THE WRITER’S ALLEY INTERVIEW BLITZ—ANGIE DICKEN
Author Interview – ANGIE DICKEN
I am a stay at home mom of three rambunctious boys and one sweet baby girl. I am also an aspiring author of inspirational historical fiction. My husband is my best friend and biggest supporter! I love writing, long lasting friendships, good coffee, and girl talk into the wee hours!
“The most important thing to me is my faith in God the father, His Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Second is my family and friends. For me, a relationship with God has made life worth living, full to the max and overflowing. Do you know Him? Read the Bible and you’ll discover a God who is good, merciful, and just.”
rem: Hullo Angie! You’re the first of the Alleycats to pop by my blog for a chat and a cuppa! Welcome, welcome! Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
ANGIE: My dad was in the military so I was kind of raised in several places. My parents are from the D.C. Area (where I was born), and from there we lived in Texas, England, and Virginia. I LOVED living in England from 3rd through 6th grade, and developed my love for story there. British children’s literature is hard to beat, in my opinion! Now, I live in the Midwest with my hubby and four kids. It’s a great place to raise a family, and we’ve made lifelong friends here.
rem: Seriously jealous of the living in England bit! (you’ll have to hear my British accent sometime!) Tell us three things about yourself.
ANGIE: #1 I’ve always enjoyed the arts—was an actress through high school and post-college, have a bachelors in Landscape Architecture, and currently design one sheets for authors. #2 I am an avid chocolate lover. #3 I studied abroad in Italy where my husband proposed!
rem: Good heavens! #1 and #2 we’re practically twins! I’m an actress (see note above) and I’m an Interior Designer! Who knew? What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? What’s your favorite cookie?
ANGIE: You are speaking my language! Ice cream has to be the richest chocolate you can get. Cookie is chocolate chip, hands down. I could eat them like chips.
rem: Or dough, I eat them like dough, either warm (almost/barely cookie status) or straight out of the fridge. Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?
ANGIE: Oh, goodness, only coffee please! Even after British schools and culture, I can not do tea…except maybe chai. I take my coffee with milk…nothing else.
rem: As much tea as I drink, it’s iced! I like hot tea, but give me my jug (and yes, it’s a jug) of iced tea any day! Vacation: beach or mountains?
ANGIE: Actually, I just got back from a vacation in the mountains AND the beach. But definitely, beach. I love a good sunrise by the water.
rem: How lovely! I’m sure you got lots of pics and a million great memories! What is your greatest regret?
ANGIE: My greatest regret is probably chickening out of switching from Architecture to a Fine Arts (history/english) major my sophomore year in college. I didn’t feel like it was “professional” enough. Now, looking back it would have cut out the disappointment of not loving the work of an landscape architect newbie, and I’d probably have a more established writing career!
rem: ah, hindsight, how well I know thy name! Le sigh… What do you most value in a friend? What quality do you most admire in a man or woman?
ANGIE: I value authenticity in a friend. Someone who doesn’t act like they have it all together, and when they have it all together they are humble about it. I also value my friends who invest as much into the friendship as I do. I love my friends dearly, and once you’re a friend, don’t expect to get rid of me. Friendships are lifelong treasures, in my opinion. Maybe that’s because I traveled as I grew up and realized how hard it was to say goodbye to a friend.
rem: Me too, I like my friends (for a reason! LOL) and figure on keeping them, lifelong treasures for sure. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?
ANGIE: Oh dear. I’ve had a tumultuous go of reading over the past few years. I can’t stand head-hopping. And romance has to be done with a low cheese factor, and a more intellectual, less physical way. I am currently in a book club, and I am definitely not loving the crass language and the unapologetic glorification of immorality that seem to enter many NYT bestsellers these days! K—sorry for the soapbox!
rem: You are so right! Sex and immorality does NOT equal romance and love! Believe me, I know… Which book have you read the most in your lifetime?
ANGIE: I would have to say that’s a tie with Jane Eyre and The Chronicles of Narnia. Have read both a few times. At least once as a child or teen, and once as an adult, post-children.
rem: Love them both! Which is more important: plot or characters?
ANGIE: I would have to say characters. If I can’t get into a character’s head, then I don’t really care what happens to them. BUT, there has to be an interesting plot to keep me reading. If I think I know the character and the plot isn’t there, then I probably won’t finish the book.
rem: As DiAnn Mills advocates, it’s a dance of balance between the two! How long have you been an Alleycat? How did you become an Alleycat?
ANGIE: I have been an Alleycat since 2010 when I met Pepper at my first ever writer’s conference (ACFW). I was only there for Saturday, and after feeling completely lost amidst all the writers, I bought a book and tucked into a corner at the hotel Starbucks. I tried to hide until it was over! But, Pepper and Patti Lacy noticed me and invited me to sit with them. After conference, Pepper reached out and invited me to join the Alley. It was the best decision I’ve made on this journey!
rem: Wonderful! I’ve gotten to know Pepper a little bit, and she is just precious. (I gotta admit, I was a little jealous of you all when I first started following your blog!) Tell us a little about your writing journey.
ANGIE: The biggest thing I’ve gained from writing is the community that goes with it. My fellow Alleycats are some of my best friends and are the people who support me through the rejection and hardship of writing in pursuit to publication. I started writing fiction as a child, but seriously pursued publication about ten years ago. Each year, I learn so much about myself and the craft that I can honestly say, it’s probably a good thing that I am not published yet. There are a couple stories that I’ve written in which I am nearly 100% sure they are ready for a readership, but I don’t know if the market is ready for them. So, that’s ok. I’ll wait. I am blessed to be represented by the fabulous Tamela Hancock Murray, and between her support and the support of my Alleycats, I’ve grown a lot more at peace in the wait.)
rem: A-to the –MEN about community! I couldn’t agree more! What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?
ANGIE: I write most of my books in a coffee shop or at the library. Come to think of it, I’ve written a good chunk in my car on roadtrips or parked at a park. I do write at home, but usually the last few chapters when the writing just flows and I can be a bit more distracted by kids and dogs without completely losing focus.
rem: What makes you struggle as a writer? How do you handle it?
ANGIE: I think the hardest thing to handle as a writer is the reading. Once you decide to take on writing your own book, enjoying another author’s book is very difficult. I can hardly turn off my internal editor mode. It’s very frustrating. I want to read for pleasure again! HA! Fortunately, I have come across a few great authors who can still transport me into their stories and get me out of my writer head.
rem: I hear that! I’m perpetually in edit mode! (see my post from last Friday (5-27) on “Editing as you Go”) Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?
ANGIE: Actually, I enjoy both. I love creating…that’s the artist in me. When I get in the groove (it’s been hard lately with family life going at full speed) the joy of designing sentences and emotional descriptions is not just a creative experience for me, but a spiritual one. I feel God leading me in much of my first draft. So much of my heart is revealed to me through that process. But, I also love tightening my first draft. That’s when I can really turn it from a story to a masterpiece. It’s like finding the final pieces to a puzzle.
rem: Yup! We’re twins for sure! What do you enjoy most about being a writer?
ANGIE: The community. I am a social creature. And an emoter. It’s nice to have ears around.
rem: Gotta admit, as much as I love and crave my silence, I’m a bit (ok a lot) jealous of real live connections and community. Le sigh… What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?
ANGIE: #1. Finish a manuscript. #2 Join a critique group. #3 Go to a writer’s conference (ALL of this before querying. I queried before all of this—a huge waste of my time. Really. What I learned from these three things carried me so much faster toward honing in on your craft and your career. So things I recommend not doing: #1 Don’t do a cold query. Basically, query an agent after you’ve met them or interacted with them on Facebook. Don’t expect them to care unless you’ve at least become a blip on their radar. #2 Don’t send anything out without a second pair of eyes. I am blessed with a crit partner who has helped my stories grow deeper and more believable. #3 Don’t think you’ve arrived because of a contest win, a submission request… I think that my hardest bad habit was to think that my goal was just around the corner after I “received the call”–from my agent, from a contest coordinator, etc. But, even the most established authors haven’t truly arrived. It’s a journey, and if you get trapped into thinking you are a hot shot, the emotional fall is probably very long and hard. I’ve landed on my big head plenty of times to know!
rem: And a fanTAStic, roller coaster ride of a journey it is, too! You are a master of One Sheets. Talk about that a little bit.
ANGIE: Aw, thanks! I don’t know about master, but I sure do love to create visuals for stories. One sheets are such great tools to have when you interview at conference. No matter how much I want to say “don’t judge a book by its cover”, unfortunately, I do. I think presenting a story in a professional, eye-catching way makes your story and you as an author memorable to an industry professional. Summers have been one sheet time for me. I have several slots open for any conference goers this fall. Actually, the first couple of clients I book in June will receive a discount. See giveaway below.
rem: I think we all, do, Angie, judge a book by its cover! Anything else you’d like to add?
ANGIE: Thank you so much for the interview! It’s going to be so much fun to see all the Alleycats on here, Robin. I really appreciate your encouragement and support through social media. Good luck on your new website!
rem: Thanks so much, Angie! Happy to have you and the rest of the Alleycats on board! And thanks so much for joining us today, it’s been a pleasure having on my blog!
GIVEAWAY: $25 credit toward a one sheet design if booked in June.
“The greatest part about writing fiction, in my opinion, is the ability to weave foundational truth within a made-up story, enough so that the reader walks away with a deeper understanding of themselves and humanity in God’s light.”
And lookit this y’all! Brand new from Angie! Featuring fellow Alleycat, Amy Leigh Simpson!
Connect with Angie at:
Angie Dicken, The Writers Alley, Alleycats, Author Interview, Interview Blitz, Chat Thursday, One Sheet