Inspired by all the ridiculous, frightening, wonderful, and adorable things she has discovered during her time on Earth, Laura DiNovis Berry writes what she hopes will be wonderful things for others to discover.
1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most? What about being a writer frustrates you the most?
My parents fostered a great love of books in our house. At bedtime, my mom would read everything from Winnie the Pooh to The Hobbit to me and my sister. So, I have been enamored with the transportive magic of books since an early age. I started seriously writing my first real manuscript and poetry in high school, and once it was time to go to college, it seemed only natural that writing would be my future. Writing in and of itself can be a challenge; however, I think the most frustrating part of being a writer is trying to actually make a living from this craft.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
I would love to share more about Death at Dusbar College! It’s the start of the A Story of Antyfas series and is a light-hearted fantasy story about a young boy having an adventure in a magical college with his aunt. This middle grade fantasy is a great match for fans of smart humor, Terry Prachett, and the Harry Potter books. Sporting illustrations by Lee Thompson, this book is also great for younger children too.
You can learn more about Death at Dusbar College at IndiesUnited.net. Readers can also get a taste of the A Story of Antyfas series by accessing a free copy of The Aria of Death at IndiesUnited.net as well.
3) Where do you draw your inspiration from for the stories that you manage to weave together and the characters that you create?
Inspiration for these stories come from interactions with my family and challenges that I set for myself while writing. Fantasy stories are often accompanied by certain tropes or common character designs, like blood-lusty orcs or haughty elves. In my books, I am trying to add my own seasoning to this genre to give readers a new flavor of fantasy as it were.
4) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel? What projects are you currently working on?
When I am actively working on a manuscript, I will set a timer for myself, and I’ll try to keep my phone out of sight, so I don’t lose focus. Outlining my work is incredibly important. Once I have an ending in sight, it is much easier to write out the whole story. Thankfully, writing a book for the A Story of Antyfas series takes about two weeks but to properly edit and tweak it, the entire process takes about one month. At the moment I am wrapping up the next book in the series, The Nasties of Nastgant Swamp. It will be released in October 2022.
5) What’s the first book you ever read that really moved you emotionally? Who is your favorite author to read? What book are you currently reading?
At this point in my life, I honestly can’t remember the first book that struck me on a deep emotional level, but I can say that there have been many. One of my favorite non-fiction authors is Carl Safina, and when it comes to the world of fiction, there are many authors I enjoy. I’m currently reading Seanan McGuire’s Where the Drowned Girls Go.
6) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
I am very proud of myself for launching a fantasy series. I hope that in five years I will have at least six more books written and can live comfortably by writing.
7) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career? What is your advice for other writers to better be able to cope or navigate their way through the publishing process, be it traditional or self-publishing?
Oh, of course! One of the best things a writer can do, in my opinion, is find an honest and smart editor. With a good editor by your side, you’ll have a much easier time getting the attention of a literary agent or keeping the attention of readers if you decide to self-publish.
8) Do you find it hard to juggle the creative side of being a writer against the business side of being a writer, in terms of marketing and promotion and things of that nature? How hard has it been (or easy) for you to build up your author platform?
It can be quite difficult simply because of time constraints. Once a book is written, the real hard work of selling it begins, and that requires time that cuts into your writing schedule. I consider myself very lucky to be working with Indies United Publishing House. The support that comes from this entity has been incredible, but there are so many authors trying to spread their work on the internet that I’ve decided to go back to direct marketing. Calling bookstores, hosting book readings, and buying ad space with local newspapers and radio stations has allowed me to support my local community and build a platform directly.
9) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work. Do you ever enjoy reading your own work back to yourself after it’s out there for the rest of the world?
I think it’s so important to read my work aloud. I can catch mistakes, finesse phrases that don’t sound right to the ear, and also practice reading my work so I can be prepared for future book readings.
10) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
There’s no such thing as getting started too late. You don’t need a fantasy book to tell you that anything is possible in this world. If you want to write, write!
11) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
I do think that different genres of writing allow writers to express themselves in different ways. It would be a little silly for me to say I use fantasy writing to be my “authentic self,” but I can say that I try very hard to write children in a way that is authentic. My books are for them and so, I need to be able to listen to real children in order to translate them properly onto the page.
Thank you very much for this opportunity, and I appreciate you taking the time to share my work!