Book title: Sir Princess Petra—The Pen Pieyu Adventures
Publish date: 2011
Publisher: Tate Publishing, LLC, Children’s Division
Synopsis: Princess Petra's unusual birthday request sends the royal court into a frenzy, but when she agrees to undertake a knight's quest they can't stop her. Armed with a cake knife and outfitted in the best royal pots and pans, Petra sets off to face a dragon and win her real armor before encountering a bog witch, and an army of the kingdom's worst enemies. Will Petra's kindness and acceptance prove to be more valuable than weapons and armor?
Kasper: It's lovely to meet you in your awesome castle, Diane. I'm a tad jealous. What am awesome place for you to be writing fantasy novels! When did you start writing and why?
I started writing soon after I learned to read. Reading about the adventures that took place in books fascinated me. I decided I needed to make up adventures of my own--in the form of plays that my younger sister and I would act out. I wrote the scripts in which I was always the princess in need of rescuing; my sister was my hero prince (dressed like a cowboy or she would not participate). When the play was ready, we invited the neighbourhood kids to watch. This was the start of my creative need to write.
What made you choose the fantasy genre?
Ever since I was young, I have been fascinated with the medieval era, kings in their kingdoms, princesses on adventures, and dragons in the mix of things. I have written other types of children stories, travel articles, and adult short stories, but my heart is nearest to the childhood adventures in a fantasy world and this is the genre I primarily write in now.
Kasper: I love the medieval era too and feel like you're a kindred spirit. I think it's great that you're introducing young readers to fantasy.
What’s the story behind your intriguing book title?
It’s an odd title for sure and the final title didn’t come to me until the book was in the editing stages at the publisher. I wanted to have an intriguing title that would make people wonder what the story was about. A “Sir” is a male knight. Petra is a princess and a female knight, which, technically, is called a “Dame”. To name her Sir Princess Petra came about because the story is humorous and because she is the first person to become a knight of her kingdom, and quite simply, the king didn’t know what to call her.
Tell us the basic plot of your book?
Petra wants to become a knight to the dismay of her parents, the king and queen who want her to behave like a girl, a princess. The king writes some ridiculous knight deeds in the royal rulebooks to discourage her. Petra chooses one of the knight deeds and sets off to prove herself.
Kasper: I love the idea of her wearing pots and pans for armor. Which scene from your book do you like best and why?
The scene where Petra encounters the dragon, Snarls. It is a humorous scene where preconceived notations are tested, where learning to trust your heart becomes vital to the plot.
Kasper: Snarls sounds like a great character. How do you develop your characters?
I develop characters from the toes up and they are purely fictional. The first stage of developing the characters comes about as I take walks in the forest on my acreage, the forest I call magical and where my creativity soars. After many months of walking, dreaming, and character building, and after I feel I know the characters totally, I start to write their adventures. The writing seems to come easily when the characters are fully developed and as real to me as any person I know.
What are you working on now?
I am nearly done writing the third book in this series. The book has much editing to go through before going to the publisher, and that will take another few months. I am also working on an easy-to-understand grammar book for elementary grades.
Kasper: I bet your fans can't wait to hear the next installment.
What’s your writing routine?
I have absolutely no writing routine except to write constantly in my mind and scribble down notes. When the actual writing-on-the-keyboard muse hits me, I will write for 8 hours straight and sometimes for days on end. It seems I have no physical control over this muse, and when it does visit I wrap my mind around it totally. I don’t really believe in writer’s block because I know I can’t, and don’t want to, force my writing. I wait for the muse to visit and then run with it. The muse usually visits every few weeks and on its own free will.
Describe your road to publishing your book?
The road to getting my first book published was a very long and hard road. After much research on publishers and what they were accepting, I started the submission process. Sometimes publishers wanted exclusive submission and I had to wait months for their answers. Some publishers wanted queries first, others wanted a synopsis.
The manuscript was constantly out somewhere and according to each publisher’s guidelines. Still, the manuscript wasn’t accepted by a traditional publisher until 9 years and 27 rejections later. The manuscript was originally a picture story book and the publisher that wanted it asked me to turn it into a chapter book, which I did. I received the contract. The book was never produced by this publisher because of financial troubles when the U.S. housing crisis hit and the U.S. economy downfall.
After much hair-pulling-out (on myself), it was back to the drawing board of submitting the chapter book to different publishers. Within 6 months, I received another traditional publishing contract. The second book in this series, Sir Princess Petra’s Talent, was produced by this same publisher in 2013.
The moral of the story: do your best writing and just don’t give up.
Tell us which awards your first book has won?
- 2012 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award (Literary Arts). Awarded a medal and $10,000.00.
- 2012 First Runner Up in the Purple Dragonfly Book Award in the Children's Chapter Book category.
- 2013 Honorable Mention in the Reader's Favorite International Book Awards
- 2013 Finalist in the “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading” Awards.
- Also, in 2013, I received an agent contract with Gotham Artists Agency in New York.
Kasper: Wow, that's very impressive! Congratulations.
What type of books do you like to read?
I read a lot of children’s chapter books in every genre. In adult books, I mostly read fantasy, adventures, and the classics are my favourite. I enjoy reading every genre in a well-written adult novels, but I don’t much care for modern romance novels.
List some great books you have recently read:
Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy.
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte.
The Sword of Truth series, by Terry Goodkind.
Who are your favourite authors?
I have so many favourite authors: Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, John Irving, Terry Goodkind, Dickens, Tolstoy, all the Bronte sisters, Mark Twain, Margaret Atwood, Steven King, and of course, Dr. Seuss, C.L. Lewis, J. K. Rowling, E.B. White, Barbara Park, the list just goes on and on.
Kasper: Yes, they're heaps of my faves too.
You like to blog as well; what do you write about in your blog?
On my blog, All About Children’s Books, I write grammar lessons, I do some children’s book reviews, articles about the publishing industry, writing tips, about myself as an author, and some guest posts from professional writers and reviewers. The blog is aimed at writers who write for children.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
I have 5 horses and enjoy riding, playing with my dogs, reading, art, gardening, nature, I also teach art lessons to children, and I am a writing instructor at the Creative Writing Institute where I teach adult classes in writing for children.
Kasper: It's lovely of you to impart your knowledge and experience with others.
Thanks so much for chatting with me today, Diane and sharing your thoughts with us. It's been a pleasure meeting you.
Here are Diane' links everyone. Please take a look at her work, including the Youtube trailer below:
Twitter: @DianeMaeRobinson on Twitter
Barnes and Noble book one: bit.ly/XyYyB3
Barnes and Noble book two: http://bit.ly/1e2PvFL
Amazon book one: amzn.to/WctFHo
Amazon book two: http://amzn.to/1gPU1D5
Goodreads book one: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13368182-sir-princess-petra
Goodreads book two: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18136476-sir-princess-petra-s-talent---the-pen-pieyu-adventures
Book one trailer: http://youtu.be/8-PmNBJL67A
Book two trailer: http://youtu.be/89kQ_ztMfAo
Diane is a member of the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network.
Fantasy Sci-Fi Network:
The Fantasy & Sci-Fi Network is a collection of authors, bloggers, and reviewers who are passionate about finding and creating quality fantasy/sci-fi books which are also teen safe (G, PG, or PG-13 rated). The FSF Network believes it is possible to create fantastic works of fantasy and science fiction without resorting to graphic violence, explicitly harsh language, or sex.
FSFN website: http://fsfnet.com/
Twitter hashtag: #FSFNAuthor