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Dee Weaver Interview

Posted on 28 July 2011. © Copyright 2004-2024 WriteWords
A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
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WriteWords talks to Dee Weaver about The Winter House, newly self published on Kindle

What have you written and what are you writing now?

I have four finished novels but The Winter House is the only one I've published. Itís a paranormal romance about a derelict house haunted by the spirit of a young girl who was murdered there in the 19th century. I'm currently writing (very sporadically, admittedly) about a man who is trying to solve a 300-year old miscarriage of justice.

Do you have a day job?

Not now. I have worked all my life, in a variety of jobs, but I retired two years ago. Since then I have had difficulty finding time to write!

How did you first start writing?

In the early eighties I was in a rut and looking for a fresh start. A neighbour told me she was going to make her fortune by writing novels. I thought, if she can do it, I can too. I wrote a novel, in longhand, and typed it up on a portable typewriter. I sent it to a publisher who returned it months later, along with a two-page rejection letter, saying they really liked it, but it didnít quite hit the spot. They suggested ways to improve it and offered to read it again after a rewrite.
By that time I had moved to Lancaster and found a wonderful jobÖ so I stuffed the manuscript in a cupboard and forgot about it. I can't begin to say how often I've regretted that decision over the past few years! If only Iíd known then how rare it was for a publisher to show that level of interest. Hindsight is not a wonderful thing. Sometimes hindsight sucks.
Why it took me until 2001 to try again, Iíll never know. And I still canít recall what started me off then. All I know is that, almost overnight, I became obsessed with writing, and that obsession has never completely left me.

Who are your favourite writers/influences and why?

Philippa Gregory, Elizabeth Chadwick, Sharon Kay Penman and CJ Sansom for their ability to tell a good story and bring history to life at the same time.

Why did you opt to self-publish your book on Kindle?

The Winter House has attracted a lot of interest from publishers. I had an agent, but we parted company when too many publishers were telling him there was no market for paranormal in the UK. A small indie publisher took it on, we signed a contract and then, six weeks before publication date, they asked me to cut 20,000 words because the book wouldnít fit into their binding machine. So that fell through (and I donít normally put it so politely!). Then I signed up with another agent. She was, and still is, hugely supportive and enthusiastic about The Winter House. We came within a gnatís whisker of signing with a mainstream publisher but, after getting me to change the plot, change the characters and do a complete rewrite, they decided not to go ahead with it.
I was pretty much wrung dry by this stage, so I pushed the whole thing under a metaphorical bed and got on with my life. Then, last winter, I spotted a small indie publisher in the US who were looking for paranormal romance. I sent them the manuscript and, eventually, they offered to take it on and publish it as an ebook. Everything was going swimmingly until I saw the contract, and some of the clauses were so ambiguous I couldnít accept it, so we parted amicably.
In the process I had discovered that I could publish the book myself on Kindle, so I started to investigate. At first glance the process looks daunting, but there is a comprehensive step-by-step guide as well as a forum where you can compare notes with others in the same situation. There is no upfront cost, an ISBN isnít essential, although itís worth paying for a proofread and a professionally designed cover Ė the most common criticism of self-publishing is the perceived (and sometimes, I'm afraid, actual) lack of professionalism.

A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

Comments by other Members

Account Closed at 21:17 on 28 July 2011  Report this post
Fascinating interview, Dee. YOu are a real inspiration.

Petal xx

Dee at 08:39 on 29 July 2011  Report this post
Thanks, Sam. It's a different aspect to being a writer, but no less challenging. And it's fun, too.


CarolineSG at 12:34 on 29 July 2011  Report this post
Wow Dee, what a journey! I love that your belief in this book made it happen, despite so many false starts. Wish you masses of luck with it.

susieangela at 17:56 on 29 July 2011  Report this post
Fab interview, Dee, and congratulations again. I don't know how you've weathered all those 'near things' with publishers. Good for you!

Dee at 14:41 on 30 July 2011  Report this post
Many thanks, Caroline and Susie.

There were other things along the way, which I havenít mentioned, the worst of which destroyed my confidence for well over a year. In fact, the best thing that happened out of all the downers was the last one, when I finally plucked up the courage to self-publish. Like most writers, I had been reared on a diet of Ďitís not proper publishing, itís vanity, it lacks endorsement from the professioní, but now I donít care. If the profession doesnít want my work, thatís their loss. I'm discovering a whole new world over which I have total control, and itís great fun!


EmmaD at 21:54 on 02 August 2011  Report this post
Great interview, Dee, and congrats on bringing the book out.

I remember reading some of it when it was on WW, and really enjoying it - I'm not surprised it came so close. When it's that close, then it's not about the quality of the book, it's so often about other stuff - which you have no control over. Which is an excellent reason for going the e-book route!


Dee at 22:18 on 02 August 2011  Report this post
Thanks Emma. I'm quite enjoying the experience; there's no pressure, no expectation to do things I don't want to do. Although I must find out how to market it.

This evening I've uploaded it to a US site which distributes ebooks to B&N, Sony, etc... and discovered all sorts of new ways to raise my blood pressure. But it is fun at the same time, and a great sense of achievement.


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