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Thursday, 7 October 2010

First-Time Author Deanna Proach and her Day Of Revenge

By
Deanna Proach

Military Captain Samuel La Font may be hot-tempered and headstrong, but he is certainly not about to flee his war-torn country without a fight. He is determined to stay in France and wage a war against the revolutionaries.
For the greater part of the year, everything works in Samuel’s favor. He has the love and support of his close knit group of friends. His Corsican based family has even recruited several skilled soldiers who are more than willing to die for Samuel’s cause. But, towards autumn, fate takes an unexpected and dangerous turn. Now Samuel is forced to make a choice—get his friends and himself out of France or die in battle against the revolutionaries.
Please welcome the author of Day of Revenge, Deanna Proach to my blog. She was born and raised on the southwest coast of British Columbia, Canada, and has completed her Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in History at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George, BC. Now, she resides in the small, coastal town of Sechelt where she is writing, editing and acting.

I asked Deanna a few questions about her book and her writing.

Is Day of Revenge your debut novel?
Yes it is and it is the very piece of work, or project I should say, that has been published. I've written a few short stories, but have only written them for marks in high school and never considered getting them published.

Can you tell us a little about it?
 Day of Revenge is a historical suspense set in 1793 during the onset of the Reign of Terror. Military Captain Samuel La Font may be hot-tempered and headstrong, but he is certainly not about to flee his war-torn country without a fight. He is determined to stay in France and wage a war against the revolutionaries.

For the greater part of the year, everything works in Samuel’s favor. He has the love and support of his close knit group of friends. His Corsican based family has even recruited several skilled soldiers who are more than willing to die for Samuel’s cause. But, towards autumn, fate takes an unexpected and dangerous turn. Now Samuel is forced to make a choice—get his friends and himself out of France or die in battle against the revolutionaries.

 How much research did it involve?
There is a story behind the writing of 'Day of Revenge', but it is a little too long to relate in this question, so I will give an overview on how it all started.

My love for the French Revolution dates back to the year 2000 when I was age fourteen and in the ninth grade. I had this amazing social studies teacher. Her name is Mrs. Sproule and she was always so passionate about history. I remember, she was especially interested in the French Revolution. She showed us this documentary on the French Revolution and I somehow remember the one scene where the camera focused on the blade of the guillotine rising and falling several times. Good thing it didn't focus in on the people's heads. I know many people would cringe at this and I would too. I'm not a violent person by any stretch of the imagination, but I just happen to find the study of warfare and revolution intriguing because there was so much of it throughout the ages.

Now, to get back to the question: I spent much time in High School and in University researching the French Revolution before I started writing this book. By the time I started writing 'Day of Revenge', I had close to six years of casual research under my belt.

How does it compare with other novels?
 I've seen other published fiction books that were set in France at the time of the revolution, but the most notable work of fiction is 'The Scarlet Pimpernil'. Anyone who read 'The Scarlet Pimpernil' would know that the story follows a British nobleman who travels to France and successfully saves French citizens from the wrath of the guillotine. I haven't read the book, but I saw the film. So, I know it enough to know that the story is similar to my story. But the difference in 'Day of Revenge' is that my characters are working against the government within their own country. I think, though, now that 'Day of Revenge' is published, I will have to find the time to read 'The Scarlet Pimpernil', or a part of it anyway.

 I actually started writing 'Day of Revenge' in the summer of 2005, two and a half years before my independent study commenced and completed the entire first draft in February of 2009. Then came the tedious editing process. At that time, my skills in editing were just budding, so in order to transform this book from rough draft to professional, I took an online course in copyediting and read a book that was dedicated to helping authors of fiction edit their own works. On top of all that, I volunteered at the Surrey International Writers Conference the entire weekend it was held, which was at the end of October. After that, it took me until the middle of December to complete all revisions and copyediting.

Will you be interested in writing another genre?
Yes, I actually plan to write in another genre, and that is suspense. I am a huge fan of suspense stories. I love to write suspense, whether it is in a historical setting or contemporary setting.

Is it going to be part of a series?
'Day of Revenge' is a stand-alone debut novel.

What are you working on now?
Right now I am working on a contemporary suspense titled 'To be Maria'. This is my second book. I'm at various stages in writing this book. I've completed seventeen chapters hand written.


The first chapter has been typed and is in its third draft. Chapter 2-12 have also been typed and are in their second draft. Chapters 13-16 have not yet been typed and transformed to second draft. I left off partway through chapter 17 and plan to go back to it in November when my performances are behind me. I'm aiming to have 'To be Maria' completed by the new year. But, sadly I can't make guarantees at this moment in time. However, I do plan to have it completed--writing and editing--by early spring of 2011.


You write in long-hand? That's commendable.
I wrote most of 'Day of Revenge' on paper, am writing the entire first draft of 'To be Maria' on paper. You can guarantee that I will do the same thing with all of my future books. Some people would consider this old fashioned and very tedious, but I don't feel the same way. I honestly cannot look at blank computer screen and find the right words to say to make a story flow smoothly. My creative process works best when I'm sitting with a pencil and paper in my hands. I also love to have a first draft to work with when I get to the typing process. It makes the editing and revision part much easier for me.


And would you submit To Be Maria to Inkwater?
I would, depending on how things go with 'Day of Revenge'. Right now though, I'm taking things one day at a time.




What audience is Day of Revenge intended?
My book is intended for an adult audience, given that it contains violent scenes and some sex on the side.


That said, 'Day of Revenge' is not full of violent scenes and scenes with steamy romance. I think that compared to some films, TV shows and other literature, the story in 'Day of Revenge' is quite mild. I'm a person who strongly believes in balance. 'Day of Revenge' is set in a very dark and violent time, so I couldn't keep the violence out of my story. At the same time, it has scenes that capture love, humility and togetherness.


How long did it take you to write it, and how many drafts?
Not only was 'Day of Revenge' my first book, but the majority of it was written during my university training. I really didn't start taking it seriously until my grad year. My creative writing professor, Dr. Robert Budde, accepted my application to do an independent study based on the writing of my book-in-progress. He did not go easy on me at all, and I have to thank him for it. Because, if it wasn't for him I wouldn't have become the writer that I am today. I re-wrote the first chapter at least a half a dozen times if not more.


I actually started writing 'Day of Revenge' in the summer of 2005, two and a half years before my independent study commenced and completed the entire first draft in February of 2009. Then came the tedious editing process. At that time, my skills in editing were just budding, so in order to transform this book from rough draft to professional, I took an online course in copyediting and read a book that was dedicated to helping authors of fiction edit their own works. On top of all that, I volunteered at the Surrey International Writers Conference the entire weekend it was held, which was at the end of October. After that, it took me until the middle of December to complete all revisions and copyediting.


Do you have a favourite scene in the book? Can we have a snippet?
I would be more than honored to share an excerpt from my book. Get ready for some hardcore action!

When Henri enters the room, he finds Robespierre briskly pacing his office floor with his right hand placed on his chin. When Robespierre sees the tall man he asks what made him so late. Henri, in a calm manner, apologizes for his lateness and explains that he had gone home to have a morning meal with his family. Robespierre instantly relaxes and admits that that was a wise thing for Henri to do since he would need the strength to listen and understand his leader’s orders. He offers Henri a seat in front of the mahogany table and then walks over to the cupboard behind the desk. While he looks for a bottle of red wine and two goblets, Henri scrutinizes the thick stack of papers on the desk. The small bottle of pen ink and container of stamp ink beside the papers are nearly empty. Henri briefly goes through the mountain of paper, scanning the bottom of each document. Every paper contains Robespierre’s elegant signature beside a red inked stamp. The signature and stamp always signify the dictator’s approval of a criminal’s execution underneath the guillotine. Until now Henri had never seen a documented death sentence with a bold signature and red seal. He quickly pulls himself away from the pile of documents when he hears Robespierre clear his throat.

“I see that you are preoccupied with those documents, Citoyen Varennes. Is there anything in particular that interests you?”

“Er—no Citoyen Robespierre. I have never seen a pile of documents that thick before,” Henri says.

“Well, citoyen,” he says, seating himself comfortably in the large chair, “as you may have noticed by looking through those documents, the threat of uprisings and conspiracies to overthrow my rightful government—our revolution—are imminent all over France.”

Henri stiffens. “Well, Citoyen Robespierre—you did send me to the Rhone-Valley, the region where the uprisings have been quelled in the most violent manner this past June. For this reason, myself and my comrades have heard no one express discontent for the Republique, and there was no talk of any counterrevolutionary conspiracy. After all, we searched a number of people’s homes and found no letters or documents that contain any planned conspiracy against you.”

Robespierre gives him a skeptical look. “So, you are saying that every citizen in that region of France is content with the Republique, Citoyen Varennes.”

“Yes, Citoyen Robespierre.”

“Well, if you proclaim there are no conspirators in the south, then what about the traitor you found and arrested?”

A cold sweat breaks out all over Henri’s body. It causes him to shiver. He uses all the energy left in him to refrain from displaying his fear in front of the vindictive dictator. “The man who I arrested, Citoyen Robespierre, was guilty of carrying a letter that conspired to overthrow your government.”

“I must know everything. What was the content of this treacherous letter?”

The fierce look upon the man’s face makes Henri’s heart flutter. His hands shake uncontrollably. Fortunately, they are where Robespierre cannot see them.

“The letter laid out the entire plan for your demise, but it was not written by the man we arrested. It was written by another man,” Henri says. Damn you Henri! You bloody fool. You are putting Pierre, yourself and your family in danger. Don’t tell him the truth. Lie to him, a voice inside his head screams.

“Well then, what was the name of the conspirator who wrote the letter?” Robespierre says.

“It was signed anonymous.” Now lie to him. Make him believe your lie.

Robespierre twists one of the large pearl buttons on his nankeen coat. “Do you know of the whereabouts of this unknown traitor and his connection with the man you arrested?”

“I know nothing about this man, Citoyen Robespierre. From reading the letter, I presume he is a soldier who once served in the French army.”

Robespierre narrows his eyes. “What is the name of the man you arrested?”

“His name is Pierre La Metz.” Henri says.

“Then, tell me in detail about the written conspiracy.”

Henri pauses. He envisions the horror Josephine would express if she was listening to this conversation. “I honestly cannot remember exactly what the letter said. It was a very long night—and I got no sleep. I only remember that it contained an organized plot to destroy the Republique.”

If you would like to read the entire book you can purchase a copy of 'Day of Revenge' on Amazon.com, Barnesandnobles.com, Powells.com, or directly from my publisher at InkwaterBooks.com.


Are you agented?
No. I did spend all of January and part of February of this year searching for and querying literary agents. But I was met with endless rejection. So, I changed my strategy and started querying small and medium publishers, Inkwater Press, being one of those publishers. I submitted my entire manuscript to them and touched base with them a few times until early June, when the acquisitions editor read my entire manuscript and took an interest in my work.


Since Inkwater Press is a small publisher, I didn't need to have an agent to represent me. However, if I do get noticed by a larger press in the future, I will definitely consider searching for the right agent to handle the contract amongst other things.




Tell me about Inkwater Press.
They traditionally publish 3-4 books a year and also offer self-publishing services to new authors like me. I decided, since 'Day of Revenge' is my first book, I would go the self-publishing route.


All aspiring authors need a place to start and sometimes self-publishing is the best way to get started, that is if you strategically choose the right publisher and/or self publishing service.


The people at Inkwater Press are great people to work with. They are a dream come true. I did have to put forth money to pay for the publishing and marketing of my book. Yet, so far, they are putting their best foot forward to ensure that I get a good start in my writing career. It all starts with a captivating cover art design and an aggressive marketing plan. Would I refer an aspiring novelist to Inkwater Press? Yes.




Are you a full time writer?
Yes and no. Right now, I'm working part time for my parents. I'm also very active in my local theatre community as an actor. Over one month ago I was cast to play the leading lady in 'A Bedfull of Foreigners', a play written by Dave Freeman. The play is put on by the Peninsula Players as dinner theatre which will be performed at a local high-end restaurant the last weekend of October and on the first weekend of November.


Tell us about your acting?
I love acting as much as I love writing. I love to put myself in the shoes of another and I love getting out and meeting new people. I'm seriously considering doing acting professionally when 'A Bedfull of Foreigners' is over. I'm thinking, though, that I would like to do TV and/or Film acting alongside my writing career. I just don't want to write in consolatory confinement.


If Day of Revenge became a film, would you see yourself in a lead role?
If 'Day of Revenge' was made into a feature film, I don't think I would play any of the characters just because of the fact that I'm the author of the book. However, I would like to have some control over which actor plays which character.


Do you have any writing experience?
I have my Bachelor of Arts degree in History. I have also written several short content articles for online magazines, such as Suite101.com, Helium.com and Edubook.com. I've also done some professional blogging for a few companies, but the pay was very poor and I made very little off of the revenue sites that I wrote for. Regardless, it was great to get some professional experience behind me and it greatly helped enhance my writing skills. Now, though, I plan to put all my writing energies into my works of fiction.

Connect with Deanna on:
Day of Revenge is available to buy from:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
InkwaterBooks
Powells









1 comment:

  1. Sounds like it was really hard to write. I enjoy a good historical. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete