An interview with Diego Ornelas-Tapia, author of Tame a Dame
Diego Ornelas Tapia was born in 1994 in Los Angeles. He wrote Tame a Dame, his first book, and he’s currently working on Void. A lover of adventurous and unique stories, he loves to read and write stories that blend multiple genres.
Take it away, Diego!
Where did you get the idea to write To Tame a Dame?
To Tame a Dame stemmed from a subplot part of my other book, Void. In particular, the relationship between two characters. I wanted to explore the beginning of that relationship, so I went from there. The writing process for Tame a Dame was definitely letting it all unfold. I had no plan, unlike Void.
Why did you choose to self-publish?
I didn’t want to deal with the hassle and drama of pitching my story idea to a select few in a traditional publishing house. I prefer and love how much freedom self-publishing gives the author. Is there more to learn? Yes. More responsibility? You bet. But is it worth it? Without a doubt.
Who are your favorite writers?
George R. R Martin. I love how A Song of Ice and Fire is one big ensemble. Each chapter belongs to a character: Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, Eddard Stark. And each character’s chapter has their own story in which nothing is black and white. There are no traditional heroes and villains and the world is brutal and merciless; love does not prevail in Westeros.
What is your writing process like?
I come up with a rough outline of the main plot and have an idea of where the story will go. However, this isn’t set in stone and I prefer letting the story unfold and giving the characters the reigns. At the end of the day, it’s their story, not mine.
An example of this would be a fight scene in my story, Void. For no spoilers and simplicity’s sake, let’s name the characters, the good guy and the bad guy. The bad guy is a natural born killer who’s never lost a fight in his life. The good guy is a bodyguard.
The bad guy was supposed to easily kill the good guy and move on with the story, but as the fight progressed, something surprised me. The good guy was able to hold his own. And the bad guy was getting the challenging fight he’s been waiting for his entire life. So, it’s like the bad guy told me, “this is it, Diego, this is my end. Don’t take that away from me.”
So, I didn’t.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
I have a routine set up. I write weekdays and dedicate five to six hours on these days. I split it into two rounds. One in the morning, followed by a break, and one later in the evening. I strive to hit a goal, not a deadline, of five thousand words in a week.
Usually, this routine keeps me focused and there aren’t any issues.
But that only lasts so long.
So, when I do hit writer’s block and I don’t have the discipline or mindset to move forward, because the attempt is literally draining my health, I take a deep breath, close my laptop, and give myself the day off.
I’ve discovered that I hit writer’s block within four to five months of working on a project. Aware of this, I make sure to give myself a week off and go on a road trip. I have fun and don’t think about my book at all. And when I come back to the fray, I feel refreshed and kick butt.
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
The freedom it grants me. And solidarity.
Unlike a scriptwriter, the life of an author means there are no limitations to your creativity. No sacrifices. You don’t have to worry about time limits or budget cuts, you don’t have to ask for permission to shoot at a certain location, you don’t have to worry about anything. You just let your mind roam free and see where it leads you.
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
It’s a cliche answer but keep writing. If you have an idea for a story that you feel great about, follow through with it, and finish the project. Don’t worry about how the final product will look.
Your first draft will not be great. I wish I saved my first draft of Void so I could show the world how horrible it was, but I deleted it out of shame. It had issues with tense: I would switch between present and past; it had issues with POV: I would switch between third person limited and omniscient; and it had issues with dialog: I would rely too much on it to carry the plot forward and delve into a character’s psyche.
The point being, it had issues.
But, with each revision, it got better and better and better. So, never surrender, my dear lads. Be it in writing, editing, or publishing. You’ll get there.
Wait, you want to hear more from this author? You’re keen to learn more about the book? Diego has set up a fabulous one-stop-shop for all the details you could possible want. You can find it here.