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On the very last day of our fabulous Crossroads Blog Tour, the amazing Lucienne Diver joins us. Why so amazing, you might ask. Well, according to her bio, she is a literary agent by day, a writer and journeyman jeweler by night (see, amazing!). She started writing in her teens because talking back to the voices in her head wasn’t socially acceptable—and she already had enough to deal with being a drama and AP English geek.
Her credits include short stories and a romantic comedy written under the pseudonym Kit Daniels. With her young adult novel VAMPED (and REVAMPED, too!), she’s taking off the mask and stepping into the full glare of … indirect sunlight. Because as her heroine would tell you, anything else is hazardous to your health, especially once you’ve been Vamped. Read more about Lucienne and her books on her super-cool website HERE.
What character traits do you share (or wish you shared) with your main character, Gina?
I’m a bit of a fashionista…now. Growing up, though, I was a tremendous geek who played D&D, sang in the chorus, acted in school and community theatre and took as many extra AP English classes as I could cram into my schedule. I’m still a tremendous geek, I’ve just given up the oversized T-shirts for something a little more stylish. I wish I’d had Gina’s confidence growing up. She could definitely have spared me some.
What kind of music does Gina listen to?
Her favorite singer is one I made up for the series named Su Surrus. Think Pink… only not.
Gina’s a pretty sassy, fashionable character. What was the inspiration behind her fabulosity?
Actually, Gina was originally based on my sister’s arch-nemesis from high school. I think in all honesty that the reason Vamped took off when so many of my manuscripts will never (mercifully) see the light of day is that I learned to torture my characters in that novel. For the first time, I chose a persona…or, more accurately, she chose me… that was totally alien to me. Someone whose mind it would be fun to mess with. And what’s more horrific for a fashionista than to wake up one day with no way to fix her hair and make-up? In ReVamped, I had to amp things up a notch. Not only is she still sans reflection, but she’s now working for the Feds, who’ve made her an offer she can’t refuse. Worse, her first undercover assignment is to go goth to get in with a gang of kids in a New York high school her handlers suspect may be messing with the magic in the area and causing the outbreaks of violence among the teens. Black is so not her color, and platform Mary Janes, she thinks, are a travesty of epic proportions.
Besides a published author, you’re also a literary agent and a journeyman jeweler. How do you make time for it all and stay organized?
That’s right, I used to have hobbies! Sadly, making jewelry, scrapbooking and generally having any sort of life fell away when my books started selling and suddenly I had deadlines, revisions, copyedits, promotion and all to take care of. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, though! I’m such a classic Type A personality with the whole time-urgency thing that I have a constant schedule running in my head, and I keep on it, waking up at 6 a.m. to write and not allowing myself to do anything else with that block of time. Usually, I go back to sleep for a bit after that and wake up again with my work brain engaged, ready to launch into literary agenting for the day. The trick for me is definitely waking up before my inner editor. Otherwise, I’m too much a perfectionist for the words to come pouring out with any fluidity. I’ll overthink myself into a stalemate with progress.
What advice can you pass on to aspiring authors?
Write. Write every day. Even if you throw it out, even if you don’t, at first, have anything to say. Creativity is like a muscle…you definitely have to exercise it or it atrophies. Keep at it. If you love it, don’t let anyone else discourage you. Don’t compare yourself to others. I used to have a wonderful poem called The Desiderata hanging on my wall in college. To this day, it’s probably the single most peaceful, helpful, inspiring piece of writing I’ve ever read. [Link: http://www.fleurdelis.com/desiderata.htm]
Please tell us about your journey to publication.
Where do I start? Back in fifth grade, I had the most wonderful teacher, Mr. Hart. It was clear that his great love was writing and literature. He used to read to us regularly, wonderful things above our grade level that would challenge us. He gave us free-writing assignments on a nearly daily basis, starting us off with a first line or a premise and insisting that our pencils keep moving at all times, even if all we were writing was “nothing at all, nothing at all.” We’d read our work to our group or to the class, get critiques, revise, resubmit…. It was all wonderful practice for being a writer, and I fell in love with it right then and there. It didn’t hurt that Mr. Hart was very encouraging and that I felt like I finally found that place that was mine, that thing that really engaged me and at which I might excel. It took me years and years more to get good, of course. I have a trunk full of stories and novels full of clichés, telling rather than showing, tense-shifts and other no-nos.
My first paid publication was a short story called “The Problem with Piskies,” which won third place in Quantum Barbarian’s fiction contest and was published in the final issue, I think back in 2005 or 2006. After that, there were one or two more “Kit Daniels” stories and even a hardcover romantic comedy, PLAYING NICE, which is now out of print. VAMPED came a few years later, after I’d gotten myself an agent (knowing how invaluable they can be!) and she convinced me to write under my own name, which has certainly made promotion a lot easier. I was never cut out to lead a double life!
Where do you do the majority of your writing?
I do most of my writing in spiral bound notebooks propped up in bed. I freehand everything first and then type it into my computer, revising as I go, so that by the time I hit “save” I have what amounts to a second draft, though there are always many more! A pic of the room is below. Wish I could say that it looks like this all the time!
Lucienne, it’s been a treat having you here–thank you so much for joining us!
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