Q & A With D.G. Kaye – Featuring Diane McGyver – Northern Survival

Today I’m delighted to be featuring Canadian author Diane McGyver. Diane writes fantasy novels, and has recently started her Romance Collection, as she explains – not typical romance, but with themes of adventure, action, survival and awakenings that thread through her stories that take precedence over relationships.       About Diane: Diane McGyver writes stories, some long, some short. Regardless of genre, each story contains a bit of adventure, romance, survival and humour. She loves writing stories with a fantastical theme, but her current release “Northern Survival” is all about surviving in the wilderness after a plane crash. She’s been writing a long time, and the journey has taught her to not squander words. Each new story is more concise with less clutter than the previous. McGyver: “Writing feeds my soul, fills my heart, keeps me wild and gives me freedom few other occupations can give. Why would I do anything else?” Diana writes stories and articles and operates a publishing company based in mainland Nova Scotia. She’s written on many topics over the years, including genealogy, writing, publishing, gardening and history. Since 1997, a few thousand articles have appeared in dozens of  publications, including Saltscapes Magazine, Plant and Garden Magazine, alive Magazine, East Coast Gardener and Canadian Gardening.       Blurb: Olive Tweed planned her trip for two years. She’d vacation at Summer Beaver, gather the research material needed to write the next book and spend a few days hiking the vast wilderness. When she is called home unexpectedly and boards a chartered plane, she never dreamt it would crash, leaving her alone with a man who knew nothing about survival or the woods. If they don’t put aside their differences and work together, they’ll never escape alive. Northern Survival was inspired by a video created by a pilot who recorded the crash of his small plane in Northern Quebec. The only reason he survived was because the plane had a parachute. If you love stories of adventure, survival challenges and characters who test each others ability to endure, you’ll love Northern Survival.   Review: Jacqui Murray VINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 stars How to survive well-below-zero temps with little food, warmth, shelter, or medicine Reviewed in the United States on September 13, 2020 In Northern Survival (Quarter Castle Publishing 2020), two strangers–Olive, a writer researching an upcoming book and and Johnathan, a movie star–are returning to civilization aboard a small plane when a large bird slams into the windshield and crashes the plane. Everyone is killed except Olive and Johnathan and they are stranded in the middle of the frozen Canadian forests. Conventional wisdom says to stay with the plane but nearby hungry wolves convince them they must leave. They have little food, minimal shelter, and no weapons, and both think they know the right way to hike out of the desolate wilderness. That’s their first disagreement but by no means their last. “I can do this.” “I know you can, but you can’t do it like I can because you’re a pampered city boy with no damn experience.” “Leave me alone [rephrased].” Olive has some survival skills while Johnathan has none so she wins. Still, it is a daunting task that leaves them often weak, hungry, thirsty, cold, and frightened. As a reader, I’m left thinking it is only because of Olive’s brutal honesty that they even have a chance: “I don’t expect you to do what I do, but I expect you to tell me your limits so we don’t exceed them and cause unnecessary injuries, which ultimately will slow us down or…” A good read with lots of how-to information if you ever find yourself stranded in below-zero weather with nothing but trees around you.   Well, let’s get down to some Q and A now that we’ve gotten to know a bit about Diane and her books. NB: I would just to like to add here that I have spent over 10 hours over various days trying to fix the format issues you will find below in the Q & A session. I know of many bloggers being forced the block editor on them. I’m self-hosted and have gone through as many WP nightmares fighting off the editor by adding various plugins. For this post there was no way it would double space where I wanted to in order to create whitespace. It was impossible, so I’d just like to apologize for the shoddy formating below, as I had to surrender. Sorry, and thank you. Do events in your daily life inspire your writing ideas? I’ve never given an explanation, but I will today. I think I’m trigger happy when it comes to being inspired. Everything inspires me. From the most exciting events to the mundane. All my stories were inspired by either something I experienced, something someone shared with me, or something I heard about. I take that event, person, name or sensation, embellish it and twist it to create my stories. If I could disassemble my stories, I’d say about 80% of them are true in some fashion. That probably sounds incredible given I write fantasy novels, but when I write about riding a horse, I’ve done that countless times. I’ve been to Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, USA, and while I walked through that castle, I imagined how grand it would be for kings, queens and knights. Even the tight quarters at Rose Blanche Lighthouse in Newfoundland plays a part in my stories when I need such a setting. D.G. – Writing from true situations is something many of us writers do, whether fiction or nonfiction. That’s who we are as writers. Lots of truth in fiction. Do you have any advice you can share for new writers? Never stop learning. The wonderful aspect of this craft is there’s an endless amount of things to learn. As you learn, do not judge your writing to that of others, only to the writer you were last year. Have you improved? If yes, then you’re moving in the right direction. Keep going. If you haven’t improved, buckle down. If you really want to do this, write more, learn more, ask for advice, share your writing and consider the feedback. We learn more from our mistakes than we do our successes. In the feedback, when someone points out a mistake or a weakness in your writing, it’s okay to fly off the handle (in an empty room where no ears but your own hears what you have to say). That negative energy must be released to see the truth behind the comments. Then reconsider the criticism. Was it valid? Let the comments ripen for a few days and return to them. You’ll have a better perspective of their value. Many times I’ve tossed aside comments by fellow writers only to have the comments nag at me until I realise, oh, they may have a point. Now that I know the process—rage, denial, rethinking and acceptance—I don’t hesitate to begin it every time I receive feedback from beta readers D.G. – Great advice. I agree. We learn from every book we write. Do you find your writing is geared toward a specific audience or do you just write what inspires you to write? Long ago, back in the late 1990s, I was often told to learn who my reading audience was and make sure I wrote to please them. I still hear echoes of that sentiment in the writing business, and it’s wonderful advice when writing non-fiction articles for magazines. I believe my research into the readers of the various publications I appeared in was sound because I had a high acceptance rate. That means if I submitted 20 pitches a month, 18 were accepted by the magazine or newspaper. Editors knew what their readers wanted, and they saw that in my pitches. Other writers I knew didn’t do the research, and they often had more than half of their pitches rejected. In my experience, this advice doesn’t fit fiction. Where non-fiction comes from the brain, fiction comes from the heart. Writing fiction from the brain sets one up for a fall, one that usually leads to one of two paths: giving up and seeking other places to make money or switching gears and writing from the heart. I write stories that inspire me, ones that make me think, ones that connect with me emotionally. I don’t write for a particular audience. I feel the audience interested in my stories will find them. D.G. – I agree 100%. We write what resonates with us, and there is a reader for everything. Where do you believe your passion for storytelling originated from? I think I learned to tell stories from sitting quietly and observing my family share their experiences in life. I am number 10 of 11 kids, my father was one of 17 kids, and my grandparents (except for Mom’s mom) were born in the 1880s. There were lots of stories told from many different perspectives. When the older members of the family started passing away, I felt the need to write down their stories to preserve them for the future, both for me to remember and to share with my kids. I was a natural with words, and I filled pages with stories about Newfoundland in the 1930s, shearing sheep, the Eastern Shore in the 1920s, pulpwood cutting, both world wars and how these families who lived far below the poverty line survived through out the centuries by hard work and perseverance. Naturally, my imagination took some of these real stories, embellished them and created fictional stories. The rest is history. D.G. – Life fills us with stories.   Would you like to share with us what upcoming projects and/or ideas for books you’re working on? I have several projects on the go. At the moment, I’m in the final production stage of “the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes” scheduled for release October 27th. I classify it as women’s fiction, inspirational, mid-life awakening with a dash of romance. It starts a few days after Mary’s 50th birthday, on a day she is inspired to try something new. The description for the book is: Mary Lola Barnes has everything: a loving husband, two wonderful grown children, good friends and a lovely home. She has no business asking for more. It doesn’t matter if she feels something is missing. She’s just being silly. After all, what could she ask for? When new friends enter her world, she’s ill prepared for the harsh light that shines on the imperfections in her life. It reveals the emptiness she refuses to acknowledge. Every day, I commit to writing at least 500 words regardless of what else I’m doing in the publishing business. At this time, these words go to my first dystopian novel with the working title “Seed Keeper”. It takes place 28 years after the Devastation destroyed the world as we know it and reduced the population drastically. This leaves a mixed population of those old enough to remember what life was like and a new generation that knows nothing about the conveniences we currently enjoy. D.G. – You are one busy girl! And I love that some of your characters are aged mid-life. Diane is sharing an excerpt from her new release today – Northern Survival, and she adds a bit of backstory: The excerpt is from my most recently published book, “Northern Survival”. It was inspired by a video I watched on YouTube about a man who crashed his small plane in Northern Quebec. The only reason he survived was because the plane had a parachute. I’d never heard of this before and after a little research, my story took shape. The excerpt is from chapter 3, just after the plane crash when Olive Tweed and Johnathan Stone are deciding what to do: stay with the plane or find their own way out of the wilderness. Excerpt:   “Why doesn’t it shock me you have a paper map?” … Continue reading Q & A With D.G. Kaye – Featuring Diane McGyver – Northern Survival