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Deanna Sletten on Dialogue

December 10, 2012


Guess who’s got two thumbs and loves doing author interviews? This girl! Author Deanna Sletten graces us with her presence, despite being very busy getting promotions together for her book, Sara’s Promise, to be released today! Here is the back cover info for the book. 


Do you believe in soul mates?


William Grafton had the perfect life with his lovely wife, Sara, and two teenaged children. But one day his perfect forever was shattered when Sara died suddenly, leaving him alone to raise his children and wonder how he would ever get through life without his soul mate. Five years l

ater, he finds himself looking into a familiar pair of blue-green eyes that remind him of Sara. The woman is the exact opposite of his late wife, yet he finds he is drawn to her. But after a few strange occurrences, he begins to wonder–are these just coincidences or has his Sara come back to him as she once promised in the form of this new woman? 


Annie Paxton doesn't believe in soul mates or fate. She had watched her father die of a broken heart after her mother passed away and has since cast away any fairy tale ideas of love. Then she meets the man who has been haunting her dreams and she begins to see love in a whole new light. But her dream man is still tied to his deceased wife, and Annie doesn't know if he will ever be able to break away from his past. As strange occurrences unfold, Annie wonders if William could ever truly love her for herself and not for the traits that remind him of Sara.


Were William and Annie brought together by fate, coincidence or by Sara keeping her promise?








Deanna Lynn Sletten writes women's fiction novels. Her stories dig deeply into the lives of the characters, giving the reader an in-depth look into their hearts and souls. She has also written one middle-grade novel that takes you on the adventure of a lifetime.


Deanna started her writing career in the early 1990s writing articles for parenting publications and local newspapers. Over time she transitioned to writing for blogs and websites and was a contributing writer for the women's website, She Knows. In November 2011, she changed course and put all her energy into novel writing and hasn't looked back since.


Deanna writes amazing dialogue, so I thought it would be cool to find out how she does this. Dialogue is something I have noticed a lot of new authors falling short on. Deanna has received a lot of praise for her prose, so let’s see if we can’t learn something from her.



Deanna, thanks so much for joining us! As we have all learned, planning a book is very important.  How do you plan your dialogue?


I don't really plan my dialogue – it just happens as the story unfolds. Before I write a novel, I sit down and write a detailed profile for each character so I know everything there is to know about that person. From this profile, I can determine how each character speaks. While I'm writing, I see and hear each character as if they were in a movie, so I write each character's dialogue just as I imagine they would say it if they were acting on screen. 

 What do you think is the most important aspect to consider when writing dialogue?


Keep it real. Not every person is going to speak proper English and have perfect diction. Real people speak in broken sentences, make gestures, nod their heads and interrupt each other. If you want the reader to believe your characters are real people, you need to let the characters speak the same way that everyday people speak. Of course, this changes depending upon the type of story you are writing (historical, fantasy, science fiction, etc.) because a person in 1890 isn't going to speak the same as a person in 2012. An educated character's dialogue will sound different from a high school kid's dialogue and a person from the south will speak with different words and phrases than a person who lives in Canada. But no matter if your character is a little green alien or a teenaged girl, the dialogue has to sound real to the reader.

 How do you keep the voices of your characters separate in your own mind?


The mind can be a scary place. As I mentioned before, as I'm writing a novel, it plays out in my head like a movie so it's very easy for me to separate each character's dialogue as I write it. Many times I even speak it out loud as I write it to hear how it sounds. When I wrote my latest novel, Sara's Promise, I loved writing the dialogue for Sandy who is a very vocal young woman. She is often rude, combative and sarcastic, so she was fun to write dialogue for. On the other hand, her brother Sam is low-key, polite and shy, so his dialogue is very different from hers. I think knowing each character's traits backwards and forwards is the most important key to knowing how to write dialogue for each one.

How important do you think dialogue is in a story?


I think dialogue is extremely important. It helps move the story forward, it reflects the emotions and traits of each character and it keeps the reader awake! I like stories that are loaded with dialogue and have less narration. Haven't you ever found yourself skipping over the paragraph that describes the night sky or what the characters are wearing and moved on to the next bit of dialogue? Like in a movie, the dialogue is what propels the story forward and should be considered important to every fiction writer.  

What would you say is the most important thing for an author to consider when planning dialogue?


Make sure that each character can be identified by his/her dialogue. Even subtle differences can be detected by the reader. Have you ever read a page of dialogue and become confused as to which character said what? If I have to keep re-reading a page to figure out who is speaking, then I will probably not want to finish reading that book. Each character has his own look, his own past and his own story, so he should also have his own way of speaking. Make sure you know your characters completely before writing even one bit of dialogue.



And if you are wondering whether Deanne knows what she is talking about, why not try one of her books?


Memories    Women's Fiction/Romance  


Widow, Virgin, Whore    Women's Fiction  


Outlaw Heroes   Children's/Middle-Grade Fiction - 


Sara's Promise   Women's Fiction/Romance  Available 12/10/12 



Deanna, what do you do for fun?


When not writing, I enjoy walking the wooded trails around my northern Minnesota home with my beautiful Australian Shepherd or relaxing in the boat on the lake in the summer. 



Want to connect with Deanna and learn more about her? She has a blog, you can friend her on Facebook , or follow her on Twitter  @DeannaLSletten



I hope you try one of her books. I personally am looking forward to Sara’s Promise! After you read one of her books, be sure to give her a review on the site you bought it from. If you are on  Goodreads you can add her to your friends list .



And be sure to leave her a review there as well. (If you aren’t on Goodreads, you should be!) 


Want to follow Deanna's virtual book tour, and see what reviewers are saying about Sara's Promise? 

 Follow the Tour Schedule here:


In celebration of Deanna's new book release she is having a giveaway! Leave a comment on this site to have your name entered in the drawing for one of four prizes: Two $25 Amazon Gift Cards and 2 paperback copies of Sara's Promise. Be sure to include your email address so we can contact you. You can enter at each site of the blog tour for more chances to win! Giveaway starts December 10th and ends December 17th at midnight. Winners will be contacted December 18th after noon. 


Until Next Time, 


Keep Writing

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