Interview of Dionne Lister
Author of Shadows of the Realm
(The Circle of Talia)
Questions: R. Murry
Can you tell me a little about yourself? I was born in Australia to immigrant parents. My mum’s Italian, and my dad’s Greek. I live in Sydney with my husband and two children and enjoy playing competitive team sports.
Do you remember the first story you wrote? The first one I remember writing was a small book when I was about ten — The Silver Waters of Brumby Land. Brumbies are the wild horses in Australia. I still have it and I illustrated it too. It’s funny to look back on because I always thought I got my horror streak from reading too much Stephen King as a teenager but in my first book, one of the horse characters slipped and fell and smashed his head on a rock. He died. Seems like it’s just my brain and I have no one else to blame lol.
Were you inspired by someone or something? No. I just wanted to be a writer because I loved writing and I enjoy the process so much.
What do you like about writing a story? Many things. I love the process of creating the story — putting the words on the page is extremely fulfilling, and then I love reading it back and thinking “Where did that come from?” And of course, there is the joy of a stranger (or friend) reading your work and loving it.
Can you tell us about your book? I’ve written three books. The first one is Shadows of the Realm and the sequel A Time of Darkness, both in The Circle of Talia series. They’re young adult high fantasy and centre around a group of realmists — they draw and use power from the Second Realm. The two main characters, Bronwyn and Blayke, are learning as they go, having been forced to leave home. They’re eighteen and untried. Their daunting task is to learn as much about their Second Realm powers as they can without getting killed and then band with the dragons so they have a chance of defeating the gormons who are invading from the Third Realm (akin to hell) where they were banished from Talia (their world) over a thousand years ago. The gormons are angry and want blood; lots of blood.
The other book I have out is Dark Spaces, a book of suspenseful short stories set in the modern-day world.
What genre best fits for the book? Young adult epic or high fantasy is The Circle of Talia series and Dark Spaces is thriller/suspense.
Are you working on something new at the moment? I’m working on a lot of things. I’m working on the final book in The Circle of Talia series, a standalone epic fantasy which is tentatively called Little Dove, a crime thriller and one which is comedy/women’s fiction which will be released under a pen name as it deals with things I’d rather not have associated with my young adult image.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers? Write as much as you can, and if you can study writing you will learn a few things a lot quicker than if you try to do it yourself (unless you are a freaky genius). Learn to take criticism — it can hurt to start with but you get used to it, and if you listen to the people who are giving you good feedback, you will improve. No one’s work is perfect so be open to the fact that you need to keep working to get better.
Where can people go to read your work? I have a few short stories and the opening to Shadows of the Realm on my website www.dionnelisterwriter.com. You can also buy my books from all the usual places (where you can also read samples).
Do you have anything to add? If of your Australian readers are interested, I’m talking about self-publishing at The Sutherland Shire Writers Festival and the NSW Writers Centre in November and the Hunter Writers Centre at the end of October. For the US readers, I’m appearing at a book signing morning on 12th October in Dallas (Texas). Twelve authors are getting together. We write in a wide range of genres and we’ll be selling and signing paperbacks, so come down and see us at Half Price Books Dallas flagship store. And if you’re into speculative fiction, I co-host Club Fantasci — you can find us on Facebook and Goodreads or our website www.clubfantasci.wordpress.com. You can find me on Twitter @DionneLister if you’d like to say ‘Hi’.
Roy: Thanks so much for the interview! I’ve really enjoyed myself. Cheers everyone J.