Author Q&A with Denise Dwyer D’Errico

Author Q&A with Denise Dwyer D’ErricoPlease welcome Denise Dwyer D’Errico to our Featured Author Q&A series at Writer’s Fun Zone. Enjoy!


If you’d like to be considered for an interview, check out our guidelines here.


About Denise Dwyer D’Errico

Denise Dwyer D’Errico is a married, working mother of two teenagers, living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has a B.A. in Religious Studies from St. Mary’s College of California, and a M.A. in Pastoral Ministries: Liturgical Music from Santa Clara University. She is the composer of “Be Still,” a liturgical choral piece published by the leading church music publisher GIA. She is the author of A Maze in Grace (poetry) and Dee’s Dishes (stories and recipes). Denise’s essay “Harry Potter and the Child with Autism” was published in Teaching with Harry Potter (McFarland 2013, edited by Valerie E. Frankel). Denise has particular interest in illustrating harmony among seemingly unrelated subjects. Denise is half Chamorro.

On to Our Interview!

Q: Tell us who you are and what inspires you to write.

A. My name is Denise and I am a writer. 

I often feel as if I don’t fit in. I like Star Wars and Star Trek, I’m liberal and traditional, and I’m both white and non-white. 

Somehow I perceive a lot of things as related, even though others may not. But every time I write about feeling different, somebody says “Me, too.” 

I am currently writing about being half Chamorro (Pacific Islander from Guam).

Q: How did you get to this place in your life? Share your story!

A. I have two degrees, two kids, and a day job, so although I enjoyed writing, it was a hobby on the back burner. 

Then I answered a Call for Papers almost ten years ago, and my essay proposal was selected. I wrote about referencing Harry Potter stories in raising my son with autism. 

I got the bug. 

I started blogging more seriously, joining NaNoWriMo, and self-published two books: A Maze in Grace (poetry) and Dee’s Dishes (stories and recipes). 

I’ve been writing my novel for years in my spare time, but with the pandemic, I found more time.

Q: What are you most passionate about? 

A. I am passionate about diversity and inclusivity — everyone getting a place at the table. 

I want to create bridges of understanding. 

I am obsessed with how art affects our lives. 

I love music — 80s, classical, musicals (some), and marching bands.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process, routine, and/or rituals around your writing?

A. I keep a digital journal of notes, poems, and drafts. 

I use a dictation app sometimes for blog posts- which works great when I’m stuck in traffic or in the drive-thru queue. 

Every month or so, I start a new document and retitle the journal with a stage of the hero/heroine’s journey, i,e., Denise’s Call to Adventure

This has been surprisingly helpful- I learned a lot about myself during Denise’s Refusal of the Call. What was I refusing and why? 

I write a lot about  #NotWriting– – part procrastination and part working through the block. 

My current journal is called Denise’s Power Ballad, and next will be Denise’s “I Want” Song.

During the lockdown phase of the pandemic, I was able to write an hour at home in the morning, and an hour in the afternoon. 

Now that I have to commute again, I no longer have that luxury. 

Once I went to a hotel by myself so I could concentrate on writing for hours at a time, like it was my job. Maybe I will do that again.

Q: What are a few challenges you faced in creating, marketing, or publishing your creative work? And your solutions to them.

A. Sometimes it felt like I was writing into a void. 

Connecting with other writers via Twitter and Instagram has been amazing. 

Connecting with people who promote book blog tours was key for me. 

I also found a writing community — we check in with each other for accountability and celebrate our wins — big and small. 

Q: What do you wish you had known before you started writing fiction?

A. I wish I had known before writing my manuscript that Chick Lit would die as a genre, that first person-present tense was more Young Adult, and first person-past tense is more appropriate for book club fiction- – therefore being perhaps the better choice for my story. 

I also wish I had known that self publishing would disqualify me from entering certain writing contests- not that I wouldn’t have self published, but it would have been an informed decision instead of feeling like that decision was made for me.

    1. What’s next for you in your creative work?
    2. I am rewriting my novel manuscript which I’ll query this year, seeking traditional publication. 

I am working on a chapbook (a poetry collection) entitled “Being Beige.” 

I am also writing an article for consideration in an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. compilation. 

I still dream of giving another music recital, but this time with a rock band.

Q: Is there anything else you wished I’d asked? Please share!

A. My other hobbies are reading, roller skating, and music making. I play piano, xylophone, percussion and dabble at ukulele and guitar. I also sing. One of my compositions is published by GIA Music, a leading hymnal publisher.


Dee's DishesDee’s Dishes by Denise Dwyer D’Errico

Dee’s Dishes is a Cookbook…and So Much More 

How many times have you had Pepsi dumped on you? 

I’m talking completely-out-of-the-blue, shocking-and-sticky, all-over dumped on you. 

Well, it’s happened to me…more than once! 

But, that’s actually not what this book is about…well, kind of. 

Sit down, grab yourself a coffee, tea, or wine, and dive into my personal stories about food, music, Guam culture, family, and how these elements have intertwined and danced throughout my life, resulting in some AH-MAZING recipes that I’ll share with you. 

With easy-to-follow organization grouped by Sweet and Savory, I know you’re going to love these dishes!

Like Pepsi Brownies, Coconut Candy, Titiyas (flatbread from Guam), Caprese Denisi, my one-pot pasta dish (that I call Seconds Pasta) and more.

Connect with Denise 


Twitter: @music_mama1213

Pinterest: @denisedwyer  

Instagram: @music_mama1213

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