Friday, January 16, 2009

Star Light, Star Bright....Interstellar Interview with Dianna Love


Dianna Love’s latest release, DEAD AFTER DARK, with friend Sherrilyn Kenyon, debuted at #5 on the NY Times Bestsellers List. So it doesn’t come as much surprise that she’s always liked to do things big. Originally she started out hand painting larger than life murals and outdoor ads, which included climbing over 100 feet in the air daily. When technology shifted, Dianna was fortunate enough to garner contracts from top sponsors to design and fabricate unusual designs for the 1996 and 2002 Olympic Games. Hanging high above the ground, she began imaging stories with larger-than-life character about everyday people who conquer extreme odds to save the people they love.

After WORTH EVERY RISK won nine first place titles, she finally found a publisher. In 2006 her debut novel, WORTH EVERY RISK, double finalled at the RITA awards in 2006 for Best Long Contemporary and Best First Book! Dianna followed up that success with two other single title novels. In her spare time, she has sparked an in-depth plotting conference, Break Into Fiction, with Mary Buckham to help writers with their plots and storylines.

I first met Dianna at a local CRW chapter meeting. Her love for writing was effervescent, and she genuinely cared about teaching us some mechanics to make our books stronger. Next, she teamed up with Ann Destefano to teach us to pitch in an all day workshop that certainly opened my eyes and forced me to up my game with Nationals looming.

A couple years ago, when I got to Moonlight & Magnolias, who do you think I spotted running around in a ball cap? Yep, Dianna. She’d decided to be the Chairwoman for the whole conference. Eventhough she had tons on her plate, Dianna always looked calm, cool and collected under pressure. And she never said no when a friend or acquaintance stopped to chat. True she might have kept working, but she hung on every word while wearing a smile.

She loves to help others build on their strengths and improve their weaknesses to make their writing/pitching the best it can be. Dianna is a total giver when it comes to her craft and her beloved chaptermates. I am one among many who believe she’s truly a Southern gem.



What kept you fighting to find a publisher for your debut novel WORTH EVERY RISK, which won the 2003 Golden Heart Award and Daphne du Maurier Award?

I was very fortunate in that WORTH EVERY RISK was the first book I wrote and I sold it a year after finishing the manuscript to the first publisher who asked for the full. A year is not a long time compared to so many others who have stuck it out for many years (I admire them greatly). Since that sounds like an ideal situation, I want to share the “rest of the story” so to speak. When you hear that someone sold their first book right off the bat or got a multi-book contract the first time out or a huge advance keep in mind that it means everything in the universe lined up just right “that time.” To put my first sale in perspective – I lost my senior editor immediately after selling and the next senior never liked anything I submitted. We just did not click on stories, which is why you’ll always hear how subjective this business is. If the second senior editor had read my first book she might not have bought it, which means it would not have sold out in a month or won a RITA. I’m thrilled all that happened, glad I published with that house and very proud of that story, but I try to share all of the information so that you get more than the fairytale details. It was wonderful, but a learning experience, too.


Since WORTH EVERY RISK had romantic suspense elements, did you feel that was a strong point to build upon for PHANTOM IN THE NIGHT and DEAD AFTER DARK? Was the strong market for paranormals instrumental in your decision to add magical elements to your single title releases? Or was there a more personal reason behind the decision?

Actually PHANTOM IN THE NIGHT is a contemporary romantic thriller (not paranormal), because we wanted to kick the Bureau of American Defense (BAD) Agency series up a notch to a high-octane suspense. So I’m still doing what I started out with on WER, but I write so much bigger now, which is a blast. :) Writing DEAD AFTER DARK really had nothing to do with the paranormal market. I started toying with that idea back when I started writing. In fact, when I had the opportunity to submit this urban fantasy novella a couple years ago (it was sold in 2006) two houses considered my bigger series, but at one the marketing department didn’t know how to market it and the other house said it was so unusual they weren’t sure how to position it. If I’d been writing to the paranormal market, I’d have changed the urban fantasy to a vampire story – as one editor asked me to consider. But I don’t jump on trends and only write what I’m really interested in writing. All my stories have a suspense element since I love suspense and thrillers.


Would you mind sharing with us how you got the chance to write with some of the leading names in romance—Sherrilyn Kenyon, J.R. Ward, and Susan Squires?

As mentioned above, that novella opportunity came along in 2006 and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. The opportunity to co-write the BAD Agency thriller series with Sherrilyn Kenyon came about in 2007 while we were touring for her latest Dark-Hunter hardback release. We started discussing her second suspense novel with Pocket and she wanted to do more with the series, to make it darker and edgier. As anyone who has attended a Break Into Fiction® (http://www.breakintofiction.com/) Power Plotting Retreat with me knows – I love to brainstorm. So I started throwing out ideas and ways to expand the story lines that would make it a romantic thriller series. Sherrilyn loved the ideas and suggested we collaborate on the series. My answer? As I’m always saying, “My mama drowned the dumb kids.” Thus, the new tone sort of re-launched the BAD Agency series and Publisher Weekly reviewed it as a thriller they compared to the DaVinci Code. That so rocked. :)


Can I assume the use of the Bureau of American Defense (BAD) and Vigilant International Protectors Elite Regiment (VIPER) suggests later novels with some heroic heroes and heroines? To date, who has been your favorite “operative”?

BAD is an agency with no boundaries and no red tape…and when it comes to the agents, no rules. There are a lot of bigger stories coming, connected by secondary characters, and the entire series has a huge over-arching thriller arc. VIPER is a league of international warriors with extraordinary abilities who rise up to save mankind from supernatural terrorists of the new millennium.. VIPER includes many different types of beings in the contemporary world. It’s a dark and edgy urban fantasy. As for my favorite hero and/or heroine – the one I’m currently working on because I love them all and they all get on my nerves at one time or another. :) Kind of like kids.



As a long time member of Georgia Romance Writers what makes your RWA chapter special to you? If you had to sell GRW in a two sentence pitch, how would you sum it up for potential members?

Two sentences that describe Georgia Romance Writers would be – GRW has an amazing depth of talented writers both published and not-yet-published who share enthusiasm for each other’s triumphs and support for the hard times. In addition to writing a wide selection of romance genre, GRW is a membership of around 300 writers who have published and/or are working on women’s fiction, mainstream mysteries, sci/fi, screen writers, theatrical writers, fantasy, paranormal, nonfiction stories, nonfiction books on writing, children’s books, many of which have been made into movies.


As a past chair for the Moonlight and Magnolia Conference, what gave you the most joy when everything was said and done?

Being a chair for a major regional conference means long hours that suck up every ounce of personal time and cuts deeply into writing time, but my 2007 Moonlight and Magnolia team was an amazing group made up of talented women and one guy (our brilliant Leonard Johnson who created the website and brought us into the new millennium with PayPal set up). Everyone’s spirit and dedication to producing the best conference possible gave me great joy along the way. The pride and satisfaction they showed upon completing the conference still warms my heart to this day when I think back on that event. We had the largest book signing to date with a line literally out the door of the hotel. Every editor and agent made a point of telling me how much they enjoyed the conference and would come back again. The letters and emails we received were wonderful. That doesn’t happen without an outstanding team.


Several authors have gushed over Break into Fiction, so from the flipside, can you tell us how you feel about connecting with so many authors and helping them with their novels?

We’re tickled and flattered to hear that authors are gushing over our new program. Break Into Fiction® was my and Mary Buckham’s brainchild we’re very proud of. We created this program to help not-yet-published authors but have been nicely surprised by the number of multi-published mass market authors who have attended our national Power Plotting Retreats. In fact, we had a Pulitzer Prize winner in a recent retreat. From our side, it’s incredible to get feedback when our students have sold their first book, signed with an agent, “finished” their first book, had a request from an editor, sold a bigger series than they were previously writing, won contests…that’s when we gush about our students. We do offer monthly drawings in our contest at the BIF site for critiques and other writing related prizes and wish we could offer more private Power Plotting Retreats, but we’ll only have time for 2 in 2009 (Atlanta in March and St. Louis in April). The retreats are filling up quickly, but as of the beginning of January we still had a few spots in Atlanta (http://www.breakintofiction.com/).


With 2009 kicking off with the release of DEAD AFTER DARK, can you tell us what you have coming up the rest of the year?

I’m really looking forward to 2009. WHISPERED LIES (Pocket), the next BAD Agency romantic thriller (Carlos Delgado’s for those who have read PHANTOM IN THE NIGHT) will be released May 12, 2009. A week later on May 19th we’ll release the mass market paperback edition of PHANTOM IN THE NIGHT. In June, the Break Into Fiction®: Power Plot Your Novel (IBSN 13: 978-1-60550-015-7) book will be released. We don’t expect the nonfiction book on Power Plotting to have a huge print run (most nonfiction books don’t the first time out) so the best thing to do is preorder online to assure you’ll get a copy if you’re a writer looking for how to plot a stronger Character-Driven book or a pantser who needs a way to find the plot holes in a completed manuscript. The pre-order information will be on our website in February, but it will be available on Amazon for sure. On top of all that, I’ll be speaking at a reader’s event in Australia in February with Sherrilyn Kenyon, teaching Power Plotting retreats with Mary, giving my first keynote in Denver at the Romancing the Rockies Conference…and more. It’s all on my website at http://www.authordiannalove.com/

Thanks so much for asking me to join you today. It’s always a pleasure to connect with readers and writers. I’m happy to answer anyone’s questions on stories or writing. If you post today two lucky winners will receive either a signed copy of PHANTOM IN THE NIGHT or DEAD AFTER DARK!



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12 comments:

Leiha said...

Dianna, I can't wait until Whispered Lies comes out! I will buy anything with your name on it. Not only are you a wonderful writer (you've definitely helped kick up the BAD series, loved Phantom) but having met you, I think you're an even more extraordinary person!

Dianna Love said...

Hi Leiha -

You're so sweet. I just wished you lived down south again. :)

thanks for stopping by.

Debbie_D said...

Dianna, definitely anxious for Whispered Lies. Like Leiha said, you're an awesome person. BTW, your seminar at K-con last year motivated me and I'm now attempting my 1st MS. Just wish I was closer so I could attend a full conference!

Amanda said...

Oooooo I hadn't heard about Whispered Lies. I can't wait, must go and put it in my diary!

Thank you for the gift of your writing, it gives me hours of pleasure!

Jacs said...

Terrific interview! Hope to see you Dianna at M&M this year :)

Kytaira said...

Dianna, can't wait for Whispered Lies! What a varied life you've led!

BTW - Leiha let me know you'd be over here. She's one of the backbones of RBL Romantica!

Lynda/WA

Dianna Love said...

Hi Deb -

I had to scoot out late yesterday afternoon for a meeting. Thanks for then nice words about the KCon seminar. I'm always happy to do that and LOVE hearing that it got you writing. :)Keep it up.

Dianna Love said...

Hi Amanda -

Thank YOU for reading the books. That is a gift to us as authors. :)

Dianna Love said...

Hi Jacs -

I hope you're at M&M this year, too. We'll have a lot of fun. For anyone who doesn't know what that is - Moonlight & Magnolias Conference in Atlanta the weekend of Oct 2-4. Sherrilyn Kenyon is keynote and I'm the welcome speaker, plus Mary Buckham and I are creating a special Break Into Fiction(R) program for Sunday morning.

Try to stay warm up there. :)

Dianna Love said...

Hi Lynda -

So good to see another RBL. Leiha is too much fun, eh? ;) If the slash WA after your name means you're up in the PNW too, I'll be up there at the end of June to teach a Break Into Fiction(R) program in a college with Mary so maybe we'll see each other then. :)

Dianna Love said...

Kristy -

Thank you for inviting me to blog. This is such a fun and attractive blog, I know it will really grow this year.

Skylar Masey said...
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