Dianne Sagan is a full-time ghostwriter and author. She’s written over 35 editorials for the Amarillo Globe News, a regional newspaper, in addition to short stories and articles published on the internet. Dianne is hard at work on a series of suspense novels..
How did you start writing, and why?
I’ve been the storyteller in my family from about the age of five, but I didn’t really think about being a writer until I was in high school. We had great English teachers at my school, and they taught us how to plan and write essays. I loved that. Later, when I was a young mother, I started writing stories for my children. The first one was a Christmas story about a tree too fat to get through the door of the house.
You have a B.A. in History with a minor in Geography and also earned an M.A. in Communications. Has this helped your writing career? And if so, in what way?
As well as having a broad background in American and world history, one of the most valuable things I learned was how to research. Also, my degree involved lots of writing, and I was encouraged to write articles by my professors. I have a solid background in Statistics and probability, so I have a pretty good feel for what is “likely” and what isn’t.
The Communications degree I earned also included a lot of behavioral studies, and that gave me important insights into what people really do in real situations.
What is your writing process like?
I do my research before I start writing, and I do a lot of writing in my head before it ever hits the paper. When I start to write I have a pretty good idea of what I want to say, so most of the time it just flows. writing.
I write every day – except Sundays. That’s my day for church and family. My best time for writing is from about 11:00AM to 3:00PM. But I guess I’m a living example of the idea “writers write because they have to.” It seems I always have something going on in my head, either consciously or subconsciously, that demands expression, and sometimes it pops up “paper-ready” at really odd times – like the middle of the night. Fortunately my husband understands!
Do people ever ask you why you have chosen to be a ghostwriter instead of writing your own books?
Yes, I get that question a lot. My goal has been to be a freelance writer and to be able to live well from my work. That isn’t always easy to do when selling my own work. When this opportunity came along, it was a perfect fit. Ghostwriting provides a good income on a steady basis, and although I have less time to work on WIP’s under my own byline, it is well worth it. It also gives me experience and a track record for being able to complete books and make deadlines. It has also helped me prove to myself that, yes, I really can write a first draft of a two hundred page manuscript in four weeks!
Speaking of your own books, you mentioned to me that you have a few works in progress. Is there anything you would like to share with the readers here?
I’ve been shopping a novel of mine with the working title of “Brittany’s Story.” It’s the story of an abused woman who escapes to a shelter with her three children and her experiences trying to stay one step ahead of her violent husband while going through the court system. It is written as a suspense novel and is unlike any other book about spousal abuse. It offers hope and a light at the end of the tunnel even though, throughout the manuscript, the reader is never sure if she will survive. I believe it is unusual, too, because the theme is not so much revenge as redemption, courage and triumph.
You told me that you enjoy going to Writer’s Conferences. Can you tell us about your most memorable experience?
My most memorable experience was pitching my novel to Rodney Morris, who is now at NavPress. At the time, he was the Senior Fiction Acquisitions Editor for Multnomah Publishing in Sisters, Oregon. (Multnomah is one of the big houses for Christian Fiction.) After my fifteen minute pitch he asked me for a book proposal. I sent it to him, and it made it all the way to the Editorial Committee before it was turned down. I got some good feedback and encouragement from them, though, along with the pleasure of seeing my first novel get so far beyond the “slush pile.”