It’s a tremendous pleasure to welcome Deirdre O’Dare to the tea room.
Deirdre and I go way back.
She’s one of my few US friends who knew me in my Munich days. We stayed in touch through snail mail. More than a personal friend, Deirdre was also a writing mentor. As President of RWA’s Outreach Chapter, she encouraged to me to join the chapter. Somehow, she also talked me into being a so-called Group Lead. Under her much-appreciated guidance, I ‘led’ a small group of aspiring writers. My ‘job’ was to support and encourage, team up critique partners, and send out newsletters.
It was a fun time.
I’m no longer in RWA. I don’t even know if Outreach still exists. But I was very fortunate to be an active part of Outreach ‘back in the day.’
The chapter rocked. It was, in my opinion, the heartbeat of RWA.
Deirdre is the reason that was so.
She was RWA’s Outreach Chapter.
Deirdre and I have been friends ever since. We’ve also met face-to-face. We’ve had great times at conferences and those memories remain so dear. She’s a special lady and a great writer.
You know her as deirdrewindancer.
Please give her a fine Tartan Ink welcome…
Deirdre is giving away two books, Tarts! Comment to win. Book details are at the end of this post. Good Luck!
Here’s her Bio:
Deirdre O’Dare celebrates her Celtic heritage by turning an Irish gift for gab into romantic tales full of imagination, mysticism and adventure. Discovering the wonder of words early in childhood, Deirdre always wanted to be an author and worked toward this dream most of her life. Since everything she wrote seemed to turn into a love story, she decided to make romance her niche but many of her stories have at least a hint of paranormal woven through them as well. She harkens back to the legacy of the prehistoric Celtic people who honored the Mother Goddess for Her gifts of Love and Desire. Giving voice to these traditions, Deirdre portrays the physical side of romantic love as she feels The Mother meant it to be—joyous, open, and full of wonder and delight. For those who prefer the milder or less explicit brand of romance, she writes these as Gwynn Morgan, mostly as longer romantic adventure novels.
Deirdre, a long-term resident of the southwest, sets most of her contemporary tales there but some in more exotic or fanciful locales. After many years in Arizona and a couple of sojourns in Colorado and California, she now resides in Alamogordo, NM, a corner of the high desert region she loves. A self-styled Renaissance woman, Deirdre has a thousand interests and avocations, but writing is her first and one true love. An avid reader herself, she also enjoys listening to New Age and ethnic, especially Celtic music, does handcrafts, and exploring and photographing the remote corners of her favorite states in her red pickup with her dog and various friends.
Deirdre: Anya Seton. Although I read widely from about age ten and a lot of novelists and other authors influenced me, it was Ms. Seton’s books that truly made me say, “I want to be a writer.” In addition, her father (Ernest Thompson Seton) was a fascinating and talented man and I would like to know how he influenced her life and work. He had ties to New Mexico where I now live and also to Scouting which my late husband and my two step-sons were deeply involved in. It would be wonderful just to talk with her!! (My dad also wrote about the outdoors and conservation which makes it even more significant in odd parallels of our lives though mine was a much lower key situation!)
TI: What would you enjoy doing if you weren’t writing?
Deirdre: I have way too many hobbies! I like to work with my hands and create things, concrete art and craft objects and practical things, not just word-creations! I now might like to work with a selected few as a mentor or teacher although I shunned that as a career.
TI: What do you think readers appreciate most in your books?
Deirdre: I try very hard to present settings that become vivid and real to a reader and also to develop characters that we can all identify with. Most of them are just everyday people, maybe a smidge larger than life but not royals or celebs or anything. I’ve had readers say they like my tales because they are not ordinary or typical. I think that is great! I also guarantee a happy ending.
TI: What kind of books do you enjoy reading? Has your reading taste changed over the years?
Deirdre: I went from Nancy Drew into adult books and started with westerns such as Zane Grey and then into historical fiction and some contemporary novels. I’ve had periods of reading about every genre there is almost exclusively –lots of fantasy and some lighter science fiction, police and detective, and of course romance but now read a very wide variety of books and a lot more non-fiction such as biography, history, true life adventures and spiritual and metaphysical books. I still don’t care much for most literary fiction as it depresses me; if I am reading for pleasure happy endings are mandatory! Life is too grim and harsh to just read stories about the same things. Just watch the news for that.
TI: How do you unwind?
Deirdre: I love to be outdoors. When I can, I do some mild hiking or just drive back roads and explore. Love ghost towns, old mines, Native American ruins and settlements, and scenic places. I take lots of pictures. If I am around home I just putter in the yard, work on my flowers and shrubs or simply sit and soak up the sun. (Yes, I do use sunscreen!) Indoors I read, do crafts, listen to music (New Age, Folk/Ethnic and some classical are my faves) and rearrange the furniture LOL.
TI: What drew you to writing?
Deirdre: Since my father wrote off and on and I learned to read at a very young age, writing came very naturally to me. I was writing verses and little stories as soon as I could print the letters and had rudimentary phonetic knowledge to make a stab at spelling! There were all these pictures and events and people in my head that had to come out, so I have written almost all my life; I just did not get commercial or professional for a long time! I also did a lot of technical and non-fiction writing in my ‘day job’ with the government but that was dullsville!
TI: Do you believe writing is an inborn talent or can be learned?
Deirdre: I’d have to answer by saying both. I think there are natural born story tellers to whom it comes very natural to narrate tales—maybe they were bards in a past life! But even that needs to be disciplined and directed and fine-tuned to be commercial and professional. I don’t think one with no bent toward this can really learn it—their work may be technically good but some spark is not there. Maybe their heart is just not in it!
TI: Do you believe in ‘gift books?’
Deirdre: Oh yes! I have had tales that came to me in dreams, tales that I truly felt I just dictated as one or more characters told it to me and works that flowed so fast I could hardly keep up. Others are much harder and more of a struggle but that is okay too. Actually I consider everything I write a gift of sorts. My characters always tell me their stories!
TI: Do you have author friends, or do you tend to find friends outside your professional circle?
Deirdre: I have about three circles of friends: writers; former co-workers, neighbors and people I’ve met in mostly volunteer organizations; and people involved in some of my hobbies and activities. In a few cases the circles overlap but not many.
Deirdre: I have attended a number of big ones and enjoyed them for the most part but more and more the ‘mob scene’ is very tiring. While I miss seeing many friends and the excitement of getting charged up with new ideas and energies, it is expensive and exhausting and not too much fun anymore. Plus I hate to fly and also hate to leave my ‘furkid’ behind.
TI: How has the business changed since your early books?
Deirdre: I started out in the early 90s (1990s LOL) by joining RWA and getting involved in its Outreach Chapter where I found mentors and friends. I began to try with serious intent to write ‘romance’ since almost all my tales were love stories. At that time the idea of ebooks was just barely sneaking into awareness. After a number of ‘good’ rejection letters (which I could not really follow as perhaps I should have) and contest wins, I recognized I was not going to be able to fit the mold and write to the demands of the big markets. By then small indy and ebook publishers were becoming more numerous and active so I jumped aboard, publishing my first novel in 2001. I’ve never regretted it a minute! Now ebooks, self-publishing and all sorts of alternatives are going mainstream as the economy has done drastic damage to the whole literary business. It’s even more competitive than ever and hard to know what another ten or fifteen years will bring! Meanwhile I just keep on keeping on and fully enjoy the limited success I have been lucky enough to find.
Kilt or burr? Burr—kilts can come off ;-) (which is not generally bad!) but the burr sticks. A deep voice with a burr melts me to a puddle!
Pipes or Fiddle? Adore both but the pipes win by a nose here. With a military band they are awesome!!
Glasgow or Edinburgh? Edinburgh for the history and cultural events but all of Scotland is on my bucket list.
Highlands or Lowlands? Highlands! High, rugged and wild is my kind of country be it desert or the misty north.
Dog or cat lover? Dog. Love nearly all critters but I’m allergic to cats.
Tea or Coffee? Coffee—bad habit LOL. But ice tea is nice when it is hot and healthier than sodas. Hot tea not so much—just never got the taste.
Owl or Lark? Love daybreak and sunset both. Probably lark as I work best early in the day but love the night also.
Quiet or music when you read? Live with music, even sleep to it but mostly quiet and instrumental.
Ebooks or paper? Both! Written word in any format goes straight to my spirit but ebooks are environmentally more responsible and better for a mobile or downsized lifestyle. Regular books are so space intensive!!
TI: Where can readers find you?
Facebook: as Gwynn Morgan (mostly for family and friends) and working on a fan page for Deirdre—when I get time! (www.facebook.com/page/Deirdre-ODare/114307386281974)
It’s such a pleasure to have you here. We’ve dressed the tables with tartan, have oodles of haggis, real ale, or tea and scones, depending on taste. As always, we have kilted Heilanders and even a piper. In your honor, we also have some hot cops, a sexy cowboy or two, and we’ve set out water, kibble, and treats for our canine friends.
So, enjoy! The tea room is all yours.
Tarts, please give Deirdre a warm welcome!
The deets for Deirdre’s 2-book Giveaway (in Deirdre’s words)..
Deirdre O’Dare writes the hot stuff (smile) and titles both of hetero romance and GLBT romance are in her backlist. Gwynn writes more PG-13 and generally longer full novels where Deirdre’s is mostly novella lenght–15-25,000 words.
So one winner can have a copy of my Gwynn title January Gets Her Gunn. The hero though an American cop, is Scots!! This one was written with my late husband who was also of Scots ancestry and Sue Ellen was our critique partner for a lot of the writing of that book which I finished after Jim’s death. Then someone can win Canine Cupids I, a collection of GLBT stories where a dog or dog plays cupid to get his master hooked up.
*SE adds.. I’ve read and enjoyed both titles. It was such a pleasure to be the cp through the early writing of January Gets Her Gunn. Good times! I really LOVED that book.