An Interview with Dariel Raye

I 'met' Dariel Raye on one of the Wild Rose Press loops a few weeks ago and since I've been corresponding with her via email, I've learned not only is she a talented writer, she a very kind person.

So sit down and grab a cup of coffee--but not in that order ; ). You're in for a treat.

Tell me about when and how you started writing professionally.

Is there a point before Stephen King and Anne Rice-ism at which any writer feels “professional?” The summer my divorce was final, I took some time from work and set a few progressive goals: first, start writing again; second, actually finish the story; and third, publish it. After that, I read everything I could get about publishing.

Did you always want to write, or was your decision more of an epiphany?

I started writing when I was a child, so it was always a part of me. Actually publishing something I’d written was the epiphany part.

Where do you get inspiration for your characters/stories? Give examples from some of your stories.

Everywhere. Vashti’s Star was inspired by a dream, Raven’s Shelter was inspired by reading about the Got Wolf? Contest on The Wild Rose Press site, Aidan’s Will was inspired by a Black History event and a subsequent dream, and Jordan’s Wings was inspired in Bible study, to name a few.

Inspiration is everywhere. You just need to let your imagination go. Experts say we often build characters to fulfill our fantasies/desires. What characteristics do you desire in your main characters (hero/heroine)? Give examples from some of your stories.

The most important characteristics to me are loyalty and strength, even when the character is unaware of his/her own strength. I’ve noticed that my heroines are often “Steel magnolias” in that they appear to be fragile, but when love and crisis meet, strength emerges. In Vashti’s Star, Vashti often appears to be unstable to the reader, yet her steadfast love for Mark reveals loyalty and unexpected strength. My heroes have to be loyal, strong, and responsible, even when they don’t appear that way initially. Even when Raven in Taming of the Wolf – “Raven’s Shelter,” is in the clutches of his enemies, he’s more concerned about Karen than himself.

Those are some important characteristics. What do you find most fulfilling about writing?

Hearing or reading positive comments from readers.

What about the most challenging?

Dealing with the business aspects.

I’m sure you could write a book about this, but writing is a journey. What advice would you give to those just embarking on the journey?

You don’t have to be a literary genius, but please do brush up on your grammar. Remember – everything changes. There are resources for writers now that just a few years ago, we never would have dreamed. Take advantage of them (www, E-publishing, contests and conferences, etc.). Read everything you can about the publishing process, get started on a story or two while you’re still reading, keep reading while you’re writing, and plan to learn more about style and marketing as you go.

Good advice. What are some of your most cherished resources?

Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich’s English Grammar and Composition is still one of the best, concise references in existence. I also have a book appropriately called Writing Clinic, by Kelly Nickell. In addition to reviewing the elements of fiction and non-fiction works, the author offers examples of query letters, synopses, and proposals.

Writing Clinic sounds good. I'll have to check it out. I'd have to add my favorite to your list: Eat, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss. Any helpful hints on balancing self, work, family, and writing?

I haven’t found it, and perhaps it doesn’t exist for everyone. I always seem to be running to catch up, but for the most part, I enjoy everything I do. Unless it’s an absolute necessity, I say “no.” I guess that’s my hint: prioritize and focus your efforts on what matters most to you.

I think you're right. I have so many balls in the air, I know I'm going to drop a few now and then, I just try not to drop the same one two times in a row. What do you do to re-energize, restore, and recover?

Study the Bible (with reference books and all), visit my Mom and just hang-out, dote on my dogs, play and sing, dance, move from place to place while reading an entire novel (exciting, huh?), watch two movies back to back (this is really living, folks), prepare my favorite comfort foods (spaghetti or oysters).

Two movies back to back is a luxury. Tell me about your WIPs.

Jordan’s Wings is a novella about the descendants of disinherited fallen angels and the human women they fall in love with; Aidan’s Will is a full-length piece about the reincarnation of a former slave and her rescuer, a Native American who lost his life for her; Gabriel’s Keep, another full-length novel is also about a special angel who is on a frightening mission; and Dayspring is a futuristic full-length/possible series about a race of shifters and the human women destined to save the Earth from destruction.

They all sound wonderful, Dariel. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all these questions.

You can find out more about Dariel by visiting her website and her story, Raven's Shelter is a part of the Taming of the Wolf anthology. Available now at the Wild Rose Press.


Lynne Roberts said...

Dariel, again, thank you so much for answering these questions and good luck iwth Taming of the Wolf!

Pen said...

Thanks, Lynne! Thank you for taking the time to interview me, and good luck to you with After Hours.

Susan Macatee said...

Enjoyed the interview, Dariel! All your stories sound great! Getting ready to dive in to Raven's Shelter.

Congrats and good luck with the new release!

Pen said...

Thanks, Susan! Looking forward to Friday!

Pen said...

This is a really elegant blog, Lynne. I love the color palette.

Crista said...

Great interview! I love how you got your ideas and turned them into your stories.

Helen Hardt said...

Nice to meet you, Dariel! I'm really excited to read the second GW anthology!

Cari Quinn said...

I'm late, but this was a great interview! Dariel, the second GW anthology is on my TBR. Best of luck! :)