by Alexa Villareal
Leading up to Career Night for the Arts, we have prepared some alumni profiles to give you insight into the careers of our alumni attendees. Today we are focusing on Erin Dionne ’97, a children’s book writer and professor at Montserrat College of Art. She received her M.F.A from Emerson College and worked in marketing at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a publishing company. She then continued to write for papers and magazines alike, including the Boston Herald, before settling in as a teacher.
Erin studied English and Communications at Boston College. She looks back on her time fondly, most distinctly her time in the marching band. Her participation inspired parts of her novel Notes From an Accidental Band Geek. Erin’s novels have garnered recognition from Scholastic Book Fairs as well as features in state lists and major magazines. Some titles include Models Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies, The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet, and most recently her fourteen day mystery books Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking and Ollie and the Science of Treasure Hunting.
Tell me a little bit about your time at BC! What groups or clubs were you a part of and what are your favorite memories?
I loved being at BC! I was really active in the BC bands program, and did marching band and pep band for all 4 years. One of my favorite experiences was marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in 1995 (so much so that I memorialized it in my novel NOTES FROM AN ACCIDENTAL BAND GEEK). I also had a great time playing in the pep band during the NCAA basketball tournament. We went to Salt Lake City one year and Orlando another.
You’ve written for magazines, newspapers, and written books of your own, which is the most challenging and which is your favorite?
All types of writing are challenging for different reasons–deadlines, short turnarounds, and dealing with sources can all impact the journalism and magazine story writing processes. Writing novels involves lots of time and work to create compelling characters. Although I enjoy all of the types of writing I’ve done, I have to say that writing novels is my favorite–it’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid.
What during your time at BC do you feel was the most helpful advice or experience on your path to your career?
Taking Elizabeth Graver’s writing workshops were especially helpful to my career, because I learned to revise and edit my work–crucial in all of my endeavors.
How do you balance teaching, being a mom, and writing?
Haha. There’s no such thing as “balance.” Things are always shifting in priority. When I’m on a deadline, I have to fit everything around that. When grades are due, I have to grade. When the kids need something, they come to the front of the line. It’s a juggle, and each day is different.
How did you get inspired to write and what inspired you to write your books for teens?
I’ve wanted to write since I was a little kid, because I loved books and reading. I write for tweens and teens because those are the stories I’m most interested in telling and the voices that resonate with me.
Come meet Erin Dionne and other alumni artists at Career Night for the Arts on Thursday, November 12th! From 7:00-8:30pm in the McMullen Museum in Devlin Hall, you can come network and converse with BC alumni who have turned their creativity into a career.
Not sure how to network? Nervous about striking up conversations with new people? Come join us between 6:00 and 7:00pm right before the event in Devlin 008 for “Networking 101,” an advice session with networking tips and tricks from the BC Career Center. As a bonus, there will be snacks provided during “Networking 101” !
To see all the BC alumni artists attending Career Night for the Arts 2015, visit bc.edu/careernight.