Journalist and Tune in Tomorrow (August 18, 2022, Solaris Books/Simon & Schuster) novelist Randee Dawn is a writer and storyteller through and through. As a youth, she wrote stories about her stuffed animals, and on the rare occasion she skipped school, it was to visit the library. Teachers assumed she was writing notes when she was writing fiction. Her love for literacy carried into fanfiction—Law & Order fanfiction (she later co-authored Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Unofficial Companion with Susan Green) and her short stories were accepted into over 15 anthologies. Like many writers, she was drawn to journalism. How has her seasoned career as a journalist aided in her career as an author?

“When I would talk to people,” the former Hollywood Reporter editor tells SBC, “I would try to get a full picture of who they are and where they’re coming from, and why they behave a certain way. And that led to just more and more questions…as you talk to somebody, if you’re actually engaging and listening to them, you will hear them start to paint a picture of themselves. And you can pull more questions out of that by being an active listener.

I was also writing fiction on the side all this time, and it helped me create characters—not that I was interviewing somebody and putting them in a book—but when you learn the different gray areas that people have, and you learn the different ways that they think about the world, I think it helps later on when you want to create a fictional character because you realize nobody is just one thing; nobody is entirely their background, but nobody can totally escape their background. So it helps you with fashioning characters that feel real or lifted.”

Tune in Tomorrow, Dawn’s debut novel, is a mythical and comedic twist on reality television. Think Ellen Kushner and Andy Cohen, both of whom praised the book or the likes of funny fantasy writers Jasper Fforde and Christopher Moore. In the tale, small-town stardom-hopeful Starr Weatherby lands an opportunity of the lifetime–a reality show where mythic creatures are the audience! The story will continue in another installment.

Check out the conversation to learn more about Dawn, her writing career including her foray into journalism and publishing, how she balanced her two careers, networking, how she gained the confidence as an author, attending conventions, her thoughts on whether books are a way for people who know the author to understand the author better, her thoughts on useful feedback, and more! For more information, visit her official website.

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