Friday, April 27, 2012

Fabulous Author Friday ~ Diana Duncan



I just want to say how excited I am to have Diana Duncan as a 
guest today!  Everyone give her a big round of applause.

Without further ado.....

Tell us a little about yourself, Diana.
I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for over 30 years, and for me, it was love at first sight…which is why I totally believe in it! I knew after our very first date I was going to marry him. It took him a wee bit longer. *G* I’m a mom to 2 amazing, challenging young adult daughters who definitely keep me on my toes, and I’m the human servant to 3 cats and an extremely spoiled dog. *G*
I worked in several different jobs before becoming a writer, but this is the best job I’ve ever had. (Okay, maybe not salary-wise, but it definitely feeds the need within me to create!) I devote between 8-14 hours a day to writing. I try to give myself weekends off to be with my Hubby, but with the current book coming out and two more shortly afterward, I’ve not stopped for a month straight! Thank heaven for coffee!
Gardening and decorating are also passions of mine, and I’m an HGTV and DIY addict. Every time the family sees paint chips taped to the walls, they all get terrified…the cowards. *G* I once repainted my front door a different color every day for a week until I found just the right one I wanted. My neighbor said he couldn’t wait to get home every day to see what color the door had changed to. (And then he probably went into his own house and thanked his wife for not being crazy.)
And of course, I read voraciously! I’m never without at least one, maybe two books that I’m reading. It’s a great way to unwind and relax before going to bed.
I love HGTV and DIY too.  They are addicting TV channels.  *giggle* 

Did you always want to be an author? 
Yes! My grandmother was a librarian, and she was my primary caregiver for the first three years of my life. She took me to work with her, and I developed a love affair with books practically from birth. *G* I wrote my first “book” at age 4… “Perky the Kitten” was crafted in orange crayon, and illustrated with pictures cut from a magazine. I think my mom still has it somewhere. *G*
What is your favorite part of being a writer/author?
Hanging out with my fictional characters, who constantly surprise me. I never know what they’re going to do or say next, and it’s always such a thrilling adventure. I never tell them what to do…they tell ME what’s going on in their world and I take dictation. I can’t imagine doing anything else (except for maybe being an interior decorator, but that’s a whole ‘nother story. *G*)
Tell us a little about your book.
“Devil May Care,” (available May 1st) is the second in my “Devilish Devlins” series. It’s a fast, fun, super hot contemporary romance and my all-time favorite book I’ve ever written (so far). My heroine, Marisa Matheson, is a wedding planner and a complete control freak…and her beloved business is about to go bankrupt. Then Irish bad boy Flynn Devlin roars into her life on his Harley, with a body built for sin and a magic touch with a camera that makes even the most…ah… “unfortunate-looking” bride appear beautiful. Flynn shows Marisa just how much fun it is when she lets go, and she’s out of control. This book is sooo hot, I think I need to give away free batteries with it. You know, in case your eReader or…ahem…anything else runs low. LOL!
However, there’s also some seriousness woven throughout. Travis Ross, one of Marisa’s gay business partners, has been shunned by his family. In real life, I know a terrific guy who came out to his parents right after college…and they totally cut him out of their lives.
Prejudice and intolerance on any level horrifies me, but the fact that his own parents hurt him in such a deliberate way made it so much worse.
Sounds like an odd topic to include in a fun, sexy romance doesn’t it? Which is why it’s the perfect venue. You get to know Travis, love him, feel what he feels, and empathize with him without a “heavy-handed” story. Since Travis is a secondary character, we don’t learn every detail of his life. But maybe, hopefully, it might inspire thoughts about the consequences of how we as human beings treat one another.   
Blurb for Devil May Care:
Free-wheeling rogue Flynn Devlin roars into Marisa Matheson's well-ordered life on a Harley, with a devil-may-care attitude, a body made for sin, and an Irish lilt that could charm the panties off a nun.

Exactly the kind of bad boy she doesn't need.

Except Flynn also possesses magic talent with a camera—something she desperately needs to keep her wedding planning business from tanking after her regular photographer is injured.

Flynn Devlin is the only thing standing between Marisa and complete financial ruin.

He's also hiding a damning secret from her. All in the name of love, but still...Flynn knows that when the lass who's capturing his heart as easily as he captures images finds out he's not quite what he claims to be, all hell will break loose.

And his devil-may-care attitude doesn't include his heart.

Because this devil doesn’t want just a one-night fling with his stubbornly independent lass…he wants forever.

Excerpt from Devil May Care:
Marisa marched across the lawn, low heels sinking into the close-cropped turf. The piquant scent of fresh grass wafted up with each footstep, but she didn’t have time to stop and smell springtime today. Or any day for that matter.
She halted several feet from her potential employee. His six-foot-plus length was stretched out on his back, big hands folded beneath his head. A wadded brown leather jacket pillowed tousled raven collar-length waves. Thick, dark lashes fanned over high cheekbones, and several days’ worth of beard scruff shadowed a square jaw, full, sensual lips, and a determined chin.
She sidled closer. The distinctive, beautifully chiseled masculine features were tanned, a sure sign he was from out of town. A black T-shirt defined every ridge of his muscled torso, the right sleeve revealing the edge of an emerald and gold Celtic knot shamrock tattoo on a big bicep. Worn denim hugged a trim waist, the faded creases below cupping… Yowza. 
Marisa swallowed. A brain-boggling male package.
She quickly skimmed her gaze down long, lean thighs and legs crossed at the ankles over scuffed black boots.
Even with his eyes closed, he emanated dangerous animal magnetism. One hundred and eighty pounds of sin on the prowl.
Her stomach flipped. And he wasn’t asleep.
His breathing was slow and even, and he didn’t stir. But the odd tingling across her skin told her Bad Biker Boy was alert and fully aware. She bent over him. “Hello?”
No response. 
She hadn’t made it this far in the brutal bridal trade by being easily daunted. “Hey.” She nudged his thigh with the toe of her pump. His rock-hard muscles didn’t give an inch. “I’m talking to you.”
“Naff off,” he growled without opening his eyes.
His low Irish brogue glided over her, raising goosebumps. Her brows drew together. Why? She wasn’t the least bit afraid of him. Any woman in her right mind probably should be. Instead, she was—reluctantly—intrigued. “Listen, I need you—”
“Sorry, darlin’.” The flavor of Ireland warmed every syllable of his lyrical drawl with the same slow burn as fine whiskey. “You’re not my type.”
He still hadn’t opened his eyes. Her fists clenched against the reflex to slap his gorgeous face. “Oh, you mean not inflatable?”
Thickets of black lashes drifted up to reveal mischievous brown eyes as deep and dark as fresh-brewed espresso, glinting with golden highlights…and razor-sharp intelligence. No moron, this guy. But her other guess was dead-on target. Self-assured male arrogance fit him as well as his faded 501’s. The man could handle just about anything life threw at him.
She swallowed again as her mouth went dry and her panties got damp.
His smoldering gaze roamed lazily down her body, starting with the top of her tightly cinched bun and ending at the tips of her sensible taupe pumps. Then it traveled upward again, just as slowly, just as thoroughly, scorching her skin as if he’d touched her. “You’re a looker, to be sure.” Naughtiness sparkled in his gilded irises as they clashed with hers. Daring her. Tempting her. Seducing her. “Wanting a walk on the wild side, are you?”


When did you start writing and when did you finish your first 
book?
I’ve been writing all my life, mostly essays, short stories, poetry, and plenty of highly opinionated letters to everyone from the local newspaper to various Presidents. *G* Around 1996, I began writing Fan-Fic for the TV series “Highlander,” because Duncan MacLeod stole my heart and spoke to me as everything a hero should be! However, I was way too chicken to show my writing to anyone.
Then I made a good friend online in a Scottish interest chat room who also shared my massive Duncan love, and eventually she convinced me to let her read my work. As soon as she was done, she emailed me with a photo of her home library, standing in front of shelves filled with hundreds of romances, and said, “Your stories are better than all of these. You HAVE to write a romance!”
I’d been a romance reader since the age of 14, so it really wasn’t that much of a stretch to at least give it a try. The two of us eventually met up in St. Louis and flew to Scotland together for the research trip of a lifetime (that fun true story—complete with pictures—is on my website under “Di & Berny’s Excellent Scottish Adventure.”)
Years ago, before I started writing novels, I kept dreaming the same dream. Over and over. For five years. Always the same dark-haired kilted warrior. Always the same ending (which I can’t tell you, lest I spoil it.) *G* But that dream haunted me until I wrote out that ending scene. Way back then, I didn’t have the knowledge or skills to write the rest of the story and do it justice. So I put it away for the right time. When I got back from Scotland, I spent a year writing my first book, inspired by that dream, (with Berny reading my efforts and bullying me all the way thru it to keep going *G*).
Of course, the minute I finished it, paranormals dropped out of popularity with the marketing big-wigs and nobody would touch it.
But I couldn’t forget this deeply emotional Scottish novel that truly was the book of my heart. Fourteen years later, it eventually became my paranormal Celtic romance, “Sword of the Raven!”
During the next 5 years, I wrote 8 more complete manuscripts, and collected over 100 rejections, before I finally sold a book, which was a romantic suspense titled “Bulletproof Bride.” 
Where do you get your inspiration?
Would you believe my Muse—who, by the way, looks and sounds exactly Vin Diesel—slips ideas under my pillow at night when I’m sleeping?
Ha, I wish! Diesel Muse is too capricious. The truth is, brainstorms strike at random—anywhere from inside the shower, to driving to an appointment. When an idea hits, I have to immediately write it down, or it evaporates forever. I have—honestly—jotted notes on napkins in restaurants, on fast food wrappers while driving (sorry, officer), on my own arm in the grocery store (talk about getting strange looks), and yes, even on toilet paper with lip-liner at a party. New lip-liner: $7.95. Inspiration: Priceless.
Everything around me inspires ideas, with all five senses. An evocative song, a solitary walk on a fog-shrouded beach, a compelling photo of a bare-chested hunk with mystery in his eyes. Even a bottle of chocolate syrup and handcuffs…oh, wait…that’s a whole ‘nother story. (Did I mention the third book in my Devilish Devlin series has a cop hero?) *G*
Do you plot and outline or do you just write?  Plotter or 
Pantser?
I’m a total Pantzer, and let me tell you, it gets horrendously scary at times. My plots stem from character, and I don’t really know who my characters completely are until the end of the book. Sometimes I have no idea where they’re dragging me. It’s like holding a flashlight on a dark, twisty path in a mysterious forest, and I can only see a few steps in front of me. Following that light one step at a time, I eventually get through it and break free on the other side.
I don’t know why I doubt the process, because I’m about to publish my 10th book—2 of which were nominated for RITA awards—and I know I can do it. However, those doubt demons strike every darned time, and Diesel Muse has to beat them back. I’m glad he has those nice, big, yummy muscles. *G* 
Can you tell us a little about the process of getting your first 
book published?
As I mentioned above, over a 5 year period, I wrote 8 completed manuscripts and collected over 100 rejections before I finally sold. I have a distinct, sassy, snarky voice that apparently scares the hell out of a lot of editors and agents. *G* My heroines kick ass, and don’t apologize for it, and those strong women don’t always go over well with traditional publishing houses. Which is why I’ve gone Indie, now and am writing my stories the way I want to instead of how I’m told to. I think I might share a few traits in common with some of my heroines. ;)
I published 6 books with a traditional house and learned some very valuable skills that helped me grow and mature and polish my writing before striking out on my own.
What book have you most recently released?
“Devil May Care,” which I talked about earlier, is my newest. In June I’m releasing “Laws of Attraction,” which is a compelling, emotional romantic suspense, followed in July by the second in that series, “Big Bad Wolfe.”
What was your favorite part of the book?
I have to say, I loved writing every single word of “Devil May Care.” It’s truly the most fun I’ve ever had writing anything in my entire life. I laughed, I cried, and yeah, my hero got me pretty steamed up (in a good way.) ;) I can’t really pick out a favorite part, because the entire book is just my all-time favorite, ever. As soon as Flynn Devlin arrived on the scene, he took over the book and ran with it. And I adore him!
Rate your story in terms steaminess?
Hmmm… well, how do you feel about blindfolds? Or wild sex on a motorcycle? It’s hot. Not erotica hot, but very spicy. However, I also include plenty of emotion with my lovemaking scenes, because let’s face it, physically, sex is pretty much all the same. Tab B into slot A. It’s the emotions of the couple involved that change the dynamics of every encounter to make the connection unique and special to only them. Flynn and Marisa have a love story that unites their hearts as well as their bodies.
Absolutely! I agree completely.  

Do you have another book in the works?
I actually have four. *G* Along with my two romantic suspenses coming out this summer, I’ve already started“Devil to Pay,” which is Brody Devlin’s story, and then I also have a Scottish time travel in progress.
Indie publishing has inspired me to greater heights than ever before. I’m loving what I’m writing and that translates into writing more, faster. And I’ve *almost* got an empty nest, which helps as well. Every mom out there knows how much full-time parenting sucks the time and energy right of out you. Having more of my own time and space has definitely helped.   
You are one busy lady!

What advice would you give new authors?  What have you
learned about the business?
I learned some hard lessons, the hard way. First: Don’t ever let anyone tell you, “you can’t.” “You can’t have snarky heroines who undermine the hero. You can’t have so much funny banter. You can’t write contemporary fun, sexy romances, and romantic suspense, and paranormal romances…so pick just one.”
Hello, I’m Diana Duncan, and I live to write flawed alpha males and strong, capable—and yes, snarky—heroines who kick the hero’s arse when he behaves like an arse. And a lot of readers enjoy reading them. Readers are way savvier and open to far more variety than editors/agents give them credit for.
“Can’t” kills the Muse. I fell into the trap of trying to please editors and agents instead of myself and my readers…and poor battered Diesel Muse went into a paralyzed coma. It took over three awful, wretchedly painful years to bring him back off life support.
Secondly and most important: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. No matter how much you want to believe your agent and/or publisher have your best interests at heart, you come in a distant second after their profit margin. Lines change. Editors change. Trends come and go and “the big six” traditional NY publishing houses single-mindedly follow those trends like bloodhounds. Diversify as much as possible. Seek new opportunities and grab them. Don’t let yourself be pigeonholed into one slot at one publishing house. You are the only one looking out for your career. 
Boxers or Briefs?
Commando, baby.
Pizza or hamburger?
Pizza, with the works and stuffed crust! Or…mmm…maybe instead, I’ll take an avocado bacon burger with melted Swiss. (Excuse me while I run out for a snack! BRB.)
Beer, Wine, or mixed drink?
Yes, thank you.
C’mon, I’m of Scots/Irish descent. We live to celebrate. *G*


(Character Questions)
What were your first impressions of each other?
Marisa: “One hundred and eighty pounds of dangerous sin on the prowl. I wanted to strangle the sexy bad boyo…after I jumped him like a trampoline.”
Flynn: “The bossy, uncompromising lass was a challenge, and I do love a good challenge. I couldn’t wait to free her shiny curls from that bun, pop open those Plain Jane buttons, and get her messy. Snatch her breath away, along with her cool control. Get her naked, and sweaty…and compromise the bloody hell out of her.”

What’s your favorite characteristic of each other?
Marisa: “His unpredictability and complete fearlessness. Flynn will do anything, anytime, anywhere, and throw himself totally into it.”
Flynn: “I adore Marisa’s formidable brainpower. There’s no problem she can’t solve…and in quite creative ways. Frankly, the lass scares me a wee bit.”
What are your plans for the near future? 
I hope to keep writing prolifically, and produce well-crafted stories that take people away from their problems and out of everyday life into fun, exciting, romantic adventures that make them laugh, and cry, and finish that final page with a satisfied sigh. My purpose is to use the gift I’ve been given to give a little something back to the world (which is why I also donate 10% of all my book sales to different places that help both people and animals who are in need.)

Diana, thank you so much for the interview 
today.  You have been amazing and I know we 
have all enjoyed getting to know you and your 
characters better!  

Be sure to leave a comment so we know you
stopped by and to enter for a chance to win her
fabulous first book "Deal with the Devil". 

Please be sure to visit Diana @
Facebook Personal Page: http://www.facebook.com/dianaduncan1






21 comments:

  1. I am a huge fan of Diana's books! Remember her SWAT series from a few years back—loved it! Can't wait to read this one! Enjoyed the interview, loved the excerpt!

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    1. So glad you came by! SWAT was a really good series.

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  2. Oh my gosh, I love Diana's sense of humor! I'm definitely going to have to read her work...this is my kind of lady! :)

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    1. Yay! Glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for coming by today!

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    2. You are the lucky winner in the drawing. Send me your email so Diana can send you a copy of her book "Deal with the Devil". Congrats!

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  3. As another human servants to some cats...great post and blurb.

    Advice about not letting others tell a new writer "they can't" - fantastic and important.

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    1. Yep, if we listened to every "can't" that came our way, the entire romance genre wouldn't even exist.

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  4. Wonderful interview. I loved learning about Diana and she only inspires me to continue writing more and more (even when it is hard to keep up and even if I can't make a living on writing alone). Thanks for sharing information about you and your books!

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    1. So glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for coming by today!

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  5. Krystal - Great interview.

    Diana - I love your books I made a Deal with the Devil and I was hooked. Looking forward to reading the next Devlin Boy's story.

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    1. Thank you, Casea! So glad you enjoyed the interview and made time to stop over.

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  6. Fantastic interview, Diana and Krystal.
    The book sounds like a fantastic story, I've put it on my TBR pile.

    Qwillia

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  7. Weeee!!! Diana... your interviews have always been awesome! Keep grabbing these fantastic writers Krystal!!!!!!

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    1. Thanks! I'm just so thrilled to have them!

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  8. Awesome interview. The books sounds great as well. Will check it out.

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    1. Yay! Thanks for coming over today! It was so great to hear from you. I'm glad you liked it.

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  9. Wow, what an awesome interview!

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    1. Thanks so much for coming! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Diana did a fantastic job.

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  10. Diana wanted me to thank all of you for coming today. She really appreciated the support. I also want to thank you for helping make today a success. The winner for the drawing will be announced on Sunday. Thanks again everyone and have a fantastic weekend.

    Hugs,
    Krystal and Diana

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    1. Blogger was being evil and wouldn't let her sign in to comment.

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