Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Tips and Links: Don't Be Afraid with Diana Renn, author of TOKYO HEIST

I'm pleased to introduce to you all Diana Renn, author of the new YA mystery, TOKYO HEIST.  I "met" Diana online when her editor asked me if I would be willing read and blurb her book. I was not only willing, but honored. TOKYO HEIST is a beautifully-written, masterfully-woven tale with a rich backdrop of art and Japanese culture. I enjoyed the assignment.

As for Diana. she grew up in Seattle and now lives in Boston with her husband and son. After graduating from Hampshire College and then Brandeis University, where she earned an M.A. in English and American Literature, Diana taught ESL, writing, and literature, worked in educational publishing, and authored several ESL textbooks. She also traveled whenever possible, and taught English in South AmericaWhen she’s not writing, Diana enjoys bicycling and taiko drumming. TOKYO HEIST is her first novel.

When sixteen-year-old Violet agrees to spend the summer with her father, an up-and-coming artist in Seattle, she has no idea what she’s walking into. Her father’s newest clients, the Yamada family, are the victims of a high-profile art robbery: van Gogh sketches have been stolen from their home, and, until they can produce the corresponding painting, everyone's lives are in danger -- including Violet's and her father's.

Violet’s search for the missing van Gogh takes her from the Seattle Art Museum, to the yakuza-infested streets of Tokyo, to a secluded inn in Kyoto. As the mystery thickens, Violet’s not sure whom she can trust. But she knows one thing: she has to solve the mystery -- before it’s too late.

You can find Diana online at her website, on Twitter, or at her group blog for middle grade and young adult mystery fans, Sleuths Spies & Alibis.

Diana's Tip:
In the early drafts of TOKYO HEIST, I had many moments of near-paralysis, where I thought I could not proceed because I was entering foreign territory. First, I was afraid to write about Japan. It was a country I loved and had traveled through, but at one point I doubted my expertise, and I knew I could not travel back to do research. I was afraid to write a mystery because it would involve police procedures and the FBI, things I knew next to nothing about. Van Gogh? Japanese woodblock prints? Art conservation? Laws about stolen art in Japan? Japanese law enforcement? I knew none of that when I began. Now I know a lot. At some point I got over my fear and did the research. I'd write as far as I could, then read voraciously when I hit a wall. I contacted experts when needed, and picked up even more plot points along the way. I even shadowed an art conservator at work and volunteered in an art museum for research. Getting hard facts about unfamiliar fields empowered me to go forward with the story, even if I didn't use every nugget of information I picked up. I wrote more confidently, armed with knowledge and a team of experts at the ready. People love to talk about their work. Ask for help. Don't reinvent the wheel, don't go at it alone, and don't be afraid of what you don't know.

Link Roundup:

Note: With the 4th of July holiday tomorrow, and since I will be on the faculty at the Antioch Writers' Workshop next week (and I don't know what my Internet access will be), we'll have another tip and link roundup post on Thursday with Jessica Brody, and possibly no post next week. We'll see. Check back next week in case. If I am unable to post while at Antioch, I'll catch up with you all over that weekend. OK, we will now return you to your regularly-scheduled link roundup...

More winning going on with the LIGHTS, CAMERA, CASSIDY Charmed Summer Giveaway. If you know any young teens who love travel, adventure, mystery, and romance (and a chance to win great prizes), send them over! (LightsCameraCassidy)

16 Tips on How to Survive and Thrive as a Writer (LiveWriteThrive)

8 Publishing Landmines and 8 Ways to Deal with Them (NovelRocket)

7 Ways To Give Away Your Power - and How To Avoid It (RachelleGardener)

5 Tips and Prompts on How to be an Everyday Writer (BeyondTheMargins)

5 Ways to Get Readers to Beg For More (FindingBliss)

5 Mistakes of New Fiction Writers (CreativePenn)

The Myth of All-You-Can-Eat Sensory Details (WritingForward)

Evolution of the YA Genre (WastepaperProse)

Cohesion in Your Writing (SusanKayeQuinn)

Accomplish Your Goals - Make a Schedule to Meet Deadlines (WritersDigest)

Publishy Questions - an editorial director publishing Q&A (BehlerBlog)

Unusual Inspiration: Character Arcs Made Easy (WritersInTheStorm)

How To Polish Your Writing Until It Shines (QueryTracker)

Flip the Switch: Use Adverbs Fearlessly (WriterUnboxed)

Are You Telegraphing Your Plot? (TheOtherSideOfTheStory)

The Yes-But Method for Deepening Plot (BuildingCharacter)

Why Crowded Coffee Shops Fire Up Your Creativity (The Atlantic)

Visualizing Revisions (CrissaChappel)

A Study in Opposites - the power of the thesaurus (WriterUnboxed)

Making History Appealing to Teen Readers (TheOtherSideOfTheStory)

Irreversible Plot Points (Kidlit.com)

Writing YA - Capturing the Teen Voice (DIYMFA)

What Makes Your Character Think That Will Work? (MoodyWriting)

Plotting With Layers (The Other Side of the Story)

So You Want To Read YA? (Stacked)

Literary Law - Using Real People in Fiction (WritersFunZone)

Only You Can Write It (Adventures in YA and Children's Publishing)

Learning Through Stories (AnnieMurphyPaul)

Going Both Ways - Character Outlines for Pantsers and Plotters (TheOtherSideOfTheStory)

Finding Themes in a Brainstorm (LiveWriteThrive)

Alliteration and Repetition (WriteAnything)

Now don't be afraid, and go write!