Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Welcome to Writers' Wednesday!

Today we're featuring an interview with Samhain author Diane Craver. Let's see what she has to say about her experiences writing inspirational romance...

1. Can you tell us a little about your background?
I grew up on a farm and went to the same small rural school all twelve years. When I started college at Ohio State, it was a big change going to a big ten university. I met my husband when we were both teachers at a state orphanage. My faith is important to me, especially since I’ve been through some difficult times with raising two children born with special needs. I love celebrating holidays and spending time with our family.

2. When did you first begin writing? Was there an event or moment in your life that triggered your desire to write?
Ever since I was small, I’ve enjoyed writing. When I was in junior and senior high, I wrote a few stories for fun and also wrote poetry. Since I was high school yearbook editor, I wrote, assembled and edited the yearbook. After I married and started a family, I no longer taught full-time so turned to writing. I wrote nonfiction when our oldest daughter was a toddler. I had several magazine articles published by the time I wrote a special needs book. I also published a “creative nonfiction” book, The Christmas of 1957, which is about how a little girl’s faith helps her father in overcoming a disability. It’s based on a true event from my childhood. Around 1995, I attended a romance writing conference in Cincinnati. I met many published authors and their enthusiasm was contagious. I decided to start writing fiction. I loved it but I got off to a slow start with six children at home.

3. Tell us about your latest novel.
Three books released in 2007. A Fiery Secret and No Greater Loss are available in print now. My mainstream, Never the Same, will be released in print on August 21st. I thought it’d be interesting to write about characters wanting to change their lives after surviving a traumatic event.

Here’s a blurb of Never the Same:
When fashion buyer Kimberly Collins and high school senior Tori Moorhead escape a burning plane, both women make radical decisions that intertwine their lives forever.
Kim’s priorities change, especially in the bedroom. She’s thankful to be taken to another world—one of love and romance, not of smoke and death. When she decides she wants another child, her husband reveals his own shocking plans for their family.
Pregnant teenager Tori is on her way to get a secret abortion when the plane crashes. The baby’s teen father wants to get married. Her dad pushes for adoption. Caught between the two men she loves, Tori struggles to make the right decisions for her baby and the future she dreamed of.

4. How do you go about developing your characters?
I think of interesting and big conflicts for the main characters first. Then their goals in life, problems they have to conquer, and get a feel for their motivations. I list their physical descriptions and try out different names until I feel comfortable with the name selections. In my book, A Fiery Secret, two of the characters are based loosely on two of my daughters. For a few days dialogue, scenes, setting and characters parade across my mind before I write anything down. I have a general idea of big scenes for each main character in the beginning, but the neat thing is that might change when the characters take over the story and become very real to me.

5. Tell us about your promotion strategies. How do you plan on making Diane Craver a household name?
Of course, I’d like to be a household name but I’ll have to admit that it’s mind boggling to me how there are so many talented authors. I definitely don’t want to be the author who doesn’t make it, so I do spend time doing all kinds of promo work. I do online chats, post excerpts, do contests, keep my website updated, book signings, take out ads online, interviews and distribute promo items to as many places as possible. I did place ads in Romantic Times for my books with reviews for two. I also placed an ad for Never the Same in Romance Sells which goes to 7,000 librarians and booksellers. I heard that a reader needs to see the author’s name nine times before they’ll remember it.
I’d like to be able to hire a publicist someday to help me in selling my books. If not a publicist, I am considering using the AuthorBuzz promo services of the marketing genius, M.J. Rose.
But the most important thing I need to do is to keep writing books, and each time I want to write the best book possible.

6. What advice would you give to aspiring, unpublished writers?
Follow your heart and believe in yourself!
You have to be persistent and develop a thick skin when it comes to rejections. Remember this is a subjective business so don’t get discouraged. You can’t give up. I almost did but a published friend of mine, Dianne Castell, told me not to quit and to submit to this new publisher. I took her advice and submitted to Samhain Publishing. Within a month, I received three book contracts. Also write consistently. Writing is a craft and you have to keep at it to grow as an author.

7. What kinds of books do you like to read? Who is your favorite author?
I have many favorite authors and here are some of them - Debbie Macomber, Jayne Ann Krentz, Sandra Brown, Mary Higgins Clark, Mary Jane Clark, Marion Chesney, John Grisham, Jude Deveraux, and my friends, Dianne Castell and Stacia Wolf.

8. What do you find most difficult about writing?
The most difficult thing about writing is trying to find enough time to write. Also I’m a slow writer so it’s always discouraging to me to hear how many authors write so much more in a day’s time than I do in a week.

What do you find most exciting or rewarding?
The most exciting thing about writing is when I’m happy with the dialogue I’ve created, and I feel confident that readers will enjoy the interaction between the characters. I probably like writing dialogue the best. I love the freedom writing gives me and that I can work at home instead of having to drive to work daily. I also think researching the careers of my characters is rewarding as a writer.

9. How do you balance writing with the rest of your life?
I’ve tried writing so many words a day as a goal but I’m having more success thinking in terms of pages and chapters. I don’t feel like I have very much personal time because I’ve had three books releasing so close together. I feel like I’m in front of the computer all the time with editing, doing online chats, writing entries for my blog, and etc. Then there’s housework, laundry and so many other things to do. While writing my new book, I’m taking breaks to do other things. I like to walk, go for a bike ride with my daughter Amanda, swim with my daughters, husband and son, watch movies, or read.

10. Can you tell us about your next writing project?

I started a new book about three sisters named Shannon, Regan and Whitney. Whitney, the youngest sister, lost her correspondent husband in Iraq 2 years ago. Right after he died, Whitney left her job in New York to take care of her ill mother in Ohio. Her older sisters had families so she wanted to do it. But now that their mother is dead, her sisters are trying to get Whitney involved in life again by signing her up for skydiving. Whitney doesn't want to return to NY as a TV news producer, but she definitely doesn't want to go skydiving. They tell her how many hot guys skydive, but Whitney is scared of heights and hates flying. She proposes that they all three start a business together. They are throwing out crazy and fun ideas for their new business. The middle sister, Regan, is married to a firefighter and she wants him to quit. She’s afraid he might die and also because of another firefighter named Anna. Regan thinks Anna is interested in her husband. Shannon has some issues and has a jealousy problem.

Thanks, Diane!


Stop by Diane's blog to leave her a comment today, or post one here. And thanks for stopping by! If you're an author who'd like to be interviewed on my blog, drop me an email at allieb@allieboniface.com.

2 comments:

N.J.Walters said...

Great interview! Your new project sounds fascinating, Diane.

Diane said...

Thank you, N.J. I'm enjoying writing about the three sisters!