Monday, May 6, 2013

A Chat With Deanna Proach, author of To Be Maria

Deanna ProachDeanna Proach graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Northern British Columbia in 2008. She initially trained to become a teacher, but decided, in her last year of post-secondary education training, to pursue a career in writing instead.
Since then, Proach has written two novels: DAY OF REVENGE (Inkwater Press) and TO BE MARIA (will be seeking representation/publication).
When She's not writing, Proach is actively involved in her local theatre community as an actress, and she's learning the art of medieval sword fighting (not with real swords of course).

Check out To Be Maria, a stunning mind-opener that is a good read for teens and an excellent tool for parents.

Q. What inspired you to write this particular story line? What was that specific event that made you take to the keyboard and write?

I've been intrigued by the issues teens face for the longest time and have wanted to shed light on the issues they face day to day. There was no specific event that compelled me to write To be Maria. Just a keen interest, that's all.

Q. Do any of the events or characters in this story reflect something or someone from your own experiences?

The thing that reflects my experience most is bullying and the character who I identify most closely with is Anya. Although I don't come from a broken impoverished family like her, I do know what it's like to be bullied and neglected at school as that is something I had experienced.

Q. What message do you want your readers to get out of To Be Maria?

The main message I'd like my readers to take away after reading To be Maria is; popularity isn't glamorous. The grass isn't greener on the other side of the fence. It is much better to have a few friends who are loyal and trustworthy than to have a lot of friends who aren't.

Q. Of the characters, who was the easiest to write about? Who was the hardest?

Maria was the easiest person to write about because she's a bold, self-possessed young woman. She knows how to be sexy and she knows what she wants in life. She is a little mean at times, but really, Maria is sensitive and she is loyal.

Anya was the hardest person to write about because of all the suffering she faces throughout the story, but also because of how insecure she is, and desperate to fit in with her peers despite how badly they treat her.

Q. Of the characters, who do you identify yourself most with? Not identify with?

I identify with Maria the most because, at this point in my life, I'm a lot like her.
I don't identify with Carly because she's a downright, rotten person.

Q. When writing To Be Maria, which parts were the hardest to write about? Why?

I don't want to give away too much here, but the part I found the most difficult to write about was the part where Maria and Marissa are murdered in a drive by shooting. What made this part especially hard to write about was the fact that I had lost two loved ones -- my grandparents -- two people I was very close to. So, as I wrote this scene, I really had to keep those emotions in check.

Q. If you were to make any changes on your story, what would those changes be?

I wouldn't make any changes to this novel, but if I do change my mind in the future, I'd have Anya fit in with the popular crowd and have her life spiral out of control in that new environment.

Q. Are you working on anything else at the moment? Can you share what it is?

I've actually changed my focus from fiction to non-fiction. I'm not currently writing a novel, but, a little over six months ago, I started a new blog: This blog, written in book blog style, is all about the Crusades and about the people who played a large role in these wars for the Holy Land. My five (and possibly longer) year plan is to write a novel set in mid 12th century Palestine.

I'm also taking a travel journalism course via the online media school, Travel is something I really want to do and because I see some connection with history and travel, this is another avenue of writing I aspire to delve into.

Read the excerpt: Sneek Peak

You can find Deanna in the following links:

Purchase Link For To Be Maria

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