Dori Ann Dupré
Today LifeOfWriters.com is hosting Dori Ann Dupré with touching and inspiring writing related answers. Dori was born and raised in New Jersey and is a veteran of the United States Army. She is the author of the international award winning debut southern novel, Scout’s Honor. Her second book, Good Buddy, is coming in late 2017.
What does your typical writing day look like? Do you have a daily or weekly word count?
My typical writing day unfortunately starts with a "real job." However, other than interacting with fellow writers and authors online, my writing time is spent working on Works in Progress, such as a new novel, a short story, a poem, a journal entry, an essay, a blog post or book review and of course, reading. Since reading is such an integral part of improving my writing, I consider it writing too. I do not have a daily or weekly word count but I do try to write every single day, even if it's just a short sentence.
Where is your favorite spot to write? And why?
Lately, my favorite place to write is in bed, underneath my favorite quilt. It is comfortable there, not just physically but emotionally. This helps my writing become free flowing and intimate. My two dachshunds easily nestle themselves right along side of my legs, making me feel even more snuggled in.
What is your favorite part of writing?
My favorite part of writing is when a story just starts to write itself. I am one of those writers who have an idea in my head but am not quite sure where it's going until I sit down and start hammering on keys. It amazes me how this happens to me time and time again. It's almost a creative chemical reaction or mathematical equation: Idea + sitting down and hammering on keys = Story. Some stories or poems are better than others, and obviously, editing helps shape everything into something worthy of being put out there. But the phenomenon of creativity birthing itself during the physical act of writing never ceases to amaze me.
Let us know about your journey to becoming an author.
I have been a writer my whole life, but it wasn't until my youngest child went off to college that I considered sitting down and writing a novel length story that I had in my head for many years. One day, I sat down at the kitchen table and started. Five months later, Scout's Honor, my first novel, was written. Once I had the manuscript completed, I began to try to figure out what to do with it. I submitted letters to agents and either received no response or a standard rejection form letter. It was very frustrating because all I wanted was for someone to read my manuscript. After playing that infuriating game for a few months, I decided to seek out small publishing houses that accepted full manuscripts and not just query letters. I stumbled upon a start up publisher claiming that it published "Bold Stories by Bold Voices" and it accepted full manuscripts. I decided that Scout's Honor was a bold enough story and so I submitted it. A couple of months later, I received an email from a woman who then became my very first editor. She wanted my book. I had a lot to learn and there was much work to be done on that original manuscript, but on April 14th, 2016, my debut novel, Scout's Honor, was released. During this time, my healthy, active, 46 year old husband - out of nowhere - was diagnosed with terminal cancer. In fact, my book launch day was spent in the chemo ward with him, as he received treatment. The editing - and then publishing of - Scout's Honor was the one bright spot in the life of my family during an absolutely horrifying and dark time. My husband was very supportive of my journey to becoming published and he was proud of my finished product. One of the last things that he shared with me in this author journey was when I told him, several days before he passed away, that Scout's Honor received its first award. It had been named the Bronze Medalist for Southern Fiction at the 2016 Readers' Favorite International Book Awards. He was very proud of me and the book. Just this week, I learned that Scout's Honor was named a Finalist in the 2017 Eric Hoffer Book Awards. Because of what happened to my husband, I began to turn the focus of my book's promotion toward raising awareness and funds for causes that would honor his life. All proceeds from Scout's Honor in 2016 went to a fund I set up at the University of North Carolina Lineberger Cancer Hospital for Colon Cancer Research. After my husband passed away, I started the Eric DeJong Memorial Fund at the Gary Sinise Foundation, which provides smart homes for severely disabled veterans. My husband was a veteran and I know that he would have been proud to have his good name attached to this wonderful charity. My author journey is not one that I wish on anyone but I am glad that my husband was able to see this book come alive.
What is the best writing advice you have got?
My advice in writing is this: Just write. There are no rules.
What are you writing on at the moment?
Write now (ha ha), I am in editing for my second novel, Good Buddy. This story is meant to be an homage to step fathers and the men who raise children who are not their own. I actually started writing it, inspired by my husband, long before he became sick. The (unedited) book jacket verbiage is: "Jonathan “Buddy” Cordova is a small time criminal defense lawyer living paycheck to paycheck and practicing law out of his house in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He likes to think of himself as a modern day Atticus Finch, the kind of attorney who represents the poor, the indigent, the 'probably guilty,' the kinds of clients who usually end up in jail. Shy, painfully awkward around pretty women, and carrying his own dark secret, Buddy falls for the daily jogger - Julie Saint, a part time Kindergarten teacher and Army widow with a little girl named Molly. Consumed with love for his ready-made family, Buddy is the epitome of a husband, father and stepfather. Bonded over their mutual childhood losses, Molly and Buddy are not just stepfather and stepdaughter, but they are the best of pals. When tragedy strikes, and the past at last comes back to for its reckoning, the question becomes…what really makes a father? What kind of love resides in the heart of a man who takes on the raising of another man’s child, having all the responsibilities…but under the law, none of the rights?" In addition to this novel coming out later this year, I have a short story, "Water Island," coming out with Pen Name Publishing's second charity anthology. I also just recently submitted my first short story, "Pale Space," to the LifeOfWriters contest!
What do you read and how often do you read?
I read almost everyday, either a book club pick, an indie author book that is in need of a book review, and sometimes books that happen upon that just slap me in the face. I like Jodi Picoult novels a lot, and for nonfiction, Malcolm Gladwell walks on water. I will read anything and have been floored by how many unheralded and talented independent authors out there. My publisher put out some incredible literature last year and this year, there are some amazing debuts headed to shelves. It has been a great privilege to read their work. I think that reading the writing of people who are much different than I am is key to my own growth as a writer and so expanding my consumer reader palate has been one of the best things to happen to me as not only a writer and reader but as a human being.
Find Dori on her social media:
YouTube: Dori Ann Dupre
Good Reads: Dori Ann Dupre
LinkedIn: Dori DeJong