Welcome to the Winners’ Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL students. Today we are celebrating published author Deidrea DeWitt!
What’s the name of your book? Who is the publisher?
My latest release is called THE REBELLION, coming out in March 2021. This is the second book in my Choose the Ending Series, where the reader can choose between multiple endings for the story or write their own. The first book in the series is called THE FIVE PRINCES, and book number three is in the works now. I am a self-published indie author.
Give us a short summary of your book.
THE REBELLION is about a woman who joins an underground rebel force to go up against the cruel emperor, only to find herself face to face with the captain of the emperor’s guards…who is also her first love. The book has three different endings to choose from, as well as a place to write your own ending, and a His POV section which lets you see events of the story from multiple characters’ viewpoints.
Tell us a bit about your path to publishing, from idea to submission to published.
I actually got the idea for my Choose the Ending Series based on video games. I have a bachelor’s degree in Media and Video Game Design, and I remember playing a video game with a good love triangle and wishing there were books that had a high re-play value to them like games did. I always liked the Choose Your Own Adventure Series, however, I hated page flipping and dying frequently. So I started writing books with things I loved: love triangles, gangsters, and a form of interaction. My 1st book, THE FIVE PRINCES, took two years to write and publish, and THE REBELLION only took a few months to write. I decided to self-publish for a couple reasons: mainly because I wanted full creative control and because I decided life was too short to wait on major publishers to accept me. I knew I was a good writer. I didn’t need to wait for someone else to tell me I was good enough to publish.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing stories since I was seven or eight years old. I wrote my first story in the second grade, about my cousin getting a mail-order bride. He still doesn’t talk to me to this day.
What’s your favorite genre to write and why?
I love writing romantic suspense. I’m a romantic, but I’m also a martial artist, so my idea of romance usually involves a good fight scene. Writing romantic suspense lets me combine the things I love into one story.
What course did you take with ICL?
I took the Writing for Children and Teens program back in 2002. I was only a sophomore in high school at the time, but I remember being beyond excited to have a chance to study writing on a professional level.
How has taking our course helped your writing and/or career?
ICL gave me a lot of confidence in my writing and helped me dig into the details of my craft. Not everyone has the true benefit of a writing coach, even though everyone should definitely have one! I remember my instructor showing me what I needed to work on, giving me encouragement in my strengths and giving me direction in my weaknesses. That gave me a huge boost in my writing.
Have any of your class assignments been published?
No, they have not.
Do you have a favorite writing tip you’d like to share?
The best writing advice I ever got is – uh – slightly inappropriate, but I’ll share it anyways. I was once told, “Never be afraid to write a romance scene with one hand.” I’ve never actually done that literally, but the point is, if you aren’t into your scene, no one else will be either. In order for your readers to be consumed by your story, you have to be consumed as well. Your vulnerability, fantasy, and personality have to bleed out onto the page. If it doesn’t, your story is probably boring to everyone involved. Even you.
If you could travel back in time and give yourself one piece of writing advice, how far back would you go, and what would you tell yourself?
If I could go back in time and give myself advice, I would go back about one year ago, when I started production on my first book. I was so stressed that I made myself incredibly ill. I thought that when I wrote my book and published it, that fairies would fall from the heavens and grant all my writing dreams. The truth is, once you publish your first book, you’re still nobody. You still have the entire uphill climb to sell your first 1,000 copies. Your first book won’t bring you fame, fortune, and a rich husband. You’ll make $10 a month from sales for awhile. But that’s okay! You’re not a failure! The truth is, everyone has to do that uphill climb, but nobody tells you it’s coming. Enjoy the climb after the first publication. Take the scenic route. There’s nothing wrong with a slow climb to success. I would tell myself to expect the climb and enjoy it.
Please tell us the best or most valuable thing you learned from your experience with ICL.
ICL taught me the value of having a good writing coach and also BEING a good writing coach. I’m now an ESL teacher in South Korea, and I have a collection of students who want to write creatively. Being able to know how to encourage people in their writing in a constructive way is instrumental in my job, inside and outside of writing novels.
What projects are you working on right now?
Right now I’m working on the third book in my Choose the Ending Series, GODS OF THE SEA. After that, I’ll be writing a philosophical romance novel that takes place during the 1920’s prohibition. (More love triangles and gangsters. Always!)
Deidrea DeWitt is a California native, who currently works in South Korea as an ESL teacher. She has more than ten years of martial arts experience, resulting in her characters constantly getting punched in the face. When she’s not writing, reading, or traveling, you can find her reading philosophical fiction or making pancakes. You can Deidrea at www.deidreadewitt.com or on Instagram @deidreadewitt .