Deirdra is a fresh new YA author with a strong voice and a passion for creative marketing in a changing literary world. She works full time as a professional writer and illustrator. In 2009 she began creating animation for e-books.
Using a combination of history, mythology and fantasy Deirdra has spent the last decade captivating audiences of all ages with her novels and fairy tales.
She has artistic talents in all mediums and designs medieval-fantasy clothing. She enjoys jousting in arenas, planning invasions, horseback riding through open meadows, swimming in the ocean, hiking up mountains, camping in cool shady woods, climbing trees barefoot and going on adventures.
ANNA: What was your first experience with writing?
D. Eden Coppel: The first thing I ever wrote was a song. I remember distinctly when the inspiration struck. I was only four-years-old playing in my backyard. I climbed to the top of the slide and before I slid down I looked around and realized how high I was. I was so high I could see over the wooden fence that framed our yard.
A beautiful sunset of warm golden and coral colors lined the horizon. Streaks of lavender clouds contrasted the sunny glow and blended into a star speckled indigo night sky.
I was so inspired by this beautiful sunset that I just started singing. The words flowed out of my mouth with a sweet melody I had never heard before. I had to write down the song so I would never forget that moment. I found a pencil and sheet of paper and scrawled the words phonetically (because I couldn’t spell).
That song later won recognition. Throughout my childhood I continued to write songs that won awards and were published in musicals and performed at formal recitals.
Anna: When did you know you wanted to be a novelist?
D. Eden Coppel: I am the oldest of six in my family and I told a lot of bed time stories growing up. My stories, like L. Frank Baum’s, were based on people and events that had happened to me. Of course I added fantastic elements such as: “Suddenly a dragon swooped down from the dark clouds and ate the school bully.”
When I was fifteen a tragic event happened in my family and I needed a way to escape. Instead of turning to drugs or other hazardous forms of escape teenagers often resort to I started writing stories.
Once upon a time in a magical land far far away was where I went.
I created a character, a woman who was not me, but was who I hoped I could become someday. This woman defeated all sorts of dangerous foes, overcame loss, uncovered mysteries and ultimately became a hero and helped other people who were struggling with similar difficulties.
After I graduated High School I realized that in order to become the woman I wanted to be I had to do something to help other people who had suffered in similar situations I had overcome. I thought long and hard about how I could touch the most people. I woke up one morning and knew I had to write a book.
Anna: Were you ever discouraged along the path to becoming a professional writer?
D. Eden Coppel: I have many “natural” talents, but writing did not come naturally to me. I had to WORK HARD to be anywhere near decent. I suffer from a mild form of dyslexia and a major case of impatience. Writing takes lots of patients. I still wish I could get a book done in a day and cross it off my “to do” list, but writing a book (or at least a good book) takes time.
When I first started writing the thought of creating a book was more than intimidating, but I knew it was what I needed to do.
My first book started out as a children’s book. I could handle that. Over a decade and a half this book evolved into a middle grade novel with lots of spelling errors and no technique to a young adult book that has been praised by literary professionals, critics and hard core editors for its sound technique, clean writing style, memorable characters, exciting plot, and pacing that keeps the reader up until the wee hours in the morning to find out what happens next.
ANNA: What is your writing and educational background?
D. Eden Coppel: I actually got my education in real estate and became an appraiser. My writing education came from fifteen years in the school of hard knocks, writing coaches, critique groups, conferences, workshops, private classes and tutoring under New York Times best selling authors…. I should have just gone to college for literature. It would have taken less time….but then again, I would have missed the wild ride.
ANNA: How did you start your professional career as a writer?
D. Eden Coppel: I started writing professionally (which means I was actually good enough for some one to pay me a few dollars for my talent) for a local theater. I not only wrote the lyrics for musicals, but also the dialogue. The owner was pleased with my work and when he found out that I had a secret life writing novels he commissioned me to turn a few of the plays he had written into novel form.
At this time I also started a “story time” program on a local A.M. radio station. Over the air, I would read stories I had written.
I taught writing classes to community youth groups, visited schools and talked about the importance of reading and writing.
I was nineteen when I did all of this. I wish I was as business savvy and writer wise now as I was then. But then again, in another ten years I will probably look back at 29 when I’m 39 and feel the same way.
ANNA: What is your writing schedule like?
D. Eden Coppel: It’s like a battle on a seesaw. I’m trying to keep everything balanced, but things are constantly shifting. I have a two-year-old. My son and I are still trying to set parent/child boundaries in our relationship. I need to take time for him, but also help him understand that mommy needs writing time too. There’s a time to work and a time to play.
In a fourteen hour period I like to work 5-8 hours. I break often to change diapers, cook meals or just have fun building a tower of blocks or playing tag.
I used to loathe these frequent interruptions, but I’ve learned to work with them. I have found that it actually gives me a good break to mentally visualize what I have just written or get some exercise and renew my senses.
ANNA: What do you hope readers will get from your books?
D. Eden Coppel: Of course I want them to be entertained, but I also want them to be inspired and uplifted. When the story is finished I hope people will feel like they can face the real world with more confidence in themselves and in the future.
ANNA: What is the best compliment you can get from a reader?
D. Eden Coppel: The best and most sincere compliment I could receive is for a reader to recommend my book to their friends.
ANNA: Do you ever experience a snag in a story, a form of writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?
D. Eden Coppel: If I hit a snag the problem is one of two things: I’ve written something wrong and I need to go back a few chapters and work through the story or I need to take a break and let the story dust settle for a bit so I can see clearly again.
ANNA: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?
D. Eden Coppel: If I waited until I had absolute quite I would never write again. I can’t listen to music or I start singing …. or my characters break out in song. LOL!
ANNA: What kinds of inspiration do you use during your story creation periods?
D. Eden Coppel: Resonance is powerful!!!! If I’m studying a specific time and place for an upcoming book I will read and watching things from that era. I also study history and maps. Maps are huge for me. Even something as simple as a bend in the river or a lazy stream by an orchard can spark something for me.
ANNA: Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?
D. Eden Coppel: My dad has been a huge support. He has encouraged me and given me great advice along the way.
ANNA: What authors have inspired you?
D. Eden Coppel: There are so many, but the first one that comes to mind is Michele Ashman Bell. Many, many years ago I worked at a Seagull Book and Tape. I devoured her books and I was the best sales person in the store at selling her products. Of course, back then I was a super shy awkward girl and when Michele came in to do a book signing I refrained from going fan girl by hiding behind the counters and book shelves. Still, I watched her every move and admired everything about her with star struck eyes.
A decade and a half later she has become a great friend of mine and has encouraged me as I immerse myself in the literary world and became a true author myself. Michele’s personal publishing story and mine mirror each other in many ways. I’m hoping my story will continue to mirror hers and someday I will touch as many hearts as she has touched.
ANNA: That is really neat. I met Michele at a library. She is an awesome person.
ANNA: Do you use a critique group during the writing process?
D. Eden Coppel: Yes, I have five difference critique groups, twelve beta readers and an awesome writing partner who helps keep me on task and gives me encouragement.
ANNA: Which of your books is your favorite, and why?
D. Eden Coppel: I would say my book Knight of Light is my favorite. This is the book I worked the hardest on and had to revise a million times. These days it takes me about five months to complete a full novel. It took me over a decade to get Knight of Light to the point where it is marketable.
ANNA: What is something about yourself people don’t know?
D. Eden Coppel: Well, I don’t have a ton of secrets, but I think one thing that surprises people is that I’m a combat fighter. I’m a not a big person, but I’m fast and agile. I’m pretty good with swords and love archery. I also have a bad habit of gnawing on my nails while I edit.
My natural hair color is dark… almost black, but I color it red. I think red goes better with my fair skin and hazel eyes.
ANNA: What is your favorite snack to have while you are writing?
D. Eden Coppel: I go through phases. Right now I’m enjoying Cup o’ Noodles and chocolate mint ice-cream with cold fudge topping.
ANNA: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?
D. Eden Coppel: “Try a little harder to be a little better.” — Gordon B. Hinckley
“You can be smart and happy or stupid and miserable. . . it’s your choice” — Gordon B. Hinckley
“You can’t plow a field simply by turning it over in your mind.”— Gordon B. Hinckley
What can I say more?
ANNA: What are you working on now?
D. Eden Coppel: I’m coming up with a battle plan for next year (I think I’m going to finish all my WIP books to the point where they are marketable.) I’m also trying to be more active on my blog and catch up on my reading list.
ANNA: What are your publishing goals?
D. Eden Coppel: Even though I’ve ghost written a lot of things, I am still working on getting an agent for myself. There are some huge changes happening in the literary industry and many big organizations are fighting over petty money. It’s really hard to get an agent right now and a few agencies have gone out of business.
Despite the chaos I know I want to get my books into as many hands as I can. I’ve got some marketing plans and I’m excited for the day I can work with a publisher in making them lots of money. It’s a win/win relationship.
Readers can find me on my website at: http://www.knightess.com/
And my blog at: http://www.astorybookworld.blogspot.com/
Tags: author, critic group, Deirdra Eden Coppel, family values, fantasy author, fantasy tale, forest, High fantasy, knight, magic, New author, outdoors, sword fight, teen book, woman warrior, writing teacher, ya, YA author, young Adult