Yes, it’s March! And today we (finally) have our Q&A with March’s Featured Author, Debra Driza, whose YA sci-fi thriller MILA 2.0 just came out — yesterday, actually. So without further ado, let’s meet Debra!
Debra Driza is a member of the teen lit blogging groups the Bookanistas and The League of Extraordinary Writers, and a former practicing physical therapist who discovered tormenting her characters was infinitely more enjoyable.
drey: Hi Debra! Congratulations on publishing Mila 2.0, welcome to drey’s library, and thank you for taking the time to visit us this month!
Who is Debra Driza? Please introduce yourself in about ten sentences.
DD: I’m a writer, mom, dog lover, yummy eater, and all around random person. I own really messy purses and like to spontaneously burst into song (no, really — just ask my Dark Days Tour mates). MILA 2.0 is my first novel in a sci-fi thriller trilogy, about a girl who discovers she’s an android that her “mom” stole from the military. And clearly I am not that interesting, because I think I covered it all in about three sentences!
drey: Ha! You’re as interesting as you share…
When did you first realize you were meant to be a writer? How long did it take to get from realization to reality?
DD: I think that I was actually a writer long before I realized it. I used to create stories in my head while I was swimming and running — I thought everyone did this, and was really surprised when my friends looked at me funny when I shared that with them. I started writing more seriously about a year before my son was born — two really terrible Harlequin Romances, which will never see the light of day again (trust me, this is a good thing!) Then, I started writing again after my son was born, but by then I’d discovered YA. I wrote a YA paranormal romance, which was also pretty terrible, then an urban fantasy which snagged me my agent. MILA was my third YA novel.
drey: Tell us about MILA 2.0. How long did it take to tell the story?
DD: One million years (no, that’s just what it felt like). It probably took me about a year — three or so months to draft it, then another nine months to revise the story into something readable.
drey: I hear there may be a TV series in the works? What did you do when you got the news?
DD: Yes! MILA 2.0 was optioned by Shonda Rhimes (the creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, squeee!) to become a TV series for ABC. When I got the news, I probably made a noise that sounded like this, “AGGRIEHIGHIHEIHIHERRTT” and performed the robot. Okay, maybe not that second one.
drey: Now I have this image in my head… o.O But *squeee!* is right, I loved Grey’s Anatomy. Well, the beginning seasons anyway… Ok, enough about TV…
What words of advice would you offer aspiring authors? What do you wish you’d known before you embarked on this journey?
DD: My biggest words of advice for any writer are: NEVER GIVE UP. I think persistence makes all the difference. Keep reading, keep writing, and you will get there! I wish I’d known what an emotional roller coaster writing for publication can be — it feels like the highs and the lows come right on top of each other sometimes.
drey: As a new author, how do you “handle” reviews? Do you read each and every one you can find? Just the ones that make their way to you? Or do you let your baby out into the wilds and hope for the best?
DD: Hahaha….oh no, I do not read All The Reviews. In fact, I had my husband block Goodreads on my laptop, since I have no willpower and I think reading bad reviews can be incredibly counterproductive to writing mojo. My husband will occasionally send me a really complimentary one, but other than that, I try to avoid them altogether. I need to cling to what little remaining sanity I have!
drey: Well, then how do you know when readers love your books?
What do you indulge in, when not writing?
DD: Eating? No, wait — I indulge in that WHILE writing. Working out, playing with my kids, movies, hanging with friends, and reading. Lots and lots of reading!
drey: Girl, we need to talk. “Working out” is not an indulgence!!
What, in your opinion, is the best accompaniment to chocolate?
DD: ANYTHING. Anything goes with chocolate. Well, except maybe crickets. Or liver. But yeah, pretty much anything else.
drey: Ok, I’ll stop worrying about you… Now chocolate — that’s an indulgence!
What’s up next for you?
DD: I’m working on finishing up MILA Book Two, and then I have the third and final book in the trilogy.
drey: Yay! More books! (Yes, I’m easy to please…)
And a quick Proust-lite to finish up –
- What is your idea of earthly happiness?
- What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
- Who is/are your favorite hero/heroine(s) in fiction?
I’m kind of drawn to tragic characters, so one of my absolute favorites is Sebastian from Brideshead Revisited.
- What is/are your favorite hero/heroine(s) in real life?
Anyone who deals with a lot of personal adversity and can still find time to smile and be kind to others.
- What sound do you love?
The silence at the end of a long, crazy day.
- What sound do you hate?
The word “no!”
- The quality you admire most in a man?
Sense of humor, lack of self-consciousness.
- The quality you admire most in a woman?
Sense of humor, lack of self-consciousness.
- If not a writer, you would be a teenage android. Or maybe a cheetah.
- What is your favorite swear word?
Thank you so much for taking the time to visit, Debra! I can’t wait to read MILA 2.0, and find out what it’s all about…