Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A day in the life of debut author Dee Willson

  Welcome Dee to Jamie Tremain’s blog on the  launch of
your book  A Keeper’s Truth



Every one of us has a soul. 
Some are new, some old, and a few, the dangerous, are lost. 
But only twelve know why we have a soul at all.
Only twelve remember mankind’s forbidden past.

These words from your book certainly got my attention. Would you share with us a little about these souls and how they feature in your story?

Absolutely. I am fascinated with the idea that almost every practiced religion speaks of human beings having souls. It would seem, should one investigate further, that there are new souls, souls with very little past, and old souls, souls who have experienced many lifetimes. There are myths abound about the soul, where it comes from, how and why it returns, but I am most fascinated by the souls that fall off track, the ones who lose their grip on humanity, their purpose. And I love connecting the dots to fantastical details within mythology and folklore, to ancient history and theories. Whether you believe in the concept (of a soul) or not, it’s certainly something wondrous to ponder, and A Keeper’s Truth will get you thinking.

A Keeper’s Truth was not written overnight. For most or us, writing is a long journey. Can you tell us about your road to publication?

I wrote the first draft of A Keeper’s Truth in 10 weeks. Don’t be impressed, it took me over 2 ½ years to edit. Writing is one thing, writing well is another. I had a lot to learn. I still do. Writing is a constant process, a lifetime of trial and error, of studying our craft, of finding our (writing) voice.

After A Keeper’s Truth was edited, I took a year to write my second book, GOT (Gift of Travel). It wasn’t the second installment in the Keeper’s series, but a whole new story, and I needed to write it. I needed to know I could take what I’d learned and apply it to a new body of work. And I needed to prove (to myself) that I could write and edit a book within a year, which I did with GOT. Only then I felt I could return to A Keeper’s Truth and see it with fresh eyes.

Even after I agreed to give A Keeper’s Truth to Driven Press, my publisher, the process took almost two years. A cover needed to be created, editing done, marketing organized. Publishing is not a fast game. That said, it’s well worth the wait. A Keeper’s Truth has been 7 years in the making, but I’m proud of what it’s become.

Giving birth to a novel is daunting for most of us. Will you do anything different for your next book?

The first draft of A Keeper’s Truth was written quickly, on a high. The story poured onto the page, and I didn’t take a moment to consider structure, plot, character development, etc. I didn’t even know what these things were at the time. For those in the industry, you’d say this makes me a ‘pantser,’ meaning I write by the seat of my pants.
With GOT, however, I’d learned my lesson. I planned ahead, spent months on character development, scene structure, description, dialogue, plot connections, and research to substantiate the details that bring a novel to life. Before I wrote word one of GOT, I had hundreds of pages of notes and research. I’d become a ‘planner.’

You wear many hats: wife, mother, business woman, and now a published author. When do you find the time to write?   

Sometimes I don’t!  I try not to beat myself up over it. The guilt is brutal.
When I’m running my business, there is a part of me screaming to write. My characters can be relentless. And when I’m spending time with my kids, there is a part of me missing, my head in my work-in-progress. The housework falls behind.  We eat whatever can be defrosted.
All I can do is try to stay focused. When I’m writing, I attempt to give it my all. When I’m with my kids, they have my utmost attention. When I’m running my business, my writing laptop is tucked away in another room and social media is turned off.
Of course, in reading this back, I notice I didn’t mention my role as a wife. I guess my husband gets whatever is left.  LOL.  Poor hubby.

The road to publication can be fraught with pitfalls. Query letters, the dreaded synopsis and finding an agent or publisher. What have you learned in your quest to be published that you would avoid the second time around?

Hmm… I don’t think I would change anything I’ve done or not done. I’ve learned from each experience. Publishing was never an end-goal for me. It was never a quest. I write because I love to write, because there is no other way I’d rather spend my time. Being published is just icing on the cake.
That said, I wish the agent process made more sense. Agents have become the gatekeepers, filters for editors and publishers. This is fine, I suppose, but the system is lacking. For example, an author is told to target specific agents most interested in their work, but it’s almost impossible to find what an agent wants and likes. The limited information out there tends to be vague, not to mention outdated. 

Have you ever considered co-authoring a book?

No, I’m afraid I haven’t. I’m not against the idea, but I’m not sure I’d make a good writing partner. I’m bossy and I spend way too much time in my head. I’m sorry to say, I think a partner would eventually get frustrated with me.
Kudos to you, Pam and Liz, for working so great together!

Book clubs, writing groups and social media play a big part in the life of an author today. What is your take on these activities?

In regards to social media, my stance is to tread lightly. Social media is a great way to connect with like minds, but it will not make me a better writer, and it hasn’t proved itself a great sales tool. I adore meeting new and old friends online, but my writing comes first.
As for book clubs and writing groups, they’re wonderful places to share the love of books with others. And the glass of wine and hearty laughter that usually accompanies these things is an added bonus.

We met at the Bloody Words conference about five years ago. Did you ever imagine this day would come, or did you always believe it would happen, someday?

Imagine what, that I’d live another five years, that we’d still be friends, or that my book would be published?  LOL.  Let’s see… I’m glad we’re still buddies, it’s nice to see A Keeper’s Truth hit the shelves, and I’m really happy I’m still breathing. LOL

Thanks, Dee, for sharing with Jamie Tremain and our readers. We wish you well with your launch and all your future endeavors.

Thanks for having me!

 View photo in message
Connect with Dee at the following:

Published by Driven Press: www.drivenpress.net info@drivenpress.net

Check back next month for an insight into how Robin Harlick, author of the Meg Harris series plans her next novel.

Talk again soon,


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