Author Interview – Diane Sherry Case


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Veteran actress Diane Sherry Case (whose favorite role was Lana Lang in Superman, The Movie) is now a writer and filmmaker living in Santa Monica, California. Her short stories have been widely published and her first novel Elephant Milk won a best novel award in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and has been adapted for screen. As alumni of the American Film Institute’s Directors Workshop for Women, she wrote and directed two short films, Spa-tel and Valentine’s Day, and more recently the 2016 television series House Poor. She also teaches a therapeutic writing program that she developed. Her book on the subject, Write For Recovery: Exercises for Heart, Mind, and Spirit, will be published in January 2018.

Here is our editor Himanshu Goel in conversation with her.


Q. What do you think is different when writing something like Write for Recovery to something like Earth to Skye?

Diane Sherry Case

What an interesting question. One is fiction, one non-fiction. I had something to start
with when I wrote Write for Recovery, as I had designed a series of writing exercises
akin to those taught in MFA programs, based on psychological theories and geared
toward healing and developing mindfulness. So that book had “bones” and sort of an
outline.

The introduction to Write for Recovery is quite academic but most of the prose is
memoir, with a bit of folk wisdom thrown in. So it was very fun, breezy and soulful to
write. The main point of the book is the exercises – I’m very excited for them to reach
more people, as my students thrive on these prompts, often surprised by the wisdom
and transformative nature of the writing that they inspire.

Writing a novel for me is more like a puzzle – I write a bit here and there – I follow my
heart and write what I am compelled to write – I channel words, I let the pen flow, and
like my students, I am surprised by what I write. Then I try to piece it together like a
puzzle, and fill in the blank spaces. Voila – a novel!

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Q. How was the journey of writing Earth to Skye?

Diane Sherry Case

There was often sadness, as I wrote about a young woman’s death in Earth to Skye, and I too have lost loved ones to prescription drug overdoses. But there was also fun, for example researching a trek in the Himalaya – I enjoyed a lot of armchair travels. And I always play with humor, even in the saddest of stories, I hope to illicit a smile or a chuckle here and there.

Q.  What was the thought process behind a character like Skye, what are some of the ingredients for you behind great characters?

Diane Sherry Case

I learned how to write fully fleshed-out characters from my work as an actor. I used to have a list of about three-hundred questions to answer about my characters – what questions about their history, and details like what they ate for breakfast or what kind of underwear they wore. The more intimately you know your characters, as an actor or a writer, the more fully developed and believable (and even loveable) those characters will be.

Most of my characters are, by the nature of my subconscious, composite characters – combinations of two, three or even ten people I have known. I imagine I am also a part of each character! I know Skye had elements of myself as a teen. I even used entries from my diary from when I was a kid for some of Skye’s journal, entries that are far more realistic and disturbing than anything I might have recreated consciously. I’m having a lot of fun now illustrating Skye’s journal. I post her illustrations on Twitter. Like so many of the young people we have lost to drugs, Skye was extraordinarily talented. I like to keep her memory alive!

Q. You have been in the film and writing industry, if you had the choice to work in one of them, which one would you choose and why?

Diane Sherry Case

Directing is special as it utilizes both my acting and writing skills. But I am just happy to be creating – no matter the medium!  I feel very blessed to be able to do what I love.

Q. What can we expect from Diane Sherry Case in the near future?

Diane Sherry Case

Write for Recovery, Exercises for Heart, Mind and Spirit, will be out in January and I will continue to teach.  We may also make more episodes of House Poor, the digital sitcom (available on Amazon Prime) which I write, direct and act in. Also filmed a trailer for Earth to Skye (it’s on Youtube). What fun it was to bring the novel to life!  I believe I will adapt the novel to screen. I wrote an award-winning screenplay for my first novel, Elephant Milk, but alas, it has not yet been produced.

Drawing is my new favorite pastime, and I also just started Tweeting and using Instagram – what great daily short-term outlets for our creativity!


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You can follow Diane Sherry on Twitter and check her books here.

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