1. Tell us about yourself – where you are from, how you got started writing, what you do when you are not writing (or anything you want our readers to know)
While I am best known as the author of the Soulful Sex anthologies of short erotic romance fiction, that is just a recent incarnation of myself as writer. You’ll laugh at the twists and turns of my writing hobby/career, which began when I was about ten years old when I started writing short stories and poetry. I even penned a silly musical puppet play called “Soggy Wheat” that did a tour of my grade school. When I was 13 I got a short story published in ‘Teen magazine (possibly the peak of my career!). In the four decades since then, my writing has included six novels (half for publication), a book of Lenten devotions, an article on how to make your own sports trading cards, and four years’ worth of a weekly ezine called “Hockey Snacks.” Over my byline there have been countless pieces long and short, published and unpublished, on everything from how to rebuild an old pipe organ, to a layman’s guide to Jungian psychology, to my six Soulful Sex anthologies, to my new paranormal romance, Bloodchained. Call me eclectic.
2. What inspired you to write your first book?
My first full-length book was a mainstream novel with religious themes called Christus Victor. It nearly found a publisher in the early 80s. At the time I was very about that ultimate rejection, but in hindsight, I can see the book was pretty awful stuff! LOL Anyway, I had been chomping at the bit to write a book since high school, but didn’t have anything much to say until that point in my life. I was 23 when I started to write Christus Victor, barely old enough to have enough life experience to write a novel, but I had run into some interesting people during and after college who provided good material.
3. How many books have you written?
Depending upon how you break them out (some of my ebooks have been grouped together for print release), about a dozen; four non-fiction and the rest fiction.
4. How do you decide on the topic of a book?
It’s always a balance between what you feel like writing and what your audience wants to read. It might surprise you to learn the market for a book on how to rebuild an old pipe organ is quite small, while the market for hot romance fiction is much larger. LOL Seriously, though...I got into writing my Soulful Sex series because I posted a couple of erotic stories online and started getting what was basically fan mail for them. When people actually beg you to write more of something, you are pretty motivated to produce it. But that said, within the framework of the genre, I have tried to write about characters and situations that inspire me. I like imaginative fiction--fantasy and science fiction--so I write more of those types of romance tales than I do of contemporary or historical.
5. What works best to keep you focused and on track?
Honestly, I have never had trouble being motivated to write. Barely a day has gone by in my last 40 years of life that I didn’t write something. I need to write like other people need to breathe and eat. Typically while I’m working on my main project, I’m also doing a lot of essay writing and marketing too. I do make a point of always having my next project in mind so that I don’t let the current one linger forever, and I have a timeline that I stick to quite carefully.
6. Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?
I am fortunate to have a great “day job” that enables me to live quite well. I’m therefore free to write what and when I want, without the pressure of needing to do it for money. I love writing and I adore having readers. There is no greater thrill in the world to me than when my writing works for someone other than myself. That is why it occurred to me to do my current project.
Early in 2007, I had the idea that we now have the technology to make it possible for an author to create a work with input and feedback from readers. I thought, what could be more fun than involving a team of readers and fans in developing and writing a book? So I started the “Soulful Sex Partners Project.” Over 60 people signed up to participate, and it is with their invaluable help that I conceived and wrote my new novel, Bloodchained. This is the first time I’ve had the help and encouragement of readers during the writing process, and it has been an amazing experience. Please visit the Project’s official blog at www.soulfulsex-partners.blogspot.com to learn more.
7. What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used to gain visibility for you and your book(s)?
With today’s technology there are so many free and inexpensive ways to market your work. I started with a website and promoting myself as much as possible via the key romance sites, in interviews, reviews and essays. I have a newsletter and a blog. I have done chats, spoken at conventions, sent out press releases for web and print media, and done a bit of paid online and print advertising too.
8. What are some unique methods?
My “Soulful Sex Partners Project” is a completely new idea as far as I know. The nice thing about it from a marketing standpoint is that the book has word-of-mouth even before publication, a whole team of people who have taken ownership in the book and have an interest in its success. I also have had a lot of great luck with publishing a group of free ebooks that I sell via the Living Beyond Reality Press READ FREE Project, which introduces my writing to new readers every day. Less successful but certainly unique was my creation of a portrait gallery of all my characters and the production of a set of romance fortune telling cards based upon it.
9. Do you sell through a website?
I have my own Diana Laurence site (www.dianalaurence.com) with buy links that direct readers to online retailers that offer my books. It also directs them to my publishing site Living Beyond Reality Press (www.livingbeyondreality.com). The majority of my sales are via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Powells Books.
10. Do you plan on writing additional books?
Is the Pope Catholic? Yes, of course, and I’m hoping the response to Bloodchained will be strong enough to justify a sequel, because I’d love to write one. So, to anyone reading these words, I hope you’ll click through to www.dianalaurence.com/bloodchained.html and read about this romantic and suspenseful new take on the vampire concept. There are no bats, crypts, or garlic-encrusted crosses in this book, but there is mystery, enthrallment, struggles between good and evil, and sexy blood-drinking. Check out the synopsis, read a sample chapter, and think about reading a book written by an award-winning, critically-acclaimed author with the assistance of a team of 60 enthusiastic readers and fans!
Interview Presented By -
Nikki Leigh - Author of Book Promo 101
"Coastal Suspense with a Touch of Romance"
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