Today I welcome author Diane Munier to my blog. Her latest book, Finding my Thunder, was released earlier this year.
What or who inspired you to start writing?
Words were always interesting. I picked up reading very quickly and devoured books. I had my favorites and learning each page, and scrutinizing any accompanying artwork was the most pleasant pastime.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I tried to believe I was a writer for many years as my standard for knighting myself with the title was not ‘writing’ so much as getting published. I did features for a local newspaper and people began to say to me, “Oh you’re the writer.” That’s how I got used to the handle without feeling like a complete phony. I couldn’t have dubbed myself that, you see. But it was bestowed. Then I believed it. As far as wanting to be a writer, that came very early. Like grade school.
How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?
My books are saturated with my personality and experiences. None of it literal, of course. Well some of it is literal. But largely my life and soul are endless files to be explored.
Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?
I have started my next project. I have not yet published Deep in the Heart of Me, but it is finished and I’m writing its sequel. It is a story about a boy growing up on a farm pre-WWII. The second book, tentatively titled A Young Married Man picks up after the wedding. There are some cruel events on the horizon.
Do you write full-time? If so, what is your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I have written full-time and after years of it I could no longer bear the isolation. I went back to school and my current career is out of that. Now I write in the nooks and crannies and they get more and more narrow. Like arteries filling up with cholesterol. (sorry) Writing being the blood trying to get through, of course. (really sorry)
What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing).
Best advice: Don’t quit. Worst advice: Get a real job.
What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?
Best thing is developing a voice and an audience. Worst thing is the preoccupation. It’s hard on relationships.
What fuels you as an author to continue to write?
An inner desperation to be heard.
How do you conceive your plot ideas?
They are profuse. Crying babies all wanting a bottle.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I just plunge in. Always my style. I fear dying in preparation. Or losing interest before I start. So I just start. And I’m very prolific.
Please tell us about your current release.
Finding My Thunder is about a girl in high school in Tennessee, end of the sixties. She is treading the deep waters of her family’s secrets. To survive them physically and spiritually, she gets old enough to hear the call to save…everyone. She moves into the family’s murky truths, half-truths and lies with the thready hope of youth. She is willing to lay down her energy and will to chart a path that can keep them afloat. But they become the anvil tied to her ankle as she tries to swim. Can she survive them? Can she figure out who to cut loose and who to swim towards? One thing she has always been sure of is her love for Danny. But Danny turned away from her when they were children. Now he is back, looking for something new, maybe looking for her. But Vietnam is looming and Danny is determined to go. She can already feel him slipping through her fingers, like her family, like her life. How can she move out of being the victim of the people she loves? How can she love and yet find her own thunder?
What inspired you to write this book?
The process of growing up and not being devoured by the very ones you are here to love.
How did you come up with the title?
It seemed to come to me. It dawned on me. Hilly’s mission is to find a way to be powerful for the people she loves. But the people she loves are uncontrollable. She is on that painful journey of realizing the limits of her power before she can even experience her power. So where does she turn? Will she be crushed before she gets out of the starting gate? Tune in!
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Wrote it more from a soulish level. Had to sharpen up on a few facts, but just tried to write from that honest place. I know when I’m there. Otherwise it sounds like B.S.
Did you base any of your characters on real people?
Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?
I love all of them. Even the ones I hate.
Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?
This is almost a pun if you have read Finding My Thunder. For Hilly it’s her moment of truth. All of the truths she must grapple with in the story. They gang up on her and she needs to process. That’s a description of grief. The question is, will they go in, in her heart and soul, without crushing her. The question is, what will she learn, who will she become, how will she give.
What was the most difficult thing/scene to write in this story?
If you read the book that will be obvious. It is the scene that makes readers angry or afraid to read the book. I have had readers who feel I let too much happen to Hilly. That’s the same thing we say to God in real life.
Did the story turn out the way you planned from the beginning? If not, what change happened that you didn’t expect?
I wrote many versions of this story. I needed to take everyone to the darkest places so I wrote that. I feel I finally got to the truth. I don’t usually know how it will turn out until I write my way there. In this story, when Hilly cracks I don’t know how she’ll go forward. She surprises me.
If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?
I would be a man! I love writing the male perspective. So Tom Tanner from My Wounded Soldier. He’s a Civil War vet and it’s so much fun to see that world through his eyes. He’s a no BS kind of guy but he’s such a softie. He’s also very jealous and prone to self-pity. What I love about him though? He deals with himself about his failings.
Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?
At my desk. This is almost nauseating in its cliché but I have an old rolltop desk my dad gave me. It’s over a hundred years old. I write there quite a bit. Also in bed.
Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?
Anything salty and detrimental to your health. My lie of choice is that it’s better than a cigarette.
Do you have an all time favorite book?
What book are you reading right now?
Just my own. I haven’t read anything in a longtime as it takes from my writing time.
The story takes place in the late sixties. Hilly Grunier has been in love with Danny Boyd since she was a kid telling scary stories on summer nights at the fire hydrant while Danny pulled close on his bike. But when Danny is thirteen, their friendship ends when he and his brother Sukey have a vicious fight over Hilly. Years pass, and Hilly carries a secret and growing love as she watches Danny rise athletically to the top of their school’s food chain. He even dates the prom queen and rumor says they are engaged. Now Danny has graduated and shows up in her dad’s shop looking for some temporary employment until the army picks him off for Vietnam. He’s thrown aside his college scholarship and the golden girl. He seems to be searching for something new before he leaves town. He seems to be searching for her. Hilly can’t let him go overseas without showing him how she feels. But once he’s gone, her own battle intensifies. It’s a long road to finding her thunder.
About the Author
Living comfortably in the heart of America with the people I love. I live an extroverted life, but I’m a genuine introvert. An urban kid, I spent much of my youth running in various neighborhood establishments. There I met many colorful characters and I learned to love them and be fascinated by them. My love of story comes from them. I learned to sit on a bar stool or a kitchen chair or in a pew and hear story. Hear the voices telling story. See the mouths move and the hands clutching glasses or cigarettes. See and hear the laughter. There is no greater honor than to hear someone’s story. If you feel that way about the tales I tell…what more could I ask.
You can purchase Finding my Thunder on Amazon.