Feature Friday: A Conversation with Diana Giovinazzo

Today for Feature Friday, I am excited to interview Diana Giovinazzo!

Diana is a long-time friend and critique partner of mine, whose debut novel The Woman in Red is will be published by Grand Central Publishing, an imprint of Hatchette Book Group. We’ve talked to one another about all stages of the writing process.

Since the theme lately has been about how we put ourselves out there as writers, I thought Diana would be the perfect person to talk about this topic with us.

Amanda: Hi Diana! Thank you for talking to me about this today! As I’ve talked to you about in the past, it’s really scary as a writer or creator of any sort to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and put both ourselves and our work out there. What advice would you give an author who is on the fence about sharing their work with others, or who is anxious about querying?

Diana: Thank you! I am honored to be here. To be a writer means that you slit your wrist and pour it on the page and to share that can be scary, but its that vulnerability that makes the art. Every writer I have ever talked to is anxious about their work being shared. It doesn’t matter if it’s their first book or their fifth book, they still worry about how others will perceive their work. That fear and doubt never go away, you can either let it dictate your dreams or, to paraphrase Carrie Fisher, you can just do it anyway and tell the fear to F*^@k off.

Amanda: How would you describe your querying experience? Was there any point where you were just like “nope, I want this to end now”?

Diana: Querying was both the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done. Almost every week I was sending out query letters and when you get email after email of people saying, at best, “I like your book but I don’t love it enough to represent you,” you start to get a little frustrated and that self-doubt comes in as you wonder am I good enough. I came really close multiple times of giving up but I promised myself that I would stick with it until I pitched 100 agents. I also had a great support network of friends that I could turn to. (And if you are wondering, my agent was #87)

Amanda: What things can a writer or creator do to make sharing their work less scary? Does that fear ever go away?

Diana: Lol, see question one above. I think to get used to having others get used to reading your work, the best thing to do is to to work with a critique partner or two. At least, in my opinion, the writing  relationship we developed was incredibly nurturing so that when I submitted my work out to others it made it easier for me to deal with their feedback

Amanda: What are you most excited for with the publication of your debut novel?

Diana: Honestly, I am most excited about it getting out into the world. From start to finish, it’s taken me roughly four years and I can’t wait to see the finished product sitting on a store shelf. It’s something I have dreamed of since I was a kid.

Amanda: Where do you feel most vulnerable with the publication of your debut novel?

Diana: Honestly, nowhere. I have the most amazing agent and editor at Grand Central that believe in my book just as much, if not more so than I do. It’s shaping up to be a fantastic experience.

Amanda: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten about sharing your work with others?

Diana: “Unless you are being rejected at least five times before breakfast you aren’t working hard enough.”

Amanda: Thank you so much for talking to me about vulnerability as a writer and creator. I can’t wait to see The Woman in Red on shelves.

Diana: It was my pleasure! I can’t wait, for it to come out as well. If you want to stay up to date with what’s happening with my book feel free to sign up for my newsletter.

FInd Diana on Social Media

Follow her on Twitter @DianaGauthor
Like Diana’s author page on Facebook
Check out her INSTAGRAM (there’s dog pics)!

A really long time ago, I interviewed Diana about being Critique Partners! SEE THAT HERE.

Find me on social media

Like Amanda Sawyer- Author on Facebook

Find me on Instagram @amandasnoseinabook

Follow me on Twitter @amandamarie5187


Don’t be Scared: Working with a Critique Partner is Awesome!

One of the best parts of being a writer is working with other writers! Diana has been one of my critique partners for nearly a year and she’s helped me get through Draft 3 of The Girl in The Glass Coffin! She’s also been helping me with Draft 4 and polishing it up!

Read a little bit about my critique partner and learn about our process of how we work together and the benefits of having a critique partner (or CP).

Meet my CP!

Name: Diana Tierney

critique partnerMy current project: It’s called Woman in Red and its an historical fiction piece on Anita Garibaldi. Writing this has been a fascinating journey. Anita is one of those underrated historical figures where the legend is threatening to over take the reality.

My favorite genre to write: Historical fiction i feel like i am a bit of an anthropologist constructing an actual character from the historical clues.

My favorite genre to read: I like books with strong female leads primarily but historical fiction is my absolute favorite to read as well.

My goal for 2015 is: To actually finish my book!

Check out Diana’s Blog!!!

Follow her on Twitter!

And on Instagram!

The idea of sharing your writing with a critique partner can be scary, but it can also be an amazing experience! Check out what Diana and I have to say about working with a CP!

Continue reading

How Amanda Got Her Groove Back

Secondary Title: Why am I living where the air hurts my face?



No really, that is what I am asking myself right now. It’s been a very cold and snowy week here in Oswego, New York. Temperatures are pretty far below zero with the wind chill and everyone just wants to stay indoors.

What are some perfect things to do when the weather is crappy like this???

Write, write, write, read, drink hot cocoa. Hide under the blankets. Try to blog (and mostly fail).

Yup, sounds very much like me.

Not too long ago, I wrote a post about my writer’s block. To me it felt more like a creative block altogether (I didn’t want to crochet, read, or do anything that I consider to be a creative outlet). After writing a completely new and different novel for NaNoWriMo 2014, I was having difficulty getting back into the swing of revisions and felt pretty crappy about that.

I was honestly thinking about giving up on The Girl in the Glass Coffin altogether.

Even though I’d spent over a year working on it. Even though it’s something that I really wanted to finish, to try to get published. My critique partner, Megan was encouraging me to get new material to her, but I was still in the steampunk world of Lucinda Compton.

Thankfully, Diana contacted me when she did and offered to be a second CP for me, and after tweaking my first couple of chapters and sending them to her, I got my groove back.

Sometimes all it takes is getting a fresh perspective on your own book. I’ve read each and every chapter of each draft of TGGC at least a hundred times. I’ve poured over them, crossing things out (sentences, paragraphs, sometimes even whole pages) and re-writing and revising. My eyes and brain were tired. I didn’t see where the issues or snags in my story were.

After NaNoWriMo, I went back to Chapter 1 and read through all of draft 3 all over again (more than once) and I just wasn’t feeling it. I had new chapters to write to fill in the gaps of where my last draft left off and wasn’t getting inspired to continue.

But the help and encouragement that Megan and Diana have given me inspired me to keep going. I’ve written two entirely new chapters since, and Diana is almost completely caught up with the chapters that I’ve already revised.

Having someone to help keep your accountable for your writing makes all the difference.

It also doesn’t hurt when you have a break from your own writing to read theirs and help them.

Trading chapters with these two lovely ladies has pushed me out of my slump and gotten me writing again. Yay! Thanks guys. You rock!


Writer's Block?

All throughout NaNoWriMo, I cruised along with my novel, all the while thinking of the world I set aside in The Girl in the Glass Coffin (my NaNo 2013 novel) that I was still revising. I tried to not think of the characters in TGGC and that world, but it was difficult for me.

Now that I can actually jump back into that world, I’m struggling.


I have a first and second draft that I’m working from, but in order to make it a fuller, more developed novel, I’m adding scenes and chapters. I have ideas, but they don’t seem to be forming at such a positive rate as I was hoping they would as I was writing my 2014 NaNo novel.

In fact, I’m kind of at a stand-still.

In the year that I have been working on this novel, I have never felt blocked, or rather uninspired.

Right now, I really want to be writing. I really want to continue, but it feels like every word that I type to progress the story forward is complete shit. It might be that I am completely distracted with the holiday season and my day job, but I feel like this story will never be finished.

Is this something that all writers feel at one point or another?

What have you done when writers block has hit you hard mid-novel?

I really don’t want to set this aside for another month or so, since I really haven’t done much work on it since October.

My critique partner, Megan is amazing. She and I have talked every single day, even when neither of us have written, and are trying to push one another forward. She gives me suggestions that I take and try to work into my novel.

But I’ve come to realize that I might need yet another set of eyes to look over what I have so far in my novel.

Should I get a second critique partner while I am still writing/revising?

I’m hesitant to put myself out there on somewhere like Critique Circle. I’m still very new to this CP thing and am an unpublished author as of right now. I need someone I can trust to give me their honest opinion and help me in those areas that are lagging along.

My poor little crappy novel needs help— and lots of it.


Why You Should Let Someone Else Read Your Precious.

You’ve written your first draft, revised or rewritten, and maybe completed a second or third draft of your novel, short story, etc.

Now what do you do?

If you’re anything like me, you’re scared shitless to share your precious novel with another set of eyes. Perhaps you’ve read your manuscript aloud to your dog, or cat, but another human being hasn’t heard or read a single word. You might try to hold on to Your Precious as long as possible, but you’re not doing yourself any favors by doing so.

Before recently, I wouldn’t allow another living soul to see, much rather touch my novel. Many a time has my rough draft of a chapter been sitting on my desk or table and a friend who knows I’m working on it went to grab for it.

My response? Paws off!

angrygollumWow. I’m freaking terrifying sometimes! Well, my response may have been a bit nicer, but that’s how I felt on the inside. Why did I smack at their hands, or hurriedly put the draft away? Because I was scared to let someone else read it.

But if you want to be a published (and maybe best-selling) author someday here’s my bit of advice to you: You have to let someone read Your Precious eventually.


In fact, you’re so close to your own work it can only get better by having someone else read it and give you the feedback you need. And that’s scary. That pesky self-doubt creeps in more than ever and you may find yourself compulsively checking your email every two seconds. Hours might go by and then you feel like you’ve written the biggest piece of shit in the world, days and you might feel like your life is over— weeks or months? Forget it!


But then you get that little email. Your heart might be pounding so hard or be so sunk into your stomach that you feel it may just fall out of your butt, but you click on it anyway.

And, whew— it’s not nearly as bad as you thought it would be. (At least it wasn’t for me, and I was freaking out over it).

I never thought I would get to the point of needing or wanting a critique partner

but I feel like my writing and my book have become so much stronger for having shared it with another person. Plot holes in my novel have been brought to light where otherwise they would have gotten bigger, my characters are stronger, and I feel so much better about my book.

My critique partner and I met through my blog in June or July. We still continue to trade at least one chapter a week. It helps me to set goals with my writing and motivate me to keep on writing, even when I want to give up (which does happen from time to time). She and I talk about our progress nearly every day and help keep one another accountable for our work. Without my CP I probably wouldn’t even be more than half-way through this round of revisions, but I am.


Hats off to you Megan for being awesome, dealing with me, and helping me be a better writer.


Do you have a critique partner? Where did you find him/her?

How do you feel about sharing Your Precious (aka your novel) with other writers?