Diane and I are chummy around the Internets, and I'm also very much a fan: from her flash and short horror stories to her alternately humorous and desperate science fiction romance novellas. I'm never quite sure what to expect from her, but I always delight in what I find.
You write hardened space captains, interstellar bounty hunters, sweet romances and chilling horror. So I have to ask, who are your writing influences? What authors are on your “must buy” list?
I read a lot and very widely. When I first started writing it almost destroyed reading for me. I couldn’t enjoy the story itself, could only focus on how the story was being told. Thankfully, I’m past that phase. And looking over at my bookshelves I’d have to say my influences are those writers who appear again and again.
It might sound strange to say that Nabokov is one of my biggest influences, because I write nothing like him, unfortunately. I remember loving one his sentences so much, too much. It was so perfectly and exquisitely structured and punctuated, that I took the entire sentence and wrote my own version using its structure and punctuation. Silly me! The girl who fell in love with a sentence.
Also on the bookshelves: Jane Austen for dialogue, sly wit, and cleverness. Octavia Butler for boldness and sheer imagination. C.J. Cherryh for human and alien characters, spaceships and space stations. Thomas Hardy for tragedy, which I love. Poetry is my go-to happy place. Neruda, Pushkin, Plath, and many more. Short stories: Richard Bachman, Ray Bradbury. I adore the wicked and wonderful Roald Dahl, both his children’s and adult stuff. Alasdair Gray, a Scots writer, for wit and intelligence and brilliance.
It actually feels a little impertinent to name these influences. I’m not even in the same league as them. Moving on: the book I’m most looking forward to buying is the one G.R.R. Martin is still writing. I’m on a Courtney Milan kick right now and trying to decide which one to treat myself to. I’m looking forward to Joe Hill, Jo Walton and Paolo Bacigalupi’s next books.
Ah, nobody ever says Thomas Hardy. I’ve happily allowed him to break my heart several times. Hell, even on re-reads. Do you find it difficult to switch back and forth from writing stories set in as diverse of locations as space ports and contemporary cabins?
No, I find it refreshing. I like darting back and forth in time, past, present, future. And to different locations, on Earth and off. I wish I wasn’t like that, though. I wish I had laser-beam focus. I wish I could focus on one thing and make it my own.
On the spot time! What are a few of your favorite lines that you’ve written?
Oh dear. This means I’ll have to go back and read some of my stuff, which I rarely do after it’s published. *several hours later* I’ve pick three lines from my published short stories.
1. “They examine my body with morbid interest, excited for my eventual autopsy, these stumpy little creatures all dressed in white.”
From ‘Monster,’ published in ‘From the Depths,’ Summer, 2012. Why do I like this one? I dunno. The morbid thrill of writing from the POV of someone dying and soon to be dissected, maybe? Writers are strange people.
2. “Only someone as pompous and long-winded as Eugene could have written an eight page suicide note full of such petulant complaints.”
From ‘Compartment C,’ published on my blog, September, 2011. Again, I dunno. But that eight page suicide “note” just kills me.
3. “Later that day the three bears relaxed in their clean and cozy home, nursing their headaches and each flossing their teeth with identical strands of long, golden hair.”
From “A Taste of Revenge,’ published by Dog Oil Press, September, 2009. I love this line because I’ve always hated Goldilocks, that horrid, home-invading girl.
I adore the Goldilocks line. Even as a child, I was uncomfortable with her antics, and always sided with the bears. So, other writers sometimes talk about stories coming to them in dreams. Does this ever happen for you, where something that occurs in your sleeping mind refuses to leave once you wake? Or, alternatively, do you ever dream of the characters of your own invention?
I think this has happened to me, I’m not really sure. I’m always day-dreaming and can never quite differentiate between things that popped into my head when I was awake vs. when I was asleep. I do remember this one time, a week or so before a final paper was due at university. I’d done all this cool research and had all this wonderful material at my fingertips, but I couldn’t do a damn thing with it because I didn’t have a thesis. I went to bed one night and had a vivid dream about all the research strands. When I woke up - eureka! - I had a thesis. I was so relieved! For the record, I got an A- with comments: terrific research, weak thesis, absolutely wonderful writing. I think that was when I decided to give the writing thing a go one day. As long as it didn’t require a thesis.
Good lord, I hope never to see that comment on an edit letter: What’s your thesis?
What’s next for you, Diane? I seem to recall tantalizing hints of the third Blue (Blue Galaxy, Blue Nebula) book.
Yes, I’m working on that one now. Blue Planet. I finished it ages ago, but hated it. I love tragedy, but it was too dark and depressing, no light in it at all. But I figured out how to fix it and am enjoying it again. I always have lots of irons in the fire. Other works in progress include: a post-apocalyptic western, a gothic horror, a couple of contemporary romances that are finished, but need a brutal edit, a dystopian road trip/love triangle kind of thing, a near-future scifi romance. That’s just the top of the pile. I’ll take laser-beam focus for a hundred, please, and many more hours in the day.
These all sound wonderful. I can’t wait to see them emerge! And I’m seconding the request for more hours in the day (I promise I won’t spend them all on Twitter). Thank you so much for stopping by, Diane!
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Diane Dooley is the author of Blue Galaxy and Blue Nebula from Carina Press, Mako’s Bounty from Decadent Publishing, and That Night from Wild Rose Press. They’re also available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all the usual e-book stores.
She writes horror, science fiction and romance, short stories, novellas and novels. She also Facebooks, blogs and tweets.