As part of my resolution to read more indie novels this year, I picked up The Eleventh Question by fellow blogger, Dianne Gray, and did not regret it once. A short and easy read, this novel tells the story of Arista, a teenager with a less-than-idea living situation, who goes through the eleven stages of enlightenment through a series of events that test her and make her ponder the true meaning of life, while in the background a Seer and her apprentice observe her and go through a journey of their own.
I really enjoyed this book. The writing style was great, and the story kept me hooked throughout. I was curious to see what the eleventh question was, and I thought Dianne did a good job choosing which events led to which question, and the end of the book was quite satisfying.
I found myself caring about all the characters enough to want to see what was going to happen to them. They were well-rounded and one could easily relate to them. I was relieved that they didn’t have any stereotypical characteristics that could be found often in novels these days!
Overall, The Eleventh Question was a great read and I do recommend it for anyone with an interest in philosophy and self-enlightenment!
After reading the book, I contacted Dianne to see if she would be interested in answering a few questions. Scroll down to read her answers below. =]
Hello, Dianne! Thank you for joining us today!
I read your book, The Eleventh Question, and loved it. I also noticed that it was different from the fiction we read every day. Was this just a one-time thing, or do you like being unconventional?
I am an unconventional writer and am always looking for something ‘different’ to write about. I guess this is why I stopped using publishing houses who wanted to hone me into something I’m not. We’re all individuals and I don’t really believe in ‘mainstream’.
Agreed! Publishers these days want us all to fit in the same mould. What inspired you to write? Is there any particular someone/something you consider a muse?
I started writing when I heard of a particularly gruesome murder and I needed to sort out the reason ‘why people kill’ in my mind. I wrote a blog about this http://diannegray.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/writing-is-cathartic/ So I guess my main muse is the part of my mind that needs to know ‘why’.
In the book, your main character, Arista, used to be deathly afraid of dogs and animals in general, and I was curious; how do you feel about animals? Any pets?
I have two dogs – a German shepherd and Rottweiler and I absolutely love them. I based the Rottweiler in The Eleventh Question on my own dog, but her name isn’t “Archimedes”, its “Kitty”. I’m actually quite scared of dogs and will cross the street if I see a big one coming. But love all animals and have saved a few of them in my time.
Haha, Kitty is an interesting name choice for a dog! Speaking of interests… Arista also has a great interest in philosophy. Is that a reflection of your own self? Do you have a personal philosophy?
I have a great interest in philosophy and have always wanted to write philosophical stories. I don’t have one particular philosophy that I live by and am always open to differing opinions and views about life. I love to talk to people about their own philosophies and beliefs, regardless of how ‘far out there’ they are.
Of all the books you wrote, do you have a favourite?
This is a hard question because I love them all for differing reasons. The Everything Theory taught me a lot about ancient science and mythology. Let Sleeping Gods Lie helped me explore strange religions and belief systems. Wolf Pear had me intrigued with the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of psychic ability. Souls’ Child gave me a special insight into ghost hunting. The Eleventh Question had me falling in more in love with philosophy (and my character Cayo) and wanting to find out more. They all have a special place in my heart.
It’s nice to see how involved you are with your books. Do you have any new projects on the horizon?
I’m working on three novels at the moment. “In the Company of Beasts” (which is a continuation of The Eleventh Question), “The UltraTerrestrials” (which deals with all kinds of mythological creatures) and the last one is currently unnamed but is about a killer who kidnaps a writer so she can write his life story – but there’s a problem with this because she’s not really a writer, her fame came from stealing someone else’s story…
I love the last one! It sounds exciting. Could you describe your writing process? Any specific word count per day? Any favourite location? Snack?
My favourite location to write is the farm – but it’s been knocked down and I’m waiting on another house to be put in its place. I don’t write every day, I just write when I feel like it. Sometimes I’ll write 20,000 words in a day, but I may go for weeks without writing anything – I’m very unstructured! Favourite snack is chocolate…
I definitely approve of your choice of snack. Now onto some random, non-writing questions! Some people find routine relaxing. Do you have a certain routine to your days, or do you prefer to tackle the randomness as it comes?
I’m a very random person and just do what I feel like at the time. I’m not one to say, “Tomorrow, I’m going to clean the cupboards,” because I may feel like going clothes shopping instead.
I wish I had the luxury of randomness; you’re quite lucky. Speaking of shopping… let’s say you’re at the grocery store and you’re given a cart to fill with your favourite things. What can we expect to find at checkout?
Chocolate, wine, olives, sundried tomatoes, avocado, crackers, strawberries and ice-cream.
Most of these are some of my favourite things! I would love me some sundried tomatoes right about now. Have you ever traveled overseas? If not, where would you like to go?
I’ve never travelled overseas, but South America and Scotland are on my ‘to go’ list.
Scotland has always fascinated me as well! And now… this question is going to be a regular in my interviews; what is your favourite dessert?
Strawberries and ice cream.
Yum. Finally… could you tell us what was the strangest question you’ve ever been asked? How did you answer it?
The speed limit on the road in front of my farm used to be 100ks and it’s a narrow and dangerous road. I petitioned the government to lower the speed limit and after three months the government agreed. Two days before they put the new road signs up, a motorcyclist came around the bend near my house, lost control of his bike, hit a tree and was killed. I woke up to a knock at my front door and opened it to find a TV crew standing there. The sound guy put the microphone up to my face and the interviewer introduced herself and asked if I was the one who had the speed limit lowered. I said I was and her next question was the strangest I’ve been asked.
She said, ‘After all this good work you’ve done, what does it feel like to have someone die on the road in front of your house?’
I didn’t know how to answer it, so I told her to start the interview again and leave that question out – which she did. I think it was pretty obvious how I felt.
Oh my goodness. That is not just strange, that is simply tactless! I don’t blame you for not knowing how to answer it. =[ But with that we wrap up our interview for today. Thank you for the interview, Dianne!
Thank you so much for the interview!
Dianne has offered to give away an eBook of the winner’s choice to those who comment on this post. You have until February 1st, so make sure to enter!
I hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend!