Amy Susan Brown asked Deana Luchia about her writing, past, present and future.
Q: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
A: I’ve always liked writing – poetry, dialogue, short stories – and I used to do bits and bobs as a child but I never imagined I would write as a living. I fell into journalism by chance, as a dare really, when I lived in Japan, and I think that’s when I really started thinking about fiction. I was 25.
Q: What was the inspiration for your first novel, “God and Dallas”?
A: I was thinking about good deaths and bad deaths and how some people get to ‘die well’ and I wanted to take a character who was dying – alone, lonely and frightened – and give her a better death than the one she thought she would have. So my main character, Ginger, gets to have a very unexpected afterlife at Southfork with the Ewing family, and then she gets the chance to die again – to have a better death.
Q: Why did you choose to self publish “God and Dallas”?
A: Very simply because I had had a lot of rejections from publishers but lots of good feedback from readers so I decided to go ahead and self-publish and just have my book out there. It was also a way of underlining that I had finished it. I think sometimes the temptation is to tamper and edit ad infinitum and I think for me it’s good to just say, this is done, it’s finished.
Q: Have you ever tried getting an agent or seeking a traditional publisher and what has been your experience?
A: I’ve just signed to an agent for my non-fiction work and I’m very excited to see where this goes. It’s all new to me so I will keep you posted.
Q: Anyone who knows you knows you are passionate about dogs and have adopted two rescue dogs recently. We know dogs provide unconditional love and all kinds of joy, but do they stimulate your creativity too?
A: I love love love dogs and write a dog into every story or scene I write. I think they do help my creativity because they get me outside, walking around the forest near my house, and I often come up with plot points when I’m out and about. I think when I’m at my computer for too long, I can get stuck. They also make me laugh loads and I write much more when I’m happy. It’s also nice to write with dogs sitting on my lap – it means writing is not the solitary act it usually is.
Q: You got an advanced degree in writing. Do you think that’s necessary for writers? How was it helpful to you?
A: I don’t think it’s necessary at all but my Masters was in Professional Writing which focused on making a living from writing rather than teaching ‘how to write’, which I think is really hard to do. I found it hugely helpful, mostly because it got me thinking about writing a non-fiction book which I’d never considered before and also because suddenly I was in touch with all these other writers – it was inspiring.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I’m just about to get back into two very different novels I was writing and put aside several months ago. One, for kids, is on track and I just need to finish it. It’s funny and I’m looking forward to creating comedy. The other needs a complete rethink but I’m slowly sorting it out in my head. It’s been two very different books and I think it needs to be a third!
Q: What is your writing routine and your favourite place to write?
A: I don’t have a routine really. I try to write every day but that’s mostly been non-fiction recently – journalism and blogs – but now I’m aiming to do two hours of fiction every day. I mostly write on my sofa with my Mac on a coffee table and my dogs cuddled next to me.
Q: Author Lab was your brainchild. Why did you start it and how has it benefited you?
A: I just wanted to maintain contact with other writers and share ideas and information about all things writing-related. I’ve learned loads of things – everyone is very generous when it comes to tips and advice and time. And it’s always fun seeing what everyone is up to.
Q: If you could invite three literary figures to a dinner party, living or dead, who would they be? (This question borrowed from theNew York Times Book Review!)
A: I’m sure my answer to this would change depending on the day, but right now, off the top of my head, I would invite Shalom Auslander, Thomas Hardy and Emily Bronte. Auslander wrote one of my all time favourite books, Hope: A Tragedy, and anyone who can make me laugh that much, that loudly, would definitely have a seat at my table. And I’d sit Thomas Hardy at the other side of Auslander and hope some of the humour would rub off on him. I read loads of Hardy in my teens and twenties and I love his writing but the tragedy is so intense. I would like to see if he had a humorous side. And I would invite Emily Bronte so I could slip her some TB medication. What would/could she have done as a follow up to Wuthering Heights? She was such a genius.