Part Four: Interview with Diane Lynn McGyver

Quarter Castle Publishing sat down with Diane Lynn McGyver and talked with her about her upcoming release Nova Scotia – Life Near Water, her first anthology. In the coming weeks we’ll post pieces of this interview here.

DON’T FORGET to enter the Goodread Giveaway for Nova Scotia – Life Near Water.

QCP: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?Anthology01
Diane Lynn McGyver: Besides finding time to write? Personally it can be a real challenge to create the setting. I often catch myself with characters moving from one room to another or entering an outdoor space and nothing is described. Not the colour of the walls, the nearby fountain or the noise of the vehicles passing by.

My focus is on the characters, what they’re saying, how they’re feeling and what they’re doing. I have to stop and think: What are they wearing? Is it raining? What room of the house are they in? Is there a television in the room or an elephant?

I often write an entire story before I realise I didn’t describe the character. Unless the feature played into the story, I seldom tell readers the colour of their hair and eyes, that they had a limp, that they were short or tall or bald. I guess those things don’t seem important to me, so it’s a challenge to remember that readers want to know some of these details.

After I complete the first draft, I go back and add in all these things to create a more vivid picture of the characters and setting.

QCP: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Diane Lynn McGyver: I learned you can’t rush things. Things get done when they are meant to get done. The oldest short story in this collection is War on His Shore. I began writing it about ten years ago. I had an idea of what the story would be like, but I didn’t finish it until this past summer. Something just didn’t feel right, so I had kept putting it off. The only other story that took almost that long to write was Miss Tuttle’s Lemon Tarts. That was about eight years in the making.

Now that I know stories come at their own speed, I’m not worried about the next anthology. It will be done when all the stories are ready and not a day before then.

…more about Nova Scotia – Life Near Water with Diane Lynn McGyver next week. Look for the short story collection in softcover (in both standard and OpenDyslexic font) soon. The eBook is now available.

If you’ve missed Part I of the Interview, check it out here. Part II is found here. Part III is here.

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Part Three: Interview with Diane Lynn McGyver

Quarter Castle Publishing sat down with Diane Lynn McGyver and talked with her about her upcoming release Nova Scotia – Life Near Water, her first anthology. In the coming weeks we’ll post pieces of this interview here.

DON’T FORGET to enter the Goodread Giveaway for Nova Scotia – Life Near Water.

QCP: What are your current projects?Anthology01

Diane Lynn McGyver: I’m editing two projects at the moment. One is my first Christmas-themed novel and my second romance: Twistmas – the Season for Love. The main character lives in Cole Harbour—the community in which I grew up and ‘home of Sydney Crosby’—and works as a manager of a camera shop. For more than two years I had worked at a similar shop, so I used the experience when crafting this story.

I’m surprised by the comfort zone I’ve slid into while writing about my former stomping grounds. It’s like taking a trip home every time I read it. The novel is scheduled for a late November 2013 release.

The other project I’m editing is the short story Blade of Truth. It’s part of the Castle Keepers Tales that provide extra stories about characters who appear in Shadows in the Stone. Book two of the Castle Keepers series—Scattered Stones—will be released next spring.

Between editing these two stories, I’m writing a short story with the working title Twenty-five Dollars of Time. I’m not sure this title will stick. I don’t feel completely satisfied with it. This is the first short story I’ve written which fits into the literary genre. It’s about Mort Bremann, a man of little action, but loads of thoughts. His visits with long-time friend Julie Parsons have never gone as he expected, but he hopes this visit will have different results.

QCP: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Diane Lynn McGyver: Certainly. This is a clip from Miss Tuttle’s Lemon Tarts, one of the stories found in Nova Scotia – Life Near Water.

“Cream, dear? Milk? Sugar? Honey? So many choices. These days we have it all: cream and milk, milk and cream. Back in my days there was nothing but cream and honey. We didn’t have the doctors we have now. No. Those doctors prescribed the cream and honey. Now, they take it away.” Miss Tuttle stopped in front of Rita holding two dishes. “Cream or milk in your tea, dear?”

Rita wanted to say, I prefer coffee, but instead said, “Cream, please.”

Miss Tuttle set the cream in front of Rita and flew off to gather spoons. “The lemon tarts are fresh. Made them only today.”

That was strange. Rita thought the tarts were amongst the groceries this morning. Maybe Miss Tuttle had forgotten she bought them.

“I prefer cream myself,” whispered Miss Tuttle and looked around as if someone was spying in the window. “But the doc wants me to use skim milk.” She laughed as she collected two napkins from the counter top.

Rita smiled. Miss Tuttle’s laugh sounded more like a sheep’s bleat.

Miss Tuttle plopped herself down on the soft cushion of her chair. She busied her hands arranging everything just right on the table. Once satisfied, she picked up the tea pot and poised it over Rita’s cup. “Tea?”

“Yes. Please.” Rita had noticed a touch of English accent in the woman’s speech, but wouldn’t have guessed she was from anywhere but Nova Scotia. Maybe it was an Eastern Shore dialect or perhaps she had family across the pond. Given her mannerisms for tea, maybe she had been born in England.

Miss Tuttle filled Rita’s cup and placed the tea pot on the cosy. Looking about, she noticed her own cup was empty. “Oh, I suppose I could have just a wee bit more.” Miss Tuttle filled her cup then reached for the cream. “Cream is the best, isn’t it, dear?”

Rita nodded and wondered if Miss Tuttle always ignored her doctor’s advice. She watched as she added a spoonful of honey, neglecting the artificial sweeten she had placed out for herself.

“It’s a fine day when one can have a sweet cup of tea, just like the doctor ordered. Tart?” Miss Tuttle gestured towards the round lemon-filled pastries.

…more about Nova Scotia – Life Near Water with Diane Lynn McGyver next week. Look for the short story collection in softcover (in both standard and OpenDyslexic font) and eBook on October 3, 2013. If you’ve missed Part I of the Interview, check it out here. Part II is found here.

Part Two: Interview with Diane Lynn McGyver

Quarter Castle Publishing sat down with Diane Lynn McGyver and talked with her about her upcoming release Nova Scotia – Life Near Water, her first anthology. In the coming weeks we’ll post pieces of this interview here.

QCP: What book are you reading now?DLM-OfficialBaWJPG

Flying with a Broken Wing by Laura Best. It’s about Cammie Deveau (aka Cammie Turple), a visually impaired girl abandoned by her mother and taken in by her Aunt Millie. The story takes place in Tanner, Nova Scotia just after the Second World War. Best is a Nova Scotia author, and this is her second book, released this month. I was introduced to her when I read Bitter, Sweet, her first novel.

QCP: Do you write an outline before every book you write?
Diane Lynn McGyver: I tried using an outline once, but it didn’t work for me. When I begin a story, I have a basic outline in my head of what will happen, but I never write it down. It’s stuck up in the brain on a sticky note that never disappears.

Often times the only thing I know about a story is at which point it begins and where it ends. I discover all the ‘stuff’ in the middle on the journey from point A to point B. And for me, that is the greatest fun about writing. I never know what the characters will do from one scene to the next. I just have to make sure they arrive at their destination.

…more about Nova Scotia – Life Near Water with Diane Lynn McGyver next week. Look for the short story collection in softcover (in both standard and OpenDyslexic font) and eBook in October 2013. If you’ve missed Part I of the Interview, check it out here.

DON’T FORGET to enter the Goodread Giveaway for Nova Scotia – Life Near Water.

Part One: Interview with Diane Lynn McGyver

Quarter Castle Publishing sat down with Diane Lynn McGyver and talked with her about her upcoming release Nova Scotia – Life Near Water, her first anthology. In the coming weeks we’ll post pieces of this interview here.Anthology01

QCP: You set all the short stories in Nova Scotia – Life Near Water in Atlantic Canada. Why did you do this?

Diane Lynn McGyver: The simple answer is: Because I love Atlantic Canada. I love the landscape, the people, the small communities, the unique cultures and I particularly love the ocean.

The long answer is: I think Atlantic Canada is unique and very interesting. I love reading stories that take place where I may have lived or visited. Sure the wild west is cool, but so are the beaches of Nova Scotia and the shoreline of Newfoundland. I find there are not as many stories set in Atlantic Canada as there should be which leads others to think we are not very interesting. Worse is the fact that because there are limited stories set here, there is limited sharing of local culture, history and way of life.

Through my short stories I hope to not only give readers a sense of pride knowing that this story took place right here, but also a sense of knowledge of what is possible along our beautiful shores in our lives near water.

QCP: Are the short stories based on someone you know or events in your own life?

Diane Lynn McGyver: Each of my stories contain elements that actually happened in my life or events I witnessed. I think all writers can take a little bit of this and a little of that from their lives and inject it into a story. I am no different.

In the short story The Ocean Between Them the two women get lost in the fog off the coast of Newfoundland. This particular event has not happened to me, but I’ve used my adventure of being consumed in fog while in a small row boat on the Liscomb Harbour as the basis of that story. I learned fog can move in quickly—in the blink of an eye—and if you don’t know the area well, you could easily get lost.

I shared more of this experience in a blog post: The Fog that Inspired a Story.

Often times a story idea comes from one unbelievable but true fact such as that of a person growing up with a name they believed all their lives to be theirs until a government document says otherwise. This happened more than we realise in rural communities of Nova Scotia. Dancing in the Shine came to life because of this amazing fact.

Little details can also make their way into a story. In the tale War on His Shore I used the ship Letitia because my uncle Everett was transported home during the Second World War on this hospital vessel.

The entire story evolved from a need to experience in words that period of history because my father and three of his brothers enlisted and saw action. I also wanted to imagine what it was like for anyone who couldn’t be a fighting soldier because of personal convictions.

So yes, little details always make their way into a story.

…more about Nova Scotia – Life Near Water with Diane Lynn McGyver next week. Look for the short story collection in softcover (in both standard and OpenDyslexic font) and eBook in October 2013.