My second guest in the new Q&A series on this blog is Liane Carter, a YA speculative fiction writer whose most recent book, The Dream Devils, was released earlier this year. Here’s a bit more about Liane, followed immediately by the Q&A:
Liane Carter is a writer, editor, coach, NLP practitioner and language teacher. She’s happiest when reading, writing, drumming, playing with Play Doh, sketching, singing, dancing and doing kundalini yoga. She also likes to relax playing piano, bass and guitar.
I find that young adult fiction tends to have a specific purpose or message behind it. Is that the case with The Dream Devils?
My purpose is to bring joy to the reader. When I wrote it I wanted to write something thrilling and exciting and funny and tense because that’s what I enjoy in books. However, I think the message is there whether I like it or not and emerges in the process of the writing. At the end of the first draft, I read it through and thought, wow, I didn’t see that message because I am so in the story with the characters and the action. With The Dream Devils there are a few messages: love yourself; acceptance instead of judgement; be brave to set yourself free; love can come from anywhere. And kindness and friendship seem to be central themes in my writing.
The Dream Devils that appear in the preview on Amazon have a distinctive appearance and voice. What inspiration did you bring to their development?
Duggit appeared in my mind one night in bed. I could hear his dialogue too. I sprang up, grabbed the pen and paper on my bedside table and wrote the scenes where he meets Marcie and him with Reece. I do my best to get out of the way so the characters can let me know who they are. I ask them questions, take them out to dinner in my mind so I can find out more about them and allow them to show me. It’s wonderful.
Is there any significance to the central characters’ names?
Hee hee. Yes. And it was a surprise. The characters tell me their names. They seem to appear in my mind with their names. And if I try and change them, they down tools. I discovered Marcie is from the Latin Mars (Roman god of war). When I looked up the meaning of the Muslim name Rabia, I grinned at the comparison to Rabia in the book. I’m glad you asked or I wouldn’t have gone and checked them out. Thank you.
What should readers expect from this novel and the rest of the Dream Devils series?
Excitement, tension, twists, surprises, humor, lots of action.
What do you consider to be particularly unique about your work?
Many writing teachers and writing books say everything has been written before; you just assemble it in a different way, whether you are conscious of it or not, which is why it’s so key to find your distinct voice because that is what makes the work unique. My writing teachers have encouraged me to be true to me and write as I speak. I’m blessed with a very vivid imagination and love of life and people. The energy of that combination is in my writing.
What piece of writing are you most proud of? Are there any published works you wish you could take back?
Gosh. I’m proud I finished both The Chronicles of Joya and The Dream Devils and grew – painfully – in the process, being pushed throughout the editing process and line editing by my wonderful editor – Renni Browne. I’m proud to have received emails from kids telling me The Chronicles of Joya is their favourite book, that they have read it multiple times and that it has inspired them. Hearing that a woman had been reading it on the platform of a busy train station and had burst out laughing among a crowd of strangers was wonderful too. And emails from parents telling me what a difference my writing workshops have made to their children just rocks my heart. I feel very blessed and grateful. My goal was to give one person joy from a book the way books have given me so much. I’m proud of The Dream Devils because I love the colorful characters and the surprises and twists in the book. I can just read it over and over. Yum.
Has anything you’ve written ever surprised or scared you? If so, what?
It surprises me how much truth appears on the page and how much I expose of myself as a person when I give everything to the book. Friends recognise me in characters in the books before I do even though I’ve written, read, reread and edited them multiple times. Overlord Demascus in The Dream Devils scared me. I thought he might think I was in Marcie’s camp and where I was so inside the book as I was writing I sort of panicked he might spot me. Hee hee. When Harriet Wylie, the anime artist who drew the characters, sent me the drawing of him for the book, I actually leaned away from the screen because she’d captured him so well.
You’re exiled to a faraway moon until the end of your days. What are the five books you bring (excluding the obvious survival guides)?
- The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
- Dune by Frank Herbert
- The BFG by Roald Dahl
- The Dream Devils
- Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
What do you consider to be the mark of writing success?
For me, writing and exposing my truth on the page. Growing and pushing myself to give the best of what I have at that time and discovering the delights of that. It’s a painful process. Sometimes I feel I’m ripping the skin from my bones. However, at the end of the process I know I couldn’t have given any more and that’s thrilling.
The Dream Devils is available on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.ca/The-Dream-Devils-Liane-Carter/dp/1784074284
You can also find out more about Liane and her work by visiting her website: http://lianecarter.com/