General · Writing

Q & A with the lovely Dianne Gray, author of The Eleventh Question!

eleventh questionAs 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 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.

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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.

It really sucks that strawberries are not currently in season!
It really sucks that strawberries are not currently in season!

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! 🙂

89 thoughts on “Q & A with the lovely Dianne Gray, author of The Eleventh Question!

  1. Zen, what a great review–it made me want to drop everything and go read it. That’s saying something, as currently all my voids are filled! Your interview is also wonderful–great questions that draw Dianne out. That made me want to look into her other works! I’m taking notes on your awesomeness, thanks for your talents. 😉

    1. Aww, thank you for the nice comment, Gina. I’m really glad you enjoyed this interview! 😀 Dianne’s work is definitely worth checking out.

  2. As a follower of Dianne’s I now know more about her thanks to your interview. Well done. And, Dianne….you have never been out of Australia? Get those strap on wings, Girl!

    1. Hey Barbara – my family tells me the same thing. I’m the only one who hasn’t traveled over the ocean several times! Now that I’ve quit my job and am writing full time, it’s on my ‘to do’ list 😉

  3. I really enjoyed the interview, and I was happy to know that her shopping cart at the grocery would be filled with the same items I usually have in mine. I was horrified to see that she can write 20,000 words in a day, however. I feel like a total sloth. Sweet Jesus.

  4. I enjoy learning about Dianne, and her books, from this post. I like to write every day, but don’t think I’ve written 20,000 words on any of those days. But I HAVE eaten chocolate each day – helps the creativity, for sure.

  5. Wonderful review and interview! I love your random approach to living . . . much easier to tap into the source when you haven’t got everything mapped out in advance.

  6. I loved the interview Dianne. Now I know I have to add The Eleventh Question to my reading list. The Everything Theory is already there. The fact that you write randomly is impressive. I have a need to write everyday. But like everyone else I do not believe I have reached the peak of 20,000 words in one day. Last question: How recent a release in The Eleventh Question? jk

    1. I’m so glad you liked the interview, Jennifer 😀 I’m an early bird (I get up at 4am every morning) and can sometimes write until late in the evening – it doesn’t happen that way very often, but when it does I can churn out a lot on each of my WIPS! 😉

      The Eleventh Question was released in October 2012. 😀

      1. Thank you for the info. I have been a night person for almost forever but have been under the weather lately so it looks like I am reversing my schedule to 10am to 11pm for now. Yes, I know what you mean about the writing. When I get started I forget about everything including breaks like to eat or to stand up and stretch. When I am going I am going. But I need to do it everyday. I also do art work so that does sort of break up the flow a bit. I get very zen with doing anything artistic. And I love to work on the secret keeper. We were meant for each other. I love the blogosphere. The people are imaginative and great. jk

  7. Wow, having followed Dianne and enjoyed every post she blogs I found this interview so interesting… she sounds as though her philosophy of life is similar to mine, a bit unstructured yet what an author. 20 000 words in a day, those fingers must really fly and they obviously can keep up with her thoughts..
    I love this woman, with all she has on her plate she still finds so much time to comment and ask such pertinent questions on other blogs… she is my fourth highest follower to comment on my blog, and with 26 000 views and 8200 comments one can see how busy she is on my blog..
    I was in a way slightly disappointed to read that South Africa was not on her “to go” to list. I will be after her books just as soon as our finances allow, which at present are stretched, with paying to have a computer program I designed written for me…
    Her food likes are so similar to mine… Chocolate, if only one could have more of it per day without the Bank Manager phoning with his concerns about my spending…
    One of my wishes in life would be to visit Dianne on the farmy and to just sit and talk with her, she seems to have a wonderful outlook on life and her intelligence I think she likes to hide from us… I love this woman…

    1. Dianne is amazing, I agree! I was happy that I got the opportunity to chat with her. 🙂 Also, I know what you mean about chocolate! Times like this I wish chocolate grew on trees, haha.
      Thank you for your comment!

    2. Awww! You’ve made me misty, Bulldog! I’m really flattered at the lovely comments you’ve made here. I know so much about South Africa now, thanks to your blog and I’m sure I will make it there one day! Anytime you are in Australia, you’re more than welcome to sit on my veranda and chat to your hearts content! We have a lot in common 😀

    1. The interview question was shocking! I’ve had a few bad interviews in my time, but that was certainly the worst. I’m pretty sure they wanted to catch a tear or two, but I wasn’t going to give it to them! I was actually surprised when they agreed to stop filming and start the interview again because they could have me me look like a real hard-faced bitch if they’d wanted to. 😯

  8. Mmm, did someone say chocolate? 😉 Oh, for a day where I wrote 20,000 words! I’m not sure what my record is, but I’m sure it’s not in the five-digit range. Great review and interview! (And I also greatly enjoyed the book. 🙂 )

    1. I love how chocolate brings people together, haha. My record is 8k, but I can’t imagine writing 20k in one day! That’s like a quarter of a typical book!

  9. Great interview! Particularly liked Diane’s answer to her writing habits, being ”unstructured’ or writing ‘20,000 words’ – likely because I’m much that way. The fact that she is unconventional makes her all the more endearing! I’m biased… she is one of my favorite people. AND, her writing talent I should like to borrow on numerous occasions! Her new house NEEDS to arrive! Stop the rain!

  10. Fantastic review and interview! It’s nice to hear a successful writer say they don’t write at least 2000 words a day. On that note, 20,000 words in one day……I definitely need to eat more chocolate! 🙂

    1. Congratulations! You won the giveaway. =D If you tell us the title of your preference from Dianne’s books, we’ll send it to you on your WordPress email.

  11. I loved Wolf Pear, and all of the other books of Dianne’s sound intriguing too. Great interview. Thanks Zen and Dianne for sharing more about yourselves. The 11th question definitely sounds like a great one…and I’m sad strawberries aren’t in season right now either.

  12. I am in awe of Dianne’s writing abilities (20,000 words in one day….three novels in the works at one time – wow! and she still finds time to read and comment on blogs :))

    This was a great interview. I liked the author questions, but the random ones were so much fun, too. With all this talk of strawberries and ice cream and chocolate, it makes me want some 🙂

    A Rottweiler named “Kitty” – that’s too funny. I have this mental picture of her standing at her back door calling out, “Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty….”

  13. Zen, I really enjoy your interview style. Everything is seamless and conversational. I have Dianne’s Eleventh Question and am really looking forward to reading it. Glad to see you enjoyed it!

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