About Dina Given:
Dina Given has been an avid fan of fantasy in all of its permutations since childhood. She is convinced that magic lives on in this world, and she is doing her part to bring a piece of it to readers. Dina lives in rural New Jersey – home of farms, horses and the largest hot air balloon festival in North America – with her husband, two crazy kids, and one rescue dog. She is an exercise enthusiast and avid lover of food and wine (hence the need to exercise). Dina also works full time for one of the largest healthcare companies in the world. She attributes her ability to juggle family, work and writing to her obsessive, hyper-focused, Type A personality.
What inspires you to write?
I wanted to be a writer since I was in second grade and won a first place award for writing an essay about fire prevention. I wrote all through school and college, both my own short stories and as a journalist on the school newspaper. I even went into the publishing industry as my first job out of college. However, life had different plans for me and carried me down another path. I have had an incredibly successful career in the healthcare industry, so I don’t regret a thing. Then a few years ago my sisters and I started a blog promoting independent authors and it reignited that spark within me. I realized I was getting too old to make excuses, so I had to just write something or stop dreaming about. So I wrote something, and haven’t stopped since.
Tell us about your writing process.
I am definitely an outliner. I typically spend several weeks outlining the story in long hand before starting to write. Then I start breaking it into chapters using Scrivener. My outlines aren’t heavily detailed, but I like to have a 2-3 sentence description of every chapter. After I have the general flow of the story strung together, along with the key points in each chapter, I start writing. Given my unpredictable schedule, I am not able to set a specific writing routine. What works for me is just grabbing every minute I can – banging out a few sentences while cooking dinner, spending 20 minutes writing after getting the kids to bed and before passing out myself, writing in the waiting room while my daughter is in dance class, etc. I try to take advantage of every free moment.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don’t necessarily talk to my characters, but I do talk out loud to myself (usually while I’m alone in the car so no one can call me crazy). I talk out places in the story where I get stuck and need to take a different direction. I ask myself lots of questions and answer them on behalf of my characters. In that sense, my characters are speaking to me and telling me which path they want to follow.
What advice would you give other writers?
Just get out of your own head and do it. So many doubts and fears creep in when you try to do something that you have dreamed about for a lifetime. What finally worked for me was shifting my goal. Instead of holding on to the pressure to quickly become a successful, full-time author, my first step was just to write something for myself to see if I could even do it, and learn more about the process. Then once you start, you just need to finish – plow through and don’t let those doubting voices in your head stop you.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I chose to self-publish. The thought of going the traditional publishing route didn’t even cross my mind. I wanted to write the book I wanted to write, publish it on my schedule, and promote it under my own control. I also didn’t want to spend years dealing with rejection letters and trying to find an agent while my books collected dust, until I hopefully received my first contract that left me with virtually no rights or royalties. Self publishing has been very fulfilling and quite successful for me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think we are seeing the beginnings of the change in the publishing industry. Self published authors are going to continue to improve the quality of their work by using professional editors, designers, formatters, etc. Readers will stop distinguishing between traditionally published and self published works. Self published titles will be more financially approachable as well, which will continue to drive the trend toward those books. I think we will also see a growing number of small publishing houses taking a hybrid approach – giving authors more autonomy, while providing some amount of support and greater retail access.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Urban Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy Action/Thriller
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print, Audiobook
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.