I began my career as a school teacher and then followed my passion into the entertainment industry as a professional choreographer, director and dancer, strutting my stuff across stage and screen.
Morphing into a stress and life skills therapist, motivational speaker, business consultant, radio & television celebrity, known as the Goddess of Love and a business owner; I find myself now inspired to return to two of my childhood loves; storytelling and writing.
I came to writing late, as there were so many other adventures in life I wanted to experience first. But at last, here I am. I also present workshops and speaking engagements on life, love and writing.
Q. What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
For me, every day is a pilgrimage when I walk to my office, put my butt in the chair and let inspiration guide me. Writing is a spiritual experience, and my office, my sacred space. 😊 Nevertheless, in 2019, I am going to New York to the RWA conference and to hunt down locations for the third book in my Diana Daniels cozy murder mystery series, Murder in Manhattan.
Q. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I have a few author friends who share their insights on a broad range of topics from craft to marketing. It’s uplifting to know that other authors deal with the same issues.
Q. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
When I called out to my mother and she came.
Q. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
I think there are thousands, if not tens of thousands of under-appreciated novels and to name just one is impossible.
Q. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
The Swan is my spirit animal as she represents grace and elegance. That’s how I’d like to write, with as much grace and elegance as I can. For me, writing is about leaning into the story and not pushing it, so the swan exemplifies that energetic transformation.
Q. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Actually, I really enjoy writing from the male POV. Probably because of all my past lives as a man 😊
Q. What did you edit out of this book?
I took out a fabulous scene told from the POV of Father Conlon. I hated losing it, but it slowed the pace, although it gave great insight.
Q. Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?
Q. How do you select the names of your characters?
They beam in and as much as I might like to change them, I can’t.
Q. Do you read your book reviews?
How do you deal with bad or good ones? Always. I deal with them the same way… I read them, dissect if there’s anything I can learn from them and then forget about them. I learned a long time ago, it’s no good crying over anything or anyone who wouldn’t cry over me.
Q. What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
Even more time than I do now.
Q. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Between three and five months, depending on my other work commitments.
Q. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
I hide a lot of subtlety and secrets in my books and only a few people find them.
Q. Do you have any expectations of your readers?
To be honest, I would love my readers who enjoy my stories to leave a review. Although I don’t expect it, when they do, it makes such a difference, not just to me, but to other prospective readers looking for a new author.
Q. On your writing journey, what has been the lowest and the most painful moment and vice versa?
The lowest point is not hitting my sales targets and the highest point is hearing from readers who ‘get’ my stories and find those hidden gems I scatter along the way.
Q. Where can we find you!?
And here are my buy links 🙂
Here’s an excerpt from a scene early in the story when Jessie’s flat has been broken into and she’s called BJ for help…
“But I did find this.” He held up a sealed pink envelope that he’d skewered on the tip of one of Jessie’s kitchen forks. The wary expression on his face kindled a spark of fear in her.
She eyed it with suspicion. “What is it?”
“I’m not sure, but it was propped up on the pillows on your bed and it’s addressed to you. I haven’t touched it.” His flinty gaze riveted her to the spot. An icy shiver skidded down her spine, leaving a path of cold, clammy apprehension.
“You open it.” She rubbed her arms a little too fiercely.
“Do you have any gloves? If this has got fingerprints on it, I don’t want to contaminate evidence.”
“Yes. Under the sink in my bathroom. There’re disposable gloves in a box.” She cocked her head in the direction, indicating he should go and find them. Her legs felt like jelly, and she feared that if she tried to go and get the gloves herself, she’d fall flat on her face.
BJ headed to the bathroom. Within a minute or two, he returned with a pair of gloves that he offered to her. “You’ll have to put them on. They’re too small for me.”
Jessie rubbed her hands, stalling for time. She reached for the gloves and braced herself as if expecting them to send an electric shock up her arms. Doing her best to remain calm, she pushed her hands into the gloves, finishing each with a snap.
He stared at her with an expression of grim determination. “You have to open it, Jessie. If you don’t want to read it, leave it on the table and walk away. I’ll read it if you like.”
Her hands trembled as she plucked the envelope from the fork. The back of it peeled up effortlessly, and she imagined the person who had left it, licking it with their vile tongue and sealing it with just enough of their wetness, but not so much as to stick it tight. She swallowed down her revulsion before she gagged on it. Reluctantly, she opened the envelope and eased out an innocent piece of squarely folded pink paper. Flattening it out, she wrenched her gaze away, before she accidentally read its contents.
BJ leaned over and read the note. The silence stretched on until his gaze lifted, his expression intense.
“Well what does it say?” she asked, unwilling not to know.
“Once I read it, you can’t un-hear it. You understand?”
“Yes.” Jessie locked her arms across her chest, as if this small action would defend her against the letter’s message.
In a gentle, almost comforting voice he read aloud…
Thank you for chatting with us today Diane!