Dee: I write about intuition and that’s how I work. I’ve never had a very structured life and I find I get the best from my writing when I work intuitively. I always have faith that the direction I need to go in next will come, as long as I don’t push. I use drawings of my Arkrealm characters to keep my connection with them when writing. Almost everything in my life is geared around writing, including my holidays and I often dream my next chapters.
Paul: If someone had the power to step into your creative mind what would they see?
Dee: I’m always contemplating ways of getting the most from people and in particular my readers. So my creative mind is filled with ideas to inspire. Every word I write is angled towards helping people see the positive side of life.
Paul: Do you have a favorite character in each of your series, aside from the lead? If so, which one and why?
Dee: I’m partial to two of the characters who create humor in an otherwise adventurous and dramatic journey. One is Replikye, Arkrealm’s orange leader and the other is the yellow apprentice, Yozone. I love riding the wave of tension and then being thrown into a comical scene.
Paul: How do you find the time to write?
Dee: If I’m starting a new book I like to do it while I’m on vacation. Being in a new setting always brings inspiration. I often write at night into the early morning. I taught dancing at night for most of my life so I’m an afternoon/night shift kind of girl. I rarely work in the morning because I love writing and once I start it is hard to stop and nothing else gets done.
Paul: What is one thing you hope I do not tell the readers?
Dee: That Sandy Miller’s feelings of inadequacy are based on my own feelings as a teenager.
Paul: If you are self-published, what led to you going your own way?
Dee: Because my series encompasses fiction and non-fiction working in harmony as a series and it was something that wasn’t normally done, I felt it may prove a struggle to get a publisher on board. Also I knew the exact direction I wanted my series to head in and I didn’t want publishers coming in and changing my vision just to fit in with their financial needs.
Paul: Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Dee: I have an outline of the story, start, end and major arcs. My characters are defined through my color system, so I then let them shape the story as their personalities come through. Sometimes the story goes in a direction I don’t suspect just because one of the characters jumps out of a scene and takes control. I go along for the ride. It’s exciting to write and not know all the answers.
Paul: Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Dee: In my early drafts of the first book I over-edited in an effort to reach perfection. It wasted a lot of time because by the time I got to the end of the story many of the heavily edited chapters were scrapped completely. I am currently writing the second novel and the workbook in unison with the approach of writing the whole thing before doing any major edits.
Paul: Do you have to do much research for your stories?
Dee: I have been studying and planning this series for eleven years, so much of my research has already been done and much of what I write about is from experience. However, I did have to research the information about The Country Fire Authority, protective services for wildlife and the environment, and motocross.
Dee: My first book, Arkrealm The Apprentice, is about fifteen-year-old Sandy Miller becoming the first human apprentice for the ethereal world of Akrealm. Balancing her everyday teenage life with her secret identity of environmental superhero in training creates problems for Sandy. She fears she is losing the grip on her dream of dating heartthrob Ridge Elliot and when she faces the full force of Mother Nature and deadly enemies she fears she won’t live to experience her first kiss.
Paul: What inspired you to write this book?
Dee: I wanted to help young adults find themselves, and hopefully avoid the difficulties of the teen years. I wanted to do this in a fun way that would be inspiring, exciting and different because after working with teenagers for years I knew that teenagers respond to an approach that encourages them to embrace their passion.
Paul: Do you also write any poetry, non-fiction or short stories?
Dee: I do all of the above. The workbooks in The Arkrealm Project are non-fiction self-help books and I have had articles published in magazines associated with psychic and spiritual development. I have always created poetry for birthday cards because I like to create a personal message, but I’ve never thought of publishing poetry. I enjoy writing short stories because I think it’s wonderful practice for the editing process, but I’ve never focused on them from a publishing prospective.
Paul: What’s your favorite / least favorite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Dee: It takes a lot of work to write a book. After years of work I smile when I hear someone say nonchalantly, “I think I’ll write a book.” If you are not passionate about writing don’t even try. If you do write and you get to the publishing stage it really hits you just how much competition you’re up against. Although I had focused on creating a series with brand and merchandise potential the hardest part has been the initial marketing stages. It is still early days so I won’t know for a while if all the work is paying off.
Paul: What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have any hobbies or party tricks?
Dee: To be honest my life revolves around writing. I enjoy photography, but I focus on images I can use for my book trailers. I am an intuitive artist, which helped keep me visually connect with my characters. I am a member of a writer’s group because I enjoy working with other writers. I am always studying writing and am currently doing a screenwriting course. I am also doing courses on Photoshop and several other web development programs. I’m always looking for new ideas. I find learning exciting.
Paul: Many thanks, Dee. That was most interesting. I wish you every success for the future.
Dee's Blog: Dee Rayson
Dee on Twitter: @DeeRayson
Dee on Facebook: Dee Rayson
Dee's latest book: Arkrealm: The Apprentice (Amazon)