**AUTHOR PEEK** Interview with Diana Layne
Before we get started talking about your writing, tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, what you do for a living (if you’re not a fulltime writer) what hobbies you have, etc. Whatever you’d like to share.
I’m a small-town Texas girl. I have six children ranging in ages from 8 – 30, 4 boys and 2 girls. I have always homeschooled my kids, and I’m on the last two now. I also have two terrific daughters-in-law and a 3 year old grandson and a newborn granddaughter. I’m in that sandwich generation with boomerang kids—because of life stuff, a couple of the older kids (and grandkids and spouse) have moved back home to finish up college, and in the last year I’ve lost my grandfather and because of health problems, my mother had to enter a nursing home. Hobbies? <laughs maniacally> Can cooking for the masses be considered a hobby? Even if I hate cooking…?
1. How did you get started writing?
I started writing when I was a lonely only. I was an only grandchild and only child. Back in the day, there wasn’t DVDs, game systems, smart phone or computers. Although I did have a small black and white TV in my room, we didn’t even have cable. So yeah, it was the standard 4 VHF channels and 2 UHF channels. (who remembers what UHF is?) I struggled to find something to read—Young Adult didn’t exist back then. I did read the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and then when I was a bit older discovered Barbara Cartland. But mostly I wrote to entertain myself. In my stories, I could live in a big happy family, or even belong to gypsies who travelled the country in their covered wagon pulled by a horse.
2. What genre(s) do you write in and why?
I began writing historicals; first because of Barbara Cartland, then because Kathleen Woodiwiss and Rosemary Rogers exploded onto the scene (and I was old enough to sneak their books out of my mom’s room). I love writing history, I love researching history. But by the time I finally figured out how to finish a book (without writing the first 100 pages over and over) the historical market tanked. I then discovered Iris Johansen and realized I loved this new genre she wrote in, romantic suspense. It had the action and adventure that I loved in historical romance, only set in modern times with more lethal weapons and fast cars instead of horses.
3. What is your favorite part of writing?
There’s really not much I don’t love about writing. Last time I said I loved writing endings because by that time I’m barreling along and the words are flowing. But I was at the end of a book then. Now, I’m at the beginning of a book and I’m loving this whole process. The research, the plotting (yes, I’m a plotter—sort of. I like to have one or two lines about each scene before I begin, and I love getting to know the characters—except in this book I’m working on, I already know all of the characters—hope it makes it easier to write!)
4. What is your least favorite part of writing?
And before I said I didn’t like beginnings, but changeable person that I am (I’m a Gemini), that has changed. LOL. Now that I’m indie-pubbing, the part I find the most tedious is copy editing. Even though I use an editor, I guess I’m enough of a control-freak that I go over and over the work looking for typos, words used too much, weak sentence construction. I get out my colored highlighters ala Margie Lawson. But that much detail-work can get really tiring.
5. Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
Life. I think writers use their lives: their interests, their dysfunctional families (surely I’m not the only one?), even their travels/vacations/friends to create stories. I told how a soccer game inspired THE GOOD DAUGHTER. I loved soccer at the time. I must have an interest in blowing things up since I tend to do blow things up in my stories (I guess it’s good I dropped high school chemistry class, I might’ve blown up the school!). As for traveling, one time I was trying to drive through the night and realized I wasn’t going to make it. The only hotel I found was a little dive-probably the kind used for one night stands. The plumbing was pre-World War II, come to think of it I think the mattress was, too. The ramshackle check-in lobby had a couch with the springs showing, a rotting wooden counter and a very young, very pregnant Hispanic woman working the counter. No matter how tired I was, immediately I began making up stories why that poor woman was there working in the middle of the night. I haven’t used that story, but I’ve never forgotten it. I bet most writers have those moments, as well.
6. What is it that makes your writing different from all the others in your genre?
I think one of the few things that an author can really capitalize on, given genre restrictions (unless you bend genres) is voice. I’ve been told I have a powerful voice, and I saw this back in my contest-diva days. I pretty much got love-it or hate-it scores, and I’ve been told that’s a sign of a strong voice. I do try to stay true to how I tell a story, although it took many, many years to get here.
7. Are you an avid reader? When you do read someone else’s writing, what is your favorite genre?
Like most romance lovers, I tend to read broadly. The only genre I really don’t like is horror. My imagination is too good and horror terrifies me. I also love, love, love reading non-fiction research books…I have to watch myself so I don’t get lost in the research and forget to write.
8. Tell us about your next book & when is it being published?
My current WIP is next in the Vista Security series, but not yet titled, although I’m considering the name COLDEST IN HELL or FAREWELL TO RUSSIA. At this time I’m lost in research but not in a good way. This is definitely a head-banging kind of research I’m doing. Russia? Siberia? What was I thinking? How did I end up with a book set in a part of the world or a culture I know nothing about? And yet, it must be, Tasha from TRUST NO ONE must make a trip back to her homeland, there is no getting around it. The book AFTER this one, which has a working title of LOVE WILL KEEP US ALIVE (although I doubt that will be the real title, it was inspired by the Eagle’s song) is set in southwest Texas and will be much easier to write!
For fans of THE GOOD DAUGHTER, I’m toying with the idea of releasing Sandro and Nia’s love story as a novella. Originally I included it in THE GOOD DAUGHTER, but it added 100 pages and I felt like it was too long and also detracted too much from Dave and Marisa’s story. Right now, the RED HOT ITALIAN is closer to being publishable than Tasha’s story. 🙂
Website, blog, books, etc.
Books (various buy links are on my website):
Romantic suspense: http://www.dianalayne.com/suspensethriller.html
Historical romance: http://www.dianalayne.com/historicalromance.html
Thanks for having me again, Karen, it’s been lots of fun!
BE SURE TO COME BACK to read more about Diana and her new release, TRUST NO ONE, on Wednesday’s Karen’s Killer Book Bench!