Monday, 17 September 2012

Author interview: Dee Doanes

What is your name and where do you live now?

My name is Dee Doanes and I live in Atlanta, GA, in the USA

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?

I always was a writer since the age of six. My first published work was short
stories and poetry several years ago. I also had a brief stint as a journalist. I
didn’t like working under daily and weekly deadlines. Too stressful and of course
 I wasn’t writing fiction. Most recently, I was CEO of my own marketing business
and wrote business articles and white papers. I’m happy to be a full-time writer
now. So very fulfilling!

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it what would you say?
My book is the Man With the Green Suitcase, a paranormal, mystery.


An old, homeless, mysterious man with a battered green suitcase has the unique power
of showing visions to people about themselves and their lives that then come true. He
has no memory of who he is. He has no control over his visions, but the visions always
appear at a time when they are needed to help someone bring about a transformation in
his or her life.

This story is magical realism, realistic with paranormal elements, a mystery that needs
to be solved, and a man and woman who will finally realize that they were meant to
come into each other’s lives and remain forever.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
It took me one year and three months to write The Man With the Green Suitcase,
including the time for revisions. My wonderful editor, Ann Fisher, had me do one
major revision, and another smaller revision. The revisions took two months.

Do you have plans for a new book?
Yes, I do. I’m not sure of the subject or title yet. I’ve been jotting down some ideas
and writing down some of my dreams when I wake up. Some of my dreams are
fascinating, scary, and beautiful. Not sure if they will be included in my new book.
I plan on getting the current book made into a movie, releasing a book of poetry,
and doing poetry readings.

What genre would you place your books into?
My book is a paranormal, mystery. It also can be put in the general fiction
section of a bookstore since the story is magical realism, realistic with paranormal

What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I didn’t consciously decide to write any particular genre. I simply wrote what was
in my heart and mind and the book chose its own genre.

Do you have a favourite character from your books? Why are they your favourite?
I like the old, homeless man because he’s the engine that creates change in all the
other characters. Most people wouldn’t think anything much of a homeless man.
But he’s powerful in his own quiet way. The old man has a dark secret that he
doesn’t find out about until the very last chapter. He’s flawed just like all the other
characters but is still able to help people with his visions. He doesn’t walk around
willingly giving the visions. The visions come only when they’re needed which makes
his power even more powerful and authentic.

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I do most of my writing late at night in my bedroom, when it’s quiet, except for the
sound of crickets outside my window. It’s peaceful and the world is still enough for
my creativity to flow. I don’t look at much T.V and don’t have one in my bedroom.
Way too distracting. I type in bed on my laptop. During the day I take notes on
notepads or on scratch pieces of paper in my car and purse.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
My title came first. Or I should say a poem I wrote years ago came first. I woke
up at 2 a.m. and thought of that poem I had written called The Man With the Green
Suitcase. Aloud, I recited some lines from the poem, “His face filled with sweat.
His eyes filled with fire. He’s waiting to be reborn. Until then he’s just walking.
Just walking.” Those words were so strong inside my head. I thought, aha, this is
the book! I ran to my computer to find the old poem since I couldn’t remember all the
lines. I immediately wrote the ending—the last chapter of my book and went from
there to develop the plot.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
The character names were both random and based on some family and friends names.
The places in my book are real places in Atlanta, where I’m from and currently live.
Open Door, the homeless shelter where a lot of the action takes place, is a real
homeless shelter in Atlanta. Some characters go to Canoe and Mary Mac’s, two
well known restaurants in Atlanta. I have an art sale for charity taking place at
Emerging Art Scene, my friend Denise Jackson’s art gallery. So if you live in Atlanta
make sure to stop by these places if you haven’t already.

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as
you go along?
I write a chapter-by-chapter outline that details everything (i.e., age, family history,
back story, etc.) Then as I write I revise it based on where the story tells me to go.
I usually add or subtract a little here and there.

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
Yes, indeed! It happens if I give my self a strict deadline to complete something.
(I was four months past my deadline for this book.) Or, if I have a lot of stress in
my life my brain just freezes. I find taking a few days or even a week off will set my
mind right.

Is there a certain author that influenced you in writing?
Stephen King rocks! I grew up on him. I remember being a teenager when I read
the book, It. I jumped every time I walked past the sewer on my street. I thought
I could hear Pennywise the Clown say, “Down here we float.”

What is your favourite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
If I had to choose just one, it would be White Fang by Jack London. This caught
my fancy as a child. The imagery in his book is so vivid. London really put you
inside the head of what a wolf thinks. Every pain White Fang felt, I felt too.
This is what reading a good book does to you. I read that 50 times when I was
in the fourth grade!

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
It depends on the type of book. Some books are just meant to be read. Very few
of Stephens King’s books have translated well to the screen. Carrie is the best
adaptation to movie. Beloved is a great book by Toni Morrison that was not a
good movie.

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or
I enjoy anything I read or I chose a different book. I typically read three or four
books at the same time, reading a few pages of each book. My books right now
are: On Writing, by Stephen King, Marcus Aurelius (these first two are my fifth
rereads), The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, The Complete System of
Self-Healing. I read mostly paperback books and a few hardbacks.

Do you think eBooks will ever totally replace printed books?
I think for the Gen Y (Millennials), eBooks rule. They can’t live without
Facebook and texting on their Droid cell phones. They’re constantly on the
move and reading a paperback is something their granny does. Most people
l know that are over 60 wouldn’t think of buying a Kindle or Nook unless they
work in technology industries or are experiencing vision problems. (Kindle is
better on the eyes.) Personally, I like eBooks but prefer paperback books.
It’s a part of the entire sensory experience. I like the smell of the pages, to feel
pages beneath my fingertips when dog earring the
pages, and to stare at book covers on my bookshelf.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Be professional and joyful with your craft. Perfect your dialogue, improve
your narration, and tighten up your plot. Indie writers please use a professional
editor to help with this! Don’t get your cousin or friend to do this. Professional
editing is so much more than checking for comma splices and syntax. I read in
some of the reader’s forums that customers don’t like reading self-published books
because of all the grammar and formatting mistakes. Some of the readers perceive
indie writers as untalented and unprofessional because of issues with editing. And,
this is one of the reasons some book reviewers and bloggers chose not to review
self-published writer’ books.

    Dee Doanes is the author of The Man With the Green Suitcase, her first fiction novel.
   She has previously published short stories and poetry. She has a deep passion for writing and has been writing since the age of five.
   Doanes has a background in copywriting, communications, and social media.
   She’s active in several charities and conducts a youth poetry workshop for the Atlanta Writers Club, Youth Writing Camp, and is the former co-chair of the Writing in the Schools Program for GeorgiaWriters.
   Doanes lives in Atlanta, Georgia and enjoys spending time with her daughter and parents. Doanes’mother encouraged her to read and to be creative while growing up. In her spare time she enjoys attending writing events and workshops, fitness training, collecting art, world travel, and gourmet cooking.

You can purchase Dee's books here:

Available on Amazon. Kindle 99 cents
Paperback $19.99
Barnes and Noble Nook 99 cents


  1. Congratulations on your debut release, Dee! And I totally agree on your new writers advice. Get different and expert eyes to look at your work. And urrp, for the record I have editors for my contracted works, and even then goofy comma splices have gotten past our sharklike eyes :( So yup, you can never be too diligent going over your work and getting help to make it wonderful. Good luck and wishing you mega sales!

  2. Thanks Lelani. Yes, editors sometimes make tiny mistakes. But they shouldn't be making big ones. Working with a good editor is a collaborative effort. And you, the writer is responsible for the finished product.