Whether in music or writing, Aubrie Dionne’s patience and persistence have paid off. She encourages aspiring authors to develop the same qualities. “Keep writing. It took me four books to get an agent. What if I'd quit after book 3?” she said. A professional flutist, Dionne began writing after her students told her they loved the stories she told them as part of their music lessons. Today she writes in multiple genres: science fiction, fantasy, young adult, contemporary romance, and paranormal romance. In addition to writing books, she teaches flute and plays in orchestras.
I asked her a few questions about her latest book, “Minstrel’s Serenade” and her publishing experience, as well as her advice for writers.
Q: What is "Minstrel's Serenade" about?
A: “Minstrel's Serenade” is like a prettier, glossier “Game of Thrones” type of book for all the people out there who just can't stomach all of the violence, brutality, nakedness, and grossness of GOT. I like GOT, but I have to cover my face half the time because it's so shocking. You don't need shock for a good story. So, if I could write my own GOT world, this is what it would be.
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
A: I started with a flute performance career. Today I’m playing in the NH Philharmonic and teaching at a local community music school and a university. My flute students used to tell me that the stories I made up in their lessons to go along with the music were so good, I should write them down. And here I am today!
Q: Is this your first book? How long was the writing and publishing process?
A: “Minstrel's Serenade” is like my 15th book. I don't even count anymore. My first book took me a whopping two-and-a-half years to write. Now I can write a book in two to three months. Sometimes they already have contracts, which means they can come out pretty soon after I'm done writing. Other times, my agent has to query for a contract. “Minstrel's Serenade” was a labor of love. I had no contract, and I wrote it from my heart, the way I wanted to write it. I wrote about what I wanted to write without thinking about the market, publishers, etc. I was very fortunate to find Lyrical Press, which is a great home for it!
Q: How did you come up with this story? What inspired you to write it?
A: I read Tad Williams’ “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” trilogy growing up, and that's really my biggest fantasy inspiration. I also grew up watching the movie “Legend” (starring Tom Cruise) and “The Last Unicorn” (the animated classic). Those are my first fantasy experiences.
Q: Do you have an agent? How did you find your agent?
A: My agent is Dawn Dowdle of Blue Ridge Literary Agency. She was recommended by a writer friend of mine who met Dawn at a conference. Dawn is awesome. She's taught me so much about patience and persistence. She knows her stuff, and she's gotten me into bigger publishers than I could have hoped for. Thank you, Dawn, for being totally fantastic and everything I could want in an agent.
Q: Now that "Minstrel's Serenade" is out, what's next for you?
A: I'm currently writing book 2 titled “Orphan's Blade,” featuring a minor character from “Minstrel's Serenade.” I also have a new release coming out from Spencer Hill Press in the fall titled “Sleeping Jenny,” a YA book about a girl who's cryogenically frozen and wakes up three hundred years in the future.
Q: What's the biggest lesson you learned during the publication process?
A: Patience. The entire process takes a very, very long time. Sometimes you even forget you have a book out there waiting to come out. My advice is to keep writing, so you have a lot of "buns in the fire" so to speak. That way, you won't get so hung up waiting for something to happen.
Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
A: Keep writing. It took me four books to get an agent. What if I'd quit after book 3? You have to keep at it. It's a lifelong process, not a get-rich-quick scheme. It's the craft and perfecting that craft that makes writing so enjoyable.
To learn more about Aubrie Dionne, visit her blog: http://authoraubrie.blogspot.com/
You can follow her on Twitter: @authoraubrie