Poetry is the exquisite expression of exquisite expressions. Joseph Roux

Dianna Love Interview Published on: 29, May 2018

In which city/town did you spend most of childhood? What was one of your favourite childhood snacks and do you still like it the same?

I was born in Sarasota, Florida (USA) and grew up in Tampa, Florida. I have always been a big fan of peanut butter and still am, especially if strawberry jelly is involved.

What school did you attend as a child and how do you think your time in elementary and high school helped shape you and your career?

I went to Yates Elementary in Brandon, FL and Brandon High School. Middle School (Horace Mann MS) shaped me the most, because I had an art teacher who recognized my natural gift for realistic art and really developed it. I placed 3 rd in a national competition as the youngest person. I was in 6 th grade and the other two were seniors. I also sculpted a bust of a woman that was included in an international exhibit to multiple countries. From that background, I developed an ability to paint photo-realistic portraits fifteen feet tall later on when I became one of the only women to climb over a hundred feet in the air to paint walls and billboards. That gift is the reason I was self-employed since before the age of 18.

When did you start writing full time? What is one of your favourite memories from working with Fortune 500 companies and do you ever miss it?

I was a voracious reader (still am). While spending so many hours alone way up in the air, I entertained myself by creating stories as I worked. When I stopped climbing as much in 2001, I started writing one of these stories that had stayed with me. Once I got hooked, I was taking workshops. Two years later, after winning the Golden Heart and Daphne du Maurier awards, New York published that first book, and it sold out in two months. I write full time until a couple books later, because it meant giving up a large part of a successful business to do it. There are only so many hours in the day and my husband wanted me to make a choice before I had a heart attack with the way I ran between writing, running my business, conferences and such. I’ve always worked seven days a week and still do. I take time to play, but if I’m not playing, I’m working and I love to be busy. I still have some contact with one of my major clients, because we continue to maintain two of the huge spectacular outdoor creations we built, but my husband oversees a large part of that so I can write. I do sometimes miss working outside on location when the spring weather hits, but that’s a fleeting moment. I love writing all the time.

What do you think sets paranormal romance apart from other genres of romance?

Besides the usual vampires, witches and werewolves, what are some other types of creatures or characters that you hope will make more of an appearance in more paranormal books? I think paranormal romance allows us to escape the mundane world of work and other commitments to wander mentally through a world where anything is possible. Walt Disney tapped into how much we need to allow our souls to play and, clearly, viewers responded. It’s hard to imagine any creatures that are not represented these days with so many books being published, which is why in my paranormal romance Gallize Shifters series I wanted to take shifter romance a step away from the tried and true. I did a lot of work on the mythological background of my series, because I wanted it to have more of the bigger world building like I do have with my Belador urban fantasy series.

It’s always a risk to step away from what everyone else is doing that is accepted, but I have to write from my heart. I don’t know any other way to create. Thankfully, the readers really like the Gallize series so I guess it was a good idea.

What was the first book that made you a NY bestseller? Why do you think so many people resonated with and loved the book as much as they did?

The first time I had a story on the list, I was part of paranormal anthology titled Dead After Dark, which included Sherrilyn Kenyon, JR Ward, Susan Squires and me. My novella was the first Belador story – MIDNIGHT KISS GOODBYE. While touring with Sherri Kenyon after that came out and collaborating on her romantic suspense series, the publisher asked for something paranormal so I suggested we join efforts on the Beladors, which I had put aside years before due to editors wanting it, but their marketing departments having no idea how too market it. Those publishers asked me to make it a vampire series, but I politely declined. I don’t write to the market. We released the first four Beladors together then when our schedules got too loaded to keep collaborating, I continued the series since I’d originally created it. Treoir Dragon Hoard is book 10, which will be out Sept 13, 2018. I’m flattered by the way readers hunger for these stories. They tell me they love the characters, the world building, the unexpected twists and how I keep opening the world up. The stories are complex, which tests me every time. lol I’m exhausted when I finish one, but so excited to hand it to my readers and get moving on the next installment.

What are some underrated books or authors you know that never made it to the bestselling list? Why do you think a lot of very beautiful stories never get to see the spotlight?

That’s a great question, which I could spend days talking on, but I’ll just say that marketing has made books/authors and the lack of has left many in the dark. For example – Mark Dawson, a bestselling thriller author, had his first two books published by a major UK publisher. They did nothing to promote him or his writing, so the books languished. Disillusioned, he walked away from publishing. Fast-forward a few years and self-publishing took off. A friend convinced him to put his book up on the Kindle self-publishing platform. He sold a few until – wise man that he is – he figured out how to market it. (You should read his story in his words, but I’m a student of his marketing tutorials) He’s sold millions of books since then (less than 10 years) and has generously taught other authors. The great thing about Indie publishing is the ability to develop new ideas. For example, I wanted to offer readers a way to preorder and buy signed print copies. It took some work, but for the launch of TREOIR DRAGON HOARD (Belador book 10), I now offer a way to preorder a signed copy and have it shipped two weeks ahead of release at www.DiannaLoveSignedBooks.com - that would never have happened if I had not switched to Indie publishing. To answer your question, there is no reason for a great story to be kept from the spotlight in today’s publishing world.

What does the word Gallize mean? What is the central idea or theme behind the League Of Gallize Shifters series (besides the obvious werewolf-human love story)?

I love to research different things in mythology and history, then come up with my twist on it. In this case, the Gallize Shifter mythology goes back to the fifth century, during the time of Breton, when nine virgin druidesses known as the Gallizenae lived on the Isle de Sein. It was offshore from Finistère in western Brittany, which is known as France today. This is both recorded history and mythological. There is still an island and it was known to have female inhabitants with one male in charge. Pretty interesting story. In my series, one of these druidesses set everything in motion for there to be Gallize shifters (males), born of five women, and Gallize females who have different gifts and powers, born of five other women. A male guardian was created to watch over the males and a female one for overseeing the Gallize females, but the female guardian vanished two hundred years ago so the males have no one to guide them to find a mate capable of bonding with their extraordinary power. There are a few exceptions for these men to take as mates, but those are rare since the women have to be able to accept the power of a Gallize male shifter during bonding. In other words, the women have to be as powerful, or more so, than the male to survive the bonding. The males suffer from a mating curse cast on them by a witch who was refused the chance of being one of the Gallize shifter mothers. The shifters must find a mate by a specific time or their animal will go wild sand take over, forcing their guardian to put them out of their misery. This paranormal world is open (humans know about them) and has other beings such as power barons, witches and some yet to be introduced.

When creating a werewolf character, how do you make their experiences and their "shifting" relatable to your readers (who, as far as we know, are human? What is the trick to making your stories believable and realistic?

I write characters in deep point of view, which takes me past their walls and into their souls. That makes it real for me and my readers tell me it does for them as well. With my Gallize Shifters, the majority of them have no idea they are a shifter until they reach adulthood. They don’t shift as toddlers or children and some, like Cole in Gray Wolf Mate, are shocked to learn they are not human. He was in college and in love when he had something strange happening to his body. He took off for a run one night in a panic. The male guardian had been watching out for him, but never expected Cole to be ready to meet his wolf so soon. Cole was only nineteen when most Gallize are twenty to twenty one when they shift. A Gallize team brought him to the guardian who called up Cole’s animal. That’s how it works for a Gallize. Things only got worse for Cole at that point and he never saw the woman he loved again for seven years. Not until her law enforcement team, which deals with shifter criminals, captured him. It’s a deeply emotional story that just so happens to be about a man who shifts into a wolf.

Do you write to escape or to focus more? Can an author ever have "vacation" weeks or months where they don't write or is it something you just always want to do?

I’m a full time writer, which means I write every day and I’ve always been very focused no matter what I was doing. From many years of being self-employed before starting to write, I’m someone who is focused and disciplined to get my work done. When I do take a break, I don’t feel guilty or obsess about writing. In fact, because I allow my mind to relax, it has a field day brainstorming. I love to go saltwater fishing with my family and husband. I’ve come up with some cool ideas while out on the boat enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. I don’t think our minds ever stop processing, which is good by me, because I love having so much going on, but it’s like a bank. You can’t make a withdrawal if you don’t make deposits. I see time off as deposits. I think it comes down to being good about getting your work done and not procrastinating until a deadline looms, because your mind has to play without feeling guilty or penalized. I also have a very good diet where I enjoy what I eat, but I don’t touch certain foods that I know are bad for my mind as well as my body.

What inspired the Belador book series? Of the two most recent books "Dragon King Of Treoir" and "Belador Cosaint". which one took longer to write?

Back when I first created the Beladors (think it was around 2004, long before it was published), I started thinking about all the different mythological pantheons. Every society has its own mythology. We always see where the leader - Poseiden, for example - is the all-powerful, top of the food chain in that mythology. When you read about other pantheons, there’s a similar powerful structure for each one. I wondered … What if these powerful beings came into conflict? Who wins? Then I was off brainstorming a closed world (humans aren’t supposed to know about preternatural beings among them) in Atlanta, GA. From that, I created a group known as Beladors, which are a unique set of beings. I wanted an urban fantasy unlike any other one out there. As for which of those two books took the longest to write, Dragon King Of Treoir, but only by two weeks.  Treoir Dragon Hoard required more than either of those.

What did you enjoy most about writing the Belador series? Do you plan on adding more books to this series?

There will definitely be more books. I’ve only hit one series arc at this point, so there are many more stories to share. By the time you write ten books in a series, you either love it or hate it. I can’t write anything I don’t love. I haven’t got the patience to spend months working on something unless I’m passionate about it, because I’m all in on everything I do. By now, the Beladors are part of my life and feel like family. I enjoy stepping back into that world as soon as I finish a book. The reason I try not to write them back-to- back is because I’ve found that giving my brain a break to write on my other series allows me to have a really fresh approach to my next Belador book every time.

What do you think is more helpful to a writer: Good reviews due to their encouragement or bad reviews due to the (sometimes) constructive criticism?

I think the most helpful thing is to have professional editors you trust (not family, not friends), to have a strong group of beta readers who know the series, then trust your writing. By the time a book is published, all the critiquing has to be completed. I can’t allow anything else to influence my writing or it isn’t my writing. It would turn into writing by committee. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate everyone who leaves reviews, because that is a big help to writers. Still, in the end, a writer has to commit to producing the best book possible, put it through a team of editors and beta readers, then trust in her story.

If you had to quit being a writer tomorrow or never see your family again, what would you choose (no judgment here)?

My husband and family are everything to me.

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