- a registered nurse with a passion for music, poetry, and literature
Readers, thanks for checking out another Author Spotlight Interview. Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to this week’s guest!
Dianne C. Braley is a registered nurse with a passion for music, poetry, and literature. Dianne has been featured in various online and printed publications, including Today’s Dietician and Scrubs Magazine. Her nursing blog, Nursing the Neighborhood, was named one of the top nursing blogs of 2018 by Nurse Recruiter.
Growing up in Massachusetts’s tough and turbulent inner cities, Dianne has always walked a thin line between her creative dreams and her strong blue-collar roots. From a young age, she found solace from her raw and difficult world growing up in alcoholism in writing and music. Her creative spirit helped guide her through a rebellious adolescence.
Working hard in college, Dianne became a registered nurse like her mother to help others and escape the rough lifestyle of her youth – but she never gave up on her dream of writing, and after caring for a celebrity novelist on the picturesque island of Martha’s Vineyard, the friendship that blossomed between them inspired her to pick up her pencil again and dive into her true calling.
Now the author of her debut novel, The Silence in the Sound, Dianne, still escapes to the Vineyard every summer to reinvigorate herself and channel her creative drive. She is currently pursuing a degree in creative writing. Dianne and her family are firmly planted in a small town north of Boston – but not far enough away to lose her city edge.
Dianne, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most author spotlight interviews start off with the boring stuff, but I know what readers REALLY want to know.
If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?
I’m an animal nut and a staunch advocate for animal rights in every, so I want all of them to come and live with me, most notably those from kill shelters. I’ll take them first as we all should, but on the fantasy side, I’d imagine I’d love a fire-breathing dragon that is friendly and only incinerates the agents and publishers who reject my work. I’m kidding, sort of…
Saving the animals is a great thing to do! Incinerated agents and publishers… maybe not. *grins*
What do you write? And how did you get started?
I write women’s fiction and poetry. Writing fiction I find incredibly difficult, but the stories come to life in my brain, and I feel such a need to tell them, although they never seem to flow as easily and beautifully as they do in my mind. Poetry is my escape in between writing fiction. It allows me to be creative and introspective while giving me a quick fix as I can complete a poem much quicker than a novel or short story. Alternating between the two, I am relatively satisfied if I ever can be.
I can’t remember when I didn’t write in various forms. I remember journaling at eight years old while listening to the song lyrics of 80’s songs like “She’s a Beauty” by The Tubes and Prince’s “Purple Rain,” getting lost in not only the music but the lyrics. It was then I started to journal more in the lines of a song which is poetry.
It’s always nice to work on something you can polish in under a day. I’ve gotten into poetry, myself, of late.
What do you like to read?
I’ve gone through so many phases in reading. After reading Gone With the Wind as a teen, I was so fascinated by the Civil War I think I read every book on its battles, war maneuvers, anything and everything I could find. I think then I went through a crime phase, reading everything about gangsters. I made sure in my 20’s to read nearly all of the classics, which I am grateful that I did because it takes so much time.
Now I read to escape mostly, so I want something lighter but with a bit of substance. I gravitate towards upmarket women’s fiction, such as what I write, which kills two birds with one stone, as I need to scope out the competition.
Sounds like a normal reading pattern to me!
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you
Ignore the critics.
I’ve heard so many people say to ignore criticism, keep moving forward, etc. “Don’t listen to them. Keep going.” Things like that. This is a typical response in many of the writing groups on social media. It seems that it’s usually given by newer writers or those who haven’t put themselves out there much to get critiqued or rejected. Writing is such a collaborative effort, I find. All of the criticism, more brutal critiques and rejections have only made me a better writer.
Never brush it under the rug. Try and hear what is being said, and you might churn out a better piece and save yourself a lot of time. It’s always a punch in the gut to hear negative remarks about our work. Take time to be upset if you need, but try to reevaluate and hear if what’s being said has any substance.
There’s a balance between taking helpful criticism and letting the nay-sayers deflate your sense of capability. While we should always be striving to do better, I like the critiques that draw the best of of me, rather than the ones that use critique as an outlet for their egos.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that works for you
It starts with a simple fact: If you’re not taking the time to write, no other advice can help you. You can outline and make storyboards and character cards, listen to podcasts, read books on writing, etc., but nothing will happen if you are not writing.
First and foremost, writing makes you a better writer. Creating something great takes discipline. Everything great achieved in this world took a large amount of discipline. It is the secret to succeeding in everything. For my book, The Silence in the Sound, I got up every day for two years at five ‘clock in the morning and wrote for two hours before my son was up for school. It is extremely hard, sometimes mundane, and lacks any type of instant gratification, but it’s what’s necessary to conquer a goal.
If you need instant gratification, have a glass of wine or play with your dog. They get you through.
So true. Muses can be fickle and if you don’t make your writing a priority, life will steal your writing time.
Shameless Self-Promotion time!
Finding inspiration where she least expects it, one woman’s life is about to change forever.
Life has not been kind to Georgette. Growing up with an alcoholic father and an enabling mother, she clings to the loving memory of a childhood trip to Martha’s Vineyard to help see her through the bad times; and now, as an adult, she returns to the island to start her life over. Soon she becomes the private nurse for a prize-winning novelist. As the two become friends, he opens her mind to new possibilities.
But everything changes when she encounters the mysterious Dock. Georgette isn’t quite sure about him but finds him irresistible. She quickly loses herself in her relationship despite the inherent dangers that come with him. Torn between her own future or spiraling into a life she tried so hard to leave behind, Georgette must make her most important decision ever.
Sometimes escaping the past isn’t as easy as it appears.