LaToya: Hi DINA, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
DINA Thank you for the invite. I was born in Miami, Florida to proud Haitian parents. We didn’t have much, but we did the best with what we had. My upbringing was a bit rough, so when the opportunity to attend college in other cities and states came about, I jumped on it! I ended up about four hours away, in Tampa, Florida where I attended and graduated from the University of South Florida (GO BULLS). I am currently working on my Masters in English at Southern New Hampshire University, and plan on also earning a Doctorate in the same subject. In 2012, I penned my first book, Rewriting My Story. Since then, I’ve written four additional books and have two in the works now. Ok, let me stop rambling. What do you want to know?
LaToya: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
DINA I believe my purpose in this world is to uplift, inspire, and empower others to be the best they are destined to be. This motto is the driving force of my writing career. Whether it’s through my autobiography, non-fiction, or self-help books, I aspire to simply help others.
LaToya: Which writers inspire you?
DINA There’s just too many to name; however, a few that stand out includes: William Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, Brenda Jackson, Adrienne Thompson, A.W. Myrie, Shan Mahogany, Dan Brown, and Daniel M. Davy.
LaToya: What are you working on at the minute?
DINA This month, I released my fifth book, Out of Order: A Practical Guide to Organization. Several readers and clients have expressed their desire to have additional hands-on training on organizing. Thus, I am currently working on planning an interactive workshop on the subject. The workshop will take place in the Tampa Bay area on January 28, 2017 and I am excited as I know that this will be a great event!
LaToya: What genre are your books and why?
DINA Autobiography, Christian Fiction (primarily action and crime related), and Guides/ Self-Help. I choose to write in different genres in hopes of reaching a wide audience. Also, these genres interest me most.
LaToya: In 10 words or less can you create a quote that describes you and your writing?
DINA My purpose is simply this – uplift, inspire, and empower others.
LaToya: Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
DINA This question may probably be better applied to my most recent fiction, Behind the Mask. In it, the main characters are Londyn O’Conner, a naïve privileged young lady who has become the object of obsession of a psychopath by the name, Crazy Bill. If this book were to become a film, I’d love to have Gugu Mbatha-Raw to play Londyn alongside Matthew McConoughey as Crazy Bill.
LaToya: When did you decide to become a writer?
DINA Writing has always been a great escape for me. In 2012, I was going through a dark period in my life. The result? My first book, Rewriting My Story. In it, I not only wrote of the root of my bitterness; I wrote of the lessons I’d learned as a result of my trials.
LaToya: Do you write full-time or part-time?
DINA Unfortunately, part-time.
LaToya: Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
DINA Although I write whenever I can, most of my writing is done late at night.
LaToya: Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
DINA I know many authors who set a certain amount of words or pages; however, this has not worked for me. I’ve found that when I write freely, I get more done.
LaToya: Where do your ideas come from?
DINA This may be a typical response…but EVERYTHING inspires me! From my family, friends, books, news, taking a stroll at park or beach…there’s a story everywhere! For my upcoming work, I find mystery documentaries to be quite inspiring.
LaToya: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
DINA I prefer to see where an idea takes me; however, I have used an outline.
LaToya: How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
DINA Excellent question. I think I’ve evolved greatly. This was done with the help of books, film, inspiration, etc.
LaToya: What is the hardest thing about writing?
DINA Deciding how I want the story to end. I love a dramatic ending and sometimes this is difficult.
LaToya: What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
DINA Because I’ve been an Organizer and Planner for nearly two decades, I can’t say that there was anything hard about writing my latest book, Out of Order: A Practical Guide to Organization. Perhaps finding time to write is a better answer.
LaToya: What is the easiest thing about writing?
DINA Coming up with an idea or topic that I want to write about.
LaToya: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
DINA It typically takes me about six months of consistent writing to complete a book.
LaToya: Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
DINA I see myself on a Best-seller list, conducting several workshops, and traveling for book signings and speaking engagements.
LaToya: What advice would you give to your younger self?
DINA You WILL overcome!
LaToya: Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
DINA I’d like to meet Brenda Jackson. Her Madaris series is why I wanted to become a writer.
LaToya: If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
DINA This answer changes from time to time; however, I’m going to go with Dan Brown’s, The Da Vinci Code. This book is well written and takes its readers through a journey that is sure to have your head spinning.
LaToya: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
DINA Find purpose in your writing. In other words, why do you want to write? This will be important in moments of discouragement and frustration.
Connect with DINA:
Facebook: Works by Dina
Twitter: Works by Dina
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Dina/e/B00X1PHARM