We’ve Got Questions for Dhonielle Clayton and Tim Dorsey

February 27, 2020 | Sarah Fisk
We’ve Got Questions For Dhonielle Clayton and Tim Dorsey

Dhonielle Clayton is the author of The Belles and its follow-up The Everlasting Rose. She is a former elementary and middle school librarian, and co-founder of CAKE Literary, a creative kitchen whipping up decadent – and decidedly diverse – literary confections for middle grade, young adult and women’s fiction readers. She is also Chief Operating Officer of the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books.

Tim Dorsey is a New York Times bestselling author, famous for his books featuring psychotic killer and lovable Floridaphile Serge A. Storms, whose newest title is Naked Came the Florida Man

OCLS is pleased to welcome Dhonielle as the opening speaker and Tim Dorsey as the closing speaker of this year’s Orlando Book Festival. We thought we’d ask them a few questions in anticipation.

 

Sarah Fisk: What first drew you to writing?

Dhonielle Clayton: I was a teacher and a librarian getting my Masters in Children’s Literature and forced to take a writing course in order to graduate. My professor, Hillary Homzie, forced me to write, write, write about everything, and that’s where I found my writer spirit. I had always been just a reader, and never had the desire to truly explore writing. It was definitely a calling rather than a passion at first.

Tim Dorsey: Finding great authors like Joseph Heller and Kurt Vonnegut. I was just in awe of them and wanted to try my hand at it.

 

SF: If you could offer aspiring writers one piece of advice, what would it be?

DC: Read everything and read widely. Writers should be readers. This is a way to fill your creative well and be in conversation with all the writers who have come before and leave behind something meaningful for the next generation of writers.

TD: Discover books that you love, and read read read! You’ll eventually soak it up.

 

SF:  What is the most interesting thing you’ve ever researched for a book?

DC: The most interesting thing I’ve ever researched for a book is what happens to skin tone and skin color after death. I’ve always wondered what the government thinks of my search topics and if they’re watching. Hah!

TD: The history of the Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson out in the Gulf of Mexico.

 

SF: Do you have any writing habits, superstitions, or rituals?

DC: I have a lot of rituals that help me find focus and entry into the writing zone. I need a full stomach, popcorn, tea, and I usually start with a pencil and grid paper. The computer is a point of distraction to start my writing session. It’s too easy to slide into admin and playing around. So I usually start with the pencil and the paper, then shift to typing those words. It makes my process a little slower and more methodical.

TD: Just get a good night’s sleep, and have the coffee ready to go as soon as you wake up.

 

SF: What is the most important book you’ve ever read?

DC: Oof … this is an evil question to ask a former librarian, and so I will cheat because these books change with each category. I’m defining important as foundational for me as a reader and a writer. The most important children’s book I’ve ever read was Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor. The most important young adult book I’ve ever read was Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. The most important adult literary book I’ve ever read was Passing by Nelly Larsen.

TD: Probably Catch 22. There were so many lessons on writing in there.

Share Article

Comments and postings by library patrons do not necessarily reflect the official position of OCLS or its staff. All comments and posts are public records. Patrons are strongly encouraged to protect their privacy when commenting or posting on social software tools.
About

From book recommendations to pop culture discussions, the Orange County Library System wants you to join the conversation with library staff about the world around us.

Twitter

What's a pirate's favorite letter? You might think it's the 'R' but it be the 'C'! Happy National Talk Like a Pirate Day!
19 hours 32 min ago
Happy Birthday, Virgos! Here's what you should read this month, based on your zodiac sign. https://t.co/WWOQwCGqJF
22 hours 42 min ago
Thank you to for this segment on our Hispanic Heritage Month programming and resources available in Span… https://t.co/g2uUsrs5wE
1 day 18 hours ago