Tuesday, September 12, 2017

An Interview and a Giveaway with Award-Winning Children's Book Author Deanie Humphrys-Dunne

I am so excited to welcome award winning children's book author Deanie Humphrys-Dunne to Passion Between the Pages! Deanie and I discovered each other through Goodreads.com and our mutual love of horses made us fall in love with each other's stories. Deanie has written 6 award-winning books, including, My Life at Sweetbrier, a true story about the power of perseverance. Her books have won a number of awards, including the gold medal in the New Apple Book Contest.

   Deanie's personal story My Life at Sweetbrier, which tells of her personal battle with cerebral palsy, and going on to become a champion horseback rider, both touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. I'll be sharing my review of Deanie's story today, along with an interview with the author herself. 

   GIVEAWAY!! Deanie will also be giving away a digital copy of one of her stories to one lucky reader! The winner may choose between 4 of Deanie's stories: My Life at Sweetbrier, Charlie the Horse, Charlene the Star, or Charlene the Star and Bentley the Bulldog. For a chance to win, leave a comment below.


    Welcome, Deanie!!


   What do you enjoy best about writing?

I love creating stories that entertain children and encourage them to do their best.  If the readers smile along the journey of reading the story, that’s a plus.


My Life at Sweetbrier is a story about your personal experience, battling through a disability and achieving a dream.  Was it difficult to open up about this experience and share it with the world? What have you found to be the most challenging aspect of writing about your personal experience, and the most rewarding?

When I started My Life at Sweetbrier, the message I wanted to share was clear; to inspire children to persevere through challenges, but I didn’t want the story to seem like it was all about me. With this in mind, I tried to find ways to draw readers into the story so they felt like they were taking the journey along with me. In my view, this was the biggest challenge. At first, I was shy about sharing the story, but my dad always said, “You never know what you can do until you try.” The most rewarding part is hearing from readers who say they loved the story and hearing that they've remembered how important it is to follow your passions. Some of our former students have read the book and commented on the special, happy memories it brought them.


You and I both share a passion for horses, something that instantly drew me into your book's world. How have horses inspired your writing in general? How have they inspired you as a person?

I think because I grew up with horses, they are easy to write about. The horses inspire me because when I remember some of their personality traits, I can use them in my stories. Similar to people, horses have talents and shortcomings. They can remind me no one is good at everything.


It takes a special kind of author to write for children, to create the world they can both relate to and be inspired by. Does the ability to write for this audience come naturally to you, or did you teach yourself to do it through study and practice?

Thank you for those very kind compliments, Jessica. I think it’s a little of both. It seems to me, you need some degree of natural talent, but most people need some guidance in order to make their work shine. No doubt there are some authors who have so much natural talent, they can succeed without studying the “how to” parts, but I’m not one of those authors. In fact, my earliest assignments writing in school had no conflict. Soon, I recognized how boring they were. Yikes!


You've written 6 titles so far. Though I imagine every one of them has a piece of your heart, which one is your favorite and why?

Hmm, that’s hard to say. My fictional stories were great fun because they’re told by the animal characters. My sister, Holly Humphrys-Bajaj, did such a fantastic job illustrating them. One of the characters in three of those books was our family dog, Elliott. We gave the dog in the story Elliott’s laid-back personality and some of his skills. But in other ways, My Life at Sweetbrier is my favorite because it’s dedicated to my family, especially my dad, who made the decision that actually changed my life.



Who are some of your favorite authors?  Have any of them influenced your own writing?

I have so many children’s authors whom I love. James Marshall is one. He wrote the George and Martha series of books. They’re so funny and they share wonderful lessons as well. But I also enjoy books by many of my author friends, such as; Ted Cohen, Sarah Mazor, Virginia Wright and Yossi Lapid, Barbara Mojica (just to mention a few).

If we add books from other genres, I’d include; Pearl S. Buck, Danielle Steel, and you, Jessica. I was so impressed when I read your book, Dangerous Secret; The Pinnacles of Power. Even the title is perfect for the story.


I've noticed while doing my own submissions that many agents and publishers do not accept children's books. Having learned how determined you are through reading your story, I can't imagine you'd let a little thing like that stand in your way!  What challenges have you yourself faced as a writer?  Any that pertain to writing children's books in particular?

Yes, I found it discouraging because most publishers don’t accept children’s books unless you’re a well-known author. After doing quite a bit of research, I decided to self-publish some books. My ‘Sweetbrier” book is published by Monday Creek Publishing, an independent publisher.

I think one of my challenges is editing because it’s difficult to find my own mistakes, or areas that need improvement. I look at the book so often, I can’t recognize the mistakes (A bit like the “nose-blind commercial). In my opinion, beta readers and professional editors are invaluable. Another obstacle can be presenting the story in a manner that makes it unique.

I don’t think any of the obstacles only relate to children’s books, but I would say if you don’t find ways to keep young readers engaged, they become instantly bored. Perhaps older readers have slightly more patience and may give it more time before closing it up.


You are an award -winning author, who has, no doubt, touched many lives through your work. What is next for you as an author, and what aspect of your writing experience (to this point) has given you the most joy?

My first picture book is in the process of being written. This will also be my first non-horse story. It’s about an adorable little tractor named Wilbur. Hopefully, little children will love reading his story because they’ll smile often and learn something valuable as well.

I love being able to make a positive difference in children’s lives. My parents constantly reminded me I could do anything I wanted if I refused to give up. Not all children get the motivation they need, so I hope to be a good role model for them.

Thank you very much for interviewing me, Jessica. Your questions were wonderful and thought-provoking. Best wishes for continued success.


And the same to you! Where can readers find you online?   



Thank you so much for stopping by, Deanie! Everyone, be sure and comment below for a chance to win one of Deanie's award-winning stories!



Enjoy a snippet from My Life at Sweebrier!


Have you ever really wanted to be able to do something, but you came across a road block of some kind? Maybe you're afraid of new things, or maybe you have a physical challenge. Are you going to follow your dream, or are you going to push it aside without even trying? You must make a difficult choice. Instead of taking the easy street, I changed my whole life by choosing new experiences.

Whatever your dream is, reach for it, and persevere, because you may accomplish more than you ever imagined. You may even beat the odds, like I did.



Amazon Link - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0711P67DM

Barnes & Noble - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-life-at-sweetbrier-deanie-humphrys-dunne/1126395389;jsessionid=24850BD9FC1008B28457E5048D0E2F5E.prodny_store01-atgap09?ean=9780692878989



My Review of My Life at Sweetbrier by 
Deanie Humphrys-Dunne:


A heartfelt, inspiring story, My Life at Sweetbrier moved me, the reader, in a big way. Knowing that the story was based on the author's real-life experience, I expected a tale full of deep emotions. But as I turned the pages, I felt as though she and I were experiencing those emotions together, as though I was right beside her along her journey. Deanie faces a tremendous challenge from birth, and though she is told she'll never walk, she and her father defy the odds as Deanie fulfills her dream of riding horses and even goes on to win competitions.



I love a story with a happily ever after more than anything. This one brought tears to my eyes! Through every obstacle she faces, Deanie never gives up. Her story is one of determination and love and it is truly, truly inspiring!




Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Side Characters - How Important Are They, Really?

I remember a critique given to one of my very first contest entries for an unpublished manuscript. Though I do not have any idea of who the judge was, what she said will always remain in my mind - "Your side characters are more interesting than your main characters are."  Though I disagreed with the comment in this particular instance, and still do 6 years later, I understood what she was trying to say to me and I took her message to heart, namely, that the main characters should lead in a story and the secondary characters support the main characters. Admittedly, following this unspoken rule has always been a bit of a challenge for me, especially since I write series in which the main characters of one story later become the secondary characters of another. Indeed, with practice over time, doing this has become rather like second nature. But, what really defines a supporting role?  What are the rules regarding secondary characters and, is it ever ok to break them?  When?


On my summer vacation this year, I enjoyed Whispering Rock by Robyn Carr, book 3 in her Virgin River Series.  There are many stories in this series, and I have read most of them out of order, so I was much looking forward to this one, which takes place early in the series and filled in some of the blanks where the plot and characters are concerned. But, more than that, the story got me thinking a lot about side characters. As you could well imagine, a series with 19 different stories in it has many different charactersI've come across a duplicated first name or 2 in this series. What I have also noticed is a lot of time being dedicated to Carr's secondary charactersin stories like Whispering Rock there are many of them, and several, not just a few of these characters are given a lot of scenes which pertain to their own individual story, told from their own point of view. Though I didn't really mind this in Whispering Rock, because the story is so good and the characters so enjoyable, I was surprised that the secondary characters (main characters from the first 2 stories, especially) are given so much of their own time. In fact, when added together, the secondary characters very probably have more time in this story than the hero and heroine do, which can be a little frustrating to the reader, when they are the ones she really wants to read about. In spite of my own impatience as a reader, this technique regarding secondary characters works well for her. In this case, breaking the rules seems to work.


A fellow author once told me that it is ok for a big name author like Robyn Carr to break the rules because she has proven herself as an author, and that we newer authors must play by the rules for a while, before we have earned the right to break them. In this case, the "rule" is that secondary characters should not take center stage over and above the main characters of a story. Indeed, my own publisher, Siren BookStrand, states in its general submission guidelines that secondary characters cannot exceed 30% of a story. In my humble opinion as both a reader and writer, this is a good general guideline for all books to follow, as it allows the hero and heroinethe characters readers care the most aboutto have the majority of the story. But, I never say never, and I am constantly inspired by the works of other authors. Ms. Carr definitely inspired me to consider embellishing the stories of my secondary characters going forward!




As a plotter, I like to plot my stories way in advance of actually writing them and, as it happens, the idea of embellishing the stories of my secondary characters has been working its way into my head for some time. But now that I am focused on it consciously, I'd like to be a little bit more bold in my approach. I feel it is appropriate for all writers to do so, when we, the writer, feel it is most appropriate. After all, fellow writers, who better to determine how your wonderful story should be told than you! 






My Review of Whispering Rock By Robyn Carr:




This has been one of my favorite stories so far in the Virgin River Series! I've read most of the books in the series out of order, so I was familiar with the hero, Mike, and heroine, Brie, and wanted to see how they get together. Mike and Brie are friends prior to the start of the story, and there's definitely a mutual attraction between them. As Brie is recently divorced, and was raped by a criminal she prosecuted as assistant DA, she is at the height of vulnerability as the story begins. But in Mike's arms, she finds comfort and begins to come alive again. I greatly enjoyed seeing these characters come together and celebrate their love. They are sweet and passionate toward one another, and the things they whisper to each other in Spanish (Mike's native language) give it a bit of uniqueness that I found particularly enjoyable!

Several of the other Virgin River couples appear in this story and have stories of their own. Though I wished that more of the story could have been dedicated to Mike and Brie, I greatly enjoyed the book anyway. It was fun to see how things are progressing for Jack and Mel (the series' main characters), Preacher and Paige (their part in this story had me laughing out loud!), and Paul and Vanni, whose story, Second Chance Pass, comes later in the series. I'd read Paul and Vanni's story previously, so I was excited to see how things kick off for the couple and how a terrible tragedy ignites the way to a second-chance romance down the road.

There are some heavy, emotional things going on in this story2 deaths, a rapist at large, an unrelated rape, and several planned and unplanned pregnancies. Yet, in the midst of it all, Robyn Carr has created a world with several intertwined stories, all of which are sweet, fun and romantic. I always feel at home when I'm reading a title in the Virgin River Series!



An Amorous Dance is now available in paperback!


Will Hannah and Evan get a second chance at love?




When Hannah Rabourn, daughter of Rabourn Theater's late owner, is attacked, a surge of flashes prompts her to consider that her father may have been murdered. Hannah's antagonistic stage director insists her subconscious is merely seeking closure. But as she and Evan become close once again, Hannah's suspicions about the past deepen, and she wonders whether the man she's falling in love with for the second time knows more than he's letting on.

Evan Master's dreams were shattered when theater-owner Baron Rabourn destroyed his budding acting career. Having forged an alliance with Rabourn's former partner, Evan assumed a mission to transform Rabourn Theater into what it always should have been. Fellow conspirators believe Rabourn's daughter is the key to power, and Evan is the means by which to achieve their ends.

But Evan's feelings for Hannah are stronger than he believed. And when he realizes Hannah's life is in danger, he must decide between his passion...and his heart.


Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Amorous-Rabourn-Theater-BookStrand-Publishing/dp/1640105816/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=


Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/an-amorous-dance-the-rabourn-theater-2-jessica-lauryn/1125841876?ean=9781640105812




  

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Interview with Award-Winning Romance Author Roni Denholtz and a Review of Setting the Stage for Love

I am excited to welcome fellow Romance Author Roni Denholtz to Passion Between the Pages! I originally met Roni through New Jersey Romance Writers, our local chapter of Romance Writers of America. Our mutual love deep characters and romantic stories made us fast friends and big fans of each other's work!

Roni is the award-winning author of 8 romance novels and 1 novella. Her books have been nominated for the New Jersey Golden Leaf Award and the National Readers' Choice Award. "Marquis in a Minute" won the NJ Golden Leaf Award for Best Regency Romance!

Thank you for joining us today, Roni!




When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

I first knew I wanted to be a writer when I devoured the Nancy Drew books and wanted to write stories like those in the books!


What is your writing style and how do you come up with your ideas?

I don't know if I have a particular style. Coming up with ideas, I guess I have them at odd momentsdriving, walking the dog or just before I go to sleep.



Heroine Brooke of Setting the Stage for Love is a very likable and is easy to relate to! Did you put a bit of yourself into this character? Is she lightly based off of anyone you know?

Brooke first appeared in "A Taste of Romance" and I liked her a lot and wanted to write her and William's story. It first begins in "A Taste of Romance" when William asks Jeremy to set things up so he can see Brook again. She's more sophisticated than I am, but we share a love of animals and Brooke also has a tender heart for animals, her friends and family.


I've noticed many of your titles are set in your home state of New Jersey, and contain a strong degree of authenticity, which I really enjoy. Do you find it challenging to create a fantasy world in one which is also very real to you? 

I like to use New Jersey as the setting for many books, since I know it so well (I've lived here since age 10) and I love this state. I do sometimes make up a town, as I did in "Negotiating Love" since that book involved education and politics and I didn't want to set it in a real town, LOL. But, I loosely based it on 3 towns near my home. I have used Budd Lake, Dover, Stanhope and South Orange as settings for my books.


You've written 9 titles so far. Which one is your favorite and why?

I don't know if one book is my favorite, but I think your first published novel is always the one you remember the most and are most excited about. That was "Lights of Love." Another book which I really enjoyed writing a lot was "Borrowing the Bride." The story just seemed to write itselfI was so enthusiastic about it! "A Taste of Romance" has been my top seller!



In addition to being a talented author, you are also an avid reader. Who are some of your favorite authors? What stories have influenced your own writing?

Some of my favorite authors are: Heather Graham, Nora Roberts, Julia Quinn, Beth Ciotta, Jessica Lauryn, Judi Fennell, Kerrelyn Sparks and Sabrina Jeffries. I think I was influenced by the old romantic suspense/gothics quite a bit, by authors such as Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt and Phyllis A Whitney. In an interview, I read that Nora Roberts was, too.


What do you find to be the more challenging aspects of writing?

It's always a challenge to find the time for writing, LOL! I often push off housework. Also, pacing can be difficult. I often write slow scenes and I have to eliminate them when I revise.



You are a past-president of New Jersey Romance Writers and have served our chapter in many capacities. What do you find to be the most rewarding aspects of being part of such an organization? What advice do you have for beginner writers who are just starting out?

I love our NJRW chapter, and so many people gave me advice when I started writing romance novels that I have a desire to give back to the organization. I enjoy volunteering, although as past president, I am taking it a little easier this year, LOL!


Where can readers find you online?


You can find me on my website, www.ronidenholtz.com, and on Facebook, where I'm pretty active!




Thank you so much for stopping by, Roni! I'm looking much forward to reading your next story!



My Review of Setting the Stage for Love by Roni Denholtz:





I greatly enjoyed Setting the Stage for Love by Roni Denholtz! A fan of Roni's past titles, I was much looking forward to this story and had a great time relaxing with it over my summer vacation. The mood is light, the story is sweet, and the romance is lots of fun! 

Having been hurt by a past betrayal, heroine Brooke is afraid to take a chance on love. But when she runs into her old boyfriend, William, an old spark quickly ignites a series of flames. William is keeping a secret from Brooke, one that could hurt her if it comes to light. Can their love survive it? 

I rarely put Setting the Stage for Love down as I read, eager to see how Brooke and William would work through their differences and find their way to happily ever after. Both characters are easy to relate to and the ending has a romantic twist I never saw coming! Light, easy reading. A real romantic treat. Five Stars!




Setting the Stage for Love is just $2.99 on Amazon Kindle!



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Politics in Romance Novels and a Review of "Shameless" by New York Times BestSelling Author Jennifer Blake

Romance novels, for me, and for many readers, are a form of escapism.  We read to forget about our own lives and to retreat into a place much unlike the world around us, to read about people and places unfamiliar to us, about different times in history, a setting strange and unfamiliar.  Yet, at the same time, we take comfort in reading about characters who are easy to relate to, characters who, in some way, or perhaps in many ways, remind us of ourselves.  We enjoy the differences had between hero and heroine and we love watching how those differences create tension, tension that often fuels passion and leads to a very gratifying love scene, or three, or four.  To appreciate the differences between characters, we as readers and authors alike recognize that people are the result of a unique set of circumstances and experiences, physical, scientific, emotional and spiritual.  Where we grow up, who we come to know and what we're told throughout our lives plays a role in who we become as individuals.  Political beliefs often play a part in that.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I dislike discussing politics.  Particularly at a time in American history where the slightest mention of politics seems to spur an intense reaction in people, I aim to avoid the topic whenever possible.  Growing up, I had no interest in politics and when my parents had news on the TV I often left the room, and still do.  But as I was reading Shameless by Jennifer Blake, a romance novel published in 1994 in which Ms. Blake uses a political theme to shape her characters, I was reminded of the fact that, to truly understand our characters we must delve into all aspects of who they are, even those that make us uncomfortable.  As writers, we often hear such advice given, and as it's suggested, we might say, "Of course!  I know that!" as we writers know that we must reach a deep, understanding of  everything that has happened in a character's past that made him who he is today.  But, do we really delve as deep as we can?  Or are there certain things we shy away from without even realizing it?

When I was in college, I took a course in play-writing.  Though I'd be writing in some form or another all my life, it was some of the most formal education I'd ever received on the subject and one of the things I found most interesting about the class was that the teacher would have us "act out" our plays aloud, with our peers, the writers choosing who would recite the play's various roles.  Clearly, this practice enabled the writer to see how her play might sound if it was being acted out by real actors.  But what I actually learned from this experience was not to be shy with regard to what I wrote down on paper.  As I was often given roles to recite, and the content of the plays written by my peers was typically controversial and promiscuous, I let go of my embarrassment and learned not to hold back, for the sake of a story.  In turn, I developed somewhat of a political theme myself in my recent release, An Amorous Dance, as a war wages between theater-owner Hannah Rabourn and stage director Evan Masters, both of whom believe themselves to be the justified party in their battle for control of Rabourn Theater.  Jennifer Blake does something similar in Shameless as hero Reid Sayers and heroine Cammie Greenley fight each other for control of a mill, and the development of the land they both love.  I will admit that while Ms. Blake has created a story in which the politics of her characters closely correlates with the American politics we're all familiar with, I crafted a unique set of rules more specific to my story and characters, perhaps, intentionally choosing not to go there, or for my characters to go there either.

Stories like An Amorous Dance can surely be read between the lines.  And while I would encourage fellow authors to be as brave with regard to crafting their stories and characters as they possibly can, it isn't the only way.  As the author, it is your job to determine the most interesting way to tell your story.  As readers, we seek to find the stories that bring us the most entertainment and joy.  Many of us have been reading our whole lives, and we know what we enjoy reading most time and time again. Though, I strongly encourage you to never stop sampling the works of new authors, no matter what set of rules they choose to follow.  In many cases, the authors I love most were introduced to me as a total surprise!





My Review of Shameless by Jennifer Blake: (Contains Spoilers) 



I've greatly enjoyed Jennifer's Blake's stories in the past and will continue to read as many as I can get my hands on in the future.  Shameless gripped me from the initial pages--Blake placed a love scene early on in the story, which both drew me in and introduced the passion between heroine Cammie Greenley and hero Reid Sayers right up front.  I really like when an author can shake-up the traditional romance novel structure and still keep things interesting.  This book moved a bit slow for me, but the intrigue was there--the characters were strong and I was rooting for them all the way!

Jennifer Blake introduces a political angle in this title, which I found very interesting, even reading the story 13 years after it was originally published.  Many of this author's titles are historical, whereas this one is a contemporary, set in Ms. Blake's favorite setting of Louisiana.  Not a lot has changed since this story was written from where I am standing, but I enjoyed taking a little trip back in time with this book which is filled with beautiful prose and detailed descriptions - Jennifer Blake does these better than any author I know!

Though the premise is a bit corny, and the drama overly-intense at times, I greatly enjoyed this story, which centers around something of a triangle as Cammie battles her abusive ex-husband for control of her life while falling in love all over again with the man she grew up beside who never got away from her.  It takes a bit of doing to get there, but the end is very satisfying!        



Summer Sale!  Did you miss a title in The Pinnacles of Power Series? All stories in the series are on sale at BookStrand for $2.99! 




Friday, June 30, 2017

Interview with YA Fantasy Author Diana Rose

   It is a pleasure to welcome Young Adult Fantasy Author, Diana Rose, to my blog. I originally connected with Diana through social media and our mutual love of romance and fantasy made us fast friends. 


   Diana is the future author of Forbidden Love and other romantic titles for Whippoorwill Press. I'm looking forward to reading all of her stories one day soon!

 Thank you Diana, for joining us on Passion Between the Pages!



    You write about true love and how to find it.  In a world where true love is, too often, not at the forefront of people’s minds and hearts, what inspires you and what inspires your romantic stories?


  When I began writing Book 1: Forbidden Love, I knew that it would be a romance fantasy novel right then. My inspiration for writing romance came from the most unexpected place, I think. It came from my grandparents. My maternal grandparents had a very interesting love story that I fell in love with. I wanted to express that kind of love in my books. I believe that this is the reason why I myself believe so strongly in the existence of true love. My grandparents lived together for 63 years and would have celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary if they were still alive.

I do also, read a lot of romantic novels and watch different romantic movies which also help to inspire me but the biggest inspiration, I still think was the story of the love my grandparents shared. I hope that one day I will find this kind of love for myself. Also, many fairytales of princesses, and brave princes fueled my idea that true love exists. “A true love’s kiss is the most powerful magic in the world.” I grew up to believe that this is true.


    What is a typical writing day like for you? 


A typical writing day, for me usually begins after I get a big cup of fruit flavored tea and some food. I watch a romantic based movie and then I am off to write. I usually try to write as much as I can before I get stuck. I like writing after breakfast and in the evenings late into the night.

   
Tell us about your writing style and process. Are you a plotter? A "panster?" Do you do a lot of research before you begin writing your stories? 


I usually like to have an idea in my head of what I want to write about but I don’t like to plan. Maybe I’m a “plotter” more than a “panster” as I can easily figure out the main idea but it takes me longer to figure out the details and especially character names. However, in relation to Book 1: Forbidden Love and Book 2: Sacrificed Love, I think details were easier in Book 1.

Research? I don’t think that I have done much research for this series other than listening to my grandparents tell me their love story. I think that all I wanted to do for the Power of Love Series that started with Book 1: Forbidden Love was retell a story I knew by heart and tell the story in such a way that it did not sound like a biography. I choose fantasy, magic, royalty because those are also things that I enjoyed when I was little.




   I’ve heard great things about your upcoming debut novel!  What is this story about and what inspired your characters and premise?


The first book in my Power of Love Series, Book 1: Forbidden Love is about Princess Amy from the Moon Kingdom and Prince Darien who is from the Earth Kingdom. They fall in love with each other and Princess Amy’s mother, Queen Alyona is against them being together so she attempts to separate them. But Prince Darien goes out to find her. The story is about how, despite all the obstacles Princess Amy and Prince Darien faced throughout their lives, they still manage to find a way to be together. This book shows that true love can conquer all evil no matter what that evil is.

The inspiration for Amy and Darien came from my grandparents’ story essentially. It amazed me how two people can love each other so much no matter what is going on in their life. In a world that was just coming out of WWII, my grandparents managed to find love and have a wonderful family. That was probably what sparked the idea for this book and series. I wanted to let people see that “Darien” can exist in real life. My grandfather’s care and love for his wife and children and grandchildren was so beautiful that I truly believed that I was living among the most real Prince Charming as I grew up. I believe that my grandparents deserve the attention and respect of the people in today’s world.

My first ever editor, Professor Susan Ednie at Kingsborough Community College used to joke a little. She used to ask me, “How old is our Darien now?” Of course, she meant my grandfather and I always smiled at that question. I think that the Darien I write about in my book is a true novel-made version of who my grandfather was. Amy is made up of two women, my grandmother and my great-grandmother on my mother’s side.


    You write stories for young adults which is something I, as an author, have yet to attempt. What are the challenges that come with writing for this age group in today’s world, and what do you find most rewarding about doing it?


Hmm….I would say that the first challenge in writing for Young Adults is that my chapters have to be smaller. I write 20-30 page chapters at a time so when I wanted to submit this book to a publishing company I had to divide the chapters into five to six pages long.

The most rewarding aspect of writing for young adults is that I believe that I can make a positive change for today’s children by showing them that even though a boy is young he can still perform heroic acts and protect the people around him and that girls will appreciate it. Chivalry and romance and the expression of feelings to the one you love is still as real as having a wedding to celebrate the union of two hearts. Of course, I write about royals, but some things are always present and exist even in today’s world. I want today’s children and teens to have hope that somewhere out there is someone who will love them forever and never betray you. After all, every fairytale starts with hope and it is that hope that helps us to move on in life and believe that better things are possible.

    

What do you enjoy most about writing?  What do you hope to achieve in your career as an author?


My favorite part about writing is that I can express my ideas in a way that shows truth about life in a whole new way. I can write books that people can relate to and see their lives reflected in my stories. Having a talent to create stories, books, and characters that are realistic is my favorite part of writing. Yes, I did fall in love with Darien and I still am in love with him because he represents what I want to find.

My career as an author is something that I keep thinking about. The most important thing that I want to achieve is giving people hope and making people believe that true love is possible and it can be found not only in a book but outside in our daily lives. I want to keep writing and finding new ideas that center around the idea of true love. I have been saying for a long time that I want to see my name in lights. But what does that mean? I think it means that I want to have as many people as possible read my books and see that I don’t just write books, I put my heart, my soul and all my emotions into my writing. I want people to ask each other, “Have you read the new Diana Rose novel?” Ha ha, yes, that would be the best thing in the world, to be one of the great authors of our time!


I’ve heard many people make the suggestion that pre-published authors should begin to build a web presence as early in the process as possible, so that once their debut novel is released a digital platform has already been established. You’ve done this better than any anyone I know! What advice do you have for pre-published authors regarding marketing and social media?


Wow, I’m flattered that you would say this, Jessica. You asking me for advice makes me feel like I’ve done something right, and here I was thinking that I was not doing this marketing thing the correct way. But…really, is there ever a "correct way?"

I think my advice to pre-published authors who want to build a platform that they can “stand on” is keep your marketing “voice” the same as in your book. Your personal style for writing things and expressing ideas should be your own. Do not copy anyone unless they are doing something that you think is important. Be yourself.

For example, my style is to write “I thank you all for your infinite support” at the end of my posts on my blog and author page. But that is my way of writing and it might not be yours.

Also, social media marketing always needs something new every day. If you can put out quality work every day, great, but if it takes you more time to work on something worth showing then don’t feel pressured that you did not do a post yesterday. Today, you do two or three. I believe that quality matters. You want your future readers to see you at your best. Just like you would not publish a book without editing it, you don’t want to put out something in social media that everyone will see and isn’t your best work.

Pre-published authors, make an author page, blog!! It’s your way to show agents and publishers that you are not in some dark corner and that people actually know who you are. Be consistent and if you write on social media that you are going to do something on this day, do it. People expect things and they get disappointed if you don’t give them what they are waiting for. Really, even I still have a lot to learn about marketing at least I’m half way there. I know things may seem impossible but you need to try. Try to do something if you don’t try, you will never succeed.


   What kinds of books do you most enjoy reading?  Do you read mainly YA Fantasy or do you enjoy a variety of genres?


I read romances and some are YA and some are not. It depends on if I like the author or what the book is about. I read romance and romance is a large genre in and of itself. The books I would never read are thriller, mystery, crime. Those would give me nightmares.

    
    Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?


Yes, I’m a romantic at heart. When I’m not writing my books, I like to read romance to see what others write. I like to talk to my friends who may also give me ideas. I watch Once Upon A Time which has all the fairytales set in a modern day setting - my guilty pleasure. I like helping my friends and I always try to give good advice.


Thanks so much for stopping by, Diana!  You can visit Diana online at the following links:



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