Interview with Dina Kucera: 'It's sort of strange when you tell someone you're a writer, they squint at you'

Dina Kucera was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After completing a project to collect and identify fifty insects, she graduated from the ninth grade and left school for good. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Her first job was a paper route, and she has worked as a maid, bartender, waitress, and grocery store checker. Dina has also been a stand-up comic for twenty years, for which she receives payment ranging from a small amount of money to a very, very small amount of money. When it comes to awards and recognition, she was once nominated for a Girl Scout sugar cookie award, but she never actually received the award because her father decided to stop at a bar instead of going to the award ceremony. Dina waited on the curb outside the bar, repeatedly saying to panhandlers, “Sorry. I don’t have any money. I’m seven.” Dina is married with three daughters, one stepson, and one grandson. She currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

Her latest book is Everything I Never Wanted to Be.

You can find out more about her book at or visit her personal website at

Q: Thank you for this interview, Dina. Can you tell us why you wrote your book, Everything I Never Wanted to Be?

My entire life I have written my thoughts out. It could be something funny, or upsetting, I always wrote it out. Then I would put it in a huge pile of things I had written in the closet. So this journal entry, about my youngest daughters drug addiction, became many, many writings. Everyday it became bigger and more complicated. So out of anger and sadness I continued to write and eventually it became a book. Almost by accident.

Q: Which part of the book was the hardest to write?

The parts about my daughters and their broken lives. The parts where the girls are so sad. And in the back of my mind, knowing I carry a piece of their reasons for being sad. Still today, it’s hard to think about.

Q: Besides books, what else do you write? Do you write for publications?

For a time I wanted to write commercials. (I am still obsessed with the way commercials are written… I sit on the couch and judge them) I also wanted to write for television. But when I realized that I had to live in Los Angeles to make it happen, I dumped that dream real quick. I have also written several short humorous writings for various local news papers.

Q: Were you the kind of child who always had a book in her/his hand?

No. It’s odd to me that while I wrote constantly, I never read. Ever. I read my first book at the age of thirty two. Then, I was hooked. Now I read everything I can get my hands on.

Q: Do you remember writing stories when you were a child?

Yes. Really dumb stories that I thought were genius. I always had a story going in my head. I think I spent most of my time in stories I made up in my head. This way I didn’t have to notice how crazy my dad was.

Q: What was the first thing you did as far as promoting your book?

I began to stalk every person I knew. Then I stalked strangers reminding them to look for my book. Then when my book became available I would tell them to buy it and I would make them cupcakes, or apple pies. I would tell them the book was solid gold or if they bought it I would wash their car. I would, and still do, say whatever I need to say to get them to buy my book. I do not plan on fulfilling any of these promises.

Q: How do you think book promotion has changed over the years?

It’s amazing that no one has realized yet that we are able to contact people on social networks that you can not EVER contact by mail or by email. And if you do send an email, they probably won’t respond. Social networks allow you to ease yourself in to their head. At least they can see your work if they choose to do that. Make sure you put your links to websites and blog writings and any other medium you have available to you on your page. And put those links on every page you have.

Q: What is the most frustrating part of being an author?

It’s sort of strange that when you tell someone you’re a writer, they tilt their heads sideways and squint at you. Like they don’t know what you’re talking about, or, no, really. What do you do as a job?

Q: What is the most rewarding?

Squinting back and saying that I write for a living. And just like a real job, I don’t make very much money and I am embracing it.

Q: How do you think book publishing has changed over the years?

Again, with the internet. We can make contacts we couldn’t even imagine years ago. Talk to people we never could have spoken with years ago.

Q: If you had one wish, what would that be?

I want to be on Oprah. (you asked)

Thank you so much for this interview, Dina, and good luck with your book!
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