Welcome to the six hundred and ninety-fifth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with Shirley LOL non-fiction Shirley You Jest! Book Awards winner Dawn Dais. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Dawn. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Dawn: Hello there, I’m based out of Sacramento, California, USA, where I was born and raised. I came to be a writer when I was a kid, then a published writer after I trained for a marathon and turned my mediocre running skills into a funny book (The Nonrunner’s Marathon Training Guide for Women).
Morgen: You clearly write non-fiction from life, how do you decide what to write about?
Dawn: As I mentioned, my first book was inspired by my training for a marathon. While I was training I was sending out humorous updates to my friends and family, documenting my transformation from the laziest person on the planet to the laziest person on the planet who had completed a marathon. It was a transformation full of humor (and quite a bit of cussing as well). I received quite a bit of positive feedback on those updates so I decided to try to turn them into a book. That book went on to be pretty successful because it mixes my real life tales with a little advice and a lot of heart. That blend seems to be my goal for most of my non-fiction writing, so I’m always looking for subjects that I can write about in that way. When I had my first child and went through the insanity that is parenthood, I realized that experience would naturally make a great book.
Morgen: Humour is certainly popular, and very hard to capture, and parents will always want to read about other parents’ experiences. You’ve mentioned two books so far, what have you had published to-date?
Dawn: I have three books published, The Nonrunner’s Marathon Training Guide for Women, The Noncyclist’s Guide to the Century and Other Road Races, and The Sh!t No One Tells You: A Guide to Surviving Your Baby’s First Year. They are all in their own way about crazy challenges I take on and the humor I find along the way.
Morgen: Are your books available as eBooks? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Dawn: All of my books are available as eBooks and I’m about 50/50 on what I read. eBooks are definitely more convenient, especially for a mom, and most especially for a breastfeeding mom. I specifically wrote my baby book with the thought that it would be a perfect book for new moms to read while doing late night feedings. eBooks are great middle of the night companions.
Morgen: I have to say I love them for their portability (and they are so easy to get online). Did you choose the titles / covers of your books?
Dawn: Well, I came up with the title for the third book after getting out-voted on the titles for my first two books. The original title for my running book was From Recliner to Race Day and the original title for my cycling book was Spinning Your Wheels. I liked both of those titles a lot better than the titles that are on the books, but the sales department apparently wanted every searchable word in my titles, to help people find the books. With my third book I thought The Sh!t No One Tells You was a great title and immediately made the book relatable to anyone who has ever brought a baby home. I fought for that title and was able to get it on the actual book.
As far as the designs go, my publisher was really open to my suggestions for the covers of all my books and their designers did a great job coming up with the final product. Ultimately they have a much better idea what a solid book cover design looks like and I like all my book covers.
Morgen: I think you have to hope that marketing departments know what they’re doing. I like catchy titles (including the ones you wanted) although your books do sound like they are what they say on the cover. What are you working on at the moment / next?