Thursday, February 27, 2014

Deanna Klingel
“Hi diddle de dee, An actor’s life for me.” Pinocchio. He’s one of my favorite friends. I used to have him in a marionette, a doll and a hand puppet. Many of my friends, like Pinocchio, are make believe book characters, who became real to me at various stages of my life. I was Beth or Amy or Jo for days on end. I created an entire set for Wind in the Willows in our backyard and waited by the window to see if the critters would come. I wonder how many writers had these habits as kids? I’ll bet a lot did. Maybe several of us became stage actors. I don’t remember ever wanting to be an actress. But when Hans Brinker came into my life I wanted to ice skate and I asked my immigrant Sunday School teacher to teach me “Dutch.” I suddenly loved all things Dutch. 

Being a writer is in many ways like being an actor. We spend hours studying our lines, rewording, making them more real, more believable. We become our characters. We define our sets to bring our audiences close to the action, and we use those set props to show rather than tell both action and emotion. Our character must have depth. He or she can’t just stand there on the page or the stage and look good, with “sparkling blue eyes.” He has to move. He has to feel. He has to overcome, grow. He must be loved or hated. He must be memorable. 

The biggest difference, I imagine, between actors and writers, is the world they work in. Actors work in chaos, lots of people moving about, everyone in charge of a different aspect of production, wardrobe, sound, props, script. A writer works in a quiet world where she is in charge of every aspect, wardrobe, sound, props, also the story line, the plot, the outcome. She is in charge of the story. 

Actors and writers travel to visit Place, meet their audience and promote their work. At the end of the day, the actor has a team of PR, publicists, promoters, studios, who do all the plotting of the marketing effort. The author, not so much. When the curtain comes down on the computer screen saying “The End,” for the writer it’s the beginning. For many writers this is the most difficult part of the job. If we wanted the job of self-promotion, if we wanted center stage, we could have taken our talent, creativity, love of word production and scenes and become actors. But, we chose a quieter scene, one where the book is the star rather than the author. To step out of our “work clothes” and leave our desks to self-promote is an uncomfortable curtain call. 

Deanna Klingel ~ Civil War
I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed the travel. Two of my middle grade books are historical
fiction which I market at Civil War events. I’ve visited places that aren’t even on the map, met some wonderful characters and collected “scenes” for future work. The best part of that experience has been meeting the audience, which I do with school visits and museum events. 

I enjoy the challenge of finding new places to market various books. Most writers I know have a niche they write for, so once they establish their market they reuse their resources. I write in various genre for different ages, so each book becomes unique in the marketplace. It’s a challenge, an education unto itself. 

My next book out on the stage is Rock and a Hard Place: A Lithuanian Love Story. The actors in this story, my characters, are real people. This is biography, history, culture, romance, YA, religion. The challenge in marketing this book is also going to be the fun learning experience. I’m discovering Lithuanian festivals, newspapers, organizations, foundations. Hans Brinker sent me into all things Dutch; Vytas and Donna are introducing me to all things Lithuanian. I can’t wait to get this book in front of the audience and move into the curtain call. I want Rock and a Hard Place to become a star. Then I’ll recluse back to my quiet writer’s world of make believe. Hi diddle de dee, a writer’s world for me. 

Deanna lives and works in the mountains of western North Carolina with her husband Dave and golden retriever Buddy. Their seven children, eleven grandchildren and one great grandchild are all in the southeast where they enjoy visiting them. Deanna travels extensively with her books speaking at museums, civic organizations, historical events and schools. She writes primarily for YA but also has picture books for the little ones. 

Don't forget to stop by The Borrowed Book tomorrow, when you can enter to win a free copy of Deanna's latest release, Rock and a Hard Place!


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