10 Questions: Dena Garson
Welcome to 10 Questions! Each month, we’re going to talk to a different member of Passionate Ink and ask them 10 questions about their writing and interests.
Today we’re talking with Dena Garson, an award-winning author of contemporary, paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi romance.
Dena, before we ask you our 10 questions, tell us a bit about yourself.
DG: I’m the mother of two rowdy boys and two rambunctious cats (a.k.a. the fuzzy jerks). When I’m not writing, you can find me at my sewing machine or stringing beads. I’m also a devoted Whovian and Dallas Cowboys fan. I hold a BBA and an MBA in Business and work in the wacky world of quality and process improvement. Making up my own reality on paper is what keeps me sane!
1. I think that’s true for a lot of us. Let’s dive in: Do you think a big ego helps or hurts writers?
DG: I suspect a big ego would hurt a writer more than help. Writers have to be able to accept feedback from their editors rather than assume their manuscripts or books are perfect. And writers have to be able to look beyond harsh reviews without engaging the reader/reviewer/poster.
2. Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
DG: Yes. I have an entire bookcase plus a Kindle full of TBR books that I have stared at without finding anything that appealed to me. When that happens, I pull out one of my old reliable favorites and re-read it.
3. Do you try more to be original or to give readers what they want?
DG: I try to be original. I have never written to market demand. My muse—fickle thing that it is—just doesn’t work that way.
4. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
DG: I am friends with lots of other authors, but I couldn’t begin to write all the names down without fear of leaving even one of them off the list! They help me be a better writer by letting me bounce plot ideas off of them, answering questions about historical England or other things they may have researched in depth, sharing industry news or upcoming opportunities, giving advice, or just commiserating with me when things go wrong in my writer life.
5. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
DG: I would prefer each of my books to stand on its own. I have only recently started writing follow up books where the books have shared characters but totally separate plots.
6. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
DG: A new laptop when my previous one started locking up and became painfully slow connecting to the internet.
7. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
DG: More than I am willing to admit to (or count accurately). But it is definitely in the double digits.
8. How do you select the names of your characters?
DG: I use baby name websites. Sometimes I just look up names until the meaning sticks with my idea of that character. Other times I “know” the first letter then review names that match the culture or time period of the character.
9. What is your favorite childhood book?
DG: I have a set of hardcover Alice in Wonderland books that I have had since I was a child. I can’t say that I’ve read them over and over, but the books are special to me.
10. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
DG: Yes, actually I DO write under a pseudonym. When I was first published, I wrote for Ellora’s Cave—a publisher known for erotic romance. Several of their published authors highly recommend using a pen name to make it harder for the guys in prison to contact you (that is literally what I was told, LOL). In addition, at the time, my kids were elementary school age, so I felt a little separation from my author life wouldn’t hurt where they were concerned. Now that they are older, I’m not so worried about it and I like my author name/profile/life.
Thank you, Dena! It was great talking with you.
We look forward to talking with more PI members in the months ahead. If you’d like to participate in 10 Questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.