7 Questions With AuthorTuber Diane Verrochi
Diane Verrochi is a nurse educator and writer of contemporary fantasy and paranormal procedurals. She is currently working on her debut novel, Cut the Cord, about a young mage trying to escape her magical responsibilities only to have them chase her down at university. Verrochi has been everything from waitress to locksmith’s assistant to psych support staff prior to becoming a nurse and brings all of those experiences to her characters.
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What’s your own definition of an author / indie author?
You don’t start with the easy ones, do you? Merriam-Webster.com tells me it’s the “writer of a literary work.” Common usage tends to assume that an author is someone who has published their work or had it published. And then an indie author would be someone who has self-published their work. By that definition, I’m a writer aspiring to be an indie author.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
My favorite answer to multiple choice questions is “all of the above.” I do outline, but very loosely, and my characters frequently pull me off in a different (usually more interesting) direction than I had intended.
Still, having that skeletal outline keeps things from going completely off the rails, and I can usually drag the characters back towards any key points that they aren’t allowed to just skip. (Usually.)
How does a day in your author life look?
No two days look quite the same. On an ideal weekday, I get up, do some yoga and meditation, and then get a good hour or so of writing in before getting ready for work. When I get home, I’ll try for another hour or so of writing. On an ideal weekend day, I get up, do some yoga and meditation, do some housework before I get all tunnel-visioned on my story, and then write, often at Starbucks, probably until they throw me out at closing.
Reading tends to happen whenever I have a free moment not otherwise claimed, such as when I’m waiting for appointments or having a meal solo. I don’t think I’ve ever yet had an ideal day, though! There may be a crack-of-dawn meeting at work, possibly a panicked email from a student as soon as I turn on the computer, and just general Life Stuff™.
But that’s what I aim for, which tends to result in at least some kind of writing happening most days. (The folks at Starbucks are kind of used to throwing me out, though, while I obliviously still think it’s mid-afternoon. That part does usually happen.)
What’s your definition of the first draft?
You’re really making me think, here! I’ve been calling my current work in progress “draft 1.5,” but now that you’ve got me defining it, I’m going to have to just call it a first draft, because until now, it hasn’t had an ending, which I feel is important to defining something as a draft.
I guess I’d define the first draft as the first coherent sequence of scenes that has a beginning, middle, and end. It may be as full of plot and scene holes as Swiss cheese, loaded with language choices that will make me cringe on re-read, and basically just be a steaming pile of dung, but the essence of it is still all there.
What are some common stereotypes related to the genre(s) you’re writing in?
That it’s all just escapism. That’s the big one. Now, on the one hand, there is nothing wrong with escapism. Everyone deserves a vacation! That said, fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction are very often about some really intense aspects of the human condition that are easier to look at critically when we create some distance from our usual reality.
My favorite books, shows, and movies in these genres work on multiple levels, not only giving the reader/viewer a vacation in which they can experience another world but also tackling some tough issues, which often come back to heavy existential questions, such as what it means to be human.
How long do you self-edit your manuscript before sending it to a proofreader/ beta reader / editor?
This is where the almost decade-and-a-half of writing transformative or fan fiction has trained me well. I’d probably rewrite and revise ad infinitum before letting anyone see anything, left to my own devices. Fandom, however, tends to have lots of “events” such as story exchanges that have deadlines.
I still prefer to at least have a relatively solid second draft before sending something off to a beta reader, but I won’t just endlessly edit expecting that it’s going to somehow miraculously become perfect before anyone else is allowed to see it. How long it’ll take to have a “relatively solid second draft” of this first original novel with no externally-imposed deadline remains to be seen, but I’m aiming for late this spring.
Does the genre you normally read have a direct influence on your writing?
Absolutely. How could it not? I think every author’s “voice” is their own individual compilation of everything they have ever read, heard, or watched.
That’s how we learn to speak in the first place, by imitating those we hear and/or see. Our storytelling tends to evolve the same way, even as we give our own individual takes on things. That’s where you get a feel for the typical expectations of a genre, whether you end up fulfilling or subverting them.
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And check out Lost in Amber: An Out Of This World Paranormal Romance if enjoy girl power, adventure & a toe-curling love story.
She just wanted to mope over her breakup but the universe had other plans for Zoey Mills.
Read the full blurb here.