J. Dianne Dotson: Tackling Structure, Psychological Horror, & Appalachian Wonder

Episode Description: 
Diving between the worlds of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy, J. Dianne Dotson reflects on what inspires her writing, how she maintains confidence in her craft, and how loneliness grew into her passion for world-building. With degrees in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Dianne is currently a science writer. In this episode, she explains how she weaves scientific research into her books and how her childhood in Appalachia sparked her passion for ecology, astronomy, and writing. She also has helpful advice for writers struggling to commit to structure or stay consistent enough to finish their books. 

Show Notes:

(00:48-05:37) Love of Horror: After revealing that she is currently working on a horror fiction, Dianne tells us how she got introduced to the genre through movies at a young age. 
(05:40-09:13) Psychological vs. Physical Horror: How do both psychological & physical elements intertwine in horror writing? Dianne gives examples of both subtypes that she appreciates embodied in the genre.  

(11:16-14:18) Dianne’s Diverse Writing Style: Dianne’s writing stands out for its versatility- she explains how she’s able to change styles, genres & storylines ranging from fantasy and sci-fi to horror. 

(14:20-15:10) Juggling Multiple Worlds: From her day-job as a science writer to her passion for art- she’s still managing to juggle multiple written projects in the background. Dianne tells us how she takes inspiration from one world into the next. 

(15:10- 16:50) Confidence in Storytelling: Confidence to finish & share a book can be difficult for some writers. Dianne explains how she embraces her writing, taking us through her early start in writing comics and how that influenced her creation of The Questrison Saga

(16:50-20:36) From Isolation to Inspiration: Dianne explains how loneliness led her to develop her own universe through writing. She recalls how she found her writing community later on and the impact collaboration has had.  

(20:40-24:53) Heliopause & the Saga: The origin of the first book in Dianne’s saga is told...from rejections to what kept her on track. It’s also discussed how the books can be read independently but enlighten each other. 

(24:55-29:14) Tackling Structure Head on: Laying out her book before putting pen to paper, Dianne shocks us with the way she commands her writing structure all at once, before writing, to meet tight publishing deadlines. 

(29:15-36:18) Tales from Appalachia: The childhood inspiration behind Shadow Galaxy’s “Tales from Appalachia” are explained from outdoor adventures to the strange mix of wonder & horror that Appalachia evokes. 

(36:19-38:33) Background in Natural Science: Dianne explains her fascination with astronomy growing up and how passion for nature evolved and grew into adulthood, leading her to pursue degrees in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. How the subjects she learned inspired her writing including how Greek gods & goddesses inspired some characters in her books.

(38:34-45:59) Research Heavy or Research Light(?): Using her knowledge and research of ecology is part of Dianne’s process in world-building a realistic world in her books— but she explains how it's not always necessary. She tells writers what they can ask themselves when they’re trying to decide: research heavy or research light? 

(46:00-46:48) Workshops: Dianne provides mentorship for other aspiring authors & writers through some videos she posts on her social media pages. She also has upcoming panels on Ecology and world-building that she is hosting soon. 

(46:49-48:48) Advice for Aspiring Writers: Dianne tells us the harsh reality writers must accept to get where they want to go. 

(48:49-50:38) Upcoming Book: The Inn at the Amethyst Lantern is a utopia cli-fi book being released this October by Dianne, we’ve linked where you can pre-order the book, under the list of publications below!

Follow Dianne Dotson 

Author’s Publications
“In the Wood of Frost and Shadow” Winter of Wonder: Fauna (2022)

Follow Frivolous Comma

J. Dianne Dotson: Tackling Structure, Psychological Horror, & Appalachian Wonder
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