What’s up, TWNers!!!! Long time, no chat, amiright! I know I’ve kinda disappeared for the last couple of months because I’ve been both spending time with family and swamped in drafting Don’t Let Me Go. (I’m nearly there… just a big climax and wrap-up left to go!) All that to say is, I haven’t forgotten my TWN family and will hopefully be back to posting full-time (and I’m talking for real this time, no more slacking off and disappearing for months on end without an excuse) very soon! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy today’s interview with Deigan Marie!
If you don’t know Deigan, then you seriously need to go check out her blog right now! It’s one of my favorite websites and always has such fun, enjoyable content that is positive, helpful, and also presented in an easy-to-read, aesthetically-pleasing way!! When Deigan agreed to this interview, I was so excited to be able to spotlight her on this blog, and I hope she’s the first of many authors I can feature here. If you’ve been following me along in my writing career lately, you’ve no doubt heard me mention all about my debut novel releasing with Sky’s the Limit Press next year (Lord willing). To say I’m excited is the understatement of the year, but I didn’t want this to be a time of just me celebrating because I never would’ve made it this far without so many people and that includes all of my favorite readers at Teen Writers’ Nook! I wanted to celebrate with all of you, so this is just one of many things I have planned! My hope is that in the months to come as we begin counting down until that most-anticipated release day, I want to be able to feature many authors on TWN, some traditionally published, indie published, and those still working through their first novels, and I am so honored for Deigan to be the first! I’ve been
stalking following her blog for a while now ever since I heard she was a big Anastasia Romanov fan because you all no doubt know by now my obsession with Romanov history and I love meeting people who share the same interest! Which was why, seeing how Don’t Let Me Go briefly touches on the Romanovs, I knew I had to have Deigan on TWN. So rambling aside, without further ado, I present dee interview!
Hi, Deigan! Welcome to Teen Writer’s Nook! I’m so excited to be able to have you here so thank you for joining us today! First question!
1. What made you first get into writing?
Wow, this is a hard one. While I’ve loved stories for as long as I can remember, my desire to pen novels as my career was first stemmed by the appalling lack of clean middle-grade books that 10-year-old me could actually read. So, I decided to write my own. My passion then morphed into my passion now for crafting clean YA novels that spread the love of Jesus Christ and plant seeds of hope. <3
Aw, I love that you have a passion to provide clean books for young readers! As someone who nearly stopped reading in high school due to the lack of good books for teens, I share a very similar desire!
2. What would you say is the hardest part with writing and how do you overcome this challenge?
The hardest part of writing? Feeling like my writing is awful. When I read an amazing book that captivates my attention and makes me want to keep on reading, and then I switch over to my own writing . . . it can be pretty discouraging, to say the least. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to a lot of things (writing, blogging, graphic designing, etc.), so I want everything to be the absolute best it can be the first time I do it—which is obviously unrealistic. I am learning to let go of that feeling that I’m not a good writer because my first draft is messy. It can be really hard to battle this feeling, but I’m getting there, through prayer and pep-talks and journaling sessions.
I 110% relate to this!
3. Has there been anything that has helped you grow and improve as a writer?
Oh man, so many things! I would have to say, though, that the biggest thing would be The Young Writers’ Workshop. It gave me a community, a best friend, and a group of willing beta-readers. It has been an absolute blessing in my life, and I would 100% recommend it!
4. What is one book you believe everyone should read (besides the Bible, of course ;)?
Well darn, you stole my answer. 😜 But, besides the Bible . . . The Wonderland Trials by Sara Ella. Y’all . . . this book gives me all the London, rainy, Alice-y vibes—and I’m all here for it. 🥰
Haha, somehow I guessed that would be your answer. 😜 The Wonderland Trials is high up on my TBR!
5. What are your favorite go-to places to find inspiration (i.e. movies, books, Pinterest, etc.)?
Oftentimes, inspiration comes when I least expect it. Like when my brother said, “The Jabberwocky should secretly be a bad guy!” Or when the lyrics in “A Million Dreams” hit just right. Other times, though, I’m actively searching for inspiration for a story. When I do that, usually the first place I turn to is . . . *drumroll* . . . Pinterest! I have a select few friends that have absolute beautiful aesthetic boards for inspiration that I periodically scroll through. One of them is Ava Coulter. Her boards are lovely, and they make my visual brain so very happy. 🥰
6. Can you describe a typical writing session for you? Are there things you do that help you write faster or better (i.e. listening to instrumental music, writing at night/in the mornings, etc.)?
Lately, life has been really crazy, and I’ve realized that my ideal writing session is not always going to be what actually happens. And honestly . . . I’ve been having to force myself to sit down and write. But when I am able to get my butt in the chair and get some writing done, then I will usually . . .
1 | Have a few minutes of just quiet. In this time, I will take a moment to pray over my writing, do some deep, controlled breathing, and maybe recite a few bible verses to myself.
2 | Find the perfect playlist. My brain works best when listening to music—lyrical, instrumental, a mix of both—so I always try to have a playlist for every story.
3 | Light my candle. For some reason, this always signals my brain that, “Oh, it’s time to write, now,” and the creative side of my brain goes 💡!
4 | Grab myself a cup of tea. Yeah . . . there’s no explaining this one. 😂
5 | Start writing.
I love the idea of taking a quiet moment before writing! (Seriously, praying before writing just helps give you the right focus so much!)
7. What do you think is the most important part about writing?
Putting your heart into it. As Ecclesiastes 9:10a says, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” So many young writers write, “just because.” Which is fine . . . if you’re a hobby writer. But career authors like Nadine Brandes and Jane Austen and Sara Ella and so many others? They write because God has put an ultimate purpose on their hearts for this story, and they work at it with all their might. Trust me—readers can tell when your story lacks heart. Ask God to give you a purpose with your story—ask Him to come into your writing and make it the best it could possibly be.
I love this! Such true and important advice! ❤
8. Finding time to write is a big struggle for a lot of authors. How do you balance writing, blogging, school, and life?
Ah, this is my favourite question yet! And my answer? . . . I don’t.
I don’t balance writing with life, blogging, school, etc. Because I don’t believe there is such a thing as a perfectly balanced life.
But I do believe in seasons.
This summer has been one of those seasons where writing stories took more of a back burning, but developing my writing craft and my platform. Pretty soon, with NaNo coming up here in November, I will pull out my stories again. Every season is different for every writer. I know an author who hardly writes in December, because that is a season where she wants to spend more time with her family. And I know yet another writer who, every spring, works on her platform more than her family. Just look at what God has to say about seasons: Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” God will reveal His perfect plan for you and show you your individual seasons.
I’ve asked this question a lot to writers over the years, and this is the first time I’ve heard this approach to it, and I seriously love the perspective you have, Deigan! I think we can all testify to having those seasons where we write all the time and then barely touch our stories, and maybe that’s okay. Even if you can’t find time to write in this moment of your life, be persistent because it doesn’t mean that another season isn’t coming. This is something I’ve reminded myself a lot lately as no one has that perfect writing life, least of all me. Don’t give up on your dreams or your stories because you can’t find time to write now, instead give them to God and trust Him to do what only He can do!
9. Plotter, pantster, or both?
It really depends on the story! My current WIP is indepthly brainstormed, but not a single bit has been plotted. My 2022 NaNoWriMo story? Chapter-by-chapter plotted. My 2023 NaNoWriMo idea? . . . Yeah, I think I’m going to pants that one. 😆
10. Finally, do you have any advice, encouragement, or words of wisdom for teen writers who want to take their writing seriously?
There is one writing rule that I always live by. I have it next to my bed, on my pinboard, and I repeatedly tell it to myself. Want to know what it is? 😏
There are no rules in writing.
And I am being dead serious.
In the words of one of my favourite YDubs Instructors, “We learn rules in writing so we can one day break them.” And as the great Abbie Emmons once said, “Break as many rules as you want, as long as you do it write.”
I’ll give you an example of a recent rule that I heard of that I’ve been breaking since the beginning of my writing career and will continue to break till the day I day. Don’t write prologues. I’ll admit, my jaw hit the floor when I heard that over 80% of readers s k i p the prologue. Pardon moi, what?! The speaker who said that said that if there’s anything important in the prologue to move it to a chapter because readers don’t read them.
So what did I do?
I promptly decided to write a story where every question gets answered in the prologue and only that small 10-something perfect of readers that did actually read the prologue would get.
(Okay, I’m kind of joking right there . . . kind of. 😉)
But let that be an example to you. There are really no rules in writing. Even grammar rules can and will be broken occasionally when the occasion calls for it. Don’t tie yourself to when everybody says is a sure-fire way of writing like I did. And if someone ever comes to you with a list of rules to help you be a better writer, tip your hat, thank them kindly, and get the heck outta there. 😂
I think we all just learned if you’re ever reading a book by Deigan, you better read the prologue if you don’t want to be lost.
Thank you SOO much, Deigan, for joining me today for this interview!!!
Well, readers, I can’t think of a better way to end it than with what Deigan said about learning to break the rules. I think that’s one of the hardest parts in writing, being taught all these rules, mastering them even, and then learning how to break them effectively.
I don’t know about you guys, but I just loved reading Deigan’s answers to each question! If you enjoyed them too, be sure to drop her a thank you in the comments below for taking a bit of her time out of her day to join us here at TWN! I’ll see y’all in the next post,