TweetWhitney Dineen is a retired Ford model who writes romantic comedies and middle reader fiction. Her first romantic comedy, She Sins at Midnight, won a silver medal in the 2015 Reader’s Favorite Award. She has two young daughters, five chickens named after Barbie princesses and weeder’s hands.
Time to chat with Whitney!
Is your recent book part of a series?
Mimi Plus Two is book 2 in The Mimi Chronicles. In The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan, Mimi is hell bent on finding Mr. Right and winds up with two remarkable specimens to choose from. In Mimi Plus Two, she marries into the aristocracy, gets pregnant and falls spectacularly into postpartum hell.
I love Mimi Plus Two. Mimi is my soul sister. I can definitely relate to her pregnancy and postpartum issues, as I suffered from both with my gestations. However, I do like to rely on the “funny” when writing. Postpartum is a serious issue, but I am first and foremost a romantic comedy author, heavy on the comedy.
Mimi Plus Two, has caused some controversy and very mixed reactions with readers. Can you tell us about that?
Wow, I don’t even know where to begin. Readers fell in love with Mimi in The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan, where Mimi battled her inferiority complex, searched for the love of her life and joined Weight Watchers. In Mimi Plus Two, Mimi gets married, is pregnant and dreaming of her happily-ever-after when she gets hit with an extreme case of postpartum depression. About 25% of my readership is livid with the storyline.
All I can say, look folks, crap happens. Mimi is a fully dimensional character living a life like the rest of us, riddled with bumps and bruises. If you’re looking for a pure fairy tale, pass this book up, it’s not for you. Mimi Plus Two is still a humor novel and there’s plenty of it, but it gets a bit deeper than the first book. If you love Mimi and don’t want to read this book, fear not. Mini Mimis will be out in the Spring of 2017 and it’s straight comedy. As a veteran of severe postpartum depression I can only say that I’m really disappointed by the criticism of the storyline. I set out to make people more aware are a real issue in hopes of opening their eyes and creating tolerance. I had hoped to reach more of you with this message.
Do you have complete control over your characters or do they ever control you?
The truth is I’m their bitch. I do what they tell me. If I name them wrong, they let me know. If I don’t write their dialogue correctly, they wake me at 3 in the a.m. to fix it. They OWN me.
What genre have you never written and would like to try?
I currently have a fantasy novel trying to write itself. I’m all, “Not now! I don’t have the time!! OMG, wait until summer break with the kid’s is over!!!” It’s not listening and I may be forced to get up at 4 a.m. through the summer to get it out. I am not pleased at the thought.
What do you think the greatest misconceptions about indie authors are?
I think a lot of people think indie authors are writers who couldn’t make it with a big house. This is simply not the truth. Many authors choose to be indie because they want to control their content and not have it watered down or changed to the point it doesn’t resemble their original idea. They also want to produce books quicker and more often than the mainstream publishing houses will let them. Often times, unless you’re a huge name, indie authors make way more money than their “legit published” counterparts.
I think the most ludicrous thing people have said is, “It must be nice to have the time to write a book!” Like time is the only ingredient necessary in penning 80K plus words into a workable and marketable tome. Like I don’t get up at 4 in the a.m. when I’m writing so I still have time to be a fulltime mother, gardener, wife, housekeeper and laundress. While my instincts are to react violently, I usually just smile and answer, “Yeah, I’m lucky like that.”
Do you have any advice for first-time authors?
Yes I do. Write what you love, write what you feel and don’t edit yourself. Let your freak flag fly and shoot for the stars! Don’t worry about what your mother, father, Aunt Betty, or third grade teacher will think when they read your words. That kind of censorship is the kiss of death to creativity.
Is it important for you to know the end of the book you write? The title?
I never even know what the next sentence is in the book I’m working on yet alone the ending. Truthfully, my books author themselves and I’m their secretary taking dictation. It’s a wonderful and weird process that I don’t question. I see a lot of my life and self in my characters so I know I have value beyond my typing skills, but man, I’m always surprised but what flies through my fingers onto the computer screen.
What is your most favorite comfort food? Least fave?
French fries, hands down! I love shoestring, steak fries and waffle cut. I adore them all! I hate snails. Actually, I loathe them. The mere thought of them gags me.
If you could have one skill you don’t currently have, what would it be?
I would be a kick ass, auditorium-filling, diva singer, the likes of which Aretha Franklin would envy. I would have heart, soul and lungs that never quit. I would be the female equivalent of Freddie Mercury and would belt out Preacher Man and I Will Survive without my children begging and pleading with me to stop.
If you are a TV watcher, what are the names of your favorite shows?
I have not been a dedicated television watcher since my kids were born; having said that, I get sick once a year and take to my bed in high drama and binge watch some show or another. I tackled every episode of House of Cards on Netflix in March and now have an extremely heightened fear of politicians and Robin Wright. Seriously, I would cross the street if she was coming toward me.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
I have this charming little disorder called Misophonia, which essentially makes me super, duper, über, insanely sensitive to sound. Therefore, I would have to say my biggest pet peeve is someone chewing nuts within a mile of me.
What simple pleasure makes you smile?
My children laughing causes me no end of joy.
What is the most valuable class you took in school?
Clearly typing. I have yet to use Logic, Rhetoric and Persuasion, Religious Quests or Trig. History has come in handy a bit and Film Criticism allowed me to live in L.A. for 18 years and have something to talk about at industry parties, but typing? Typing is where it’s at!
Have you ever walked out of a movie?
Yup. I walked out of Minions. What the heck is with those little, yellow talking phalluses. I do not get the draw to save my life.
Do you have guilty pleasures?
Um, yes. My favorite would be whipped cream sprayed directly out of the can into my mouth. I also really love mini colored marshmallows in some kind of horrid jello salad. Ooh and Peppermint Schnapps in hot chocolate.
I hear you some very exciting news! Can you share it with us?
OMG, yes! I’m pregnant again!! I am so totally and completely kidding. I’ve been pregnant 6 times to have 2 live births. My girls were born when I was 40 and 42. During my second c-section, I had my tubes tied. So if I ever, EVER, wind up pregnant again, heads will roll!!! I guess that makes my exciting news my tubal ligation.
If you were to advertise your book as a bumper sticker, what would it say?
Pregnancy, Postpartum & Aliens
The Trifecta of Nuts
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