Saturday, March 20, 2010

THE LANGUAGE OF SECRETS: PREVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW, AND GIVEAWAY

GIVEAWAY ENDED
THE LANGUAGE OF SECRETS
BY DIANNE DIXON

ABOUT THE BOOK:

From a fresh and exciting new voice in women's fiction, The Language of Secrets unflinchingly examines the lifelong repercussions of a father's betrayal.

Justin Fisher has a successful career as the manager of a luxury hotel, a lovely wife, and a charming young son. While all signs point to a bright future, Justin can no longer ignore the hole in his life left by his estranged family. When he finally gathers the courage to reconnect with his troubled past, Justin is devastated to learn that his parents have passed away. And a visit to the cemetery brings the greatest shock of all—next to the graves of his father and mother sits a smaller tombstone for a three-year-old boy: a boy named Thomas Justin Fisher.

What follows is an extraordinary journey as Justin struggles with issues of his own identity and pieces together the complex and heartbreaking truth about his family. With great skill and care, Dianne Dixon explores the toll that misunderstandings, blame, and resentment can take on a family. But it is the intimate details of family life—a mother's lullaby for her son, a father's tragic error in judgment—that make this novel so exceptional and an absolute must for reading groups everywhere.

The Language of Secrets is the story of an unspeakable loss born of human frailty and an ultimate redemption born of human courage.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

DIANNE DIXON is a screenwriter living in California who has twice been nominated for an Emmy, has won a Humanitas Prize for work done in television, and has been Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Pitzer College, a member of the Claremont Colleges.


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. My first question is to find out about where the idea for this book came from?

And as the old saying goes—write what you know—my own family experience, my friend’s story, and an article by a Cornell Medical School professor about Dissociative Identity Disorder (a psychopathology related to severe, early childhood abuse and trauma—whose symptoms can include disturbances in both identity and memory) dovetailed to give me a story I’d been waiting to write.

Before The Language of Secrets, I was a television writer who knew I was supposed to write a novel. I promised myself, again and again, I’d do it—someday. Then, when I was barely out of my 30s, the lenses in both my eyes were replaced with artificial implants—a surgery usually done on octogenarians. All I could think was: If my eyes are this bad now, they’ll never last until I’m eighty. I told myself I’d answer the wake-up call and start the novel. But there were television writing jobs—tantalizing paychecks—I assumed I had a lot of ‘somedays’ still ahead. The somedays had rolled into years when I returned from a writing assignment in the UK feeling so ill that I went straight from the airport to my doctor. For no apparent reason, I’d lost 24 pounds in less than three months. An avalanche of tests began, including one for ovarian cancer. And I realized time might have run out—I might have already passed through my life and not done the thing I was meant to do.

The doctors never figured out what had happened to me; and that worried me. But I was absolutely at peace with the non-medical part of it: the warning that I’d burned through too many somedays. I had a successful screenwriting career—comedy for Howie Mandel and Damon Wayans, ideas in development with Jennifer Lopez’s and Kate Hudson’s production companies, and the creation of a drama series in England—but I knew it was time to do what I was supposed to do—resign from scriptwriting and begin The Language of Secrets. The house got downsized; two cars became one; and, often, my husband and I were in a race to see which would land first—bills in the mailbox—or the money in the bank to pay them with. But at the end of it all there was a book; a marriage tested, and surviving to tell the tale; and a life lesson so obvious, and yet so profound: Whatever it is you’re called to do, don’t wait. Do it. Don’t waste even one of the days you’ve been given.

For me, being able to tell Justin’s story as a triumphant one—as one that might make readers look for the stories behind the stories in their own families, and thus see their families in a new way—turned out to be the most rewarding writing I’ve ever done. A joy beyond description. (from Dianne Dixon's website)


2. What is the next or current book/project you are working on?

I’ve recently finished the first draft of my second novel. Like The Language of Secrets, it deals with an underlying mystery…but this time the story revolves around a pair of sisters. Twins who share an emotional bond that’s unusual, and surprisingly complicated.

3. What have you just finished reading?

…just finished re-reading The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, a collection of truly brilliant story stories by Aimee Bender.

…am about two-thirds of the way through The Collected Poems of Donald Justice and am moved almost to tears by the grace and elegance of his work.

4. What books would you say have made the biggest impression on you, especially starting out?

There have been so many great books that have been a part of my reading history. I’ve probably been unknowingly inspired in some small way by every piece of great writing I’ve ever read.

5. What gets you started on a new book? A character or story idea or….?

It can be either one. In The Language of Secrets, it was the story that came first (inspired by an event that had occurred in the life of a girl I’d known in college).

In the manuscript for my second novel, it was the characters of the two sisters (and the uniqueness of their relationship) that intrigued me.

6. What is something about you that you would want people to know about you that we probably don’t know?

…I guess it would be that I actually do have a sense of humor. People who know me only through reading The Language of Secrets might not know that about me.

When I get together with friends, there’s always lots of laughter—and huge amounts of silliness.

7. What is your best advice to anyone, including young people, who want to be writers?

I know this sounds like such a cliché…but the truth is, if you want to be a writer, you have to sit down and write. Consistently. You also have to read—a lot. And you have to have something you really want to write about. The best writing comes from a place where there is genuine, personal passion.

8. What is something you would like to share with us about writing your favorite genre in general?

Hmmm…my favorite genre…that’s a difficult question to answer.

Because I began as a freelance television writer my work has, by necessity, been pretty eclectic…everything from animated comedy for pre-schoolers to prime-time drama for adults in Europe.

In doing The Language of Secrets, I know I really enjoyed exploring and piecing together the underlying mystery in Justin’s story. Now that I think about it, stories about unresolved questions…especially ones that have their roots in actual events (the way The Language of Secrets does) have always fascinated me. Maybe I’m drawn to those kinds of real-life mysteries because they point out what strange and unpredictable creatures we human beings are, and how endlessly fascinating our stories can be.

GIVEAWAY

THANKS TO JUDY AND THE FINE PEOPLE
AT DOUBLE DAY PUBLISHING, I HAVE
TEN (10) COPIES OF THIS AMAZING
BOOK TO GIVE AWAY. HERE IS WHAT
YOU NEED TO DO TO WIN!



--U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES
---INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
IN CASE YOU WIN!
--ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE TO
COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!


HOW TO ENTER:

+1 ENTRY: COMMENT ON WHAT YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THE INTERVIEW WITH DIANNE OR SOMETHING YOU WOULD WANT TO HAVE ASKED HER

+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON SOMETHING YOU FIND INTERESTING IN DIANNE DIXON'S WEBSITE HERE. THERE IS SO MUCH TO SEE THAT YOU MAY WANT TO SPEND A WHILE THERE!

+1 MORE ENTRY: BLOG OR TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND COME BACK HERE WITH YOUR LINK

BONUS ENTRIES: WATCH FOR MY REVIEW AND BONUS ENTRIES COMING UP TONIGHT WITH MORE CHANCES FOR YOU TO BE ABLE TO WIN THIS WONDERFUL BOOK!

GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
6 PM, EST, APRIL 3

45 comments:

tea said...

The synopsis of THE LANGUAGE OF SECRETS: author is very interesting. Her book really interests me. I would like to know more about the smaller grave by the parents, I would like to know more about what place the lullaby played in the clues, I would like to know the name and words of the lullaby. I am also interested in the Dissociative way of thought. Really, the book seems to be fascinating.

teakettle58atyahoodotcom

Tea said...

I do love her website. I feel excited because two other wonderful authors praise THE LANGUAGE OF SECRETS: There is Sue Grafton. By the way, I'm on the letter D. D is for Deadbeat.:) The other wonderful author is Kristin Hannah. The book has to be great.

Tea said...

tweet from PearlTulip1 to Bookin' with Bingo.

Diane said...

I just started this book --it's very good IMO. (No need to enter me in giveaway Karen)

Renee said...

I would love to know more about screen writing and did that help her write a novel or was it a very different process.


reneesuz82(at)msn(dot)com

Renee said...

I found the way she got her storyline to be most intriguing. To know someone that was abandoned as an infant by a 'respectable' family with other children

reneesuz82(at)msn(dot)com

Debbie said...

I loved this interview. What a story about her eyes!

Debbie said...

How fascinating that she wrote for both American and European television. I would think that is a rarity.

Lisa R said...

Dianne has been twice been nominated for an Emmy.

Alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

Lisa R said...

I love a good mystery- can wait to see why there is tombstone next to his parent's for a boy that might be names after him.

Alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

Lisa R said...

Facebook
Lisa Ann Richards http://bookinwithbingo.blogspot.com/2010/03/language-of-secrets-preview-author.html

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

Lisa R said...

Twitter-alterlisa

http://bookinwithbingo.blogspot.com/2010/03/language-of-secrets-preview-author.html

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

Lisa R said...

blogged about contest-
http://lisaslovesbooksofcourse.blogspot.com/p/contests-and-giveaways-memes.html
RECENT GIVEAWAYS THROUGHOUT THE LAND

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

bermudaonion said...

I enjoyed the interview and found it interesting that Dianne has been nominated for an Emmy award. Please enter me. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

bermudaonion said...

Dianne's web site is gorgeous - I love that she co-hosted a radio show. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

Bookie said...

Great interview. Just because you write a serious book doesn't mean you don't have a sense of humor.

dawnpnr at aol dot com

traveler said...

Writing for American and European television is wonderful and unusual. She is very talented and now starting a new novel. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

I found the interview interesting as it revealed the type of individual the author is. Her illness, her striving character and her career in television. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Bethie said...

I think its interesting that she wrote for TV in the states and in Europe.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Bethie said...

Since she is a TV writer, what does she think of all these reality shows.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Linda Kish said...

I appreciate her life lesson:

Whatever it is you’re called to do, don’t wait. Do it. Don’t waste even one of the days you’ve been given.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

For five years, she co-hosted “Peter & Dianne,” a top-rated, drive-time talk show on KABC Radio in Los Angeles.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

StephTheBookworm said...

Great interview! I'm intrigued by the idea for her second novel about twins. This book sounds awesome too! I am very curious about the grave! Please count me in.

stephaniet117(at)yahoo(dot)com

StephTheBookworm said...

I checked out her website and saw that she is a creative writing professor! That is really cool.

rubynreba said...

I like the part where she talks about her warning that she'd burned too many somedays. It made me think about when I say "someday I'll do that"!
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

rubynreba said...

For 5 year she cohosted Peter & Diane, a talk show in Los Angeles.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

Martha Lawson said...

I found it interesting that she had to have artificial implants in her eyes. The lady sure has been through it. I would love to read this book. It looks fascinating!!

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

LoveMyCoffee said...

The interview was very interesting, especially the mysterious illness which made her realize it was time to write her book. I'd like to ask which she prefers, being a screenwriter or an author, which is more rewarding?

Dutchlvr1(at)aol(dot)com

LoveMyCoffee said...

From Diane's website I see that her book is a featured pick from Doubleday.

Dutchlvr1(at)aol(dot)com

Colleen Turner said...

I saw on her website that this book has been chosen as a featured selection for many book distributors, such as BOMC2 (which I participate in). Tis strengthens my believe that this must be a fascinating read.

Colleen Turner said...

I really enjoyed the interview and synopsis and would love to have found out from the author a little more about the experience her college friend experienced that led to the writting of her book. What is the author's background regarding the psychological issues permeating in the novel? This seems like a fascinating read, I would LOVE to win it!
Thanks,
Colleen

candc320@gmail.com

Amy said...

Dianne Dixon is a very interesting and accomplished woman. Along with her writing and creative talent she has quite an inner strength and has come through some difficult times very successfully. I would like to ask her about having the lenses in both of her eyes replaced when she was in her 30's and the impact that had on her, especially as it is something that is normally done in people who are much older.

Thank you for a wonderful interview.

~ Amy
Aimala127@gmail.com

Amy said...

One of the things I find really interesting is the several teaching appointments and positions Ms. Dixon has now and in the past. I would love to ask her about the difference between teaching creative writing and screen writing. The drive-time talk show she co-hosted sounds very interesting too.

Aimala127@gmail.com

g.g. said...

I think it is interesting that when she is with friends, they all act silly and she has a great sense of humor. From the book description you might question that but once you see her picture I think she does

anjamie4 AT gmail DOT com

g.g. said...

She got the idea for her book from a friend who found out they were adopted. That was in her BIO Q&A section

anjamie4 AT gmail DOT com

Margie said...

I found the interview very interesting. She faced many challenges, including health problems, but never gave up on her dream to write a novel. The novel will probably make many readers look further into their family histories.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

The author's website if very well done. I found it interesting that she was a visiting professor of crative writing and has taught screenwriting. She has written for American and European TV. Quite a resume!
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Rebecca O said...

I am excited for her other book too. I can't wait for it to come out. Thanks for the chance. bekki1820cb at gmail

Colleen Turner said...

I am a BWB II Official Fan!
Thanks,
colleen
candc320@gmail.com

Glenn said...

The interview was very insightful and Dianne comes across as a warm person. I like the plot of the book. Thanks for the giveaway.

glenn_pessano AT yahoo DOT com

Benita said...

The interview was great. I always want to know about the relationship between editor and writer.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Benita said...

In Diane's website I found out the week of March 22 Amazon listed The Language of Secrets as a Top Ten New Fiction Title.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Colleen Turner said...

The Bingo Bunny gave me an extra entry because I am a FB Fan!
candc320@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

The mystery illness was an interesting aspect of the interview. I was sorry to read about her eye problems....

karin56381 (at) gmail.com

Anonymous said...

She hosted “Peter & Dianne,” a top-rated, drive-time talk show on KABC Radio in Los Angeles. (from her web site)

karin56381 (at) gmail.com

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