Wednesday 30 May 2018

Derya Little Author Profile and Interview

Derya Little Author Profile and Interview

Derya Little has published three books. Two fiction and an incredible autobiography; From Islam to Christ: One Woman's Path through the Riddles of God her story is one of academic discovery, and a growing heartfelt faith. She is a Catholic convert, a mother, a wife, a daughter and more. She spent years in academia studying at various universities. Both her fiction and non-fiction writings exhibit the breadth of her knowledge and also her devout faith. She recently took some time from her busy schedule to answer 20 questions for the readers here at Book Reviews and More.  

1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you nurture that dream?

I wanted to write my conversion story, and that was the first time I wrote for fun. Until then everything I wrote was for a class or a degree. I found that writing was actually enjoyable, then I couldn't stop writing. Now, I write almost every day and try to read as much as I can. 

2. Who were some of your biggest supporters and contributors to your early success?

Success is still very early for me :) My husband is undoubtedly my greatest supporter. I don't know I would have written anything, had he not encouraged me.

3. If you had not become a writer what do you think you would be doing for a living?

I have a Phd, but we decided that it would be best for me to stay at home with the kids. Now, when there is a lull in between diaper changes and lego towers, I write. 

4. What authors influenced your writing style and format for your fiction?

The general concepts come from my faith, but the Chesterton, Lewis and Rowling are the biggest influences in my style. Tolkien, however, is the reason I write fantasy. Chesterton is why I write about my faith.

5. What does your writing process look like? Takes us through the steps from idea to publishing?

Idea. Mull it over for a while. Play with characters or concepts. Jot down important things on a messy notebook. Outline each chapter. Try to write the entire book in a season (four months or so). Leave it alone for a month. Re-read. Cringe. Make changes. Get a brutally honest friend to read it. Take his advice. Proofread. Let go. 

6. If your writing process different when writing nonfiction as compared to writing fiction?

Not really. I think, it all comes down to a reasonable outline where I can work on small pieces instead of getting overwhelmed with the task of finishing an entire book. 

7. What current projects are you working on or are in the back burner in some stage of development?

I've just finished a non-fiction on how New Testament women helped me to become a better wife and a mother. Now, I'm working on MG fiction series exploring St. Thomas' five ways for God's existence.

8. I once heard Madeleine L'Engle state that her characters were real to her and almost an extended part of her family, she said once that at the dinner table she sat up and stated "Meg just finished her PhD." Are your characters real to you, do you ever get glimpses of what they are up to now, or once you finish a book is that it?

I imagine James and Maggie are living happily in Seattle. But I tend to not dwell on them too much, because I need my mind to become a blank slate for new characters. 

9. You recently rebranded and republished your fiction series it went from being the Kayan Kronicles to Two Fallen Worlds. What prompted the change in the series name and rebranding?

Two reasons: I could finally afford a professional proofreader and many readers told me that the titles were too vague. I hope the novels are better for it, but we shall see.

10. If you could only recommend 10 books to a reader looking to be a well rounded and whole person what books would you suggest?

The Everlasting Man by Chesterton
The Screwtape Letter by Lewis
Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky
Lord of the Rings by Tolkien
Pride and Prejudice by Austin
Memed, My Hawk by Ya?ar Kemal
The Bible (Some great stories in there:)
Confessions by St. Augustine 
Theology of the Body by St. John Paul II
Diary of Saint Faustina 

11. All of your books are available in electronic formats but with that comes bootleg distribution. What are your impressions of eBooks and the distribution of them through torrents and other illegal means?

I'm conflicted. Part of me thinks "well, at least people are reading," but other -and much bigger- part of me thinks "I worked hard for these books, and I don't want them to be stolen."

12. Some authors monitor torrent sites and have their publishers contact them to remove their content. Do you do so are have someone do so for you?

I don't, but maybe Ignatius Press does.

13. Your book From Islam to Christ: One Woman's Path Through the Riddles of God is currently available on Formed.Org for free. 

I don't mind it's available for free. I wrote it to be an encouragement to everyone. It's a ministry for me.

14. Who were some of your favorite authors or books in your youth?

Jules Verne, Tolkien and Dostoyevsky. I read a lot of Ursula Le Guin, too. Also, quite a few Turkish authors like Orhan Pamuk and Yasar Kemal.

15. Who are some of your favorite authors or books now?

I'm enjoying Fr. Schall's and Bishop Sheen's works nowadays. There is always an attempt to read more of St. Thomas, too. The Angelic Doctor is exhaustive. I started reading more Flannery O'Connor. Just recently, I finished A Canticle for Leibowitz. It was an unexpected journey.

16. I once had a university professor state that the true goal of a university education should be to teach one to learn how to think. What would you state should be the goal of higher education and why?

Higher education should help us question and think critically. That freedom of thought should help the individual walk towards God, because all scientific inquiry gives an insight to His creation. Alas, higher education of today has moved far from this ideal.

17. You went to university in more than one country, and a few different schools. What professor had the largest impact on your life and why?

The Buddhist professor who made us read the Grand Inquisitor (no doubt to push us away from religion) contributed to my conversion immensely - unbeknownst to him, of course.

18. Are there any plans for translated editions of your book? 

I hope so, but I haven't heard anything concrete. 

19. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 10 books to read again and again, what books would you want with you?

Definitely a big book on survival! :)
The Bible
Divine Comedy
Kristin Lavransdatter  by Sigrid Undset
A Canticle for Leibowitz  by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
War and Peace by Tolstoy
Lord of the Rings
Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI
Summa Theologae by St. Thomas Aquinas
Brothers Karamazov

20. What advice would you give to young aspiring authors and artists particularly those looking to have their art reflect their faith?

Be subtle. Let the reader chew on the ideas you present. Ask questions with your story and let the imagination wander towards the truth.

Derya, thank you for your time. As you can see from her answers, she is a woman of letters. I encourage you to check out both her fiction and her autobiography they are excellent reads. And I hope we see more from her pen soon.
Books by Derya Little:

From Islam to Christ: One Woman's Path through the Riddles of God

First Editions Kayan Kronicles:

The Manual Beyond
The Ambit Above

Second Editions Two Fallen Words Kayan Kronicles:

Author profile and interview with Derya Little.

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