Dyanne Cortez rejoined the Writers’ League this fall. She lives in Austin, TX.
Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?
Dyanne Cortez: I’m strictly a nonfiction writer – journalism and essays.
Scribe: What authors would you like to have coffee or a beer with and which beverage?
DC: Ray Bradbury – whatever he wanted to drink. Madeleine L’Engle – coffee, or perhaps tea. (She did spend a few years in an English boarding school.) When I start to think a piece I’m writing is hopeless and will never find a market, I remind myself that A Wrinkle in Time was rejected by 13 publishers before it went on to win the Newbery Award. And I believe it’s still in print!
I could name many other authors whose work changed my life, but in most cases it’s their characters I’d want to have a drink with. For example, a mug of mead with Gandalf from Lord of the Rings.
Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?
DC: ONE book? How long will I be stuck on this island? I think maybe Leo Rosten’s The Joys of Yiddish. It’s a book I could open and read a page now, another page later, and always find something to laugh about.
Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?
DC: Where do I start? In the 1990s and early 2000s I was very active. I attended most of the monthly meetings and a couple of conferences, and signed up for workshops on query writing, essay writing, time management and other topics. I also participated in some of the informal groups that met weekly or monthly. The Old Quarry group helped me edit and refine the manuscript for a book-length memoir on the Kerrville Folk Festival. A self-publishing workshop helped me see that if I couldn’t find an agent, it was within my power to publish it myself. I applied for a city arts grant through the Writers’ League that helped me secure funding to make that project a reality.
Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?
DC: In the past few years I’ve been focused on what might be called “straight” magazine articles. I hope to do more essays in the future.
Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!
DC: You can find some of my recent articles in Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine. Oh, and that Kerrville memoir, Hot Jams & Cold Showers, is still available at Dos Puertas.