Interview with Author Dawn Ius

You can follow Dawn’s blog (here)
What is dawn working on?

My short story Thread of the Past is in the SPIRITED athology. It’s available on Amazon or at www.leapbks.com. (All proceeds go to charity)
Fields of Home and Gotta Jet are available here: http://canola.ab.ca/fieldsofhome.aspx
Here’s the links for everything else I am involved in:
Jagger Valentine – character blog/website

Everlasting love, now that’s supernatural.

Twitter: @JaggerValentine

Twitter: @dawnmius
Twitter: @dawn_dalton
www.fieldsofhome.blogspot.com – character blog for Fields of Home and Gotta Jet
Twitter: @SupermanDuffy

Vine Leaves Literary Journal – co-creator and editor
Bridge Social Media – co-owner
Most-Wanted Monsters
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1. What made
you want to be an Author? 
My grade 5 Language Arts teacher. Her name was Mrs. Kratky but
we called her Mrs. Crabby because, well, she was. She assigned a short story
task, and I worked really hard on it – I did research and everything. When she
handed them back, everyone was talking (or crying) over their grades. Mine
wasn’t graded. Instead, she’d written in red pen: Please see me after school.
Your parents will be joining us. Scariest. Words. Ever. Turns out Mrs. Crabby
was actually not crabby at all..and she believed in me. She encouraged my
parents to put me in creative writing classes and remains one of my biggest
literary cheerleaders. Never underestimate the power of a teacher!
2. Where do
you get the ideas for your writings?
Everywhere. From reading the newspaper, adaptations of life
experiences, text from great new research – I love magazines like Mental Health that provide snippets of
science news or unique facts. Sometimes they turn into great stories.
I have an overactive idea machine that doesn’t like to be
pigeonholed. Which means, I have way
more ideas than time.
3. Do any of
the stories you write reflect personal life experiences?
I’m definitely affected by the people I’ve met or the
experiences I’ve had, and sometimes, I see elements of those life moments
trickle into my writing. But I’ve used Google for location research – it’s
staggering the level of detail you can find online.
When it comes to my female protagonists, I write variations on
two kinds: heroines that are like me in some way, or kick-ass women I wish I
could be more like. This is especially true for my character Jagger Valentine (
www.jaggervalentine.com), who embodies epic fearlessness.
She is the character I have most fun writing, and the character I think I know
the most – not because she’s like me, but because I want to BE her.
4. You love
to travel. What’s next on your bucket list?
Uh…everywhere. I have a long list of places I’d like to visit,
but this year I’m hoping to get to Greece for the Homeric Writer’s Retreat
hosted by Jessica Bell. Of course, seeing Jessica is added incentive since
she’s a dear friend.
5. Do you
write with music?
Not always – but every project has its own soundtrack, a
compilation of songs the character loves, or music that sets a mood. I create
iTunes playlists for every character or book. Often I play them while I am
writing, depending on my mood. But sometimes, the songs create too much of a
distraction. When I do write to music, it’s generally cranked – an effective
way of telling my family I’m “in the zone.”
6. You
mentioned you’ll be attending the Homeric Writing Workshop in Greece this year.
What benefits do you receive from attending writing events like this?
First and foremost, networking. Some of my best friends are
people I’ve met through writer’s conferences. Writing can be a lonely
profession, and truthfully, many of my non-writer friends sometimes think I’m a
bit weird. Conferences are a great way to hang out with people who “get” you –
even if they are also a bit weird. <grin>

Second, being around other writers is inspirational and motivating. I love
writing, but it’s still a struggle for me to turn on that computer every day.
And third, the potential to learn is tremendous. No writer knows
everything…even if they think they
do.
7. What is
your favorite place to go when you’re writing?
My husband renovated our sunroom into a perfect writing space.
Alberta is known for beautiful summer storms, and I love to watch the
lightening show through the windows around me.
It’s idea – but I’ve learned you can’t always rely on the ideal.
If I can’t be in my sunroom, I prefer coffee shops or small pubs. But have been
known to whip out my laptop in the middle of a mall if inspiration strikes.
8. You write
a variety of genres, for adults and youth. Of all the things you write, what do
you enjoy writing the most?
Impossible question. I love the challenge of writing for a
variety of genres and age categories, but I wouldn’t take on anything that
didn’t genuinely interest me.
I’m fortunate with the ability to slip in and out of characters
quickly – which means I can have many projects on the go without getting
lost…and thus avoid writer’s block on any particular WIP.
My background is Journalism, so I’m familiar with research
techniques. Sometimes I even pine for my old reporting career and take on some
interview jobs to keep those skills fresh.
If it’s writing-related, chances are, I want to be involved.
9. Do you
read a lot?
Yes. And yet, not enough. The past two years, I’ve changed jobs,
married my high school sweetheart, moved out into the country (and work in the
city), and taken on a 13-year old stepdaughter. I love my life – but it can get
hectic. Often I have to choose between reading and writing, and 80% of the
time, writing wins out.
But I still read more than most people. At www.dawn-ius.blogspot.com, I’m
blogging about each of the books I’ve read as part of a challenge my friend and
I issued each other – to read 100 books in 2012.
We tried it two years ago and only got to 75…but that’s nothing
to be ashamed of.
10. What are
your favorite types of books to read and your favorite authors?
My reading is as eclectic as my writing – I have too many faves
to list. I can tell you some of the books that have impacted me, though.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Creature by John Saul
I love all kinds of thriller fiction, with my favorite writer
being Chelsea Cain. She’s brilliant.
In the romance category, I’m going with Nora Roberts – for her
versatility and kick-ass heroes (though Sandra Brown’s romance is a very close
second.)
For YA…loved Hunger Games trilogy. Melissa Marr is exceptional.
And Laini Taylor is mind-boggling good. So many great YA titles in the past few
years…it’s hard to nail it down.
11. What
ways do you reward yourself for a published book?
Ok, maybe I’m a geek, but I reward myself by opening up a new
document for a book I promised myself I wouldn’t start until the current WIP
was finished. It takes GREAT willpower for me not to start something new.
I also reward myself with a TV series or movie. I think watching
film is as important as reading, especially since I am working on a couple of
scripts.
12. What
hobbies do you have?
I love to craft – and am addicted to www.pinterest.com. I also
love camping and fishing with my husband, biking and hiking, and I’m just
learning how to cook beyond the basics. There’s something very satisfying about
creating a gourmet meal.
13. If you
could spend the day with someone who would it be? (Dead or Alive)
This is going to be incredibly shallow and my husband would kill
me, but I’m going with Ian Somerhalder, the sexy Damon Salvatore on The Vampire Diaries. Every Monday on my
blog I post a muse avatar…he’s more often than not my muse for the week. A
close second would be Kiefer Sutherland, who I think is brilliant on MANY
levels.
14.
What advice would you give to new and upcoming authors?         
Invest in a whole lot of bum glue.
If you’re lucky enough to be born with the gift of
storytelling, that’s a good start. But it isn’t enough. Raw talent will only
get you so far.
Writing takes practice – and you only get that
practice by sitting your butt in the chair and defeating that blank page.  Every day. Or as many days as possible.  (Though Stephen King says he doesn’t even
take his birthday off…)
One of my mentors always says, “Nobody ever got
good at writing by being told how good a writer they are.” The advice seemed
harsh back when I was begging for his praise, but it makes sense now. Sometimes
we become complacent.
Today there all kinds of writing classes for youth
– including awesome summer camps like YouthWrite or InkPulse in Alberta.
Students (of all ages) should always be open to learning.
And reading. There’s truth to the saying that good
writers are always great readers. There really are no exceptions. Carry a book
in your bag at all times, and don’t be afraid to experiment. I love a great
thriller or paranormal romance, but I can get just as wrapped up in a
well-written romance, or a great memoir about writing. One of the best books on
craft is Stephen King’s On Writing.
And lastly, give yourself permission to write
crap. Not every word you write will be perfect prose, or worthy of keeping –
but a bad paragraph can be fixed. Not much can be done to a blank page. Write
your first draft with your heart. Your second with your brain.
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