This series is one that I have been thinking about creating for a very long time. I wanted a place where authors could share their advice for new authors as well as sharing their own experiences. To be honest, I was scared to approach authors at first, but at this point I think I have the means to create a regular series.
Diana was one of the first authors I created a connection with through blogging. In a lot of ways I would even consider her a friend. The way that she put herself out there working hard and taking any avenue she could to achieve her dream makes her a person that I look up to. Her unwavering relationship with God is another reason I greatly respect and admire her.
To me it was important that she was the first I ask to be a part of this series. One that I have hopes to continue well into the future. I hope all the aspiring writers take some inspiration from this. I know it’s something that I am going to look back on when I need a writerly boost.
On to the questions!
1. Diana, something that has always inspired me about you is how dedicated you are to fitness as well as your books. How do you find the time to accomplish all of your goals?
Fitness has been a huge part of my life since I was sixteen and my tennis coach suggested I start lifting weights to strengthen my one-handed backhand. I quickly fell in love with the gym and found it incredibly stress relieving and rewarding. The discipline it fosters transfers beautifully into other areas of my life, such as writing, of course! Sticking to a regular workout routine instills discipline, persistence, and perhaps most importantly, patience!
As far as time management goes, I have a pretty regimented daily schedule that, in a nutshell, consists of writing for the first few hours of the day, working on things like marketing, editing, checking email, and blogs and interviews like this in the afternoon, and then working out for roughly an hour in the evening. I find that having a routine that rarely ever varies is critical for productivity. Otherwise it’s easy to let distractions, excuses, and procrastination take over!
2. Not everyone knows the path they are meant to be on from the very beginning. What was the moment you realized you wished to become an author?
This is going to sound like such a cliché answer, but it really is the truth: I’ve always wanted to be an author. I remember sitting at my little wooden table before I knew how to write and drawing pictures of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with unrecognizable designs (intended to be words) scribbled around them. As I grew older, I constantly wrote stories and poems in my journals and penned silly plays for my friends and me to act in. I actually studied screenwriting in college, not so much because I wanted to write movie scripts, but because I knew it would provide a firm foundation on the craft of storytelling.
3. You write both fitness, inspirational, and mythical novels. What is the main message that you try to send no matter the genre?
I never intend to embed any specific theme or message in my books (at least not in my fiction). I prefer to let the story and its players have the spotlight from cover to cover and for readers to read between the lines, connect with the characters, and find personal takeaways as they will. I think that were I to consciously try to convey a theme or “moral of the story,” it would just come off as preachy and heavy handed.
For my nonfiction work, such as my fitness books and my memoirs, I’d say the primary message is full surrender to a loving, mighty, and eternally faithful God.
4. In the past several years you have managed to write quite a few books. Which one of them was the most difficult for you to write and why?
Definitely my fantasy series, The Petros Chronicles. For one thing, writing about Greek mythology required a vast amount of research (which I loved doing!), and for another, writing a series is always tricky because you have to juggle so much information in your head and take detailed, meticulous notes so everything remains logical and consistent. I’ve had to learn the hard way to keep what’s referred to as a series bible that contains everything from character names and descriptions to key dates, important places and the events that occurred there.
5. Writing processes are different for everyone. Do you have a set process or is it different from book to book? What does your typical process look like?
My process usually changes somewhat from project to project, although for my last two novels it’s looked something like this:
• Establish a synopsis first (this gives me a macro view of the story that I can refer to as I write the first draft).
• Write a broad outline that includes things like the inciting incident and major plot points and twists.
• Writing a beat outline which breaks down what happens in each chapter. I will note that this outline changes as I go, but I write it at the beginning so I have a road map of sorts – it’s a great confidence booster/safety net!
• Start writing! I’m not a fast writer, but I am a consistent one. I try to write for two to three hours every morning.
6. One of my favorite books of yours is Armor for Orchids. I loved how much I felt my own relationship with God grew while reading it. What role does your love for God play in the books that you write?
That’s so wonderful to hear, thank you! People often speak of a Muse when it comes to inspiration. Steven Pressfield, one of my favorite authors (of both fiction and nonfiction), actually invokes the same Greek Muse Homer did in the beginning of the Iliad and Odyssey before every writing session. I love Greek mythology, but I don’t invoke its deities. The only god I call upon is the God of the Bible, and I believe it’s He who bestows creative ideas and equips us with the tools to bring them to fruition. This verse in the New Testament book of James comes to mind:
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17
I believe that my ability to write is a gift from my Creator, and therefore I consider every writing session as an opportunity to hear from Him, talk to Him, and honor Him with my words. Even if the story isn’t explicitly faith-based, I believe He infuses it with things like symbols, motifs, and though-provoking prose or snippets of dialogue that can touch readers on a spiritual level.
7. One of the peskiest parts of writing is editing. How do you go about editing your novels?
After setting the manuscript aside for a few weeks (or months, in many cases), I print it off and read it with the intent to pinpoint big-picture issues, such as pacing, character development, and making sure each scene “works” as its own mini story. Then I read it again for more minor issues, like continuity errors and atrocious grammar and glaring typos.
After that, I send the draft off to Penny, my copy editor and proofreader, who takes a few weeks to edit it. Then she sends it back to me, along with her notes, and after I review her changes and accept/discard them as I see fit, it’s formatting time. Once the book is formatted, she proofreads it to ensure that things like spelling, punctuation, and the formatting itself are perfect, or at least as close to perfect as possible!
8. You often talk about your love of Greek myth. Which Greek myth speaks to you most as a writing muse?
Oh man, this is a tough one! But I think I have to go with the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. It’s just so beautiful and heartbreaking and poetic and poignant in its handling of two themes with which every human being can empathize: the power of love and the tragedy of death. A close second is the myth of Demeter and Persephone, for the same reason.
9. Every book has its parts. Which part of a book do you love to write the most beginning, middle, or end?
I love writing the middle because at that point, I really have no idea what could happen. I feel like a reader who’s learning more about the story and characters with every page. It’s exciting to sit down at your laptop and not quite know where you’re being led!
10. Myself and many others aspire to be writers like you someday. What is your advice for the budding author?
Never give up. Even when life gets in the way and every writing door seems to be slamming, never stop writing. Even if it’s just 100 words a day. Even if you have no aspirations to be published or to let anyone see your work. If you love writing, you must write, because, as Franz Kafka so perfectly put it, “A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.”
• Write to express yourself. Write to explore. Write to play. Write to find light in darkness. Write to find hope in despair. Write to find peace amid chaos.
Diana has been writing all her life, starting with her own versions of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comics when she was four. She’s always been fascinated with Greek mythology and comic book superheroes, all of which inspire her fantasy novels. She’s also a gym rat who loves to pretend she’s Wonder Woman while lifting heavy weights and swinging from rings and pull-up bars. She co-owns CrossFit 925 in San Antonio, Texas with her husband Ben.
Diana currently writes entertainment and media-related articles for movieguide.org and contributes regularly to charismamag.com. When she isn’t writing or working out, she can be found playing Scrabble with her husband, watching Marvel and Pixar movies, and pinning recipes on Pinterest that she never gets around to cooking.
You can find Diana at facebook.com/dianafit4faith, Twitter @dandersontyler, and Instagram @authordianatyler.
Her next fantasy novel, The Petros Chronicles: Age of the Ashers, will be released in 2017. Get the full-length novel for FREE by visiting http://www.dianaandersontyler.com/sig….
Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments!
-Till next time!