come up with the title of your book?
Seemed obvious at the time but perhaps I should have called it something simple like Dragon’s breath or Snow Dragon. Too late now.
17) Did you get a family member/friend to read your work before sending to the publishers?
I had a critique partner who loved it and kept me on the right path when I strayed off into flights of fantasy. I don’t use family or friends. They are biased or to polite to be critical.
18) What process did you go through to get your book published?
I had it critiqued by two other authors and edited it as best I could from their suggestions. I complied with the publisher’s requirements regarding font and size and tried to make it as error perfect as possible.
19) What did you do once you had written the final word in your book?
Sighed and then began the rereading process. I don’t think you are ever happy with a manuscript. There is always something you can change each time you read it.
20) What’s next for you, writing-wise?
I’m currently writing a romance involving two guardian angels and a wager they make involving their respective charges. I’m taking my time and trying to stretch this one out to be longer than a novella.
Also I co-wrote a fantasy romance with an author friend, Meg Buchanan, and we are presently doing the edits. This novella will be released at the end of October and is called “Angelfire”. This is the first time I’ve co-written anything and it was fun and easy to do with two brains working on the plotlines and dialogue. We might write a sequel, depending on sales and demand. Seems a lot about angels, but I’ve written two contemporary romances and a time travel short story since we wrote “Angelfire”.
1) What’s your favourite food?
Crispy grilled bacon.
2) If you had a box of crayons and you could only choose one, which colour would you choose?
3) What movie could you watch over and over again?
So many – can’t choose.
4) What would be the top song on your playlist?
Alleluia by Leonard Cohen, this week.
5) If you won millions, what would be your first purchase?
A month’s holiday in the sun, each winter until I died.
6) A talking duck walks into your room wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses, whats the first thing he says to you?
“The glare of the sun is driving me quackers.”
You can find out more about Deryn Pittar by visiting the website/social media sites below.
I would like to say a big thank you to Deryn Pittar for sharing with us details of her writing life, and for a wonderful interview.