SMP: Diane, tell us all about you! What would you most like your readers to know?
Diane: That I’m shy and talking about myself is hard. I’d rather know about you. After all, I’m always looking for character traits.
SMP: Are you one of those writers born with a pen in your hand and ideas flitting through your mind, or did your interest develop later?
Diane: I think I was born with chocolate in my hand (and mouth). I always enjoyed reading. I still remember the excitement of reading my first chapter book. ‘Forest’ and ‘journey’ were my first favorite big words. I chuckle when I can pull out info from my gray matter that has been stored for too many decades.
SMP: When did you become serious about seeing your name in print and begin writing your first romance novel?
Diane: The thought of seeing my name in print, scares me—haven’t figured out why, yet. Maybe it’s the shyness. Maybe something else. All I know is that if I don’t write, I turn restless and grouchy.
SMP: How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript? Did it fly from your fingertips, or did the story emerge slowly?
Diane: Don’t I wish it would fly…snippets come to me, out of order, and often for more than one project. Sometimes, I wish the characters would wait until I’m out of the shower, or at least dried off, when they talk to me or point out things that should go into a story. But I rather they speak up, I hate it worse when they avoid me. My first manuscript took years to write and is currently tucked on the bottom shelf where it’s dark and fermenting. Someday, I plan on rewriting it.
SMP: Tell us about your writing process. Soft lights and music? White noise? Child-and-pet confusion? Locked in a room alone? What sets your writing mood and pushes you forward?
Diane: My process is a mess and changes often. I have notes all over the house, in notebooks, on my computer, and roiling around my gray matter. Sometimes my office is as cluttered as my mind and takes a bit of effort to get both in order.
Also, in order to combat a serious case of SBS (spreading butt syndrome), I often stand at my keyboard. After all, a girl has to burn calories wherever possible. Right? Right. I love my WorkFit-S device which I can raise or lower the keyboard and screen with very little effort. The Ergotron people did a fabulous job in designing this equipment. One of the best features was that no holes needed to be drilled into my desk. And it was easy to install.
SMP: Wow! That is one serious set-up. We’d all be better off having one. Diane, what are some life experiences that have infiltrated your stories?
Diane: I am lucky to have worked in several industries: dentistry, medical, computer technology, major corporations, and small single owner businesses. I’ve met and observed a lot of people along the way.
SMP: What shining moment in your journey stands out the most as a real turning point for you as a writer?
Diane: The first major moment was when I finally mustered the guts to tell someone I was writing a novel and I wasn’t laughed at. Another turning point was when I finished the first manuscript. So few people ever finish. I can relate to that issue since I have loads of partially finished stories, which is my way of working. Start something, if it doesn’t flourish, scrap it.
SMP: What is the most thrilling aspect of the writing process for you?
Diane: The surprises that come as a story evolves. And then months later, when I go back and read something I’ve written, I say to myself, “Wow, I wrote that?” It’s either the blessing of having a short memory, or a curse that I have too much going on in my mind.
SMP: What aspects of the writing process do you find most challenging?
Diane: All of it. This is how I feel sometimes—no reasonable way out. Luckily I was familiar with this parking ramp in downtown St. Paul.
SMP: Okay, that’s different! I’m sure we can all relate. So, how do you begin a story? Do you just sit down with an idea in mind and start writing, or are you a person who wouldn’t dream of starting without a detailed outline, character sketches, and pages of research data?
Diane: I get an idea, or a title, or part of a scene and go on from there. Often I get a vision of a character and want to know what they are up to. Then I ask questions like: what would happen if…, or what if what I’m seeing isn’t the truth…, or what’s the worse thing that can happen….
SMP: Who or what sparks the ideas for your stories?
Diane: I got the idea for ‘Chaos at High Altitude’ while stopped at a red light. I took an Altoid mint, snapped the cover closed, and by the time I crossed through the intersection, I had a working title ‘Altoids at High Altitude.’ The main characters came from memories of working a contract job for a major insurance company in downtown St. Paul. To protect the innocent, I can’t tell you who Aunt Gertz is patterned after.
“Chaos at High Altitude,” is about a stressed out project manager with an inner voice that gets her into trouble when she meets the handsome IT contractor who intends to de-stress her. Problems arise when she is whisked away in his private jet for lunch thinking it’s a joke.
SMP: Tell us a little about what you’re currently working on.
Diane: I’m working on ‘Chaos at The Zoo’ (suggested by my dear husband—the idea to write another chaos story is his, the title is mine) and is about a mailman proposing marriage to a chiropractor who he has never dated. My other project is a ghost story: ‘Jane Doe Escapes the Morgue,’ about a woman who suffers from claustrophobia and wants out of the morgue. One of her problems is she can’t leave until her body is identified.
SMP: We’ll definitely look forward to seeing those. Diane, thanks so much for visiting with us today!
Kate is a stressed out project manager with an inner voice that gets her into trouble. When a deadline is pushed earlier, her stress level rises to the point of giving her a severe case of sassy-mouth.
Marco is the handsome IT contractor who intends to de-stress Kate. Their gray cube wall is not the only thing that separates them.
Can an impulsive flight to Des Moines determine whether they have what it takes to break down the barriers?
Diane’s novel, “Chaos at High Altitude,’ can be purchased here: