1. Thanks for joining us, Diana! You’ve written six paranormal lesbian romances for LoveLight. What is it about the paranormal genre that inspires you?
When I was younger, I used to go to the park with my best friend. We would get lost, step off the path and find new ones, end up going to completely different places than we intended to. There was always something that seemed to lure us in, and I was frequently convinced that there were creatures watching us from the trees, creatures that didn’t want us there. That’s the kind of thing that I’m hoping to evoke in my books. There’s always something there, maybe outside of our literal, human perception, and wanting something that humans can’t necessarily understand.
2. What are you currently working on? Are you exploring the paranormal world more?
I’m actually switching gears a little for my next novel! I wanted to try out writing a contemporary lesbian romance, and I came up with the idea to write about a style blogger and a beauty blogger. They’ve both been following each other’s blogs for a while, and they talk online before they get to meet, so the attraction builds up without them quite realizing what’s happening at first. I’m having a great time writing it, so I hope readers will enjoy it as much as I do! It’s especially fun because I’ve been following a few different style bloggers and beauty bloggers—some for years and some for just a few months—and now I can take the most interesting things that they put out into the world, combine those traits with others that I’ve come up with, and have a character who is unique but still familiar. Plus, going on Instagram counts as research!
3. How do you keep focused when writing, especially with Instagram calling?
I’ve built up a writing habit over many years. I started out just doing National Novel Writing Month once a year, and even though I loved it, I found it hard to get myself to write consistently the rest of the year. So I found other challenges, similar to that, where I had a word count goal and other people to be accountable to, who would help me focus on my goals. Eventually I was able to focus enough on my own goals that I didn’t need that anymore, though I still use a little bit of external motivation just to keep myself on track. Now I just make sure to keep everything written down in my notebook, so I know how much I need to get done and when.
However, that doesn’t mean that every writing session is equally productive. If I haven’t planned out the story well enough, I’ll find myself getting stuck and frustrated. Then I have to read back through what I’ve already done to see how the story is shaping up. Sometimes looking at it again even gives me new ideas.
If I’ve planned thoroughly and know what I need to do and I’m still having a hard time focusing on my writing, there’s one more possible culprit: sleep. If I don’t get enough sleep, it’s very difficult to write. Writing is the most important thing to me, so I give myself a strict bedtime. That doesn’t always guarantee that I’ll get enough sleep, but it makes those unfocused days much more rare.
4. Sounds like you’ve found a writing method that works well for you! You mention your early work. Can you tell us a bit about the first thing you wrote?
The first thing that I can remember writing was a play for me, my little sister, and some of our friends to perform (though I don’t think we ever did). It was called the Plight of the Pink Princess, and it was set in a stereotypical fairy-tale world in which all of the characters had colors—the Pink Princess’s parents were the Red King and the Rose Queen. The Pink Princess was kidnapped, and she had to be rescued by the Silver Knight and his sidekick/steed, the Green Dragon.
Even then, I was interested in taking popular tropes and twisting them around. The Silver Knight was very heroic and rescued the Pink Princess, but she wasn’t going to marry him. I had planned out a whole series, and at the end a character called the Purple Prince was going to show up to marry the Pink Princess. Of course, as an adult, I realize that audiences would expect something very different from a character called the Purple Prince!
5. We’ll close out with a fun question. What was your New Year’s resolution for 2016?
My New Year’s Resolution is to try more new recipes! I have a habit of finding lots of great-sounding recipes online, bookmarking them, and then going back to my usual meals every time. I’m not much of a cook, but if I’m going to save these recipes, I should actually try to make them. I’ve had success with a sandwich bread recipe, and next I think I’ll try a hearty bean soup, perfect for the cold weather we’ve been having.